South Dakota Declares Porn a 'Public Health Crisis'

UPDATE: Add Virginia to the list of states which have passed this absurd resolution, and NCOSE claims its got five more states about to do so.

 Image composition: Burn the Night. Photo Credits: (Top) SDSOS.gov. (Bottom) When Girls Play.

Image composition: Burn the Night. Photo Credits: (Top) SDSOS.gov. (Bottom) When Girls Play.

On Tuesday, January 24, state senators and representatives in South Dakota unanimously passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 4, declaring that "pornography is a public health crisis leading to a broad spectrum of individual and public health impacts and societal harms."

In all, 50 legislators voted for the bill, with Sen. Jenna Netherton (R-Sioux Falls), who originally introduced the resolution, telling KFGO News that "South Dakota should join other states in trying to educate the public about the harms of porn and prevent children from watching it."

The resolution, which is virtually identical to the one passed in Utah last March, was written by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), and that pro-censorship group seems to be shopping similar bills to legislatures around the country—including, most recently, Tennessee, where Sen. Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet), perhaps coincidentally, refiled on that same day the same NCOSE-written resolution which she had introduced last year. The Tennessee bill is designated Senate Joint Resolution 35.

Beavers claimed, however, that the impetus for her refiling the bill was having having received "calls from a group in Memphis providing information on pornography's effect on youth, including 'hyper-sexualization in teens and even pre-pubescent children.'" (NCOSE is currently based in Washington, D.C.)

"My goodness, you can't even look at Facebook anymore without seeing something," Beavers said in an interview.

While neither resolution would change either state's statutes regarding sexually explicit material, merely "recognizing the public health crisis created by pornography, the State of (Tennessee)(South Dakota) is acknowledging the need for education, prevention, research, and policy change at the community and societal level in order to address the epidemic that is harming the people of our State and our country as a whole," such resolutions form the basis for introducing various types of censorious legislation down the road. That would include Utah Sen. Todd Weiler's recent announcement that he was in the process of creating a bill that would allow Utah residents to sue adult producers, distributors and possibly even performers if the resident claimed that the explicit material had caused him/her to become "addicted" to pornography. (As family therapist Dr. Marty Klein has recently noted in his book His Porn, Her Pain, the concept of "pornography addiction" is a myth.)

And in yet another possible coincidence, the same night that South Dakota passed its anti-porn resolution, the Romantix adult boutique in Sioux Falls (Netherton's home town) was robbed by an armed bandit.

"An employee reported that a male entered the business, showed a gun, and left with cash," reported KDLT News. "The suspect is described as a Hispanic or Native American male around 20 years old with acne. He was wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt and jeans." The bandit is still at large.

Oh, yeah: And that same South Dakota legislature is refusing to enact a ballot measure, passed by 60 percent of voters, instituting campaign finance, lobbying reforms, public financing for campaigns and creating the first independent ethics commission in the state’s history.

Written by Mark Kernes for AVN Media Network.