Op-ed column: Parental consent on piercing, tanning — but not abortion?

Some of the same elected officials who voted for the bill that requires parental consent prior to th

Earlier this month, the New York State Assembly passed a bill that requires parental consent prior to the performance of body piercing on anyone under the age of 18.

As the parent of two sons who both had their ears pierced in their early teens, I know that most reputable jewelry stores already require parents to sign a permission slip, for the sake of their own liability. But some stores and piercing studios do not.

Voices of reason

I agree with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who said “it is important for a parent or guardian to be aware of all the potential risks associated with body piercing . . .” And I agree with the bill’s chief sponsor, Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz, D–Queens, who said his bill “will ensure that parents are aware of their son or daughter’s intent to receive a body piercing to prevent complications such as allergic reactions, skin infections or scarring.”

The body piercing bill passed by a huge margin (133-3), with Assembly Democrats joining Republicans to protect children. The Senate followed suit by passing the bill on a 55-5 vote. Bravo!

Earlier in this legislative session, the Assembly passed another bill that actually outlaws the use of indoor tanning beds for anyone under the age of 17. Current law already requires parental consent for minors entering a tanning salon, but according to the sponsor of the “tan ban” bill, Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg, D–Long Beach, “our current law doesn’t go far enough” to protect children. This past week, the Senate passed this bill as well. Bravo!

Here’s my problem: Some of the same elected officials who voted for these bills — indeed, some of the same people who sponsored these bills — actually voted earlier in the month to defeat a proposal to require parental notification prior to the performance of an abortion on anyone under the age of 18.

Glaring contradiction

Do they not see the contradiction? Do they not care about the complications, reactions, infections and scarring — both physical and emotional — that can result from the invasive surgery of abortion? Do they not realize that while a nose ring can be removed, abortion cannot be undone, and the scars will linger?

There was not one word of debate or discussion about the abortion parental notification bill prior to its defeat in the Assembly Health Committee this month. I was there. Not one word.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that parental involvement laws are constitutionally valid, and 37 states now require either a parent’s consent or notification prior to an abortion on a minor.

But not New York.

Here, abortion is such a sacred cow, you apparently can’t even talk about it.

Kathleen M. Gallagher is director of pro-life activities for the New York State Catholic Conference. The Gazette encourages readers to submit material on local issues for the Sunday Opinion section.

Categories: Opinion

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