Popular porn sites now display unproven health warnings thanks to Texas law

Popular porn sites now display unproven health warnings thanks to Texas law
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Popular online adult film sites in Texas have published “Texas Health and Human Services” disclaimers warning visitors about the unproven health risks of watching porn, reports 404 Media. The move comes after a US appeals court temporarily overturned an order blocking a Texas law that required porn sites to verify users’ ages and display government health warnings.

Though they don’t require age verification, every Vixen Media Group site — which includes Deeper, Blacked, and Vixen — now displays factually debatable disclaimers warning that porn is “potentially biologically addictive” and “proven to harm human brain development.” The warnings appear to users within the state of Texas.

These pop-ups also claim porn “increases the demand for prostitution, child exploitation, and child pornography” and that exposure is associated with “emotional and mental illnesses.”

It’s not clear how long the disclaimers have been online, but they appear to be a reaction to Texas’ HB 1181, which was initially scheduled to go into effect on September 1st but has been hotly contested in court. HB 1181 requires adult sites to display disclaimers and verify users’ ages with government-issued identification. However, a district judge agreed to block it in late August after a group of adult entertainment activists and companies — which included Pornhub, Brazzers, and the Free Speech Coalition — filed a complaint arguing it was unconstitutional.

The lawsuit criticized the law’s required health warning, calling it a “mix of falsehoods, discredited pseudo-science, and baseless accusations” and “a classic example of the state mandating an orthodox viewpoint on a controversial issue.” District Judge David Alan Ezra agreed, rejecting both the age verification rule and the health disclaimer. “Although these warnings carry the label ‘Texas Health and Human Services,’ it appears that the Texas of Health and Human Services Commission has not made these findings or announcements,” Ezra wrote in his decision on August 31st.

Nevertheless, on September 19th, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals put a stay on the injunction, which blocked the law while it scheduled arguments. The court did not offer an explanation, only adding that the appeal would be “expedited” to the next oral argument panel.

Several states have pushed rules that restrict how porn sites operate, shaping how these sites work in parts of the US. After Arkansas passed an age verification law in August for adult sites, Pornhub operator MindGeek responded by blocking all Arkansas users. MindGeek imposed the same bans on other states that have implemented similar laws, including Mississippi, Utah, and Virginia

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