Jan 6, 2023

Louisiana Ban on Online Porn for Minors Goes Into Effect

A similar bill proposed in Congress would require age verification for online porn nationwide.

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Written by Hudson Crozier

What’s happening: A Louisiana law went into effect on January 1 that requires websites with 33.3 percent pornographic content to verify that users are at least 18 years old via government ID. Citizens can sue platforms that violate the law.

Why it matters: Online porn has long been a policy issue for socially conservative Republicans, and a proposed bill in Congress would require age verification nationwide. For now, Louisiana’s ban is the most significant state-level measure and may inspire similar ones in other states.

Background: Louisiana Republican state legislator Laurie Schlegel, who is also a therapist who counsels patients battling sex and pornography addiction, said she authored the bill to protect children, citing research that connects porn to depression, erectile dysfunction, the pursuit of riskier sex, and more. It passed with almost unanimous bipartisan support.

Big picture: The porn industry has increasingly come under scrutiny. Activist groups emphasize its connection to human trafficking, and dozens of women have sued the adult site Pornhub for allegedly profiting off rape and child exploitation material. Many libertarians argue that porn bans will never be effective though, and others raise concerns about data privacy and government surveillance.

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