Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Doctors Who Circumcise: Breaking the Law in Britain

Via Men's Health Forum

Supporters of genital autonomy have argued that the practice of male genital cutting (circumcision) could be illegal on minors under the Offences Against the Person Act and have critiqued the British Medical Association's position on the circumcision surgery as 'unethical.'

Earlier this month, Men Do Complain (MDC) and NORM-UK chairman, Dr. John Warren, and colleagues (pictured above) delivered an open letter to the BMA arguing that, "A child who has no disease, no injury or no dangerous abnormality has no need of any type of treatment or irreversible surgery" and that to carry it out just to please the parents "violates the autonomy of children."

The letter goes on to say that "Any surgery that is performed without the patient’s personal consent and without therapeutic need is clearly an assault. Any cut made without consent or therapeutic need 'that breaks the continuity of the skin' is a wounding under the (Offences Against the Person) Act 1861."

All other genital touching is vigorously prosecuted under British law.

Richard Dunker of MDC said, "The current attitude of the medical authorities toward circumcision is inappropriate in an era where children’s individual rights are increasingly recognised. Adults have a duty of care and responsibility to nurture their children, but this does not extend to a power to authorise non-therapeutic removal of a body part, however trivial an individual doctor may consider it to be."

Dunker continues, "It is hard to see how protecting children from unnecessary genital surgery is not in the public interest when prosecutions for touching the genitals of children are vigorously pursued. In a non-therapeutic circumcision such touching is done with impunity."



The rate of genital cutting in Britain is significantly lower than in the United States (where the CDC reported 32% of baby boys born in 2009 were circumcised).

Additional information on the prepuce (foreskin), intact care, and circumcision at: Are You Fully Informed? 


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