Utah Passes Resolution Calling Pornography A ‘Public Health Crisis’

By Lauretta Brown | March 14, 2016 | 4:03 PM EDT

(AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – The Utah House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution Friday calling pornography “a public health hazard leading to a broad spectrum of individual and public health impacts and societal harms.”

The first-of-its-kind resolution was initially introduced in the Utah State Senate by Sen. Todd Weiler at the end of January.

The resolution claims that young children are exposed to pornography “at an alarming rate” due to technological advances and that this exposure leads to low self-esteem and an increased desire for risky sexual behavior among adolescents.  

The resolution also cites that “recent research indicates that pornography is potentially biologically addictive” and can lead to “increasing themes of risky sexual behaviors” including violence and child pornography.

It adds that pornography has been linked to “lessening desire in young men to marry, dissatisfaction in marriage, and infidelity.”

The resolution will not restrict pornography but is meant to raise awareness of its harms, calling on the legislature and the governor to “recognize the need for education, prevention, research, and policy change at the community and societal level in order to address the pornography epidemic that is harming the people of our state and nation.”

"It's not just a kooky thing that some, you know, politician from Mormon Utah came up with," Weiler said at his resolution’s introduction. "When I was a kid, people might sneak a Playboy magazine and look at it. Now, you've got all kinds of horrible, graphic images that are available to anyone with an Internet connection one or two clicks away."

A 2009 study indicates that Utah has a high rate of pornography use as the state led the nation in online porn subscriptions.

A February UtahPolicy.com survey, conducted by pollster Dan Jones & Associates, found that 73 percent of Utahns think that pornography is a public health crisis, including 51 percent who would “definitely” describe it as a public health crisis.

Weiler credits the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) for drafting the resolution.

NCOSE is a Washington-based organization dedicated to “addressing the public health crisis of pornography and exposing the links between all forms of sexual exploitation.”

"Pornography is a serious public health crisis facing our nation," said Dawn Hawkins, executive director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, when the resolution passed the Utah State Senate last month.

"As pornography shapes the sexual templates of rising generations, violence and abuse of women and children becomes normalized. The government must recognize the science that confirms the harms of pornography, similarly to how it recognized the damage to public health caused by tobacco," Hawkins said.