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Utah Bill Would Require a “Warning Label for Porn”

A new bill being proposed by the Utah state senate would require the creation of a “warning label” for pornography – much like the Surgeon General’s warning which has been required on tobacco products since 1969.

According to the proposed House Bill 243, the warning label would say:

“Exposing minors to pornography is known to the state of Utah to cause negative impacts to brain development, emotional development, and the ability to maintain intimate relationships. Such exposure may lead to harmful and addictive sexual behavior, low self-esteem, and the improper objectification of and sexual violence towards others, among numerous other harms.”

The warning label would have to be displayed for 15 seconds prior to “the display of any video or each image which includes” pornographic material as defined by state law. Similarly, for printed material, the warning is to be placed “in clear, readable type on the cover” of each publication containing pornography.

Sponsored by Republican Representative Brady Brammer, House Bill 243 arranges for a penalty of up to $2,500 in case of violation.

Jake Roberson, director of communications for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, called the development in Utah “very encouraging.”

In 2016, Utah had issued a resolution declaring pornography a public health crisis. According to the resolution signed by Governor Gary Herbert, pornography “perpetuates a sexually toxic environment,” contributes “to the hyper-sexualization of teens, and even prepubescent children, in our society,” and “treats women as objects and commodities for the viewer’s use.”

Utah officially recognized 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.”

With that in mind, Roberson said that a law requiring a warning label to be attached to pornographic material would only be the “natural outgrowth” of the resolution. “We think it would be negligent of them not to take this step,” he said.

Roberson stated he was “hopeful” that the bill, which was introduced in February, would go through.

While the National Center on Sexual Exploitation is currently unaware of any efforts to attach a warning label to pornography in other states, more than a dozen already followed in the footsteps of Utah when the Beehive State first declared pornography as a public health crisis in 2016.

 

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