Fellow Ohio blogger, Matt Hurley at Weapons of Mass Discussion has the press release which states:
The current law requires that consumers under 18 obtain written consent from a parent or legal guardian prior to receiving tanning services. House Bill 119 seeks to eliminate such wording to protect teens from the early onset of serious medical conditions.
So why would an elected official who identifies himself as a Republican want to remove the authority of the parent and replace it with the authority of the state?
Are tanning services bad for you? Probably. Is it a bad idea of children to use tanning beds? Probably. Who should be responsible for making that decision? Parents.
But this law would remove the ability of a parent to make the decision with the state mandating that only a doctor can decide. So the state and this representative (along with the other sponsors of the bill) are saying that parents aren't good enough to make such decisions. Only doctors should be able to decide such a thing.
I have a problem with this. The more we remove the ability of parents to decide on behalf of their children, the more power we give to the government to make those decisions instead.
Some will say that the government isn't deciding at all - they're just requiring that doctors do. But that is still removing the ability of the parent to be the parent and I have a problem with someone who is supposed to believe in the freedom of the individual sponsoring such an action by the government.
Maybe Rep. Combs has a good track record on other issues, but this is a fundamental philosophical question: who is the better choice for making decisions on behalf of children - the parents or the government? And if you believe the government should be able to mandate someone other than a parent to make a decision about usage of a tanning salon, what will be next?
Remember, they said banning smoking was only going to be on airplanes, so the slippery slopes do exist.
This bill substitutes the opinion of the government for the opinion of the parent. I hope other Republicans in Ohio's legislature will refuse to start down this path, but I fear that hope is slim.