Below the Belt: Doctors, Debate, and the Ongoing American Discussion of Routine Neonatal Male Circumcision

Lawrence S. Dritsas
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
There has been considerable controversy surround-
ing the routine circumcision of male infants in the
United States. This is of particular concern, since the
medical establishments of all the other countries of the
developed world have abandoned this procedure as
having dubious benefits. This article examines the
medical pros and cons of neonatal male circumcision
in a historical perspective and suggests that the cir-
cumstances that led to its establishment as a routine
practice are largely absent today. Reasons for its con-
tinued use and ethical and moral issues associated
with its practice are then examined closely, especially
in light of the current debate surrounding female cir-
cumcision. The article concludes that the medical and
ethical issues surrounding this practice should be
more broadly debated until there is some consensus as
to its benefits. Prudence dictates that until such a con-
sensus emerges, the practice should be suspended.


(also at CIRP - Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society)


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