The State of New York wants to you be a better parent, and they’re legislating to make sure you know it. The state legislature is well-meaning, and also apparently has a bit too much time on its hands judging by several laws passed this early summer to make parenting teens a little bit easier.
The first law out of the legislature requires tattoo and body piercing parlors to obtain the written consent of parents before inking or piercing their children. The authors of the legislation explained:
Millions of teenagers get pierced each year and many experience adverse health effects from these piercings without their parents’ knowledge. The needles used can sometimes result in a severe viral infection and immense discomfort. It is important that parents understand these potential risks and that teens are proactive in retaining their parents’ or guardian’s consent to have such piercing done.
While many parlors already required written consent before working with a minor, this law, effective immediately, has now mandated it. Parental consent is not only suggested, but also now required before teenagers permanently mutilate themselves in New York State.
A second bill recently passed by the New York State legislature is also designed to protect your teenager from him or herself. It is now illegal for a youth 16 years of age or younger to enter a tanning booth, even with parental consent. The legislators who sponsored this bill wrote:
Advocates and professionals agree that excessive tanning, popularized by indoor tanning salons, has led to an increase in skin cancer and our youth are at the greatest risk. According to the American Cancer Society, the popularity of tanning salons has led to a 72 percent jump in incidences of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, from 1998 to 2008.
It appears that the New York State legislature believes that before a teen makes a life-altering and potentially dangerous decision regarding their bodies, they must first consult their parents or the state. Well, except in one area. New York teens are not required to request permission, or even inform, their parents of an abortion before or after obtaining it; at age 12 or 17, there is no distinction.