Worse than tattooing a toddler?

I just finished watching a video of a toddler being being forced to get a tattoo. If you haven’t seen this yet, I’ll link the video below in the description. Basically, the toddler’s parents are forcing him to be tattooed. And the toddler is screaming and crying and obviously in a lot of pain. As we speak, there are hundreds of people on the internet trying to track down the parents of the toddler so they can report them to Child Services.

But you know, it could have been worse. Maybe when the toddler was a newborn–when he was just a few days old and his immune system was at its most vulnerable–maybe the parents agreed to have him tied down to a table as the skin on the end of his penis was sliced off. He probably didn’t even have anesthetic.

So, in reaction to the tattoo, people are outraged that a parent would give a kid an elective procedure that he cannot consent to, a procedure that is permanent, that is painful. They think the child should be taken away from his parents. They think it should be illegal. But not circumcision, even though you could use the same argument against it, and circumcision is a lot more dangerous than giving a kid a tattoo.

How dangerous is circumcision? More children die every year from circumcision complications than from SIDs, car accidents, choking, and suffocating combined. Let me say that one more time just so it sinks in. More children die because of this elective surgery than all other causes of infant death combined.

That number doesn’t even include injuries from circumcision that do not result in the infant’s death. The most conservative sources estimate that at least three times that number suffer medical complications. Some of the more common problems are infection, hemorrhaging, necrotizing fasciitis, scalded skin syndrome, sepsis, and meningitis. 71% of circumcised infants develop painful adhesions, and one third of those cases are so severe they require surgery.

So for all you people who are pro-circumcision, let me ask you this one simple question. Why is it so important for you to circumcise a newborn instead of letting your son decide whether he wants to have the surgery when he is 16? If all you can come up with is, “Oh, this way he won’t remember it,” I want you to realize that the defense you just used is probably the exact same reason that the parents of that toddler forced him to get a tattoo. And you know, there’s something screwy with your logic if you think your son not remembering this surgery is more important than all of the data that says you are exposing your baby to death or injury.

That toddler who got a tattoo will probably grow up to be a teenager who can’t remember getting it, but that teenager will also realize he has to live with it for the rest of his life and you know, he kind of wishes you had let him decide whether to get it or not. If you feel that it is a violation of a minor’s personhood to force a tattoo on them at the age of 2, then there is absolutely no reason you should force an elective surgery on a newborn that cannot be reversed and poses serious health risks. The bottom line is that this is not your decision to make. It belongs to your son.

If your son turns 16 and decides that he would prefer to be circumcised, then you can support his decision. And to celebrate, you can even pay for him to get a tattoo to go along with it.

Video of the toddler being tattooed: http://youtu.be/W2OTKwmAQZ4

Sources for the statistics cited:

http://www.mensstudies.com/content/b64n267w47m333x0/

http://www.cirp.org/library/complications/gracely1/

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