Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum says he will ban pornography if elected president. He said America is suffering a "pandemic" of pornography, and that it is "toxic to marriages," and "contributes to misogyny and violence against women."
ABC News notes that Santorum has earned a reputation for making controversial pronouncements on social issues, including his pronouncements on women in combat, abortion, contraception and now pornography.
MSNBC recalls that he caused a stir several months ago when he talked about the "dangers of contraception in this country." Santorum spoke about how his administration would approach the issue of contraceptives: "One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is I think the dangers of contraception in this country. Many of the Christian faith have said, 'Well, that's okay, contraception is okay.' It's not okay."
According to a campaign position paper published on his campaign website Rick Santorum, the presidential candidate pledged to prosecute those who produce and distribute pornography and pledged to use the resources of the Department of Justice to fight the "pandemic."
The social conservative candidate, said: "America is suffering a pandemic of harm from pornography. It contributes to misogyny and violence against women. It is a contributing factor to prostitution and sex trafficking."
Daily Caller also reports Santorum promised to fight the pornography industry both on internet and "on cable/satellite TV, on hotel/motel TV." He supports is position by pointing to research studies that purportedly show that pornography causes "profound brain changes in both children and adults." He severely criticized Obama for not doing enough to fight the industry. He said: "The Obama administration has turned a blind eye to those who wish to preserve our culture from the scourge of pornography and has refused to enforce obscenity laws...While the Obama Department of Justice seems to favor pornographers over children and families, that will change under a Santorum administration."
Last December, Santorum criticized U.S. court rulings, saying though he was a "big believer" in free speech, the courts were wrong in applying the principle of free speech to pornography. Raw Story reported that at a town-hall campaign event in Belle Plaine, Iowa, he said: “I’m a big believer in the First Amendment. I think the court has gotten it wrong on some cases, particularly with respect to pornography and their rulings on that.”
Raw Story notes that Santorum was referring to the 1969 Stanley v. Georgia ruling in which the U.S.Supreme Court invalidated all state laws preventing private possession of "obscene" materials.
But Raw Story also notes that the court ruled in 1973 that the First Amendment does not protect materials that appeal only to "prurient interest," show "patently offensive sexual conduct" and are lacking in serious "artistic, literary, political or scientific value."
NY Daily News reports Santorum is not the first presidential nomination candidate to speak against pornography. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, before she dropped out of the race in January, signed a pledge sponsored by the Christian conservative group, the Family Leader, that called for a ban on pornography. The pledge also contained other controversial statements, including the assertion that homosexuality is a choice and a health risk. The pledge called for a ban on same-sex marriage.
Andrea Saul, Mitt Romney's spokeswoman, defended Romney's decision not to sign the pledge. She said Romney did not sign the pledge because it "contained references and provisions that were undignified and inappropriate for a presidential campaign."