Porn lawsuit bill moves to House for final vote

We’re not telling them they can’t distribute porn

ST. GEORGE – Proposed legislation that would allow lawsuits against pornography distributors for alleged harm caused to minors is just a House floor vote away from passing the Legislature.

2017’s Senate Bill 185, Cause of Action for Minors Injured by Pornography, is sponsored by Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, and is a follow up to 2016’s legislative resolution that declared pornography a public health crisis.

Weiler’s bill passed the House Judiciary Committee Friday with an 8-3 vote. Prior to the House committee vote, it passed the Utah Senate Monday with a unanimous vote.

The 2016 anti-porn resolution, which was signed by Gov. Gary Herbert and drew international attention, something Weiler said he hadn’t expected – and which he has been praised and mocked for since – deserved a follow-up, he said to the House committee Friday.

“If you declare pornography to be a public health hazard, then you should do something about it,” Weiler said.

The bill was “basically a products liability bill,” he said. That means that while it does not restrict the production and distribution or sale of a product, people can still sue the manufacturer/distributor of said product if they believe it has harmed them in some fashion.

He compared it to buying food that has glass in it and causes physical harm once eaten. The food can still be sold, but the producer of it can also be sued provided the plaintiff is able to convince a judge and/or jury of the claim.

We’re not telling them they can’t distribute porn. We’re not telling them people can’t watch it,” Weiler said, “but (they) can be responsible for the damages.”

In the case of minors and pornography, Weiler said 11 is the average age children are exposed to pornographic material in Utah.

The pornographic material minors can be exposed to on the internet isn’t like the nude centerfolds Playboy had when he was a kid either, Weiler said. Today it is far beyond that.

According to a study Weiler cited, an estimated 80 percent of free sex videos online display acts of violence toward women, including rape. The ease with which minors can access online pornography is disturbing, he said.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here