Senate resolutions label pornography a public health crisis
Rep. Randy Powell, R-Olathe, speaks on the Kansas House floor Feb. 22, 2017. (Screenshot/YouTube)
Olathe Rep. Randy Powell endorsed House and Senate resolutions condemning pornography Thursday with a personal assessment of how 24/7 access to smut can undermine marriages and employment while pushing people toward addiction and crime.
“I am someone who has been personally impacted in my past by the addictive power of pornography,” he said. “In my recovery, I have worked with many teenagers and young men in fighting to overcome the grip of pornography addiction.”
He also said he had experienced “what life looks like on the other side of addiction, what true and growing freedom looks like.”
Influence of pornography on communities was at issue as the House and Senate federal and state affairs committees considered resolutions declaring pornography a public health hazard. The resolutions say pornography perpetuates a sexually toxic environment that “teaches girls that they are to be used and teaches boys to be users.”
Text of the resolutions assert pornography “normalizes violence and abuse against women and children” and depicts “rape and abuse as if they are harmless.”
Pat Colloton, an assistant attorney general in Kansas, endorsed the resolutions and testified the ease and convenience of the internet made distribution of pornography increasingly easy. New technology, such as webcams, digital cameras and smartphones, make it simple for perpetrators to produce, access and trade images, she said.
“It is long past time for policymakers to consider the deleterious effects that pornography has on the common good,” said Michael Schuttloffel, executive director of the Kansas Catholic Conference. “Society has laws against prostitution because it recognizes that even if consensual, some sexual activity is fundamentally exploitative and demeaning.”
The societal damage of pornography includes violence against women, child abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking and addiction, said Steve Brunk, a lobbyist with the Family Policy Alliance of Kansas. Science and common sense reveal pornography is harmful, he said.
Phillip Cosby, who has pressed the Legislature to enact restrictions on topless clubs, said obscene and eroticized materials act as a catalyst for fantasy-based criminal behavior. He operates American Family Action of Kansas and Missouri, an organization opposed to the business of sex.
“The bully pulpit of this legislative body must echo the moral, evidence-based research and statutory resolve to this public health crisis,” he said.