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In defence of genital autonomy for children
  1. Brian D Earp
  1. Correspondence to Brian D Earp, Visiting Scholar, The Hastings Center Bioethics Research Institute, Garrison, NY, 10524, USA; brian.earp{at}gmail.com

Abstract

Arora and Jacobs (2016) assume that liberal societies should tolerate non-therapeutic infant male circumcision, and argue that it follows from this that they should similarly tolerate—or even encourage—what the authors regard as ‘de minimis’ forms of female genital mutilation (as defined by the World Health Organization). In this commentary, I argue that many serious problems would be likely to follow from a policy of increased tolerance for female genital mutilation, and that it may therefore be time to consider a less tolerant attitude toward non-therapeutic infant male circumcision. Ultimately, I suggest that children of whatever sex or gender should be free from having healthy parts of their most intimate sexual organs either damaged or removed, before they can understand what is at stake in such an intervention and agree to it themselves.

  • Circumcision
  • Autonomy
  • Children
  • Feminism
  • Sexuality/Gender

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