Is Circumcision Unethical and Unlawful? A Response to Morris et sl.
In 2016, we argued that non-therapeutic male circumcision before the age of consent is unethical and unlawful. In a response article published in 2018, Morris and colleagues sought to undermine our claims, raising a number of arguments that, we will demonstrate in the present essay, lack both logical and empirical support. The authors also advanced the unprecedented suggestion that physicians have an ethical duty to recommend male circumcision to parents. Here, we evaluate this novel suggestion and find it lacking. Indeed, as we will argue, the opposite is true: physicians are ethically proscribed from recommending and performing medically unnecessary surgery on healthy children, including the genitalia of both boys and girls. Moreover, boys have the same legal rights as girls under US and international law to bodily integrity and self-determination; parents' constitutional rights do not extend to modifying their healthy children's bodies; and even if parents had such rights, it is unlawful for physicians to circumcise healthy boys.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: May 1, 2019
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