Legalize Child Pornography? Researchers Say It Deserves Consideration

Filed under: In The News

child porn photo

Should child porn be legalized? Credit: Frederic J. Brown, AFP/Getty Images

Maybe we should legalize child pornography.

Then we can throw a few baby harp seals on the grill and unwind with a little kiddie porn after a long day at the retirement home pushing old people down the stairs.

What manner of vile fiend would seriously suggest we legalize child pornography?

Well, Milton Diamond and his fellow researchers at the University of Hawaii aren't actually suggesting anything. They just say -- rather modestly -- that the idea of legalizing child pornography deserves a look-see.

In a press release, they point out that child abuse and sexual assault decreased in Denmark and Japan after child pornography became widely and legally accessible.

This obviously doesn't take into account the abuse of the children used in making the pornography.

Diamond hastens to add any discussion of legalizing child pornography would not include the use of actual children. Pedophiles would have to content themselves with simulated youngsters.

If they can do that, Diamond says, they might be able to satisfy their perversion and reduce the number of real victims.

Diamond and his researchers base their comments on studies from Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Finland, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Sweden and the United States that link a decrease in rape to an increase in legal pornography.

Their findings are published online today in Springer's journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.

The University of Hawaii researchers point to the Czech Republic, where pornography was banned between 1948 and 1989. After the ban was lifted with the fall of Communism in 1990, pornography (including child pornography) became big business.

During the same period, researchers found, the number of reported cases of child sex abuse dropped at an equally stunning rate.

Believe it or not, not everyone likes the idea of legalizing sexually explicit imagery of children.

The Daily Mail in London reports Chris Cloke, the head of child protection awareness for Britain's National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, is one of them.

"This obscene type of material has no part to play in our society," Cloke tells the Daily Mail. "To make it legal would suggest that inappropriate behavior and violence toward children is acceptable. It never is and it would be quite wrong to make it legal."

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