In leaked audio from a panel at the October 19, 2013 Pitts Lectureship in Medical Ethics at the Medical University of South Carolina, the bio-ethicist for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) task force on circumcision suggests that human rights is not the primary way the AAP decides on ethical issues.This audio comes from the open comment period of the conference, where Dr. Michael Brady and Douglas Diekema of the AAP task force on circumcision spoke with Steven Svoboda from Attorney’s for the Rights of the Child, and several other human rights activists.

In the audio, Douglas Diekema, bio-ethicist of the circumcision task force, tells Steven Svoboda:

The reality is that the data is not strongly in support of either polar position on this case, and I recognize that, you know, you’re talking about sort of a rights based view of human ethics, but, you know, there are other – there are other, other ways of thinking about ethical issues, including whether a parent ought to be able to decide whether the benefit of this procedure for their given child exceeds the risks…

Diekema continues:

…This business about girls and boys being equal, I mean, quite frankly, female genital cutting, that – nobody has ever ever demonstrated any potential medical benefit to that procedure.

Steven corrects him that their have been medical studies (Stallings & Karugendo) showing medical benefits of female circumcision. The AAP has previously released a position statement (that they later retracted, after public outcry) suggesting that physicians be allowed to perform a ritual nick on the genitals of girls whose parents might want female genital cutting. Diekema has publicly defended this position statement.

Are parents aware of the ethical model the AAP is using?

Original Blogpost by Brendon Marotta.