Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Florida lawmaker wants to declare porn a public health crisis

Posted By on Wed, Sep 20, 2017 at 12:22 PM

click to enlarge PHOTO VIA ROSS SPANO/FACEBOOK
  • Photo via Ross Spano/Facebook
A Florida lawmaker has filed a bill that will finally address the state's pressing plight – not the opioid epidemic, increased HIV transmissions or poor mental health funding – pornography.

State Rep. Ross Spano, R-Dover, wants the Florida Legislature to pass House Resolution 157, which would recognize the public health crisis created by pornography and acknowledge the "need for education, prevention, research, and policy change to protect the citizens of this state."

And what do Floridians need protection from, according to Spano? The bill claims smut is contributing to the hyper-sexualization of children and teens because it serves as their "main source of education regarding human sexuality" and promotes kids developing "low self-esteem, an eating disorder and a desire to engage in dangerous sexual behavior." The bill also says all that indecency "objectifies women, normalizes violence and the abuse of women and children, and depicts rape and abuse as harmless, thereby increasing the demand for sex trafficking, prostitution, and child pornography."

"Recent research indicates that pornography is potentially biologically addictive, resulting in the user consuming increasingly more shocking material to satisfy the addiction," the bill says. "Pornography has a detrimental effect on families and is linked to a reluctance to enter into marriage, dissatisfaction in marriage and marital infidelity."

Dover's proposal is similar to resolutions adopted by other states and the Republican National Committee that blames most of the ailments society has picked up over the centuries on online pornography, which is ironic because Republican President Donald Trump has appeared in three softcore porn movies, but who's counting, anyway? The National Center on Sexual Exploitation agrees with these kind of resolutions, citing a 2010 study that says 88 percent of porn videos depict physical aggression, according to CNN. But as CNN reports, an associate professor at Columbia University who has studied porn says there's little research to support a claim of a public health crisis. Orlando Weekly reached out to Spano for a comment but did not receive an immediate response.

"Pornography may be correlated with more permissive sexual attitudes, but that does not necessarily mean that pornography caused those sexual attitudes," Eric Schrimshaw told CNN. "It could be just as possible that those individuals with pre-existing permissive sexual attitudes are just more likely to choose to view pornography."

Perhaps Spano could focus on an actual public crisis that is normalizing violence and abuse of women and children, like Florida laws that allow child marriage. Currently, marriage licenses can be issued to minors under 18 who have their guardians' consent, are pregnant or already have children. Notably, a woman from Tampa named Sherry Johnson was 11 when she forced to marry her 20-year-old rapist in 1971. The New York Times reports 14,278 minors married in Florida from 2000 to 2010. Two of Florida's female Republican lawmakers have already filed for the 2018 legislative session that would make it illegal to issue a marriage certificate to anyone under the age of 18.

UPDATE: Spano's Twitter account liked a pornographic tweet from Jan.8

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