Florida resolution could label pornography a ‘public health risk’

Tallahassee, Fla., Feb 12, 2018 / 04:55 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A proposed resolution in Florida would declare pornography a public health risk, allowing for greater education and research into the hazards of porn, especially among developing children and teens.

“It’s trying to raise agreement and awareness as to [pornography’s] risks,” said Michael Sheedy, executive director of the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“I don’t think the risks are limited to children alone, but there is a focus in the resolution on it,” he told CNA.

Sponsored by Republican Rep. Ross Spano, the resolution passed 18-1 on Jan. 18 in the House Health and Human Services Committee. On Tuesday, Feb. 13, it will be considered in the House Commerce Committee before it is sent to the full House of Representatives sometime before March 9.

A similar piece of legislation has also been sent to the Senate, but has not been read in committee. However, Sheedy said, the House resolution does not require approval from the Senate or governor to pass.

Spano originally sought to label pornography as a “health crisis,” but changed the words to “health risk” to increase support, according to Orlando Sentinel.

Speaking before the Health and Human Service Committee, Spano outlined studies showing that pornography use risks damaging relationships and human development.

“Research has found a correlation between pornography use and mental and physical illnesses, difficulty forming and maintaining intimate relationships, unhealthy brain development and cognitive function, and deviant, problematic or dangerous sexual behavior,” he said.

This resolution would not ban pornography or create legal consequences for its use or distribution.

However, Sheedy said it would be the first step in paving the way for more research and education on pornography’s hazardous effects, especially among children and teens.

“It’s a recognition that children are especially at risk given changes in technology – having more access to pornography than ever before – and the effects on their development and their sexuality. “

The resolution says that “a child who views pornography is at a higher risk of developing low self-esteem, an eating disorder, and a desire to engage in risky sexual behavior.”

A website called People Not Porn – endorsed by the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops – has been created to raise awareness of the resolution and to educate the public on the dangers of pornography.

The website states that 27 percent of people ages 25-30 have admitted to seeing pornography before they hit puberty. Additionally, 64 percent of 13-24 year-olds will actively seek out porn once per week or more.

If Florida succeeds in passing a resolution acknowledging the risks of pornography, it will not be first state to do so. Since 2016, Tennessee, Arkansas, South Dakota, and Utah have all declared pornography a public health crisis. Virginia has labeled pornography as harmful to the public.


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1 Comment

  1. It’s a good idea to declare porn a public health risk. All states should do this.

    But Florida, and other states around the country, should also be taking a particularly close look at where children are being exposed to porn. School databases have been in the news over the past year for their role in running ads for the sex industry and providing links to porn. This is something that all parents, educators and concerned citizens should familiarize themselves with.

    The digital, “homework” or “research” database products have become very popular and large companies, such as EBSCO, sell these to tens of thousands of K-12 schools all over the country. Many parents and teachers are relying on EBSCO’s word that the databases are safe and vetted, but a number of studies have proven that, in fact, just the opposite is true. EBSCO has been documented to stream advertisements and promotions for the 100 billion dollar sex industry into products that are sold to K-12 schools.

    This appears to be one of the most egregious assaults on childhood innocence that this country has ever seen. Reminiscent of the “Big Tobacco” ads of years past, EBSCO and its publishing and advertising partners have wormed their way into our schools. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation just named EBSCO to its 2018 Dirty Dozen list (the second year running for EBSCO), and other news outlets and advocacy groups nation wide have also documented EBSCO content, and are working hard to expose the truth. To learn more, interested readers can simply google “EBSCO Porn” to read through pages of news stories or check out the Dirty Dozen List.

    As parents and teachers become aware of the problems, they should ask their schools to cancel EBSCO. Other database providers (popular ones like GALE or ProQuest) can be problematic too, although they haven’t received the same level of attention. Hopefully the school database industry will also exhibit some self regulation as the outrage against EBSCO grows stronger.

    Schools should nurture children. They should never be misused to advertise for the sex industry. Unfortunately, many Florida (and other states) schools are signed up for EBSCO, including some of the private schools and even parochial schools. It can be difficult for adults to get a handle on what is embedded in the digital products – and this is what companies like EBSCO are counting on. They also bury their digital products behind various names; common names include Explora, Mas Ultra, EBSCOhost, Academic Search, and others. But its worth the trouble to look: the content of EBSCO databases is truly shocking, including sexually graphic, adult “pop” magazines like Cosmopolitan, Men’s Health, Lesbian News, Esquire, and more, which have very graphic text, images, full color ads for sex products and services, and many so-called “scholarly” articles, which are equally as graphic and contain live links to hard core porn sites, including Russian bondage sites. The K-12 databases are heavy with themes promoting sex work for girls, and heavy with themes that promote sexual violence.

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