In April 2019, Montana's House of Representatives declared pornography a public health hazard. Read the resolution below.
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A RESOLUTION OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MONTANA EXPRESSING THE SENTIMENT THAT PORNOGRAPHY IS A PUBLIC HEALTH HAZARD THAT MUST BE ADDRESSED THROUGH EDUCATION, PREVENTION, RESEARCH, AND POLICY CHANGE AT THE COMMUNITY AND SOCIETAL LEVEL.
WHEREAS, it is estimated that 93% of boys and 62% of girls view online pornography during adolescence; and
WHEREAS, due to advances in technology and the availability of the internet, young children are frequently exposed to pornography; and
WHEREAS, this early exposure is leading to low self-esteem and body image disorders, an increase in problematic sexual activity at younger ages, and greater likelihood of engaging in risky sexual behavior such as sending sexually explicit images, hookups, multiple sex partners, group sex, and using substances during sex as young adolescents; and
WHEREAS, exposure to pornography often serves as sex education for children and adolescents and shapes their sexual templates; and
WHEREAS, pornography is contributing to the sexualization of prepubescent children and teens in our society; and
WHEREAS, because pornography objectifies individuals, it teaches victims that they are to be used and teaches consumers of pornography to be users; and
WHEREAS, pornography normalizes violence and abuse of both adults and children by presenting rape and abuse as harmless; and
WHEREAS, many of the individuals used in pornography have been coerced into participating in pornography as victims of sex trafficking; and
WHEREAS, pornography increases sex trafficking of adults and children, as well as child sexual abuse and child pornography; and
WHEREAS, potential detrimental effects on the brain development and functioning of those who consume pornography include psychological and physical distress, deviant sexual arousal, difficulty in forming or maintaining intimate relationships, and problematic or harmful sexual behaviors and addiction; and
WHEREAS, recent research indicates that pornography is biologically addictive and over time a user will require more shocking material in order to become excited; and
WHEREAS, biological addiction to pornography contributes to increased risky sexual behaviors, extreme degradation, violence, and desire for abusive child sexual images and child pornography; and
WHEREAS, pornography use is linked to infidelity; and
WHEREAS, pornography has a detrimental effect on the family unit; and
WHEREAS, pornography is creating a public health crisis; and
WHEREAS, pornography perpetuates a sexually toxic environment; and
WHEREAS, in instances when federal obscenity laws have been enforced through prosecution in other parts of the country, pornographers in many places have responded by self-regulating; and
WHEREAS, an individual addicted to pornography may lack the capacity to overcome the pornography addiction alone; and
WHEREAS, efforts to prevent pornography exposure and addiction, educate individuals and families concerning the harms of pornography, and create recovery programs that hold broader influences accountable must be developed and promoted.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
That it is the sentiment of the 66th House of Representatives of the State of Montana that pornography is a public health hazard leading to harmful individual and public health impacts and societal harms.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the 66th House of Representatives of the State of Montana calls upon Montana prosecutors to vigorously enforce state sexual solicitation, child pornography, domestic violence, human trafficking, missing and murdered persons, rape, and sexual assault laws.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that it is the sentiment of the 66th House of Representatives of the State of Montana that there is a 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.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Secretary of State send copies of this resolution to the Governor of the State of Montana, the Attorney General of the State of Montana, the President of the United States, the Attorney General of the United States, the Majority and Minority Leaders of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate, and the Montana Congressional Delegation.
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