South Dakota Unanimously Declared Pornography a Public Health Crisis

Major victory: South Dakota is recognizing the public health harms of pornography.

On January 31 2017 the resolution declaring a pornography a public health crisis passed the South Dakota House 65-0 after having already passed the South Dakota Senate earlier on a 35-0 vote!

South Dakota is the second state in the United States to formally recognize the public health crisis of pornography, following Utah’s unanimous adoption of the same resolution last year. In addition, earlier this year the Canadian parliament passed a similar motion to conduct a large-scale study on the public health harms of pornography.

There is so much positive momentum in this movement!

Pornography is a public health crisis due to its vast harms for individuals and society as a whole.

Here are three reasons why pornography should be recognized as harmful to public health:

1) Exposure to pornography is unmanageable at the individual level: individuals and families are unable to “opt-out” of pornography, and 27% of children are being exposed to it before they’ve even reached puberty.

2) Pornography use shrinks the brain: a 2014 study found that increased pornography use is linked to decreased brain matter in the areas of motivation and decision-making, impaired impulse control, and desensitization to sexual reward.

3) Pornography is linked to increased sexual violence: a 2015 meta-analysis of 22 studies from seven countries found that internationally the consumption of pornography was significantly associated with increases in verbal and physical aggression, among males and females alike.

For further explanation of various harms, visit our public health page.

By recognizing the negative impacts of pornography, South Dakota has taken a major step forward in defending the human dignity of its citizens.

The Numbers


NCOSE leads the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation with over 300 member organizations.


The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has had over 100 policy victories since 2010. Each victory promotes human dignity above exploitation.


NCOSE’s activism campaigns and victories have made headlines around the globe. Averaging 93 mentions per week by media outlets and shows such as Today, CNN, The New York Times, BBC News, USA Today, Fox News and more.



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