Alabama Senate Declares Pornography a Public Health Crisis

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by Paul Murano  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  February 18, 2020   

Warns of 'sexually toxic' behaviors, 'hyper-sexualization of children'

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (ChurchMilitant.com) - Alabama has become the 16th U.S. state to declare pornography a public health crisis.

Earlier this month, the state Senate unanimously passed a resolution acknowledging the danger that pornography poses to individuals, families and communities, noting it "promotes and encourages sexually toxic expectations and behaviors," and "contributes to the hyper-sexualization of children, adolescents and adults."  

Melea Stephens, LPC, MMFT, founder of the Rescue Innocence Movement, sees the resolution as a needed step in fighting the plague of pornography.

"As a marriage and family therapist in private practice for 20 years, I have become intimately familiar with the devastating effects associated with today's easily accessible internet pornography," she wrote in an op-ed about Alabama's resolution.

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Stephens has seen many marriages crumble due to pornography. "Because I frequently focus on infidelity recovery and sexual intimacy enhancement cases, I have become very familiar with the often long-term negative effects of hardcore internet pornography on sexual intimacy, sexual performance, trust, fidelity and self-esteem in committed relationships," she said. 

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Melea Stephens

Stephens calls Alabama's move a "needed resolution" that will make the state's citizens more aware of the devastating effects of pornography. 

"I am also familiar with the isolation, anxiety, depression, compulsive sexual behavior and erectile dysfunction associated with pornography addiction," she said. "What I did not know ... until halfway through my career was the often immediate and damaging effects of exposure to hardcore internet pornography on the developing brain of a child," she said. 

Children are accessing pornography at alarming rates, inadvertently and intentionally. "Families have brought in their children to our clinic, boys and girls, ages 6–11, who were addicted to internet pornography," she lamented. "By addicted, I mean they were 'hooked' after one or two exposures to pornography and would go to great lengths to gain access.

She also confirms the correlation that exists between pornography and sex trafficking. "Three trafficking survivors were referred to me, two of whom were forced to create pornography." 

Stephens equates internet pornography with obscenity, which violates the law, and laments that these laws are not being enforced.  

Stephens has seen many marriages crumble due to pornography.

It is well documented that pornography alters the brain and is highly addictive. According to Covenant Eyes:

  • Thirty-five percent of downloads from the internet are pornographic. Forty million Americans say they regularly visit porn sites. Seventy percent of men aged 18–24 visit a porn site at least once per month. The largest consumer group of online porn is men between the ages of 35 and 49.
  • Estimated revenues for sex-related businesses are around $15 billion in the United States — more than Major League Baseball, NFL and NBA revenues combined.
  • A total of 28,258 users watch pornography every second. Twelve percent of all content on the internet is pornographic.
  • One in five mobile searches are for pornography.
  • Eighty-eight percent of scenes in porn films contain acts of physical aggression, and 49% of scenes contain verbal aggression.
  • Higher percentages of porn site subscriptions come from zip codes that are more urban, higher than average in household income and have a higher degree of formal education.
  • Ninety percent of teens and 96% of young adults are either encouraging, accepting or neutral when they talk about porn with their friends.
  • Just 55% of adults 25 and older believe porn is wrong. Teens and young adults aged 13–24 believe not recycling is worse than viewing pornography.
  • Sixty-eight percent of divorce cases involved one party meeting a new lover over the internet, and 56% had one party having "an obsessive interest in pornographic websites."

Paragraph 2354 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church describes pornography as "a grave offense," and calls on civil authorities to "prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials." 

Lust in itself is one of the seven deadly sins. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reminds His followers that "anyone who looks on a woman with lust commits adultery in his heart" (Matthew 5:28).

Teens and young adults aged 13–24 believe not recycling is worse than viewing pornography.

Paragraph 2352 of the Catechism also states "masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action," violating natural law and contradicting the meaning and purpose of sexual love.

Despite the statistics of what widespread obscenity in the form of pornography does to the brain, relationships, families and society, politicians and law enforcement do little about it. On resolutions declaring pornography a public health crisis , Arizona, Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and Virginia are leading the way.

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