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A covenant with the status quo? Male circumcision and the new BMA guidance to doctors
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  • Published on:
    Re:Circumcision of males lessens female pleasure

    Dear Patricia

    I fear that male circumcision will never be seen as equivalent in harm to female circumcision in the eyes of Americans. In places such as America where circumcison has become the rule as opposed to the exception, cultural conditioning will always dictate morals instead of ethics. As you said in your letter, many circumcised men will never know the pleasures of being intact.However despite this kno...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.
  • Published on:
    The fallacy of the phimotic child and other lingering ignorance

    Dear editor,

    I am currently in an ongoing discussion on Richard Dawkins' forum with a young man who claims to be in an administrative position in an NHS clinic in London where male circumcisions are performed. He took it upon himself to quote anonymously some of the referral letters from GPs that it was his job to process. I suspect his aim was to try to legitimise the circumcision referrals that he deals with....

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.
  • Published on:
    Circumcision of males lessens female pleasure

    Dear Editor,

    I am amused by Allen B Shaw's defense of male circumcision while stating, "... removal of the clitoris reduces female sexual pleasure, its unjustifiable purpose."

    A small word to the good doctor. As a circumcised WASP female, born and raised in Kansas, I can assure you that clitoridectomy indeed reduces female sexual pleasure and is unjustifiable, but circumcision of the male also detrime...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.
  • Published on:
    The double standard for male and female suffering

    Dear Editors,

    Fox and Thomson found it "striking" that male and female genital cutting are treated so very differently in law. One explanation for this is that men are expected to endure pain whereas women should be sheltered and protected.

    Such an assertion is easy to dismiss as academic theorising. However, the effect of this cultural blindness can be demonstrated in the reports of the Sydney Morning H...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.
  • Published on:
    Re: Boo to circumcision

    Dear Editor

    Allen B Shaw suggests that individuals commenting on the BMA Guidance on male circumcision should declare if they are bereft of, or the proud possessors of a prepuce. He also says that 'surely there must be some bold spirits among the circumcised, articulate enough to protest about the violation of their own rights in childhood. Yet no sound is heard.'

    First therefore I will declare that I...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.
  • Published on:
    Hurrah for circumcision

    Dear Editor

    I am delighted that Trevor Perry agrees that the debate about the medical aspects of male circumcision is not closed, because most correspondents think that it is.

    One correspondent argues that removal of the richly innervated prepuce delays ejaculation. Now rapid ejaculation may have had evolutionary benefit, when wild animals or rivals often interrupted coitus. In more civilised times we wo...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.
  • Published on:
    Re: Boo to circumcision

    Dear Editor

    Allen Shaw's suggestion, that Fox and Thomson have made an "unwise" proposal in urging legal sanctions against male circumcision, is poorly founded.

    His first premise is muddled. In hypothetical language, Shaw suggests that the presence or absence of an author's prepuce "may" lead papers to be "rationalisations of emotional attitudes." Primarily, this argument should be discounted becaus...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.
  • Published on:
    Male circumcision should no longer masquerade as medical treatment

    Dear Editor,

    Fox and Thomson[1] have injected a note of rationality into debate over male circumcision with their conclusion that there is no compelling legal authority for the view that the practice is lawful. They have presented a thorough critique of the BMA's 2003 guidance document.[2] It is however instructive to examine the statement from the BMA guidance that "Male circumcision in cases where there is a clea...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.
  • Published on:
    Boo to circumcision

    Dear Editor,

    Although Fox and Thomson make interesting comments on the BMA guidance on male circumcision, their proposal to make it unlawful is unwise.

    First, there is room for doubt about the objectivity of views on this matter. They declare no interests, but can this be true of any male writer? They point out that fathers want their sons to resemble themselves, and to a degree we may all wish others of...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.
  • Published on:
    Re: A decontextualised analogy

    Dear Editor,

    Michael Benatar's defense of his "narrow point" linking circumcision with "breast reduction, liposuction and rhinoplasty" does not address the issue of what constitutes "mutilation" in the case of infant circumcision. Where an adult may not feel deprived of his or her prepuce when amputated with his or her personal consent, an infant never has that choice. An infant's screams of protest make the depr...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.
  • Published on:
    Circumcision not equally balanced between harms and benefits

    Dear Editor,

    Fox and Thomson's critique of infant male circumcision and the BMA's updated guidance to doctors rightly focuses on the "harm/benefit assessment which lies at the heart of the male circumcision debate." A common error made by circumcision proponents is that the benefits and harms are so equally balanced that it's a toss up.

    This is incorrect. To count a medical intervention as having benefit...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.
  • Published on:
    Justifying the Unjustifiable
    • George Hill, Executive Secretary
    • Other Contributors:
      • John V. Geisheker, J.D., LL.M.

    Dear Editor:

    The Benatar brothers once again attempt to “justify the unjustifiable”, as Chessler so aptly put it.1 One has to admire their dogged defence of their position, even after the American Journal of Bioethics published devastating criticism of their earlier paper.2

    Mutilation

    They st...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.
  • Published on:
    A decontextualised analogy
    • David Benatar, Associate Professor
    • Other Contributors:
      • Michael Benatar

    Dear Editor,

    M. Fox and M. Thomson [1] say that we [2] draw analogies between male circumcision and other surgical procedures such as breast reduction, liposuction and rhinoplasty. They argue that such analogies are "seriously flawed" because, unlike circumcision, these other procedures "involve adult patients capable of consenting" to them.

    This criticism, as we have explained elsewhere [3], takes our a...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.
  • Published on:
    Wrong Focus on Effects

    Dear Editor,

    Having read your article on the ethics of male circumcision, I can totally agree that no lawful reason can be justified to excise healthy sexual tissue (or any other for that matter) from non-consenting minors.

    International law makes clear that it is unlawful to force someone into a religion without their free and non-coerced consent, yet sexual mutilation in the name of religion does ex...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.
  • Published on:
    Future Laws and Religious Concerns: A USA Perspective
    • Richard B. Russell, Retired Attorney at Law and Judge Advocate (USAF)
    • Other Contributors:
      • I write solo in this instance. I have no financial interests in this issue.

    Dear Editor,

    Fox and Thompson make a significant contribution to the body of literature about the ethics of neonatal circumcision. If law is to be ethical, how then shall it fulfil a requirement to protect children from unnecessary surgery involving amputation of parts of the genitals? If laws are enacted to prohibit male circumcision, as have been enacted to prohibit female circumcision, should government carve out...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.
  • Published on:
    Circumcision Bioethics: A Proposal for Reform
    • George Hill, Executive Secretary
    • Other Contributors:
      • John V. Geishker, JD, LL.M

    To the Editor:

    We at Doctors Opposing Circumcision (DOC) are gratified by the publication of this paper by Fox and Thompson.1 They confirm the position previously taken by the Norwegian Council for Medical Ethics that male non-therapeutic circumcision violates important principles of medical ethics.2 Their findings also are co...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.