Genital piercings for women were banned by the Georgia House Wednesday as lawmakers considered a bill outlining punishments for female genital mutilation.
The bill would make such mutilation punishable by two to 20 years in prison. It makes no exception for people who give consent to have the procedure performed on their daughters out of religious or cultural custom.
An amendment adopted without objection added "piercing" to the list of things that may not be done to female genitals. Even adult women would not be allowed to get the procedure. The bill eventually passed 160-0, with no debate.
Amendment sponsor Rep. Bill Heath, R-Bremen, was slack-jawed when told after the vote that some adults seek the piercings.
"What? I've never seen such a thing," Heath said. "I, uh, I wouldn't approve of anyone doing it. I don't think that's an appropriate thing to be doing."
The ban applies only to women, not men. The bill has already been approved by the Senate but now must return to that chamber because of the piercing amendment. Both chambers of the Legislature must agree on a single version of a bill before it can go to the governor for final approval.