20 November, 2007

Some notes on circumcision 2

THW Ban Male Circumcision:

(See part one for a more general discussion)

  1. Background
    1. Currently performed on about 70% of US boys
    2. 16,000 operations in UK each year (ie: small number)
    3. FGM is banned in the UK
    4. It is a religious obligation for Jews and Muslims
  2. Problem:
    1. Mutilating the sexual organs of small children- who cannot consent- permanently for no medical reason
    2. 92% in UK performed without anaesthetic
    3. babies are dying because of procedure: Amitai Moshe in the UK, 2 boys last year in NYC
    4. permanent operation
    5. reduction of sexual pleasure

i. Adults who have had to be circumcised for medical reasons report large loss of sexual function after operation. Obviously, those done at birth have no point of comparison

  1. Solution
    1. Ban MGM on children
    2. Why only children? Because we allow adults to do all sorts of silly things like plastic surgery, extreme piercing etc etc
    3. Why MGM? Because FGM already banned
    4. FGM banned in 2003 under FGM Act 2003

i. Bans the act unless genuinely necessary for physical or mental health (eg: infection or during labour). If there is FGM, it must then be performed by e registered medical practioner.

ii. For the purposes of mental health, it is irrelevant whether she, or any other person, believes it is necessary as a matter of culture, religion, custom or ritual

iii. Offence to aid, abet, counsels or procure a girl to mutilate herself

iv. Offence to aid, abet, counsel or procure a UK or non-UK person overseas to mutilate

    1. Widen the FGM act to cover all GM.
  1. Outcome
    1. Stop this irreversible procedure
    2. Better sex J
    3. Allows for genuine consent and choice on adulthood
    4. Ensures parity between religions. FGM is inherent to some African religions and is banned yet MGM is still legal.
  2. Op arguments
    1. Argument: Reduce risk of AIDS/HIV spreading


i. Survey inconclusive

ii. But even if it is right, it only reduces by small amount

iii. Removing girl children’s ovaries would mean 100% guarantee they wouldn’t get ovarian cancer, but we don’t do it because it is disproportionate

iv. Best way is still contraception and safe sex!

v. If you are told that circumcision reduces this risk to you, less likely to have safe sex.

vi. The WHO report which looked at link still said that it should be men who were in at risk ages should be offered the procedure. In our model, that’s not a problem. It if the mutilation of children that we object to.

vii. WHO report looked at areas of Africa where MGM was common v areas where it wasn’t. Given areas where common most likely Muslim, different attitudes to personal hygiene and sex would influence study quite heavily.

viii. Removal of the clitoral hood on girls has the same impact but we rightly reject that.

    1. Argument: Hygiene


i. In modern society, it’s a myth. People now wash every day and we are a cleaner society in general.

ii. NHS doesn’t offer MGM (except of genuine medical need) because not seen as beneficial

    1. Argument: Religion


i. Says African religions are worth less than Abrahamic religions. In cultures where FGM is practiced, it is often on the basis of religious belief. We label this a barbaric and separable part of the religion. Where it is MGM it’s seen as a non-separable.

ii. FGM/human sacrifice

iii. Praying, attending mass, lighting candles all non-permanent. We ban aspects of religion when there is a harm caused.


Alex said...

FGM was only banned in 2003??? WTF???

Liz Ford said...

I find the fact that non-consensual sex within marriage was only defined as rape in 1991 as more disturbing...

Actually, 2003 doesn't wholly surprise me. FGM is an overwhelmingly African practice. Until 1990s, there wasn't a huge African community in Britain (as distinguished from a black community). I could be very wrong, but Somalians I believe were the first African group to come over in significantly large numbers. Until then, perhaps, FGM was far less practised.

Of course, until recently, multi-culturalism was orthodox and that would also have had something to do with it, I think.