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Health

Utah: Porn A 'Public Health Hazard,' State Lacks Sex-Ed

| by Michael Allen

Republican Gov. Gary Herbert of Utah signed a resolution April 19 that declares pornography to be "a public health hazard leading to a broad spectrum of individual and public health impacts and societal harms."

The resolution also requires computer technicians who find child porn on customers' computers to report the finding to the police, or be charged with a misdemeanor themselves, reports Reuters.

According to the resolution, porn is an epidemic, supports violence against women and kids, and causes men not to want to get married (which is not a crime).

The GOP-controlled state legislature and the Mormon Church-supported Utah Coalition Against Pornography advocated the resolution.

"The volume of pornography in our society is staggering," Herbert said while signing the resolution. "I want to protect our families and our young people."

The Standard Examiner noted in a February editorial that the same lawmakers who oppose pornography also oppose comprehensive sex education: "Our legislators have no problem jumping on the anti-pornography resolution bandwagon, but efforts to have a comprehensive sex education program in Utah schools was swiftly and overwhelming defeated by a House committee."

"On Tuesday, the House Education Committee, by an 11-2 vote, rejected House Bill 246, sponsored by Rep. Brian S. King, D-Salt Lake City. HB246 would have allowed an opt-in provision for parents who want their children taught comprehensive sex education."

"That means only children whose parents asked for basic sex education for their kids could access the class. But that’s too radical for the majority party. Rep. Michael Noel, R-Kanab, a member of the committee, said that sex education was a sacred obligation for parents to teach in the home."

While viewing porn doesn't cause physical disease, The Salt Lake Tribune reported in 2011 that the west side of Salt Lake City had rates of Chlamydia far above the country's average.

The newspaper also reported that a state law banned health educators in public schools from encouraging condoms and many educators actually feared talking to young people about contraception because of possible consequences.

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