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Arizona officials want to pass a symbolic measure that would declare porn a public health crisis

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State Lawmakers in Arizona are weighing a measure to declare pornography a public health crisis.

Introduced by Republican Rep. Michelle Udall, the measure says pornography “perpetuates a sexually toxic environment that damages all areas of our society,” AZ Central reported.

“Like the tobacco industry, the pornography industry has created a public health crisis,” Udall reportedly told lawmakers. “Pornography is used pervasively, even by minors.”

House Concurrent Resolution 2009 says children’s easy access to online porn contributes to “low self-esteem, eating disorders and an increase in problematic sexual activity at ever-younger ages.”

The proposal, which passed through the state’s House Committee on Health & Human Services, has no legal implications but, if passed, could set a precedent for future pornography regulation policy.

Read more:The most ridiculous law in every state

If passed into law, the measure would make Arizona the 12th state to pass a resolution on pornography as a public health crisis.

In addition to self-esteem, the measure states that pornography can contribute to young viewers being exposed to “toxic sexual behaviors, emotional, mental and medical illnesses and difficulty forming or maintaining intimate relationships.”

Pornography “normalizes violence and the abuse of women and children by treating them as objects, increasing the demand for sex trafficking, prostitution and child porn,” the measure reads.

The measure’s statements on the negative effects of porn were met with resistance from Democratic lawmakers who objected to the wide-ranging language that described pornography’s negative effects.

“There are statements in here that seem hyperbolic and unproven,” said Democratic Rep. Kelli Butler. “I just don’t think there’s necessarily the science to back up those claims.”

The true nature of pornography’s potential for personally negative effects is the subject of widespread debate, as some interest groups contend it creates “sexual harm” and some research contends that pornography can damage relationships, though there is no national resolution on the matter.

AZ Central reported that supporters said the resolution was an important step in flagging pornography as a problem for increased awareness among parents and educators.

Despite the wealth of interest groups and lawmakers who have spoken out about the “crisis,” no states have passed laws against as a result of the measures, and the issue has sparked nearly two decades of legal battles in federal courts, with more attention paid to squashing the proliferation of child and revenge porn.

The resolution will be presented in the Arizona House of Representatives, in which Republicans hold the majority, and AZ reported that if passed through the state’s House and Senate, it would not need signing by Governor Doug Ducey.

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