Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dutch doctors call for circumcision ban (updated)

Something that Jews and Muslims can agree on:
Dutch doctors' group calls for circumcision ban

AMSTERDAM (Reuters Life!) - The Royal Dutch Medical Association on Thursday suggested a possible ban on elective circumcisions for young boys, saying they were medically unnecessary and violated children's rights.

The 161-year-old organization, which represents more than 46,000 doctors and students, called the procedure "a violation of the integrity of the body."

The group, known by its Dutch initials KNMG, proposed a dialogue between doctors and religious groups on the issue.

"KNMG sees good reasons for a legal ban on non-therapeutic circumcisions, but fears that this will lead to the operation going underground," it said in a statement.
Notice that the doctors are not claiming that circumcision has any adverse medical effects. They are just using their medical credentials to give a political opinion that the rights of parents to do something religiously imperative is not as important as the rights of the children.

Of course, adult circumcision is a much more dangerous and painful procedure, something that these doctors are counting on in order to eradicate a completely safe religious practice.

This is not ethics, and this is not medicine. This is hatred of religion clothed in the fig-leaf of "human rights."

And there is a simple proof that this is true.

The KNMG did not issue a similar opinion against ear piercings for children - a procedure that also has no medical benefit, is often done by amateurs and which often results in complications. "In one study, up to 35 percent of persons with pierced ears had one or more complications (e.g., minor infection [77 percent], allergic reaction [43 percent], keloid formation [2.5 percent], and traumatic tearing [2.5 percent])."

If KNMG didn't ask to issue a similar ban on children's piercings, then I think we can safely conclude that protecting children's rights is not their major concern.

(The analogy isn't perfect, I know, but the fact that the holes in ears can close up is irrelevant to the issue of children's rights, which is what the doctors were basing their proposed ban on.)

UPDATE: Suzanne in the comments linked to the Dutch article, and according to that the doctors are not calling for a ban, rather they simply want to discourage unnecessary medical procedures. That is a big difference. As long as parents can still have the freedom to override their doctor's recommendation then this is not such a big deal. (And, as the doctors note, a ban would result in "back alley" circumcisions, which would increase the problem.)