Louisiana has passed a law requiring legitimate age verification for websites that contain 33.3 percent or more pornographic material.
HB 142, which was introduced by state Rep. Laurie Schlegel (R) and signed into law by Gov. John Bel Edwards (D), dictates websites that meet the threshold for pornographic material must require an online government identification age verification using the LA Wallet app.
“Pornography is destroying our children and they’re getting unlimited access to it on the Internet, and so if the pornography companies aren’t going to be responsible, I thought we need to go ahead and hold them accountable,” Schlegel, a professional counselor and certified sex addiction therapist who treats those with pornography and sex addiction, said.
According to Schlegel, depression, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, and lack of motivation are all directly linked to pornography use. The Louisiana Republican seeks to protect children from such outcomes.
“It’s tied to some of the biggest societal ills of human trafficking and sexual assault,” she added. “And in my own practice, the youngest we’ve ever seen is an eight-year-old.”
It’s possible. Look at Louisiana: https://t.co/TmCvqpX8gp
— Brad Wilcox (@BradWilcoxIFS) January 3, 2023
According to Fox 8, pornography websites will be able to find other ways to ask for age verification, though they will not be allowed to retain the information.
“It doesn’t identify your date of birth, it doesn’t identify who you are, where you live, what part of the state you’re in, or any information from your device or from your actual ID,” Sara Kelley, a project manager with software designer Envoc, said. “It just returns that age to say that yes, this person is old enough to be allowed to go in.”
It will be up to the pornography website to set up their own age verification process, and Schlegel said there would be consequences for those who do not.
“Someone could sue on behalf of their child; they can sue if children are getting access to pornography,” she said. “So, it would be up to the user to sue the company for not verifying age first.”
In Washington, DC, some lawmakers have been sounding the alarm on pornography recently.
As Breitbart News reported, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) urged young men to stop watching pornography and to “ask a real woman on a date.”
In addition, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) has introduced similar legislation, called the Shielding Children’s Retinas from Egregious Exposure on the Net (SCREEN) Act, which would ask the Federal Communications Commission to prevent children from accessing pornography sites with age verification federally.