Circumcision, Is This Practice Ethical?

Topics: Circumcision, Sexually transmitted disease, Informed consent Pages: 4 (1580 words) Published: May 18, 2008
Circumcision, is this Practice Ethical?
The debate of circumcision is a strong and ongoing one. From the beginning of medically preformed circumcisions, doctors have claimed a wide variety of benefits from this procedure. The most recent of these claims being the reduction in the transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), commonly known to be the virus that causes AIDS. The rebuttal from those opposing the routine non-therapeutic circumcision of infant males is that the data collected from a few different studies is not sufficient enough to make this a necessary procedure. There is a lot of debate about informed consent among other issues. Going along with the debate of informed consent it can easily be said that doctors, by routinely performing circumcisions, are bordering on the edge of malpractice. Medically performed circumcision came to be in approximately 1865 in England and 1870 in the United States (CIRP, 2005). This procedure was believed to cure the disease of masturbation and was routinely performed without chloroform with the intention of associating the pain of circumcision with the act of masturbating (Hodges & Warner, 1995). In their article, Hodges & Warner went on to say “By the turn of the century, circumcision had become a panacea. Amputation of the foreskin was "scientifically proven" to cure and prevent diseases ranging from insanity to epilepsy, malnutrition, hip-joint disease, paralysis, eczema, tuberculosis, headache, hysteria, alcoholism, criminality, and heart disease.” (1995) The United States military holds a large portion of the responsibility for circumcision becoming so common place. In both WWI and WWII, soldiers were required to allow military doctors to perform circumcision with a court-martial being the penalty for not conforming. They were told that it was more hygienic and it prevented disease. When these soldiers returned home after the war, not knowing any better, they continued the practice on their own...
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