Re: “Benefits of Surgery Are Said to Outweigh Risks” (Augsut 27)

To the Editor:

For 15 years, Attorneys for the Rights of the Child has worked on behalf of men who feel that their rights were violated when a normal, functional part of their body was surgically removed without their consent and in the absence of adequate medical justification. Circumcision involves not only “risks” and “benefits” but also harms and losses, a fact completely lacking in the report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Task Force on Circumcision.

The AAP falls short of recommending circumcision, instead saying that parents should make the choice and doctors should carry out the parents’ wishes. However, the AAP’s own Bioethics Committee is on record as stating that “pediatric health care providers… have legal and ethical duties to their child patients to render competent medical care based on what the patient needs, not what someone else expresses.”

Neonatal infant circumcision is a gross violation of children’s rights.

J. Steven Svoboda, M.S. (Berkeley), J.D. (Harvard, honors)
Executive Director
Attorneys for the Rights of the Child