Utah Declares Porn a Health Hazard

The issue is not new.

In 1964, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously described his threshold test for obscenity: “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description [hard-core pornography], and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it.”

On Tuesday, the Utah legislature saw it and condemned it.

Their resolution declares pornography an epidemic that normalizes violence against women and children and makes men less likely to want to get married.

It was signed by Republican Governor Gary Herbert after being passed by the Republican-led legislature in the conservative and heavily Mormon state. The resolution had the vigorous support of the Utah Coalition Against Pornography, backed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Backers call on the state legislature to research the impact of pornography and invest in education and efforts to prevent its production and use. It declares pornography "a public health hazard leading to a broad spectrum of individual and public health impacts and societal harms."

Anti-porn activist Jennifer Brown said viewing pornography derails healthy emotional and physical development in children and adolescents and fosters addiction to it. She called the pornography industry an "empire of destruction" driven by financial greed.

Meanwhile, the Free Speech Coalition (an association representing adult entertainment producers) called the public health hazard designation an "old-fashioned morals bill" that was not grounded in science.

A 2009 study by Harvard Business School professor Benjamin Edelman showed that Utah had the highest per-capita rate of purchasing online adult-entertainment subscriptions in the U.S.

Sourced from: Reuters, Utah declares pornography a public health hazard