Arizona declares PORN a public health risk

Arizona has declared pornography a public health risk – a year after Florida did the same. 

The move, voted 16-13 in the state Senate on Monday, is nothing more than a gesture, with no concrete ramifications.

But Republican Senator Sylvia Allen insists it is a powerful move ‘because it’s the first time we’re making a statement… about the epidemic of pornography.’

Blaming porn for the rise of syphilis, HIV, unplanned pregnancies and underage sex, Sen. Allen said: ‘Billions of dollars worldwide are being made upon this industry that is poisoning the minds of our citizens.’

She said it was ‘the root problem for many of the other problems that we’re experiencing,’ and it has ‘morphed into something…horrible.’

The move, voted 16-13 in the state Senate on Monday, is nothing more than a gesture, with no concrete ramifications. But Rep. Sen. Sylvia Allen insists it is a powerful against 'an epidemic'

The move, voted 16-13 in the state Senate on Monday, is nothing more than a gesture, with no concrete ramifications. But Rep. Sen. Sylvia Allen insists it is a powerful against ‘an epidemic’

Opponents on the other side of the aisle said the measure was a waste of time amid other health crises, like the rising rate of women dying in childbirth, and the nationwide measles outbreak. 

‘I think we really need to focus on those types of things that are life-threatening and fatal, and could spread so quickly to anybody,’ Minority Whip Sen. Jamescita Peshlakai, a Democrat, told the Arizona Republic. 

Last year, Florida passed an identical resolution, spearheaded by Republican Representative Ross Spano who claimed that research has found links between pornography and ‘mental and physical illnesses,’ among a host of other societal and individual ills. 

The resolution passed by 18 to one in the House, where the sole dissenter, Democrat Dr Cary Pigman, was also the only medical doctor on the committee.  

Bill sponsor Spano initially wanted to have have pornography dubbed a state public health crisis – a status held by the opioid epidemic – in Florida, but the resolution passed by deeming adult material a ‘risk’ instead.

The resolution stated that pornography is a public health risk from which Florida needs to ‘protect the citizens of [the] state’ through ‘education, prevention, research and policy change.’  

Spano’s concern over porn stemmed in part from his worry over his own son, local news station WFSU reported.  

‘I asked my child, ‘Well when did you first?’ He said, ‘I was probably ten.’ And I said, ‘Well how did you..?’ And he said, ‘An older kid showed me. An older kid in the neighborhood,” Spano told the station. 

In the resolution, he cited research finding that 27 percent of young adults ‘report that they first viewed pornography before the onset of puberty.’ 

The resolution says that porn has ties to a wide-ranging slew of adverse health effects, including low self-esteem, eating disorders, normalizing violence and abuse of women and children, marital problems and that it is ‘potentially biologically addictive, resulting in the user consuming increasingly more shocking material to satisfy the addiction.’

In fact, psychologists and psychiatrists have considered adding porn to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), but it was once again excluded from the book’s fifth edition. 

In a recent interview, New York psychologist Dr Ari Tuckman told Daily Mail Online that ‘porn can be easy to blame as the cause, but it’s really part of the problem’ when it comes to relationships.  

Research has shown that watching pornography earlier tends to be linked to having sex younger, and small studies suggest that exposure at a young age may affect men’s attitudes toward women.  

Ultimately, most experts say that research on porn is inconclusive at best, and often suffers from poor methodology.  

But whether porn falls into the ‘good’ or ‘bad’ category, Dr Pigman asserted that, either way, it doesn’t fall into the ‘biggest’ category. 

‘I keep thinking about the other things that are public health hazards which involve a far larger number of people,’ he told WFSU. 

‘I am a practicing physician. We have problems with hypertension, with obesity, with diabetes, with Zika,’ Dr Pigman said. 

He also noted that other sexual health issues, like the transmission of HIV and STDs have been on the rise.  

Of porn, Dr Pigman said: ‘I’m not sure that we need to spend legislative time enunciating a particular complaint when we have others that are far more pressing.’ 

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