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Heritage Foundation Celebrates Georgia Age Verification Law’s Chilling Effect on Adult Free Speech

WASHINGTON — Influential think tank the Heritage Foundation produced an op-ed endorsing the Georgia version of the age verification bills being sponsored around the country by anti-porn religious conservative activists, and celebrating its success in also preventing adults from accessing legal, First Amendment-protected pornographic content.

The article was penned by Annie Chestnut Tutor, a policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation’s Tech Policy Center, and first published as an opinion piece in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Chestnut Tutor’s article urges Georgia’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp to sign HB 910 into law.

As XBIZ reported, HB 910 was introduced by veteran Republican Rep. Rick Jasperse in February and would require websites publishing what the law defines as “material harmful to minors” — including pornography — to verify the age of all users. HB 910 was passed by the Georgia legislature.

According to the Heritage Foundation analyst, requiring age verification on porn websites “will not prevent social media users from seeing this content on social media platforms, but it will place roadblocks for children who click these links on social media and other websites.”

However, Chestnut Tutor celebrated another effect of these laws that has nothing to do with minors.

“For those of you like me who are troubled by the harms of pornography for any age,” she writes, “take rest in the fact that traffic to Pornhub dropped 80 percent in Louisiana after its law went into effect.”

Chestnut Tutor’s article is also imprecise about the facts of the recent decision by the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals regarding Texas’ highly controversial age verification law, HB 1181.

In a mixed decision, a 5th Circuit panel overturned a lower court’s injunction against enforcement of the Texas law in March, but struck down the provision that mandated that adult websites post a “health warning” perpetuating religious anti-porn propaganda myths.

The Heritage Foundation analyst disregarded the complexity of that decision, and stated the the 5th Circuit “upheld Texas’s law that requires age verification on pornography websites,” calling it “a victory for advocates for age verification, concerned parents and, of course, children. More important, it clears the way for other states, including Georgia, to enforce similar legislation.”

The Heritage Foundation leads “Project 2025,” a coalition of conservative organizations whose road map for the next Republican presidential administration includes a call to immediately outlaw all pornography and imprison people who produce and distribute it.

The introduction of Project 2025’s “Mandate for Leadership” blueprint document declares that pornography “has no claim to First Amendment protection” and should be outlawed.

“The people who produce and distribute it should be imprisoned,” the document continues. “Educators and public librarians who purvey it should be classed as registered sex offenders. And telecommunications and technology firms that facilitate its spread should be shuttered.”

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