Lawrence S. Dritsas
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

There has been considerable controversy surrounding 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 circumstances that led to its establishment as a routine practice are largely absent today. Reasons for its continued use and ethical and moral issues associated with its practice are then examined closely, especially in light of the current debate surrounding female circumcision. 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 consensus emerges, the practice should be suspended.


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