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Texan Redditors Claim “Rapes Will Skyrocket” After PornHub Leaves The State In Protest Of Age Verification Law

The Publica Team

Texas-based users on Reddit are expressing their disappointment after PornHub pulled their business out of the state in protest of a law which would require them to prevent minors from accessing their site. The users are claiming it is a violation of their “constitutional rights” and that “rapes will skyrocket” as a result of a lack of the access to pornography.

On Mach 14, PornHub discontinued its services in Texas in protest of HB 1181, legislation which requires companies that distribute “sexual material harmful to minors” to verify visitors are over 18.

The Republican-majority state Legislature passed the age verification law last year, though it was quickly hit with a block from a federal court judge who ruled the law violated the First Amendment. But in November, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law, which carries fines of up to $10,000 a day, an additional $10,000 per day if the company illegally retains identifying information, and $250,000 if one or more children are exposed to explicit content due to the violation.

Last week, users attempting to access PornHub from Texas were met with a notice from the company outlining why they were pulling their services.

“Dear user, as you may know, your elected officials in Texas are requiring us to verify your age before allowing you to access our website,” the notice read. “Not only does this impinge on the rights of adults to access protected speech, it fails strict scrutiny by employing the last effective and yet also most restrictive means of accomplishing Texas’s stated purpose of allegedly protecting minors.”

In its statement, the company raised concerns that the law was passed “without any means to enforce at scale” and would drive users to websites “with far fewer safety measures in place, which do not comply” with the law.

The “only effective solution,” the company writes, would be putting the age-verification onus on the manufacturers and operating-system providers of devices that have internet access, such as computer, tablet and cellphone makers. 

That might look like a retailer verifying a person’s age at the point of sale and installing content-blocking software if they are underage, the note says. The data would be “stored on a network controlled by the device manufacturer or the supplier of the device’s operating system.”

But while some have praised Texas for its proactive approach to protecting minors from porn access and placing a heavier burden on PornHub to regulate its content, others have not responded so positively.

On Reddit, Texas-based users are condemning the law, calling it a violation of their freedoms, with some even threatening to leave the state if the legislation is not eventually overturned.

“Texas is where freedom goes to die,” u/Antique_Ad_1211 wrote, to which another user responded: “Government so small it fits right in our bedrooms.”

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Others condemned the claim of “saving the children” as an unnecessary “crusade,” and speculated that the Republican Party would fall out of favor in Texas due to their approach.

u/akefaloskavalaris wrote: “Saving the children has become a modern crusade to justify the prudest conservative narratives. It should be treated for what it is, a shameful appeal to emotion fallacy. We need to fight to bring the discourse about children’s safety to its right and proportionate dimensions.”

Another user chimed in with his prediction that “instances of rape will skyrocket,” ultimately deleting his post after his comments began to circulate on other social media sites and attracted condemnation.

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Other users began sharing information on how to circumvent the restriction, suggesting VPNs and other technical means to access PornHub regardless of their location.

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