Nineteen Ohio State Reps Declare Pornography a Public Health Crisis


State Rep. Jena Powell (R-Arcanum) introduced House Resolution 180 in the Ohio House of Representatives on June 30. It declares pornography a public health crisis. The resolution has been assigned to the House Health Committee.

Resolution 180 states its purpose is “to declare that pornography is a public health hazard with statewide and national public health impacts leading to a broad spectrum of individual and societal harms.”

The focus of the resolution, according to Citizens for Community Values (CCV), is the “serious hardships pornography causes men, women and children” while emphasizing “the connections between pornography and human trafficking.”

Ohio ranks fourth in the nation for human trafficking, according to the number of calls made to the National Human Trafficking Hotline in 2017. That information is found in the most recent Governor’s Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force Report. It is possible the higher numbers reflect increased awareness and increased reporting, rather than an actual jump in human trafficking.

“The harms of pornography stretch far beyond just a view and a computer screen,” Aaron Baer, president of CCV shared with The Ohio Star. “Studies have shown that pornography contributes to human trafficking and the harassment of women. Rep. Jena Powell’s resolution sends a powerful message that if we care about the well-being of women and children, we must stand up against the porn industry.”

“The #MeToo movement has awakened America to the epidemic of sexual assault, human trafficking, and the objectification of women,” Baer said in CCV’s July 1 news release. “But any serious conversation about ending a toxic sexual culture must include an honest assessment of the harms of pornography. Pornography is more widely available than ever before, and until we get serious about enforcing our existing obscenity laws and ensuring children aren’t exposed to porn, we will never end the exploitation.”

Rep. Powell told the National Decency Coalition, which along with CCV helped her craft the resolution,
“how she’s witnessed pornography as a major disruptive force in the life of her peers, destructive to relationships, and very prevalent among young boys.” As the youngest member of the General Assembly at age 26, Powell can attest to pornography’s effects on her generation.

Eighteen members of the Ohio House joined Rep. Powell in supporting the resolution, including Reps. John Becker (R-Union Township), Louis W. Blessing III (R-Colerain Township), Tom Brinkman (R-Mt. Lookout), Bill Dean (R-Xenia), Timothy Ginter (R-Salem), Diane V. Grendell (R-Chesterland), Ron Hood (R-Ashville), Candice R. Keller (R-Middletown), J. Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield), George F. Lang (R-West Chester), Riordan T. McClain (R-Upper Sandusky), Derek Merrin (R-Monclova Township), Tracy Richardson (R-Marysville), Craig S. Riedel (R-Defiance), Mark J. Romanchuk (R-Ontario), Todd Smith (R-Farmersville), Reggie Stoltzfus (R-Minerva) and A. Nino Vitale (R-Urbana).

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Beth Lear is a reporter at The Ohio Star.  Follow Beth on Twitter.  Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Jena Powell” by Jena Powell. 






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