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Salt Lake City, Utah, Mar 17, 2021 / 08:11 pm (CNA).- The governor of Utah is considering signing a bill that would make pornography filters mandatory and switched on by default on cell phones sold in the state.

The bill would require smartphone manufacturers automatically to enable filters on devices “activated” in Utah that prevent “the user from accessing or downloading material that is harmful to minors,” which includes pornography.

Adults would be provided a passcode to deactivate the filters if they choose.

The Utah law would take effect Jan. 1, 2022 if passed. Governor Spencer Cox has until March 25 to decide whether to sign or veto the bill.

However, the bill includes a provision that the law can only take effect if five other states pass similar laws. This provision was added after manufacturers and retailers voiced concerns that it would be difficult to implement the filters for a single state, the AP reported.

Utah would be the first state to mandate pornography filters for minors if the bill passes. Federal restrictions on pornography passed in 1990s were later struck down in court, the AP reported.

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation, an anti-pornography and sex trafficking group, applauded the bill’s passage in early March.

“Utah has passed a critical, common sense solution to help protect vulnerable children from accessing harmful pornographic content on phones and tablets,” Dawn Hawkins, senior vice president and executive director of the NCOSE, said earlier this month.

“There are countless heartbreaking stories of the harm caused by children’s unhindered access to Internet devices—including the individual and familial trauma of pornography exposure and addiction and adult predators targeting and grooming kids online. We commend the Utah legislature for passing this bill that will aid parents in protecting their children from unwanted exposure to pornography.”

In 2016, Utah’s Senate unanimously approved a resolution declaring pornography addiction a public health crisis.

Susan Dennin, a spokesperson for the Diocese of Salt Lake City, said the move “affirms our belief in the inviolable dignity of the human person revealed fully in Christ and the gift of human sexuality and marriage in God’s plan.”

More than a dozen states have adopted similar resolutions, including Arizona in May 2019.

Internet accountability organization Covenant Eyes recently detailed how pervasive porn use is in modern American culture.

Twenty percent of mobile searches are for pornography, Covenant Eyes says, and even Christians report significant level of pornography use. Furthermore, a significant percentage of students – more than half of males and a third of females –  say they were first exposed to pornography before they were teenagers.

Pornographic website traffic has increased in many countries around the world during the coronavirus pandemic, and last year the bishops of the United States urged the Justice Department to protect victims of human trafficking and exploitation by enforcing obscenity laws and prosecuting producers of violent pornography.

“We write to you today to urge you to confront the ongoing harms wrought by the pornography industry and to protect its victims,” the U.S. bishops wrote in an April 30, 2020 letter to the Department of Justice.

“This should include enforcement of obscenity laws, investigation of pornography producers and website owners for criminality, national leadership in encouraging states and localities to develop rigorous policies against the industry and in the service of survivors, and more.”