Enforcing the Laws On The Books: How We Can Fight Pornography Now

December 13

With increased access to pornography on the internet, we are observing a simultaneous rise in the harms of pornography. Pornography by its very design is intended to be addictive and multiple studies have shown the detrimental impacts that pornography has on the brain. But it also has widespread effects on families and society as a whole. It is hurting kids who have the highest levels of access in history to extremely graphic images online. And unfortunately, they are gaining this access at younger and younger ages. Further, pornography has direct impacts on marriages and the productivity of its viewers as a whole. These are the harms that most people know and can easily understand.

But what many people don’t know, or won’t talk about, are the harms that come because of the increased demand for pornography. The increase in demand for pornography is known to also lead to increases in both human trafficking and the abuse of women & children. In fact, many have begun to call pornography the modern-day form of slavery.

So, what can we do about it? Because of how the Supreme Court has defined obscenity under the First Amendment, child pornography is normally the only form of pornography that the courts will allow the legislature to completely ban. And in fact, we have laws that do ban child pornography and other forms of obscenity. However, many of these laws aren’t being strictly enforced.

Under President Bush, the Obscenity Prosecution Task Force was created to fight hard core pornography. But this task force was dismantled under the Obama Administration. Yet, in the last several years, the availability of graphic pornography has only increased.

When President Trump was campaigning, he signed a pledge to fight obscenity and the exploitation of children. However, we haven’t seen the fruition of that pledge yet. That is why a group of congressmen, led by Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), sent a letter to Attorney General Barr asking that he make prosecuting obscenity a top priority of his Department.

The letter was also signed by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), Rep. Vicki Hartzler (R-MO), and Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX). We applaud these representatives for making this bold move. The letter pointed out that many states have already passed resolutions stating that pornography is a public health crisis. Those states are highlighted on the map below.

This is an issue that even many conservatives have ignored for years. But it is not something we can just ignore any more. Pledges aren’t enough. This is especially true when it comes to fighting pornography and sexual exploitation.

We urge you to contact Attorney General Barr and ask that he make good on the promises of the Trump administration by enforcing the laws on the books (just select “Messages to the Attorney General” as the topic of your message).

This is just a start. While we are opposed to any depictions that degrade and exploit another human being for financial gain through pornography, we recognize enforcing existing laws is something that this Administration can start doing now to fight the scourge of pornography.

For the dignity of every human life,

Brittany Jones, Esq
Policy Manager