Written Amy Speiser
Recently, an excerpt in the NDSU Spectrum pointed out an article in the Huffington Post that directed attention to the proposed Arizona House Bill 2444 that would place blocking software in electronics, prohibiting the user to access pornographic content. After reading this excerpt, the original article was easy to find with a quick Google search.
The article on the Huffington Post website was titled, “Arizona Lawmaker Wants Porn To Fund Trump’s Border Wall.” To begin, the writer David Lohr explains what this bill would enforce. He states that “to deactivate the blocking software, a person would have to prove they are at least 18 years old and pay a one-time fee of $20 to the Arizona Commerce Authority” (Lohr). The funds then could possibly be used to fund Trump’s border wall. However, there is an issue that is brought to light that goes even deeper than the wall. The pornography crisis is a topic that the United States is becoming more and more aware of, and in the light of this crisis, the idea of limiting access to pornographic material is very appealing. Even if the reasoning behind it is to provide more funding, the lawmakers would still be placing constraints such as having to be 18 years or older to remove the proposed blocks.
Lohr quotes Mike Stabile, the Free Speech Coalition spokesperson, from his statement in the Arizona Mirror regarding the bill. Stabile says “It’s pretty clearly unconstitutional”, and argues that the bill violates the First Amendment. To bring in the Constitution also brings in the notion of human rights. Not all of the people featured in pornography volunteered. Many are victims to terrible situations that end in the production of such material, which then violates their basic human right not to be exploited in such a way. This law does not say that they are removing pornography as a whole, they are just making it less accessible; therefore, people still have an opportunity to gain access. It would be like going to a rated R movie where one has to be at least 17 to get in, not to mention one has to purchase the movie ticket. That is not considered unconstitutional, so in this light, it seems irrational to call the bill “unconstitutional.”
The overall situation is very complex and requires a lot more reflection than glazing over it. There are multiple issues being brought into the light here with pornography at the forefront. Ideally, pornography should be banned as it is, but that is not what this bill was proposing. The money provided by the fee would then go to the John McCain Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Fund and be dispersed from there for many possible uses besides the border wall, such as programs seeking to end human trafficking, victims of sex abuse, and mental health care programs, just to name a few. The constraints that would be implemented would only be the beginning in the fight against pornography.
However, the bill did not pass, leaving pornography free to corrupt the minds of human beings with little to no repercussions, making it socially accepted when it should not be.
Speiser is a senior studying English at North Dakota State University.