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More on Anti Porn Laws and a Correction

photo for porn2In my April 6 2013 post “New Anti Porn Laws on the Way” I described recent attempts by three countries to make and/or enforce laws that would effectively prohibit adult pornography on the internet, specifically in the UK, Iceland and Egypt.

I said that such laws were a long way off in the US.  I received a correction from my acquaintance Dawn Hawkins at Morality in Media’s Pornharms.com.

Ms. Hawkins informed me that there are in fact federal obscenity laws currently on the books which were enacted during the Reagan and 1st Bush presidencies and which cover hardcore adult internet porn.

She said that such laws are not being enforced by the current administration but that there was one old case that was recently prosecuted resulting in a prison term.

Ms. Hawkins stated:

“Our (Morality in Media’s) current President and CEO was the Chief at the US Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section under Reagan and Bush I. The (sic) prosecuted 120+ distributors of hardcore porn and never lost a single case. When they were vigorously enforcing these laws, the amount and deviant nature of the pornography available decreased. We know these laws are strong and work to help decrease many of the harms. Clinton and Bush II enforced these laws as well, although less vigorously. However, just a couple of months ago, a case left over from the Bush Administration successfully prosecuted pornographer Ira Isaacs (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/17/ira-isaacs-defecation-por_n_2495505.html) and he got 4 years in prison. Another sign that these laws are strong. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld these laws – many argue that is since harder to prosecute on the Supreme Courts defined standards – BUT the courts have still consistently won regardless and pornographers are almost always found guilty. The problem now is that the Justice Department refuses to enforce these laws.”

The new laws proposed in Iceland and the UK and the law that is more aggressively to be enforced in Egypt seem to be approaching porn not from the production angle but from the idea of interdicting porn before it reaches anybody’s home computer, as I described in the previous post.  This makes a certain amount of sense as content can come from anywhere in the world.

The idea of the government telling people what they can and cannot watch is a controversial one in the U.S.  I see much polarization in this country about the issue of enforcing legal restrictions on the production of adult pornography with opposition based on freedom of speech as well as some people’s claims of allegedly positive uses for adult porn.  And of course the porn industry itself has its activist arm.  Many articles point to the difficulties of enforcing the adult obscenity laws due to confusion about the definitions of the words involved.

I would be interested to hear comments and data regarding public opinion on the prohibition of adult hard core pornography.  The data I have looked at show the public to be very much divided with the anti porn view coming from both the religious and feminist camps.

Apart from the demographic and religious differences on the issue, it seems to me that many people may have two sets of feelings about the issue, namely they may be vehemently against exposure of children to pornography, as I am, and may even feel that pornography in general is offensive, while still being a bit queasy about the “big brother” aspect of regulating this content at the government level.

Personally I find the gender justice point of view to be as interesting as it is challenging to argue.  See for example the arguments for the Icelandic porn law in my earlier post and the work of the new feminists in the U.S. such as Professor Robert Jensen.

The one thing I know I can count on is that no matter what I post about this issue I will get people taking issue with me from one side or the other.

More on Anti Porn Laws and a Correction


Linda Hatch, PhD

Linda Hatch is a psychologist and certified sex addiction therapist specializing in the treatment of sex addicts and the partners and families of sex addicts. Linda also blogs on her own website at Sexaddictionscounseling.com


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APA Reference
Hatch, L. (2019). More on Anti Porn Laws and a Correction. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 5, 2020, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/sex-addiction/2013/04/more-on-anti-porn-laws-and-a-correction/

 

Last updated: 17 Dec 2019
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