In December of 2018 Florida Senator Lauren book introduced CS/SB 160: Prohibited Acts in Connection with Obscene or Lewd Materials.
As the most restrictive piece of proposed anti doll legislation to date, if enacted this law would include…
“Prohibiting a person from knowingly selling, lending, giving away, distributing, transmitting, showing, or transmuting; offering to commit such actions; having in his or her possession, custody, or control with the intent to commit such actions; or advertising in any manner an obscene, child-like sex doll; providing criminal penalties, etc.”
Prohibited Acts in Connection with Obscene or Lewd Materials,
CS/SB 160, 2019
This law will make having anything to do will small dolls illegal in the state of Florida. Regardless of your feelings towards dolls, are you comfortable giving someone as impulsive and misinformed as Senator Book the power to decide what objects you keep within the privacy of your own home and how you interact with them?
The letter below was sent to Senator Book. A slightly modified version of the letter was sent to every member of the Florida state criminal justice, judiciary, and rules committees. Letters were sent by both US post and email. As of this writing, no meaningful responses have been received.
Dear Senator Book,
I am writing to you today on behalf of several friends residing in the state of Florida and as a concerned citizen in regards to SB 160: Prohibited Acts in Connection with Obscene or Lewd Materials.
I commend you on your impressive history of making great strides in the field of child protection and honestly believe that your heart is in the right place in your desire to protect the most vulnerable and innocent members of our society. Protecting children from any sort of harm, especially sexual abuse is a cause that myself and those whom I am writing for share with great passion, however, we are very concerned that the direction and possible consequences of this bill are misguided.
We understand how the idea of someone owning an anatomically correct doll resembling a child is shocking. When thinking of who might own such a doll and their motivation and intentions behind their purchase it is easy to fill in the blanks and assume the worst of them. You may believe that by making these dolls illegal that you are working to fix an urgent problem and protect children from harm, but I ask you to look closer and consider how exactly this law would accomplish that goal.
Laws against sexual contact with minors exist not because it makes us uncomfortable, but because such acts inflict lifelong trauma on the children involved. I believe, as I’m sure you will agree, that the best efforts that can be made in protecting children from abuse come in the form of preventing such crimes from ever occurring in the first place. Allowing people to own dolls resembling children causes harm to no one and may potentially offer an alternative for those who may have the propensity to commit a crime against a child. By criminalizing those who own these dolls and discouraging people who may eventually purchase one you are eliminating an avenue of prevention and effectively exposing real living children to greater risk. Though the intentions of this bill are in the right place, It is difficult to believe that removing this option accomplishes anything positive and could become detrimental.
In addition, the conditions of this proposed law grossly overstep the bounds of a government created for the people. As stated in Article 1, Section 23 of the Florida Constitution “Every natural person has the right to be let alone and free from governmental intrusion into the person’s private life” Owning a doll in any form is a private act and is not, nor should not be considered a crime. Creating a law to make it such would be an infringement on the rights and privacy of our citizens based on what you falsely believe that object may lead them to do. As distasteful as you may find these dolls, they are nothing more than a representation of the human form and are not in and of themselves obscene. It is not the place of our government to determine what objects we choose to own or how we choose to interact with them.
I understand the general public’s lack of sympathy for those they see as monsters, but there are many reasons beyond nefarious intentions as to why someone might own such a doll. These dolls have had a significant positive influence on the lives of many people, instilling in them a sense of peace and allowing a unique lifestyle that would otherwise be legally and ethically impossible to carry out by any other means. The people targeted by this law are far from the abhorrent predators that you imagine them to be and it would be unjust to criminalize and punish those who would otherwise be innocent.
We ask that you take a step back from the emotions surrounding this issue and look at it objectively. Please consider the actual impact that this legislation would have on the rights of your citizens and most importantly on the children it is aimed at protecting.
Currently SB 160 has passed the Criminal Justice Committee and is scheduled on the Judiciary Committee agenda for March 4th, 2019