Why Do Teen Girls Need Parental Consent for Tanning But Not an Abortion?

Opinion   |   Tom McClusky   |   Jan 3, 2014   |   12:52PM   |   Washington, DC

With the New Year come new laws.  If you live in Colorado you can now light up a doobie without fear of (local) arrest.

For everyone a new IRS rule will treat automatic tips added to large parties as taxable wages, which could mean that automatic gratuity may go away altogether.

In California transgendered kindergartners (only in California would those two words EVER go together) can now decide which bathroom they wish to use.  And in Texas the minimum age for visiting tanning salons has gone up from 16 1/2 to 18.

The regulations on tanning salons have grown considerably over the last few years.   Currently in 14 states you need to be accompanied by a parent if you are a certain age and wish to indoor tan.  In 38 states you need parental consent or permission if you are a certain age (usually 18 and under) and you wish to indoor tan.

In one state, California, it is deemed so dangerous that if you are under the age of 18 you are not allowed to use an indoor tanning bed, meaning that for thousands of Californian kids to get any sun they will have to the unthinkable – get it off the streets like I did as a kid.

How dangerous is artificial tanning for kids?  According to the Center for Disease Control pretty dangerous:

Using a tanning bed, booth, or sunlamp to get tan is called “indoor tanning.” Indoor tanning has been linked with skin cancers including melanoma (the deadliest type of skin cancer), squamous cell carcinoma, and cancers of the eye (ocular melanoma).

Indoor tanning exposes users to both UV-A and UV-B rays, which damage the skin and can lead to cancer. Using a tanning bed is particularly dangerous for younger users; people who begin tanning younger than age 35 have a 59% higher risk of melanoma. Using tanning beds also increases the risk of wrinkles and eye damage, and changes skin texture.

So it seems universally agreeable that minors usually are not capable of making rational decisions and are less likely to think about long term ramifications of their actions and it makes sense that such decisions are best left to their parents.

So then why do so many politicians, including the Democratic Leadership in Washington, D.C., oppose the same type of restrictions when it comes to abortion?  They also support Planned Parenthood and their ilk that have a long history of covering up statutory rape. As recent as just a few months ago one such abortionist failed to report the abuse of a number of young girls, including a 13 year old who he performed an abortion on.

While the numbers for abortion reporting are always shaky as the abortion industry doesn’t keep good watch over itself according to the CDC while abortion numbers in general are going down they are increasing for one age group – girls under the age of 15.

In 2010, adolescents aged 15-19 years accounted for 14.6% of all abortions and had an abortion rate of 11.7 abortions per 1,000 adolescents aged 15-19 years. Throughout the period of analysis, the percentage of all abortions accounted for by adolescents and the adolescent abortion rate decreased.

In contrast to the percentage distribution of abortions and abortion rates by age, abortion ratios in 2010 and throughout the entire period of analysis were highest among adolescents and lowest among women aged 30-39 years. Abortion ratios decreased from 2001 to 2010 for women in all age groups except for those aged <15 years, for whom they increased.

While advocates for tanning regulations point to the risks of getting cancer, some statistics show that abortion holds the same risks.  As reported by CNSnews.com, a new study by Chinese researchers, published in the peer-reviewed journal Cancer Causes and Control, found a 44 percent increased breast cancer risk after an abortion. It also found that the risk grew significantly with subsequent abortions – a 76 percent increase after two abortions, 89 percent after three.

Cancer is not the only risk – other possible risks to young girls who get an abortion include future ectopic pregnancies.  The risk of an ectopic pregnancy is twice as high for women who have had one abortion, and up to four times as high for women with two or more previous abortions.  In addition abortion has been found to cause psychological stress as well.  The largest and most definitive analysis of the mental health risks associated with abortion was published in the prestigious British Journal of Psychiatry in 2011.   The meta-analysis conducted by Professor Priscilla Coleman, PhD of Bowling Green State University, examines twenty-two major studies published between 1995 and 2009 involving a total of 877,181 women, of whom 163,831 had abortions.  The study found:

  • Women who have had an abortion have an 81% higher risk of subsequent mental health problems compared to women who have not had an abortion.
  • Women who aborted have a 138% higher risk of mental health problems compared to women who have given birth.
  • Women who aborted have a 55% higher risk of mental health problems compared to women with an “unplanned” pregnancy who gave birth.
  • Women with a history of abortion have higher rates of anxiety (34% higher), depression (37%), alcohol use/misuse (110%), marijuana use (230%), and suicidal behavior (155%), compared to those who have not had an abortion.

Instead of looking at the evidence the deniers attack the messengers and place their fealty to abortion over any health concerns over young girls or rights of the parents.  The overwhelming evidence shows that parental involvement laws in regards to abortion help protect children and save lives.  If it is too dangerous to tan can they really argue that abortion, where the life of one child always ends, is safer?

LifeNews Note: Tom McClusky writes for March for Life.