Kansas House declares pornography a public health crisis
Members of the Kansas House embraced a nonbinding resolution declaring pornography a menace to society that ruins people’s health in a way that mirrors shattering of lives through drug addiction.
“It messes up the wiring in our brains. It changes the way we function,” said Rep. Chuck Weber, a Wichita Republican who spoke on behalf of 19 co-sponsors of House Resolution 6016. “The data is increasingly undeniable and disturbing. Pornography correlates with a wide range of negative health outcomes.”
The measure, advanced on a voice vote, reflects a belief among supporters that scientific research shows consumption of pornography contributed to substance abuse, prostitution, criminal violence, child abuse, divorce and sexual exploration by adolescents.
Two Democrats in the House raised questions about whether poetry, paintings and other works of art could be defined as pornographic, despite a sense such expression would be protected by the First Amendment.
“Who makes the determination?” said Rep. John Carmichael, D-Wichita.
“There are limits to speech,” said Weber, who said speculation about interpretation of William Shakespeare’s writings or the semi-nude murals on the House chamber’s walls were “ludicrous.”
The same pornography resolution was introduced in the Senate, and similar measures have been taken up by lawmakers in other states.
Text of the Kansas resolutions assert pornography “normalizes violence and abuse against women and children” and depicts “rape and abuse as if they are harmless.” They say pornography perpetuates a sexually toxic environment that “teaches girls that they are to be used and teaches boys to be users.”
“We can also know that the use of pornography dramatically and negatively impacts the dignity of the human person in very real ways. We know this intuitively, on a personal level, within our heart,” Weber said.