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This is a very telling paper, for if it is true that forced
circumcision of an adult male is a violation of his human rights, it must
follow that forced circumcision of a male minor - a boy or an infant - is
a violation of his human rights and equally wrong. The age at which it is
done does not matter - as you can see from a simple thought experiment.
It is held by many people in Australia and the United States...
It is held by many people in Australia and the United States that
parents have the right to circumcise their (male) children, and by even
more people in the Middle East, North Africa and South East Asia that they
have the right to circumcise their female children as well. How old do the
children have to be before parents lose this right? Would it be OK for
parents to forcibly circumcise a 25-year-old, male or female? Most people
would probably say No, but what about an 18-year old? A 15-year-old? Ten
years? Five years? Two years? Six months? Six weeks? We may predict that
the number of people answering Yes will increase as we go down the age
scale, but what is the basis for their judgement? Where is the dividing
line where circumcision without consent becomes unacceptable (going up),
or acceptable (going down)? And what are the criteria for placing it
there? The fact is that it really makes no difference when a boy or girl
is circumcised; whatever the age, it is just as much a violation of his
(or her) physical integrity and personal autonomy, and the result is just
the same: permanent loss and/or disfigurement of a functional body part.
No matter when it is done the result is the same: for the rest of his life
he will be deprived of his foreskin, and she will bear the scars of
whatever operation was performed on her.
The reason that circumcision advocates insist on circumcision in
infancy or early childhood is not because circumcision at that age is
safer or attended by fewer complications, despite their claims to the
contrary, and certainly not because it has to be done that early for the
full extent of the "benefits" to be available. The real reason advocates
demand infant circumcision is that early circumcision is simpler and more
convenient for the adults because the infant or child has little or no
power to object or resist. The older he or she is, the greater his/her
powers of resistance.