News Articles

Age verification laws drive Pornhub out of four states


BATON ROUGE, La. (BP) – Age verification laws written to protect minors from adult content have driven pornography hotbed Pornhub and other websites out of service in at least four states.

Rather than comply with laws that carry penalties for violators, Pornhub and other websites owned by its parent company MindGeek have discontinued service in Arkansas, Mississippi, Utah and Virginia, according to several news reports. Under the new laws, users must be at least 18.

Southern Baptist ethicist Jason Thacker said the developments are evidence that Pornhub is not concerned with the welfare of minors.

“Pornhub and other leading adult sites that choose not to comply with these state measures are revealing that they are not as interested in ways of protecting children as they are their own bottom line,” said Thacker, a research fellow and director of the Research Institute at the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and assistant professor of philosophy and ethics at Boyce College and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

“Their decisions are having unintended, yet fortunate consequences,” Thacker said, “as they are actually protecting all people from this dehumanizing plague on our society in these states.”

When users of all ages in the four states visit the site, they are met with a message explaining their blocked access due to age verification laws, the Washington Examiner reported.

Among other states, Pornhub is still accessible in Louisiana, where the nation’s first age verification law became effective in January, and in Texas and Montana, where laws take effect in September and January, 2024, respectively, according to information including tracking from the Free Speech Coalition.

Age verification laws are useful tools in fighting pornography despite “significant personal privacy risks” that can be associated with age verification technologies, Thacker said.

“These laws are common-sense measures that seek to protect children and teens from so much of the sexually explicit material available on the internet today,” Thacker said. “Christians should welcome creative solutions that protect children and teens from this dehumanizing industry.”

He said more needs to be done to protect minors and adults from pornography.

“We need solutions that not only bar access by certain age groups but also empower all people – including parents and guardians of children and teens – with the tools needed to cultivate godly wisdom and discernment,” Thacker said. “There is no fail-safe way to keep this material entirely off the screens of our children and teens, but many of these measures are a good first step.”

Louisiana led the way in age verification laws, passing its law in 2022 to impact sites where at least a third of their content is considered harmful to minors. The law requires “reasonable age verification methods” be employed, and requires that no personal information other than the user’s age be stored after verification.

“Due to advances in technology, the universal availability of the internet, and limited age verification requirements, minors are exposed to pornography earlier in age,” according to Louisiana House Bill 142 that proposed the law. Legislators nearly unanimously said pornography contributes to the hyper sexualization of teens and prepubescent children and may spur low self-esteem, body image disorders, problematic sexual activity at younger ages, risky sexual behavior among adolescents, impaired brain development and functioning, and emotional and medical illnesses, among other concerns.

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), among many accusing Pornhub of sexual exploitation, welcomed the laws. In its advocacy against Pornhub, NCOSE points to a 2022 class action lawsuit accusing Pornhub of sexual exploitation.

“In what is now the fifth civil lawsuit filed against Pornhub across the world, a woman has sued Pornhub for videos uploaded without her consent. This is yet more evidence of Pornhub’s profiting from the abuse and blatant disregard of women,” NCOSE CEO Dawn Hawkins said in continuing to push the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the site. “Pornhub continues to profit from videos and images of child sexual abuse, sex trafficking, rape, sexual assault, nonconsensual, racist and incestuous content and must be held to account.”

Pornhub describes itself as “one of the most prolific adult websites, averaging over 100 billion video views a year. That’s about 12.5 porn videos per person on earth.”