Utah Takes On Newest 'Health Hazard': Porn
Governor to sign 2 measures, including bill mandating computer techs report child porn
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 19, 2016 10:47 AM CDT
In this March 10, 2016, file photo, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert speaks during an interview in Salt Lake City.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

(Newser) – In an effort to fight today's "sexually toxic environment," the governor of Utah is expected on Tuesday to sign both a state resolution and a bill that declare pornography a "health hazard," CNN reports. Gov. Gary Herbert's resolution, more general statement than punishable mandate, says porn is "a public health hazard leading to a broad spectrum of individual and public health impacts and societal harms," with "detrimental effects" including the objectification of women, the linking of violence toward women and children with pleasure, and the promotion of sex trafficking, prostitution, and child porn, as well as biological addiction, emotional issues, and even changes in brain development, per the New York Daily News. Although the resolution won't actually come with penalties for porn-related infractions, the related HB 155 will, specifically for computer techs who don't report child porn while maintaining or fixing equipment. A "willful failure to report the child pornography" could result in a Class B misdemeanor.

State Sen. Todd Weiler, sponsor of both measures, told the Salt Lake Tribune in February that "pornography [addiction] today is like tobacco was 70 years ago." Not everyone's on the anti-porn bandwagon, including sex columnist Dan Savage, who told CNN last year that humans have a "hard-wired desire for variety" that can be harmlessly satisfied through porn. Still others don't like Utah putting "a public health spin on a private issue," as the Daily News frames it. And some researchers remain skeptical that porn is causing some of the issues cited. "I think the conclusions we can draw from the science are very limited," American Academy of Pediatrics doctor David Hill tells the Atlantic. One interesting fact, per CNN: Utah was found to be the "pornography capital of America" in a 2009 Harvard Business School study. (A Utah professor was accused of watching child porn on his flight out of Salt Lake City.)
 

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