Thursday, February 24, 2011

When is circumcision ethical?

Circumcision is ethical in the 2 following situations:

1.  Non-Therapeutic Circumcison (No medical indication) is ethical when the male himself is old enough, mature enough, and informed enough to give informed consent to the procedure.  This is usually in adulthood when the male has reached a minimum of 18 years of age.

Informed consent should include knowledge of the following:

a. That it is a painful procedure.
b. That the foreskin is normal and healthy male anatomy, that has 20,000 pleasure nerves and anatomical structures that facilitate the mechanics and enjoyment of sex, and that these are all lost to circumcision.
c.  That safe sex still needs to be practiced because circumcised men all over the world are infected with HIV, and STI's.  Circumcision Countries like the USA have 33 times gonnoreah infections 19 times Chlamydia infections and 3 times HIV infections than Non-circumcision cultures like Holland that practice high levels of safe sex.
d. That the degree of medical benefit from circumcison when weighed against the costs and the alternative clinical and medical methods for achieiving these claimed benefits does not warrant circumcision.  That alternate clinical, behavioural and medical methods can achieve superior outcomes than circumcision without the harms and losses.
e. That the greatest benefits from a non-therapeutic circumcision are psychological, in that a conscious decision has been made for one-self about one's body, and it is also psychologically related to consciously deciding for one self to belong to a socio-cultural group*.

2. Circumcision is ethical if it is medically therapuetic (which is very rare: Finland data 1 in 16,761 cases), ie. all conservative treatment methods have been considered, tried and failed or considered medically unsuitable, and circumcision is the last resort, and only way of providing therapy.

NB* Much confusion arises out of the Belonging to a Socio-Cultural group argument.  Non-Therapeutic circumcision of minors may provide a psychological benefit to the adults, elders, parents, or authority figures within a socio-cultural group, but at the expense of the human rights violations of the individual child.  The adults of that community could adjust their beliefs and declare that "all male children with a foreskin also belong to our socio-cultural group".  So let us not confuse adult psychological needs with children's psychological needs.  All a child needs is a sense and belief they are loved and wanted for who they are, foreskin and all.

1 comment:

  1. I can only agree with all of the above, unfortunately, the doctor who advocated the procedure for me had no idea that I would suffer for his ignorance. Or, perhaps he did?