Disclaimer: Fight the New Drug is a non-religious and non-legislative awareness and education organization. Some of the issues discussed in the following article are legislatively-affiliated. Including links and discussions about these legislative matters does not constitute an endorsement by Fight the New Drug. Though our organization is non-legislative, we fully support the regulation of already illegal forms of pornography and sexual exploitation, including the fight against sex trafficking.
Even though we always have been and still are a non-legislative and non-religious anti-porn organization, we want to provide a review of the movement in the United States to shine a light on the research that’s increasingly showing the harmful effects of porn.
It’s important to note that, as an organization, our primary incentive in fighting for love by educating on the harmful effects of porn is not legislation—Fight the New Drug is an all-inclusive, research-driven movement, and relies on science, facts, and personal accounts to fuel our fight. We do, however, consider these state and federal resolutions to be a direct growth representation of the movement to de-normalize porn in our society.
Since 2016, 16 states and counting have declared porn a public health crisis:
Alabama — Senate Resolution Passed (2020)
Arkansas — House Resolution Passed (2017)
Arizona — House Resolution Passed (2019)
Florida — House Resolution Passed (2018)
Kansas — House Resolution Passed (2017)
Kentucky — Senate Resolution Passed (2018)
Louisiana — House Resolution Passed (2017)
Missouri — Senate Concurring Resolution Passed (2018)
Montana — House Resolution Passed (2019)
Oklahoma — House Concurring Resolution Passed (2017)
Pennsylvania — House Resolution Passed (2018)
Tennessee — Senate Joint Resolution Passed (2017)
Virginia — House Resolution Passed (2017) *Unofficial due to Virginia rules on resolutions.
Bonus possible 17th state: Texas — Texas has held a hearing regarding the resolution on the public health harms of pornography on April 24, 2019. We’re waiting to hear if a resolution has been passed.
Why does it matter?
Allow us to explain why we’re on board, even as a non-legislative nonprofit: when a local government chooses to acknowledge pornography as a threat to society, we understand that 1) people are advocating the issue enough to gain the attention of local leaders, and 2) local leaders are equipped to efficiently implement valuable resources (i.e. information, education, awareness, etc.) to further advocate against the threat.
See? It’s all about awareness and education, which is what we’re all about.
Related: Why We’re Not Out To Ban Porn
These state-level declarations are formally recognized as state “resolutions,” and act to emphasize state-level opinion and action. State resolutions are not enforceable by law, but act as a shared expression of concern, support, action, understanding.
When a Governor signs a state resolution to declare pornography an issue of public health concern, they are not banning pornography or punishing its consumers. Instead, they are giving a platform to the research and declaring an emphasis on the issue to develop and promote resources to educate and protect citizens and communities. Pretty cool, right?
A lot of the resolutions sound similar. Below, we took a sample of statements from a few of the resolutions to show you the language that’s used to talk about the issue:
SD SCR4 passed in January 2017 with a unanimous vote.
“…Now, therefore, be it resolved, by the Senate of the Ninety-Second Legislature of the State of South Dakota, the House of Representatives concurring therein, that the Legislature recognizes the public health crisis created by pornography in this state and acknowledges the need for education, prevention, research, and policy change at the community and societal level in order to address the epidemic that is harming the people of our state and our country as a whole.”
UT SCR009 was passed March 2016 with a unanimous vote.
“…Now, therefore, be it resolved that the Legislature of the state of Utah, the Governor concurring therein, recognizes that pornography is a public health hazard leading to a broad spectrum of individual and public health impacts and societal harms. Be it further resolved that the Legislature and the Governor 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.”
VA HJ549 was passed in February 2017 with an overwhelming majority vote in the House of Delegates.
“…Resolved by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, that the General Assembly recognize pornography as a public health hazard leading to a broad spectrum of individual and public health impacts and societal harms; and, be it resolved further, that the General Assembly recognizes 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 the Commonwealth and the nation.”
Why This Matters
Keep in mind, again, these are resolutions, not bills.
Contrary to many people’s initial thoughts when hearing about this piece of legislation, the resolution has never proposed to ban or restrict pornography in any way, but to simply recognize it as an issue that needs resources for education and awareness on its harmful effects.
Rather than taking away adults’ rights to consume porn, the resolutions put these states better positions to promote the science and research that show porn’s negative effects on individuals, relationships, and society. The goal of these resolutions is to limit the spread of this national porn issue we are experiencing, similar to when our country controlled access to tobacco and advertising for it when evidence began showing it was harmful.
Our mission has always been to decrease the demand for porn by helping people understand the facts about how harmful it is. We’ve always believed that if people truly understood the harms of pornography, they would choose not to support it, and that’s why these educational and awareness-raising resolutions are such awesome news.
Fight the New Drug is a non-legislative movement, and we support efforts to further educate and raise awareness on the scientifically proven harms of pornography. If you’re interested in getting involved with passing a resolution in your state, reach out to our friends at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation for more info!