No, Michelle Bachmann Didn’t Pledge To Ban Pornography

ThinkProgress writes:

BREAKING: Bachmann pledges to ban pornography | Tonight, Michelle Bachmann became the first presidential candidate to sign a pledge created by THE FAMiLY LEADER, an influential social-conservative group in Iowa. By signing the pledge Bachmann “vows” to “uphold the institution of marriage as only between one man and one woman” by committing herself to 14 specifics steps. The ninth step calls for the banning of “all forms” of pornography. The pledge also states that homosexuality is both a choice and a health risk. You can read all the details of the pledge here.

I’m already seeing this quoted around the blogosphere and on twitter. But it’s wrong.

You can read the full text of the pledge here (pdf link). It’s full of all sorts of extreme, sexist, homophobic, racist garbage, allegedly for the purpose of protecting marriage. But it doesn’t call for a blanket ban on pornography. Here’s the relevant passage, in which the candidate vows:

Humane protection of women and the innocent fruit of conjugal intimacy — our next generation of American children — from human trafficking, sexual slavery, seduction into promiscuity, and all forms of pornography and prostitution, infanticide, abortion and other types of coercion or stolen innocence.

A footnote then explains:

Human trafficking, child pornography and prostitution, pimping, sexual slavery and forced abortion are inherently coercive of vulnerable females. Infanticide and abortion are inherently coercive of the babies who are killed.

Unless I’ve missed something, that’s all the document says about pornography.

Taken as a whole, this seems to be calling for a ban on child pornography and porn made using trafficked women.1 It’s a little hard for me to make out, because it’s written in Fundimentalese rather than standard English, but to conclude from this document that Bachmann has pledged to “ban pornography” is more than a bit of a stretch.

  1. Considering the huge market out there for pornographic depictions of men, I find it odd that they only call for women and children to be protected. []
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22 Responses to No, Michelle Bachmann Didn’t Pledge To Ban Pornography

  1. 1
    GK says:

    It states “all forms of pornography”. Not just child pornography and that using trafficked woman. Footnotes generally expand on something, not mean only read that and ignore the rest of the context.

    Though I agree that people just going OMG SHE’S TRYING TO TAKE OUR PRONZ need to chill the fuck out. It’s America. She can try, but porn isn’t going anywhere, even if she did get elected.

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  3. 2
    Mark says:

    Even if she did try to ban pornography, it would never pass. Pornography has existed since humans learned to drawn pictures on cave walls. Every society has pornography – even Bin Laden, the supposed puritanical, watched it. Priests and Nuns have been caught with it. Ancient societies draw naughty pictures. Heck, I remember reading a news article in which it was discovered that one of the states that was the highest downloaders of pornography was Utah! I’m willing to stake my life that 80%+ of people on this earth, with access to pornography, have watched it at some point or other.

    Like with Prohibition, you cannot ban pornography. Frankly, I don’t like pornography all that much, but even I recognize a lost battle when I see one. And, I don’t really see anything morally wrong with pornography, as long as it’s not child porn. If people want to watch two (or more) consenting adults going at it with each other, who am I to say no?

    So even if she was trying to ban it, she couldn’t. Either the law would be defeated or after a while, even the government would realize how futile a task it is to ban pornography.

  4. 3
    Moz says:

    I read it as “protection of women … from … all forms of pornography”.

    Which, given the source, probably means that women will be prohibited from possessing and making porn. They may even want to prohibit women from any venue that displays porn.

    The chances of this being any more benign than their proposal to ban abortion seems slight.

  5. 4
    Nancy Lebovitz says:

    It wouldn’t be possible to eliminate pornography. However, a serious effort to eliminate pornography would make a lot of people’s lives worse, as has happened with the war on drugs.

  6. 5
    Debbie Notkin says:

    I don’t read Fundamentalese fluently, but it sure sounds to me like she has signed on to protect women and children from all forms of pornography, which men can continue to enjoy as much as they like. As for your question about the market for pornographic depictions of men, I think the issue here is being framed as protecting people from seeing/experiencing pornography, not from performing in it.

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  8. 6
    chingona says:

    The whole document is so messed up that it seems a little strange to me to worry about her coming for our porn.

    I also laughed when I saw they want to protect us from Sharia law and anti-woman totalitarianism.

    That said, I think the goal that the document has in mind is, if not the actual banning of pornography, driving pornography back underground.

  9. 7
    chingona says:

    I don’t read Fundamentalese fluently, but it sure sounds to me like she has signed on to protect women and children from all forms of pornography, which men can continue to enjoy as much as they like.

    There’s a lot of concern in Christian circles about the effect on families of the husband/father using porn. The way that concern gets framed is often patriarchal and reflects a view of gender and sexuality I strongly disagree with (while not being really keen on most porn, myself), but it’s not nearly so simple as women being restricted and men doing whatever they want.

  10. 8
    Adrian says:

    The approach to porn actually seems close to something I’ve seen in mainstream feminism. Protect [set of victims] from human trafficking, sexual slavery, seduction into promiscuity, and all forms of prostitution and pornography, infanticide, abortion, and other types of coercion or stolen innocence. An awful lot of the people affected by all those things have been sexually coerced. The stories of coercion and rescue can be very dramatic, so I understand why people remember them, and want to help with more rescues.

    That’s not evil. (It can do damage without being evil.) The problem is that not everyone with more than one sex partner was coerced, or even “seduced into promiscuity.” Not every sexually active woman who doesn’t want to be a mother is coerced into infanticide or abortion. Not everybody doing sex work was coerced into it. It’s important to rescue victims of coercion…but also important to acknowledge the choices of people who are not coerced.

    I do find it creepy, and possibly evil, that the victims are defined as “women and the innocent fruit of conjugal intimacy–our next generation of American children.” As written, and perhaps by design, this excludes illegitimate children (who have largely been free of “bastard” stigma in recent years.) It also excludes children who are not American–as if their “illegal” immigration status is more important than their “innocent” status as victimized children. Too bad that family instability and immigration problems tend to make people more vulnerable to sexual coercion.

  11. 9
    Just Dropping By says:

    This can very easily be cleared up by asking Bachmann at her next press conference whether she would support a ban on the sale of pornography to adults. Based on her past statements, does anyone seriously believe that she would respond by saying, “No, I think adults have a right to consume pornography, but government should develop strategies to reduce their interest in it,” or some variation thereof rather than “Yes”? For those saying she wouldn’t succeed if she tried, I would point out that the federal government can certainly make the lives of pornography producers miserable through obscenity prosecutions under existing laws even if many of the cases ultimately fail.

  12. 10
    redfish says:

    Even if you interpret “all forms of pornography” to not be limited to child pornography, the pledge doesn’t call for a law banning that any more than it calls for a law banning “seduction into promiscuity”. It doesn’t even imply government involvement any more than point 3 (recognition of the fact that married people live happier lives) or point 9 (recognizing that robust child rearing and reproduction is beneficial to US … health and security).

    The pledge has just as much to do with defending a certain cultural point of view as with defending a certain legal point of view. A point of view that many people will disagree with, but isn’t really newsworthy.

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  15. 11
    Jeff Fecke says:

    Frankly, I’m more offended by the part of the document that says African-Americans had more stable families during slavery. When, as you may recall, slaveholders could break up families for fun and profit.

    That’s a seriously twisted view of history, there, and an utterly unsurprising one given the source.

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  18. 12
    FW says:

    It’s the rescue industry that Bachmann plans to enable/expand. It’s marketed as a ‘solution’ to the ‘exploitation’ of women and girls, but is mostly about federally funded religious indoctrination and restrictions on women’s rights. The “Rescue Industry”: it’s coming for your gays and your whores, just like it always has.

  19. 13
    BlackHumor says:

    It says “protect women and children from all forms of pornography”. If a second-wave feminist wrote that line I would assume she meant she wanted to ban it, and I give Rep. Bachmann even less benefit of the doubt.

  20. 14
    Jon D. says:

    It takes a very liberal reading of “protect[ing] women…from all forms of pornography” to not mean that she is against pornography the same way one is against human trafficking and sexual slavery.

  21. 15
    Hershele Ostropoler says:

    It looks to me like the pledge is about banning all forms of pornography, and the footnote is an explanation of why that’s good.

    I’m all for banning human trafficking, probably, depending on the strategy employed. I suspect the candidates signing the pledge would use as fine-tuned, comprehensive, and nuanced an approach to trafficking as has been used for drugs.

  22. 16
    Albert Russell says:

    This is vintage Bachmann sarcasm taken seriously. She signs an agreement that cannot be pinned on her. She’s opposed to pornography, but pornography cannot be defined. She claims turns Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan into 6-6-6, suggesting that Cain is antichrist. When asked if this is true, she claims it was not a serious comment.