The Maryland Senate passed a House bill Wednesday prohibiting minors from using tanning devices without parental consent, but not before fighting about it.
Opponents said abortion providers can allow minors deemed mature and capable of giving informed consent to get the procedure without parental permission, but no such exemption exists in the tanning bill’s text.
“You need parental consent to get a tan, but not an abortion?” asked Sen. Alex Mooney, R-Frederick, who voted against the bill.
Sen. David Brinkley, R-Frederick, said the bill is hypocritical given that there’s no clause allowing “mature” minors to give informed consent. But he still voted for the measure.
“I’ve had melanoma,” he said. “I understand the importance of it. … It’s a very potentially serious health hazard that has to be watched carefully.”
Sen. Robert Zirkin, D-Baltimore County, launched into a sarcastic list of other potentially harmful things that could justify parental consent. He included Twinkies, McDonald’s fast food, sushi, video games, certain types of music, and even the sun itself.
“The same youngster who’s going to go to a tanning salon is also going to go to the beach,” he said, before voting against the bill.
The bill text said 25 percent of American teenagers have used tanning booths three or more times, and approximately 1 million Americans get skin cancer each year.
“Sometimes the most minute bills generate the most discussion,” said Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr., D-Calvert.
–By Capital News Service’s Laura Schwartzman