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Consent for non-therapeutic male circumcision: an exception to the rule?
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  • Published on:
    Re:Non therapeutic treatment on the NHS?

    Dear Editor,

    Non-therapeutic foreskin removal on the NHS? NO! At the establishment of the NHS in the 1940s, it was correctly decided that abandoning the ritualistic and cosmetic procedure was best both for the child and the service which had better things to on which to spend time and money.

    Of course, I realise that foreskin removal has a long history, but 4000 years ago human rights were largely non-existent,...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.
  • Published on:
    Let the owner decide the fate of his foreskin.

    It is simple to present male circumcision as the scientific and sensible thing to do. Indeed, the foreskin is one of those parts of the body, like wisdom teeth and the appendix, that seem to be ripe for the plucking.

    However, those who argue both for and against circumcision are likely to overstate their case. Guy Cox pointed out that some people have religious and philosophical objections to circumcision. How...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.
  • Published on:
    Consent from both parents is ethically required

    Sirs:

    This is a timely and important article. Pretermitting whether parental consent can ever be valid for non-therapeutic surgeries on minors, certainly Mr. Wheeler is correct that at the very least the permission of both parents should be necessary for the circumcision of a male child. Too often here in the U.S. the matter ends up in court. I have been involved in one way or another in seven such cases in t...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.
  • Published on:
    Re: Non therapeutic treatment on the NHS?

    There is a curious paradox in this debate. Male circumcision is, like immunisation, prophylactic medicine. Its benefits (protection against UTIs, HIV, balanitis, phimosis and penile and cerivcal carcinoma) are well established. The risks of circumcision are lower than those of most immunisations, and in at least some cases (where the diseases in question are now rare) its benefit is greater.

    Yet if a parent's religiou...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.
  • Published on:
    Non therapeutic treatment on the NHS?

    Robert Wheeler discusses the complexities of consent for non- therapeutic male circumcision, especially when both parents may not be in agreement and specifically in the religious context. The discussion could also include the wider question of whether the treatment of children is an issue for the family alone or whether society as a whole has a right or a duty to interfere in family life, for the protection of children....

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.