A West Virginia state senator is working to get a resolution through the Legislature declaring pornography to be a “public health crisis.”
Sen. Patricia Rucker, R-Jefferson, said pornography viewership ultimately damages families and children, can cause depression, psychological issues and self-esteem issues, and leads to the objectification of women and domestic violence.
“I can tell you that as a woman, it very much worries me that we, as a society, are seeing the objectification and abuse of women, and I don’t want to see us ignore this issue any further — we’ve got to do something,” she said.
When asked if she felt the label might be too extreme, Rucker compared pornography to the opioid crisis in West Virginia and across the country.
“If you think about other public health crises like substance abuse, there is this cost of substance abuse to families, to communities, to everything from hospitals, to mental health, to jails, all of these different things are being affected by substance abuse,” she said. “You could say the exact same thing about pornography.”
Along with Rucker, 11 other Republican senators signed onto the bill as co-sponsors.
West Virginia is not the only state rallying against pornography. Utah has already approved a similar resolution, and the Tennessee state legislature is working on one as well that passed through their senate this week. Likewise, the Republican Party added the issue to its platform during the 2016 Republican National Convention.
According to claims made in the resolution, pornography is contributing to the “hypersexualizing of teenagers,” the average age of exposure to pornography is now 11 to 12 years and the potential biological addiction of pornography from users leads to increasing themes of risky behaviors including extreme degradation, violence, child sexual abuse and child pornography.
Prior to a vote, Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, sent the resolution to the Health and Human Resources Committee to review.
Reach Jake Zuckerman at firstname.lastname@example.org, 304-348-4814, or @jake_zuckerman on Twitter.