The Supreme Court's June ruling that blocked the Child Online Protection Act (COPA) has discouraged Christian activists. But some say there are still ways to protect children from pornography on the Internet.
Passed in October 1998 and signed by President Bill Clinton, the law was designed to prohibit online sites from knowingly making sexually explicit material available to minors. COPA compelled porn sites to require visitors to verify their age.
A 5-4 majority returned the case to a lower court to decide whether the law is the least-restrictive way of limiting minors' access to online pornography. No legislative moves have appeared on the congressional horizon.
"As Justice [Stephen] Breyer said in his dissent, what more is there for Congress to do?" asked Jan LaRue, chief legal counsel for Concerned Women for America (CWA).
Still, grassroots groups advocate several measures. These include stepped-up enforcement of federal obscenity laws and action at the state level.
The American Family Association of Michigan is pressing for mandatory filtering in libraries that receive state funding, a parallel to existing federal legislation. Last year the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Congress can withhold federal funding from libraries that do not install filters.
"Most libraries don't get federal funding," said Gary Glenn, president of AFA of Michigan. He noted that a similar move is under way in Illinois.
The most recent high court ruling prompted an anti-obscenity organization in Cincinnati, Ohio, to speed up release of materials about the threat pornography poses to juveniles' mental, emotional, and psychological health.
Citizens for Community Values (CCV) started production of "Protecting Our Children Online" last January. It began ...1
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