My wife and I are trying to have a baby. One of the biggest concerns we have if it is a boy is circumcision. I am circumcised and my first reaction is to say "Well I wouldn't go back so it is the right choice". But unfortunately there is more to it than that. Circumcision started, in my mind, to remove sexual pleasure from the male because sex was the road to sin and only for reproduction and should not be enjoyed. Many nerves are removed from circumcision and I have heard sex is more pleasurable for males not circumcised, but unfortunately that is hard to know for sure.
Then there is the idea that it is a part of our culture now and completely acceptable. But what is it really other than male genital mutilation? They say that is is healthier, but I have also heard that the data for that claim is inconclusive.
Female circumcision disgust me and yet many cultures practice it. To them it is normal. I am sure that uncircumcised females in those cultures have "ugly" vaginas to them just as a lot of women have told me that an uncircumcised penis is "ugly".
I have seen a circumcision and it is horrifying. I dont know if I should do this to my future son. There is the part of me that thinks it is normal and I should. Then there is the part of me that sees it as another brutal religious act setup by an ancient brutal god to remove our sexuality that we, for some reason, still practice like idiots. Then we go through all this trouble to "prove" it is healthy to mutilate sex organs to justify the insane act.
What are some of your thoughts on this?
If breast removal can wait until cancer appears, why can't circumcision wait until the person starts having sex - say voluntary after 16 years of age as elective surgery?
I think the fact that males who were circumcized as babies tend not to even remember the operation is an argument in favor of having it done at that time.
1. That's not a guarantee.
2. It doesn't make it any less of a violation of a child's right to sanctity of body.
3. It doesn't alleviate the freedom of religion issues (if done for such purpose).
1. Not sure what you mean.
2. a) sanctity means holy or sacred; b) rights are of two types: 1) legislated or 2) imaginary.
3. Not sure the freedom of religion consideration applies.
1. You cannot say for sure that they "tend not to remember". Traumas in infancy may have a life long effect.
2. My body is certainly holy to me. Yes, there is a legislated right in most jurisdiction that it's illegal to cut into another person for no clear benefit without their prior consent.
3. How is being subjected to a religious ritual and adopted into a religion without consent not violate freedom of religion?
Consent doesn't apply to children to that degree (especially not babies and infants). They lack the ability to meaningfully consent or protest. That right resides with the parents or legal guardians. That's reality.
They lack the ability to protest, so F@^&K 'em.
Straw man. Waste of time.
Children have the right to freely express their view and these should be taken into consideration to the maximum extent. Legal guardians are not permitted to make decisions which are not in the best interest of the child, and circumcision in the Western world does not provide any benefits which outweigh the risks. Nor are they legally allowed to subject children to physical abuse. Lastly, governments are required to work against traditional practices which may harm children.
What you are talking about are things that are lovely ideologies, but largely impractical in the context of this discussion.
If you wanted to talk about the right for an eight-year-old to accept or refuse medical treatment for some condition, then yes, it's a much more complicated issue. All sorts of delightful grey area gets introduced and I will tell you that I have no clear answers.
But right now we are talking about infants who lack the ability to speak or meaningfully consider risks and options. While I, personally, do not advocate circumcision at birth, I cannot pretend that this position is supported by lofty ideals of the innate rights of infants.
We can't even legislate doing what is 'in the best interest of the child' because it presents too many complications. We can simply legislate against some threshold of undue harm, which really isn't the same thing. For your arguments that suggest circumcision is undue harm, sure, that seems tenable. Infants have the right to be protected from some measure of harm, but any rights based on autonomy have to be commensurate with the level of autonomy those infants actually have.
So Feenstra, are you saying that infants have no right to be protected from unnecessary surgery? Because I see it as an either/or situation - either you believe that to be the case, or you must believe that circumcision IS necessary surgery.
I've already made statements to the contrary. Most explicitly:
We can simply legislate against some threshold of undue harm, which really isn't the same thing. For your arguments that suggest circumcision is undue harm, sure, that seems tenable.
It's far simpler to substantiate "unnecessary surgery," than "undue harm."