Emma Claire: Stop AB 1576 – Mandatory Condoms in Porn

May 8, 2014
AB1576
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By Emma Claire, “queer porn star, trans dyke, switchy slut, proud hussy.”

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I’m currently drafting a statement in opposition to California bill AB 1576, more commonly referred to as “mandatory condom use in adult films.”

If passed, the bill would require these major tasks for on-screen porn performance:

  • Use of condoms with vaginal and anal sex using a penis.
  • Continual HIV and STI testing as defined by Center for Disease Control recommendations.
  • Companies must keep HIV and STI records of performers in accordance with HIPAA.
  • Companies must pay for HIV and STI testing for performers.

For those who have a public health hat on, this bill would make a lot of sense to reduce HIV and STI transmission among porn performers. However, the reality is that porn performers have incredibly low rates of transmission compared to the public at large. This is because of a self-imposed industry standard of testing every 14 days that many major porn companies adhere to.

So what is at stake?

  1. This law will take away performer agency. As someone invested in harm reduction and feminist beliefs, this law will take away my choice to use condoms and to portray sex how I want to.
  2. This law will infringe on performers privacy and increases company liability. There is currently a huge question on the constitutionality of having the state knowing performers sexual health. Having more of performers information out there is a big liability for companies.
  3. This law will drive out porn companies. Unfortunately, capitalism tells businesses to move where there are less restrictions on the ability to make a good product. Viewers want to see bareback sex. And companies will not be happy to provide testing services, sometimes at $240 through Talent Testing, every 14 days for performers. People have already lost jobs in Los Angeles County after Measure B passed in 2012, and people all over California will continue to do so if AB 1576 passes.
  4. This law will not significantly reduce HIV transmission. Since 2004, no on-set transmission of HIV between performers has been recorded. The bill defers to Center for Disease Control recommendations on testing for performers, which has less stringent protocol than the one that is already used. It’s a waste of resources to police a system that already works.

There’s also a question of how testing will be required of smaller, independent porn companies in California. An aide for Assemblymember Hall spoke on not having anything “prescriptive” for testing protocol, but one still wonders how it will effect the viability of indie porn companies to adhere to these laws.

One stipulation I do like about the bill is the requirement to have porn companies pay for testing costs. Having the worker pay for tests every 14 days through Talent Testing (formerly Adult Industry Medical or AIM) is a huge expense. If your company is participating in Talent Testing, then that’s analogous to requiring a uniform or protective wear for your employees. The company should foot the bill.

There are a few other things that I’m not happy about Talent Testing in general, but I can save that for a later post.

Bottom line: AB 1576 does more to hurt than help sex workers.

The bill is currently back in the Appropriations Committee in the California Assembly. For other talking points against AB 1576, please stay tuned to the Free Speech Coalition.

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[…] This law will infringe on performers privacy and increases …read more     […]

Ernest Greene
Ernest Greene
7 years ago

Well said on almost all points. Just as a clarification, AIM was gone before TT came into existence and is in no way a successor operation. But overall this is solid support for an intelligent position from someone who can hardly be accused of shilling for “The Industry.” Emma is an independent performer and an independent thinker in no way affiliated with the FSC or any other group with a commercial agenda. She’s the kind of person who should be speaking for the performer community and if the FSC would get its front-office crowd out of the way, perhaps voices… Read more »

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