Senate Defeats Body Piercing Bill

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(Host) The Vermont Senate has defeated legislation that would require that a person be 18 years old before they could have any part of their body pierced. The vote was 22 to 7. The proposal is part of a much larger bill that reforms the regulatory process for a number of professional groups including accountants.

The body piercing section has become part of a debate over abortion at the Statehouse because an earlier version of legislation called for parental consent before a minor could have their body pierced. Backers of a parental notification abortion bill argued that if it’s appropriate to require parental consent before a teenager pierces their ears, it certainly is appropriate to require consent before a teenage girl has an abortion.

This section was later changed to ban body piercing for anyone under 18. Senate president Pro Tempore Peter Shumlin urged his colleagues to defeat the ban. Shumlin argued that it’s a decision that families should make and not the government:

(Shumlin) “I personally believe that that’s government intrusion that we shouldn’t be entering into family dialogues of that nature¿. The fact of the matter is adolescence is about exploration, it’s about becoming independent, it’s about experimentation and if this Legislature is going to start trying to legislate away adolescence we’ve lost our way.”

(Host) A House-Senate conference committee will now attempt to negotiate a new compromise over this issue.

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