Design on tattoos

July 22, 1999

Here is an excerpt of an editorial from the Providence (R.I.) Journal-Bulletin, which was published Monday.

MASSACHUSETTS is one of only three states that prohibits artistic tattooing. (The others are Oklahoma and North Carolina.) But soon, that could change: A bill to permit the process has survived committee review and gone on to the House Ways and Means Committee. Civil libertarians are also challenging the ban in court.

Teen-agers get tattoos as a rite of passage. Adults get them as a change of pace. In fact, tattoos have become so thoroughly middle class that, before long, a sign of rebellion may be the decision not to get one.

So why, in otherwise liberal Massachusetts, does a prohibition of this widely accepted practice still exist?

The Bay State's ban took hold in the 1960s, after a hepatitis scare. But since then, sterilization procedures have improved.

This is one case in which normally progressive Massachusetts is behind the times. The state should lift its prohibition on tattooing.

Pub Date: 7/22/99

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