RICHMOND, VA (CNA/EWTN News) -- Virginia could become the third state to officially recognize the harmful effects of pornography.
By a vote of 82-8, the Virginia House of Delegates on Feb. 2 passed a resolution recognizing that pornography leads to “individual and societal harms.”
The resolution says pornography is biologically addictive and hurts families. The use of pornography may normalize violence and abuse, lead to the hypersexualization of teenagers, and increase acceptance of risky behavior, the resolution said.
The measure was introduced by Delegate Robert G. Marshall, a Republican from Prince William. The original wording recognized pornography as a “public health crisis,” but that language was changed, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.
Both chambers of the South Dakota legislature unanimously passed a resolution against pornography. The Jan. 31 vote in the House was 65-0, following a 35-0 vote in the Senate.
The South Dakota resolution used wording that recognized pornography as a public health hazard. The language was identical to that of a resolution the Utah legislature passed unanimously in March 2016.
Other countries are also considering the effects of widespread pornography.
In December 2016 the Canadian House of Commons unanimously approved a motion introduced by MP Arnold Viersen instructing health officials to examine the public health effects of violent pornography on adults and children.
Canada’s last major public study on sexually explicit material was the 1985 Fraser Committee Report.
“It is appalling that the last time Canada studied the impact of violent sexually explicit material was 30 years ago, before the invention of the internet,” Viersen said in March 2016. “This is a public health issue, it’s a women’s equality issue and it is time for Parliament to make this a priority.”
Dawn Hawkins, executive director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, backed the Canadian resolution. She citied research showing “neurologic changes to the brain that mimic drug addiction.” Other research indicated a link between pornography and increases in sexual dysfunction and even sexual violence.
“Once a social or health issue involves problems that affect individuals or groups beyond their capacity to correct, responsibility shifts from individual accountability to holding the forces and influences that cause it accountable,” Hawkins said in December.
She said it is “vital” for all countries with heavy internet use to study the effects of pornography on younger generations. She suggested there needs to be a public health campaign against “the use and normalization of pornography.”
About 27 percent of children are exposed to pornography even before puberty, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation said.