The Instigator
Pro (for)
1 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
6 Points

Parents should not be allowed to tattoo their babies.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/27/2012 Category: Society
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,663 times Debate No: 28662
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (2)




Parents should not be allowed to tattoo their babies. This is because when a youth is unable to communicate and does not have the ability to share their opinion it becomes considerably unfair. And is child abuse.
That is all I will say for now.


Definitions shouldn't be necessary for this. So I'll move straight to Pro's contentions and my own Neg case.

===Pro Case===

(1) Communication.- Pro argues that babies can't communicate, therefore we shouldn't be able to tattoo them. But how does this follow? Babies can clearly communicate (so Pro's point is false anyways) through verbal (crying) as well as non-verbal (gesturing) means but that's besides the point. My question is from whence the conclusion of the obligation not to tattoo babies follows. It doesn't.

(2) Child Abuse.- Pro presents two problems here. 1)- She hasn't actually established why its child abuse. Her evidence therefore amounts to no more and no less than pure conjecture. 2)- She seems to take it as a presumption that a moral obligation exists not to abuse children. On a contractual view, parents would be within their rights to do most things provided that they don't physically/psychologically coerce the child into staying within their house.

===Con Case===

On preference utilitarianism, the morality or immorality of an action is determined by its contribution to the satisfaction of aggregate preferences. Now it should be obvious that on this view, one can't make clear-cut pronouncements on whether an action is moral or immoral since preferences aren't static/universal. It's my contention that there are scenarios in which more preferences are satisfied (by observers, the parents, etc.) by the tattooing of a baby then there are preferences dissatisfied by doing so.

Also consider that the pain point (that tattooing a baby would hurt him/her) is essentially moot since children don't form memories until at least around three years old[1]. So any counter on pref. utilitarianism Pro may choose to run can really only take into account something like the aesthetic disutility of seeing a tattoo you got as a baby.

If Pro wishes to bring up a justificatory counter in the next round, I'd be fine with providing some explanations showing why one should err on the side of preference utilitarianism as an ethic as opposed to whatever ethic Pro is proposing in defense of his position. Note that I don't need to show preference utilitarianism to be sound in itself, just that it's more sound/preferable than Pro's rival ethical system/philosophy/


Debate Round No. 1


The following stories are not about babies but about underage children.
A North Carolina mom who moonlights as a tattoo artist figured it would be fine, and now she's in trouble with police for giving her 11-year-old daughter a tattoo.

"She asked me to do it," 30-year-old Odessa Clay, who sports plenty of her own body art, told WCTI-TV. The tattoo is of a small heart near the girl's right shoulder.

Related: Would you let your 10-year-old get a tattoo?

Clay told the TV station that she thought minors could get tattoos as long as their parents approved; given that she's the girl's mother, she didn't think it would be a problem. Clay, who also hangs drywall and sells Mary Kay products, according to her public Facebook page, said that she used her own tattoo instruments and numbed her daughter's arm before permanently drawing on the outline of a heart.

"I didn't fill it in," she said, adding that the girl was not in any pain.

Related: Mommy Tattoos, the new trend for female celebrities?

Given that she inked her daughter last year, but wasn't arrested until late September, Clay says that she thinks a former in-law told police about her daughter's body art in retaliation for the police report that Clay filed recently against her daughter's paternal grandfather. Clay is due in court next month to face a single count of tattooing a person under the age of 18, and has not been charged with child abuse.

At least her daughter's tattoo is tiny. In June, a 13-year-old boy in Washington state went on a trip with a family friend and returned with a 6-inch tattoo of a dragon on his chest.

"The parents were not happy about it," police told The Associated Press. "The parents would not have allowed or condoned it."

Almost every state requires parental permission in order to tattoo a minor; in North Carolina and 13 other states, kids under age 18 can't get tattoos even if their parents do approve. (You can find a state-by-state listing of body art regulations here.) The reasoning is that kids, no matter how savvy they seem, aren't mature enough to make life-altering decisions on their own.

Earlier this year, Chuntera Napier was arrested in Georgia and charged with child cruelty and being party to a crime after she allowed her 10-year-old son, Gaquan, to get a tattoo in honor of his late brother.

"I always thought if a parent gives consent, then it's fine," Napier said in January. "How can somebody else say it's not OK? He's my child, and I have a right to say what I want for my child."

Most of these parents are very wrong, a ten-thirteen year old is not in a position (at that young age) to make a big decision like that, to have something permanently inked into their body. And that is why there is a law against it.


socialpinko forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


GeorgiaAshley forfeited this round.


In light of the unfortunate forfeiting by both my opponent and myself, I'll elect to simply post a conclusion this round. Obviously, no new arguments can be brought.

My own case in defense of my position was never even touched upon by Pro. I argued that on preference utilitarianism, one isn't in a position to pass blanket judgements on the morality or immorality of any specific action. It all depends on the specific situation under scrutiny. Pro never so much as responded to this point and as such, we may consider it conceded. Pro also failed to respond to my counters to her R1 case (the child abuse point for the most part).

The reason for these concession lies in the fact that Pro's entire R2 post was plagiarized: []

I therefore urge a Con vote.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by socialpinko 4 years ago
@Tennis47, why'd you give Pro conduct?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by DoctorDeku 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro provides a compelling premise to affirm but fails to warrant that premise with a legitimate argument. I also give Con conduct for Pro's Plagiarism.
Vote Placed by tennis47 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:12 
Reasons for voting decision: It's up to the parents. Babies are under 2 years of age, so they won't remember getting it anyways, but what happens if they don't like their tattoo later on? It should be their child's decision whether or not they would want to get a tattoo.