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Male and Female Circumcision: Medical, Legal and Ethical Considerations in Pediatric Practice
  1. Dr Sirkku Kristiina Hellsten
  1. Head of Philosophy Unit University of Dar es Salaam Dar es Salaam Tanzania

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    Edited by George C Denniston, Frederick Mansfield Hodges and Marilyn Fayre Milos, New York, Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, 1999, 547 pages, US$155.00.

    The book is an exploration of the medical, legal, moral and cultural aspects of the practice of circumcision. The title suggests that the book will cover both topics, male and female circumcision. This, however, is misleading. The main focus of this collection is on male circumcision. This is problematic because the fact that female circumcision is left with much less attention means the reader may get the false impression that the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) is not very widely spread or has less serious consequences than male circumcision. In reality, however, FGM is still extensively practised in different parts of the world and due to its radical nature its physical, mental and social effects are usually even more devastating than those of male circumcision. This important fact is undermined in the very first chapter of the book, in which the trauma of male circumcision is emphasised by the claim that the differences between …

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