By Fran Eaton -
The Illinois General Assembly overwhelmingly agreed this spring that it should be illegal for any minor 17 years or younger to use a tanning bed in Illinois, even if their parents approve. Why? Tanning beds can overexpose sensitive skin to harmful ultraviolent rays and increase the likelihood of melanoma—a deadly form of cancer.
The state isn’t shy about protecting minors from other potentially-harmful activities. Minors under the age of 18 are banned from purchasing tobacco products. They need parental permission to be tattooed or pierced. And in Illinois, no one under the age of 21 can legally purchase alcoholic beverages.
But when it comes to sexual health, so-called “reproduction rights” advocates have successfully organized and pressured Illinois lawmakers to uphold children’s privacy over parental rights and responsibilities. Indeed, Illinois law allows minors age 12 and above to seek counseling and medical treatment without parental notice or permission, if the 12 year old thinks he or she may have been exposed to a sexually-transmitted disease. And that so-called “treatment” now allows medical personnel to give HPV and Hepatitis B shots, without parents knowing.
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