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Utah Legislature: Porn Is A Public Health Crisis

Gov. Gary Herbert Signing Utah Pornography Bill

Utah has declared a new public health crisis, but it's not a drug or a disease.

It's pornography, and the state's Republican Gov. Gary Herbert signed a resolution in an effort to expose and discuss what he called detrimental effects of watching explicit videos, reports Agence France-Presse.

"Pornography is a public health crisis," said Herbert, who governs a predominantly Mormon state, reports AFP. "The problem is rampant, yet it thrives in secrecy and silence." 

The bill's text cites "the 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 citizens of Utah and the nation" and was approved by state legislature earlier in 2016.

"Today's bills will start an open discussion, bringing its very real dangers to light," Herbert said in a statement.

The Utah Coalition Against Pornography and other local groups joined legislators to call for Utah residents to reduce their consumption of porn but does not spend money or "ban anything," according to Republican state Sen. Tod Weiler, who sponsored the bill.

"We realize this is a bold assertion and there are some out there who will disagree with us," Herbert said during the signing ceremony. "We're here to say it is, in fact, the full-fledged truth." The Utah governor later added that he hopes that the bill will teach young people that "there's a particularly psychological and physiological detriment that comes from addiction to pornography."

"I think most people today know that if they start using something like heroin or meth, they know that they have a risk of becoming addicted to it, but some people don't know that about pornography," said Herbert.

According to NPR, the resolution says that 82 percent of sex offenders start out by viewing pornography, and that the videos lower self-esteem in young people, hypersexualize them, impact brain development and normalize violence, abuse, rape, sex trafficking, prostitution and child pornography.

Sources: AFP via Yahoo, NPR / Photo credit: Gov. Gary Hebert/Facebook

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