The Montana legislature has joined a growing list of states that have resolved that pornography contributes to a public health crisis because of its harmful effects on society, including its role in normalizing violence and abuse of women and its contribution to unhealthy sexual development.

As reported by The Christian Post, “The Montana resolution notes that porn contributes to the hyper-sexualization of teens and prepubescent children, that what was once known as ‘hard core’ content is now considered mainstream, and that early exposure is leading to low self-esteem and body image disorders in young people. It also explains that porn treats women as objects and products for consumers’ use and that girls are taught to be used and boys taught to be the users.”

The CDC has already acknowledged that “Pornography can be connected to other public health issues like sexual violence and occupational HIV transmission.” This is confirmed by an analysis of the 50 most popular pornographic videos in the United States, which found that 88 percent of scenes contained physical violence, and 49 percent contained verbal aggression. Moreover, 87 percent of aggressive acts were perpetrated against women, and 95 percent of their responses were either neutral or expressions of pleasure. With this normalization of sexual violence, it is easy to see why such deranged treatment of women could be viewed by males as “okay,” especially when such acts are misleadingly welcomed by women with fake pleasure.

When you have 79 percent of males ages 18-30 admitting that they are viewing pornography at least on a monthly basis, and 63 percent doing so on a weekly basis, how can we not stop to think about how this is impacting their sexual attitudes towards women?

As I testified before a Maryland House Joint committee on a similar resolution, pornography has been dubbed the “The Largest Unregulated Social Experiment In History,” and it has no doubt contributed to the need for the #MeToo movement. Pornography consumers may be unaware that the “entertainment” they are consuming may be of victims of sex trafficking. What viewers may be watching is someone’s humiliation being viewed and distributed over and over again.

From the rise of STDs to the unhealthy development of sexual attitudes and behavior and its connection to sex trafficking, pornography is no small issue.

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has created a Research Summary highlighting findings from over 90 peer-reviewed studies on the harms of pornography.

As pornography has become increasingly mainstream and as the number of studies on the harm of pornography expands, declaring it a public health crisis is a significant step in giving this issue the attention it deserves.

Texas and Arizona are also currently considering similar resolutions, and we look forward to a favorable outcome from these two states.