The reason I don’t find the anti-cosmetic argument of anti-circumcisionists convincing is that these people usually aren’t arguing from any solid principle they’re willing to consistently hold. That is, the anti-circumcisionist argument states that a person’s bodily autonomy is important and should not be violated against his or her will except when medically necessary. That means if your baby has a potentially fatal or life-altering heart defect, for example, surgery is an okay thing to demand. Having foreskin, on the other hand, is not fatal or life-altering, and so circumcision is unjustified. But here’s the problem: vaccines cause the body to create antibodies that otherwise would not be there. This is a change to the body which, depending on the vaccine, may last forever. It isn’t an outward change like circumcision, but that is neither here nor there. If the anti-circumcisionists want to premise their argument on bodily autonomy, then any permanent change to the body is fair game.
Let’s review. Circumcision is not necessary for a quality life, nor is a lack of circumcision inherently fatal or life-altering. Vaccines, too, are not necessary for a quality life, nor is a lack of vaccination inherently fatal or life-altering. The differences that exist between these two examples are plenty, but when we’re talking purely about bodily autonomy? There isn’t a bit of difference. Circumcision permanently changes a part of the bodily. Vaccines permanently change the body’s antibodies. Each example, strictly speaking, can be argued to be a violation of a person’s bodily autonomy. Yet, except for the kooks and quacks, we never hear of any anti-circumcisionists wailing on about vaccines. Funny that. It’s almost as if their primary argument is a lie that isn’t based upon any principle at all.