“A standard surgical procedure”

The National Post gives more detail on the Israeli woman fined by a rabbinical court for refusing to allow her infant son to be circumcised.

The mother, whose name was given only as Elinor, said her son had been born with a medical problem that prevented him undergoing ritual circumcision on the eighth day after birth, as is customary in Jewish law.

“As time went on, I started reading about what actually happens in circumcision, and I realised that I couldn’t do that to my son.

“He’s perfect just as he is,” Haaretz newspaper quoted her as saying. In their ruling, the three rabbis wrote: “Circumcision is a standard surgical procedure that is performed on every Jewish baby boy, so when one of the parents demands it, the other cannot delay it except where it is proven to be medically dangerous.” [Read more...]

Put the scissors down

In better news – the countries which I think of as Scandinavia plus Finland but which are properly called Nordic (I learned via this story) want to get rid of infant circumcision.

Yesterday, during a meeting in Oslo, Nordic ombudsmen for children, Nordic paediatricians, and paediatric surgeons agreed a resolution urging their national governments to work for a ban on non-therapeutic circumcision of underage boys.

The children’s ombudsmen from the five Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland), along with the Chair of the Danish Children’s Council and the Children’s spokesperson for Greenland, passed a resolution to: “Let boys decide for themselves whether they want to be circumcised.” [Read more...]

The need for extreme care

So here’s a zany suggestion – people should stop cutting off bits of infants’ penises in the comfort and danger of their own homes.

The trial of nurse Grace Adeleye who carried out the circumcision on Goodluck Caubergs heard that up to three children a month are admitted to the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital because of bleeding after home-based
circumcisions.

That’s a beautiful old tradition. [Read more...]

Simply strange ones

But Giles Fraser looks quite thoughtful compared to Ed West in the Telegraph.

…people are not naturally moral relativists, and female circumcision cannot be viewed in any way as an acceptable cultural practice, violating all Western ethical principles, scarring women for life out of sheer spiteful misogyny.

But it’s inevitable that any movement that has been proved right and principled will then push its ideology too far until it too becomes intolerant and ludicrous, and the campaign against male circumcision is just one example. In theory removing a foreskin could be seen as a violation of a child’s rights, but that’s to take a theoretical liberal argument to an absurd and illiberal position. It equates genuinely horrific and immoral alien cultural practices with simply strange ones, which almost becomes an extreme reverse cultural relativism – all cultures that aren’t mine are equally bad. [Read more...]