POLITICS
04/25/2018 04:58 pm ET Updated Apr 25, 2018

Missouri Senate Panel Considers Declaring Porn A Public Health Threat

The bill claims porn use increases the "likelihood that individuals will engage in group intercourse,” among other things.
A measure being reviewed in the Missouri Senate's rules and ethics committee would declare porn a public health threat.
Bill Hinton via Getty Images
A measure being reviewed in the Missouri Senate's rules and ethics committee would declare porn a public health threat.

A Missouri Senate committee is considering a resolution that would deem pornography a public health threat. 

A group of state senators reviewed the resolution during a Tuesday hearing of the rules and ethics committee, according to The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Republican state Sen. Ed Emery proposed the resolution in March

The bill, Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 52, says it aims to recognize the “societal harms brought by pornography and the need for education, prevention, research and policy change.” Among its reasons to declare porn a public health threat are porn addiction, the “hypersexualization of teenagers,” pornography’s equation of “violence with sex and pain with pleasure,” “increased likelihood that individuals will engage in group intercourse” and porn’s possible contribution to “emotional and medical illnesses.”

In a statement last week, Emery suggested that porn may have been a reason Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, a fellow Republican, had an extramarital affair with a woman and allegedly blackmailed her to keep her quiet.

Missouri state Sen. Ed Emery is very concerned about the public health threat of porn.
Ed Emery for State Senate/Facebook
Missouri state Sen. Ed Emery is very concerned about the public health threat of porn.

“What is unveiled by a personal moral failure may be a reflection of a disturbing and invasive social evil ― that of the proliferation of pornography and modern culture’s ambivalence toward it,” Emery said of the scandal. “Far too often, such behavior grows out of an exposure to pornography.”

Greitens admitted to the affair, but in a separate statement through his lawyer denied the blackmail claim.

Porn can be problematic because it often depicts violence against women and is a main source of sex education for teenagers. But viewing pornography is a form of safe sex and can be a low-risk way for someone to explore new things. Research has shown that using porn increases sexual satisfaction and helps people find out what turns them on.

No action was taken during the committee hearing on Tuesday. The resolution is unofficial, and if it passes, it will not change Missouri law. 

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