Circumcision: What should be done?

TitleCircumcision: What should be done?
Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsBen-Yami, H.
Journal titleJournal of Medical Ethics

I explain why I think that considerations regarding the opposing rights involved in the practice of circumcision—rights of the individual to bodily integrity and rights of the community to practice its religion—would not help us decide on the desirable policy towards this controversial practice. I then suggest a few measures that are not in conflict with either religious or community rights but that can both reduce the harm that circumcision as currently practiced involves and bring about a change in attitude towards the practice, thus further reducing its frequency. These measures are the compulsory administration of anaesthetics; the banning of the metzitzah b’peh; and having an upper age limit of a few months on nontherapeutic circumcision of minors. I conclude with general considerations on why the steps taken towards the reform of circumcision should be moderate.


Special Issue – “The Ethics of Male Circumcision”

Department of Philosophy