We have been made aware of the following opportunity for parents to share their stories “…about newborn male circumcision and decision-making…” with a Bioethics journal. Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics plans to publish at least 12 such stories in an upcoming issue, along with “…commentary articles that discuss the stories…”

While it appears that the editors of this journal do not fully understand the issue of childhood genital mutilation, evinced by their statement that “…delaying circumcision until adulthood can be physically and psychologically unpleasant and the risks of harm are greater for adults…”, we nevertheless encourage our subscribers to share their stories with this journal.

We have reproduced the call for stories below.

Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics has released a new call for stories. Please see details below and contact the managing editor with any any questions: narrativebioethics@gmail.com

Newborn Circumcision

Symposium Editor: Heidi A. Walsh, MPH, CHES

Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics will publish a collection of personal stories from parents about newborn male circumcision and decision-making about whether to circumcise their minor male children. Circumcision—the removal of the foreskin—is usually performed for religious, cultural, or personal reasons. Opinions about newborn circumcision are divided. Some believe the procedure offers health benefits such as protection against urinary tract infections and HIV. The evidence for beneficial effects is controversial, and the benefits are reduced if circumcision is performed later in life. Others consider newborn circumcision a form of bodily mutilation causing unnecessary pain or believe it to be morally inappropriate because the child cannot consent. Meanwhile, delaying circumcision until adulthood can be physically and psychologically unpleasant and the risks of harm are greater for adults.

We want true, personal stories in a form that is interesting and easy to read. In writing your story, please consider these questions:

  • For parents who circumcised their newborn male children: why did you think circumcision was in your child’s best interest? For parents who didn’t: why did you think circumcision was not in your child’s best interest?
  • Did your child experience any complications after their circumcision? If so, did it require any medical intervention? If not circumcised, has your child experienced any issues?
  • What cultural or religious traditions do you practice that influenced your decision to agree or decline to have your newborn circumcised? Did you experience any distress if you followed these traditions? Did you experience any criticism if you went against these traditions?
  • Were health care providers, friends, family, or religious leaders involved in the decision making process? What, if anything, were you told ahead of time about newborn circumcision?
  • What advice do you have for parents who are expecting boys and are conflicted about newborn circumcision?
  • For male authors, how did your own experience influence your decision?
  • What else would you like to tell us about the decision making process surrounding whether to circumcise your newborn or with having your newborn circumcised?

You do not need to address each of these questions—write about the issues that you think are most important to share. If you are not a writer, tell your story in your own words, and our editorial staff will help you.

If you are interested in submitting a story, we ask you first to submit a 300-word proposal—a short description of the story you want to tell. Send inquiries or proposals to the editorial office via email: narrativebioethics@gmail.com. We will give preference to proposals received by November 1, 2022. If your story is invited, we will ask you to submit it within 6 weeks of the invitation. Final stories are 4 – 10 double-spaced pages or 800 – 2000 words.

For more information about the journal Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics, the guidelines for authors, and privacy policies, visit our webpage at: http://nibjournal.org/submit/guidelines/.

We plan to publish 12 stories on this topic in our print edition; additional stories may be published as online-only supplemental material. We also publish 3 – 4 commentary articles that discuss the stories that are published in the journal. To see a finished symposium, please visit Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics’ page on Project MUSE and click on the unlocked, free issue.