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Michigan KOs Tongue-Splitting Ban

June 6, 2002

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) _ The state House on Wednesday voted down a bill that would have kept people from getting their tongues split.

The House vote of 53-43 was two votes short of the number needed for passage. The measure would have banned medical professionals from splitting a person’s tongue into two parts to make it look like a serpent’s tongue.

Dozens of representatives in both political parties voted against the bill because they said it would infringe on a person’s rights and civil liberties.

``We’re talking about a bill that is reaching into a personal decision,″ said Rep. David Woodward, D-Royal Oak. ``If you want to split your tongue _ and I don’t know why you would want to _ why is the state of Michigan saying you can’t?″

But Rep. William Callahan, D-St. Clair Shores, said the procedure is harmful.

``Tummy tucks and face lifts are to improve (appearances). ... There is no inherent value in splitting your tongue,″ said Callahan, who sponsored the bill. ``It renders the tongue useless.″

Tongue splitting can involve several risks, including excessive bleeding, infection, nerve damage, swelling and permanent speech impediment.


The bill to ban tongue splitting is House Bill 4688.

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