Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Assoc. of American Publishers fights law protecting minors from porn

PW reports that the Association of American Publishers has joined with the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and several Oregon bookstores in contesting a state law that "the dissemination of sexually explicit material to anyone under age 13, or the dissemination to anyone under age 18 of any material with the intent to sexually arouse the recipient or the provider." The reason? They allege the statue “burdens the exercise of free expression and creates a chilling effect on the sale, display, and dissemination of constitutionally protected speech.”

A press release from the Oregon chapter of the ACLU contains numerous objections to what they cede is a "well-intentioned effort to target sexual predators." They say the law is overly broad and could catch numerous innocent parties in its web. Such as a Planned Parenthood Peer Educator, or the Cascade AIDS Project for handing out safe sex materials to teenagers. Or grandma, who is now evidently going to be targeted by eager prosecutors for giving her grand kids a book about the birds and the bees.

All of this seems a little far fetched. Does the ACLU really think granny will go to the big house over a law intended to stop predators from luring kids? It seems like fear mongering to me. And it's also a PR effort to claim the moral high ground and distract from the participation of groups such as Planned Parenthood that think they have a constitutional right to have unfettered access to foist their views on children.

I'm disappointed that the Association of American Publishers and the Oregon booksellers got into bed with this cadre. If there are practical issues where the retailers need clarification or were being hit with an excessive compliance burden, they could have sought clarification through other means (or possibly a separate suit) without joining these left-wing groups who are pushing their own agenda. But, then again, the AAP is headed by the outspoken liberal and super-genius Pat Schroeder, so it comes as no surprise...



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