Resources & further reading

  • Circumcision Policy Statement – American Academy of Pediatrics
    “Systematic evaluation of English-language peer-reviewed literature from 1995 through 2010 indicates that preventive health benefits of elective circumcision of male newborns outweigh the risks of the procedure. Benefits include significant reductions in the risk of urinary tract infection in the first year of life and, subsequently, in the risk of heterosexual acquisition of HIV and the transmission of other sexually transmitted infections.”

  • Facts and Myths in the Circumcision Debate – American Jewish Committee
    “In May 2012 a local Cologne court decision criminalized circumcision procedures done without medical necessity. Resultant public debate triggered anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim stereotypes but the importance of circumcision as a religious practice barely registered. In response to the concerns of the Jewish and Muslim communities, the German Parliament convened a special session, which resulted in legislation providing legal protection for existing practices of circumcision. In this report the AJC reviews these events, and expresses the hope that the emotional debate will contribute to the affirmation of freedom of religion as an essential part of democratic pluralistic society.”

  • A Child’s Right to Circumcision – Prof M Freeman
    “This article examines first the English law on male circumcision, in particular that which relates to consent, and second constructs a male child’s rights to a ritual circumcision, using international instruments, primarily the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The author is committed to the need to take children’s rights seriously, to recognize the moral status of children, to see children as persons rather than property, as participants in social processes rather than as objects of intervention or social problems. To deny a Jewish or Muslim child a circumcision is to undermine that child’s right to cultural heritage and identity.”

  • Personal Beliefs and Medical Practice Policy – General Medical Council
    “In assessing what is of overall benefit to adult patients, you must take into account their cultural, religious or other beliefs and values.”

  • What is the best age to circumcise? – Morris et al
    “Infant circumcision is safe, simple, convenient and cost-effective. The available evidence strongly supports infancy as the optimal time for circumcision.”

  • Re B and G [children] [care proceedings] [2015] EWFC 3 – Judgement by Sir James Munby
    “Whereas it can never be reasonable parenting to inflict any form of FGM on a child, the position is quite different with male circumcision. Society and the law, including family law, are prepared to tolerate nontherapeutic male circumcision performed for religious or even for purely cultural or conventional reasons, while no longer being willing to tolerate FGM in any of its forms. There are, after all, at least two important distinctions between the two. FGM has no basis in any religion; male circumcision is often performed for religious reasons. FGM has no medical justification and confers no health benefits; male circumcision is seen by some (although opinions are divided) as providing hygienic or prophylactic benefits. Be that as it may, “reasonable” parenting is treated as permitting male circumcision.”

  • Jewish Circumcision Practice in the UK – Dr J Spitzer
    “Circumcision is a commonly and widely performed procedure. It is practiced worldwide and is done for many reasons in different cultures and religious groups. There are many arguments presented in favour of circumcision based on hygiene, aesthetics and disease prevention. Apart from the obvious benefit of improved penile hygiene there are other perceived benefits of circumcision. These include protection from infections of the foreskin, and inflammatory dermatoses, including phymosis, paraphymosis, balanitis xerotica obliterans (BXO) and balanoprosthitis. Circumcised boys may have fewer urinary tract infections in childhood.

    “Circumcision also provides some protection against sexually transmitted infections including chlamydia. Circumcision has been shown to protect against the spread of HIV/AIDS and its practice has been advocated in an attempt to reduce its spread. Penile cancer rates are lower in circumcised men and cervical cancer rates are lower in the partners of circumcised men. The rates of cervical cancer are lower amongst Jewish women than amongst controls.”

  • Male Circumcision: Global Trends and Determinants of Prevalence, Safety and Acceptability – The World Health Organisation
    “Male circumcision is one of the oldest and most common surgical procedures worldwide, and is undertaken for many reasons: religious, cultural, social and medical. Approximately 30% of males are estimated to be circumcised globally, of whom an estimated two-thirds are Muslim. Other common determinants of male circumcision are ethnicity, perceived health and sexual benefits, and the desire to conform to social norms. There is conclusive evidence from observational data and three randomized controlled trials that circumcised men have a significantly lower risk of becoming infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).”

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