(CNSNews.com) - If Democrats celebrating their party's national convention in Los Angeles want Americans to believe they support family values, they should return all campaign contributions they've received from pornographers, a national women's organization said Monday.
Vice President Al Gore cannot distance himself from Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez' efforts to host a fundraiser at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles unless Gore - and other Democratic candidates and organizations - return $100,000 donated to them by Playboy since 1992, Concerned Women for America said.
Playboy's contributions also come at a high price to the health of many women and men who produce and buy the magazine, said Brenda MacKillop, a former Bunny who worked at the Playboy Club in Los Angeles from 1973 to 1976.
MacKillop, who speaks to groups about her religious conversion and testifies against pornography's negative effects on producers and consumers, said she was "extremely suicidal and sought psychiatric help during the time I lived in a sexually promiscuous lifestyle as a Bunny."
Other women who worked as Bunnies or posed nude for the magazine became suicidal and chronically depressed after they were exposed to such crimes as stalkings and date-rape, MacKillop said.
"I experienced everything from date-rape to physical abuse to group sex during my time with Playboy," she said.
The former Bunny also witnessed drug-taking at the mansion, knew of colleagues who contacted and passed on venereal diseases to customers or had abortions after getting pregnant by customers.
"Playboy is more than a pornographic magazine," she said. "It is a philosophy that enticed me to throw aside the Judeo-Christian ethics I grew up with, of no premarital sex and no adultery, to practice 'recreational' sex with no commitments."
Dr. Judith Reisman, an author of books on Playboy and the porn industry, said a study she conducted for the U.S. Department of Justice on images of children and crime in Playboy and other girlie magazines exposes these magazines as child pornographers.
Playboy has produced child pornography, has sexualized children under age 18 in photos, cartoons and illustrations, and Playboy Press published photos of a nude 10-year-old Brooke Shields, Reisman said.
Family groups strongly criticize President Clinton and Al Gore for accepting campaign contributions from publishers of magazines such as Playboy. They lambaste Clinton for not living up to a 1992 campaign promise he made to Morality in Media, a media watchdog group, to crack down on child pornography.
"Be assured that aggressive enforcement of federal obscenity laws by the Justice Department - particularly by the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section - will be a priority in the Clinton-Gore administration," Clinton wrote in an October 1992 letter.
But statistics and other evidence demonstrate little or no prosecution of illegal pornography by the Janet Reno Justice Department, said James Lambert, a columnist with the American Family Association's Internet page.
In fact, obscenity prosecutions have decreased 86 percent since Clinton and Gore were elected, Lambert said, citing a 1997 report from Syracuse University. "Pornographers and advocacy publications like Adult Video News have even admitted that 'adult obscenity enforcement by the federal government is practically non-existent,'" Lambert said.
Over the weekend, Sanchez canceled the "Hispanic Unity USA Party," scheduled to take place Tuesday night at the Playboy Mansion of publisher Hugh Hefner.
Sanchez gave in to concerns by convention organizers that the portrayal of convention delegates side-by-side with scantily-clad Bunnies could undermine their attempts to portray the party as pro-family.
Calls by CNSNews.com to Playboy for comment were not returned.