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Arizona Lawmakers Aim To Declare Porn A Health Crisis

February 10, 2019

Arizona Republican state Rep. Michelle Udall has introduced a non-binding bill to the Arizona legislature that would declare pornography a “public health crisis.” The bill is based on language derived from so-called “model legislation” drafted by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.

According to AZCENTRAL, the measure passed through the Arizona House Committee on Health & Human Services by a vote of 5-3-1.

While introducing the bill, House Concurrent Resolution 2009, Udall stated that porn “perpetuates a sexually toxic environment that damages all areas of our society,” AZCENTRAL reports.

Supporters of the bill admit it is more a gesture and less a binding legal document, but they hope it will lead to real legislation in coming months.

Udall compared the pornography industry to the tobacco industry, whose products are known to be highly addictive and carcinogenic, and have been peddled to the under-aged.

“Like the tobacco industry, the pornography industry has created a public health crisis. Pornography is used pervasively, even by minors,” Udall said as reported by AZCENTRAL.

AZCENTRAL further reports that 11 states have already passed similar bills.

Some Arizona Democrats, meanwhile, are not sure Udall’s concerns about a health crisis are based on much more than conjecture.

AZCENTRAL reports Democratic Rep. Kelli Butler said that “There are statements in [the bill] that seem hyperbolic and unproven. I just don’t think there’s necessarily the science to back up those claims.”

Butler wondered why, if the bill supporters are concerned about children and sexual health issues, they don’t also support further sex education initiatives, AZCENTRAL writes. Those comments were reportedly dismissed by the committee chair as “peripheral” and a red-herring.

Bill supporters also claim that pornography use can and does lead to serious biological addiction for some users, and that it significantly increases violence toward, and the sexual exploitation of, women and children. It also can have an adverse impact on familial relationships and quality of life, AZCENTRAL reports.

AZCENTRAL writes that the measure now moves to the full House, where Republicans hold a “narrow majority.” It will then move to the Senate for approval. Resolutions of this kind do not require approval of the Arizona governor, AZCENTRAL notes. 

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