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A New, Badly-Written Condoms-In-Porn Bill Has Passed The California Assembly

By / 05.28.14
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The latest condoms-in-porn bill, AB 1576, passed the California Assembly this week, which, like most of the others already passed, sounds like a fine idea in theory, but in practice feels like it was written by people without a real understanding of how the industry works, and championed by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and Michael Weinstein in his latest attempt to appoint himself the porn czar.

The lower house passed the measure 48-13, with 19 Assembly members not voting. The bill now goes to the Senate. The 13 Assembly members who voted against the bill include Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly and other lawmakers who are largely from areas in or surrounding Los Angeles County, where most U.S. adult films are shot. [AP]

Our in-house porn expert, Dr. Chauntelle had a lot to say last month about specific holes in the bill (desperate to be filled, etc), but to make a long story short, Michael Weinstein of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation continues to use porn performers’ off-set (and outside current testing standards) contractions of HIV as evidence that the on-set standards need to change, to advocate for clunkily-worded new rules written without input from people in the actual business. Kink.com’s Peter Acworth has written a second open letter to Weinstein about the specific issues:

1. You’re using off-set HIV infections as evidence of on-set danger.
In your post-statement press, you described Rod Daily and Cameron Bay, the two performers who testified at the hearings, as “having contracted HIV while working in adult film.” You know this isn’t true and yet you continue to say it. By using a couple who have contracted HIV in their private life as evidence of a public health threat, you’re turning what should be a healthcare discussion into a moral debate. Would you say “Magic Johnson contracted HIV while playing basketball?”. Linguistically you’ve got some plausible deniability, but please. For you, the ends may justify the means, but in reality, it stops us from educating performers about real ways they should be protecting themselves.

2. You’re using STI research that is fundamentally flawed.
The Kim-Farley and Kerndt studies you cite at hearings [to claim that "Adult film actors are 10 times more likely to contract a sexually transmitted disease than the general public"] have been debunked, Among many fundamental flaws, these studies do not account for re-tests, do not accurately estimate the size of the population, and compare STI rates with the general population. If you compare porn stars to a group that includes pre-teens, moms and grandparents, you may get numbers you’re looking for. If you compare performers to people in their own age group? Not so much. These studies are profoundly flawed, and yet you still use them as fact. This is not only ethically problematic, it again unfairly stigmatizes porn performers.

In any case, the bill still has to be finished off by the state senate, spit back and forth between committees, and have a revised version swallowed by both houses before it can come into law. Seriously though, it’s easier for politicians to just pass off on these bills presented by self-appointed industry watchdogs than be seen taking a more nuanced, complicated position that actually reflects the reality. I don’t expect them to do the right thing on their own, but if enough people talk about it, maybe they’ll have to have a real conversation too.

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TAGSAB 1576AIDS HEALTHCARE FOUNDATIONCONDOMS IN PORNMICHAEL WEINSTEIN

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