Going beyond even the GOP’s own platform, Republican Senate candidate J.D. Vance told a Catholic magazine last year that pornography should be banned because it’s stopping Americans from getting married and starting families.
“I think the combination of porn, abortion have basically created a lonely, isolated generation that isn’t getting married, they’re not having families, and they’re actually not even totally sure how to interact with each other,” Vance said in a newly unearthed interview with Crisis Magazine from August 2021.
The writer spoke with Vance at a gathering for young conservatives where Vance was a keynote speaker. She wrote that after asking him “his thoughts on porn and birth control and their effects on familial decline, Vance admitted he wants to outright ban pornography.”
Vance’s campaign didn’t provide a comment about his more recent thoughts on porn, and how they would factor into his priorities as a senator.
In 2016, the GOP, in its own official platform, declared porn “a public health crisis,” but stopped short of calling for it to be outlawed completely.
Vance, who wrote in his memoir about witnessing firsthand poverty and addiction and their impact on families in Ohio, has made conserving “traditional families” and ending abortion main planks of his conservative platform.
In his statement on the Uvalde school shooting, Vance cited the absence of strong family values — and not the lack of gun control — to explain why a gunman would murder 19 children and two teachers.
“We need to address the culture of fatherlessness and drug addiction in our country, focus on the importance of family so that our next generation is guided and empowered with strong support systems,” Vance said.
The “Hillbilly Elegy” author’s attitude on porn may be a throwback to the social conservatism that defined the 1970s with President Richard Nixon’s “War on Porn.” Those in favor of restricting access to porn now cite the nation’s declining birth rate, the potential to promote sex trafficking, and the “common good.”
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who endorsed Vance, hasn’t explicitly called for a porn ban. But at last year’s National Conservative Conference, Hawley argued that porn and masturbation were creating a national crisis for men.
“Can we be surprised that after years of being told they are the problem, that their manhood is the problem, more and more men are withdrawing into the enclave of idleness and pornography and video games,” Hawley said.
Porn regulation is a thorny subject for conservatives and libertarians, who are torn on whether tamping it down would undermine individual freedoms.
Vance seemed to get at that during the same conservative gathering where Hawley made headlines lamenting the decline of men. Americans are getting married less frequently and having fewer children, he said, “and we know that at least one cause of this is that we have allowed, under the banner of libertarianism, pornography to seep even into our youngest minds through the channels of the internet.”
“Again, we made a political choice that the freedom to consume pornography was more important than the public goods, like marriage and family and happiness,” he continued. “We can’t ignore the fact that we made that choice and we shouldn’t shy away from the fact that we can make new choices in the future.”
Last year, Vance said the country was run by left-leaning “childless cat ladies,” a swipe at Vice President Kamala Harris, who is a stepmother, and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who has since adopted twins with his husband.