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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.

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The bill to ban tongue splitting is House Bill 4688.

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