In the circumcision debate, most regard those of us who would require immediate medical need before permitting the circumcision of children as the nutjobs. Consider this quick analysis of that opinion, based on two competing quotes from an Australian newspaper, The Age. First, this:
Kai is the third son the Barwicks have had circumcised by Dr Russell, a Brisbane GP who specialises in circumcision. “For us we decided to do it because of cleanliness and hygiene,” Ms Barwick said. “My third boy at two weeks had a urinary tract infection and Dr Russell said the circumcision would mean there would be less chance of this happening in the future.”
Dr [George] Williams does not understand why parents choose to circumcise their boys because of cleanliness. “It’s much harder for a female to practise hygiene but we don’t recommend circumcision of a female for that reason. This idea that males are hopeless and unable to look after themselves so they use circumcision as genital hygiene is just stupid.”
Notice, of course, that us in the first excerpt involves those in the family not in possession of the penis in question. Notice, also, that the second excerpt relies on logic, something absent from the first excerpt. A male infant’s intact foreskin adheres at birth, so his penis requires no more care than cleaning his finger. After circumcision, parents must care for the wound, which is clearly more work than having no wound.
Cultural acceptance does not make an argument the sane position in the debate. This is especially true in the first article, as it discards the ethical dilemma involved in forcing medically-unnecessary on a child because there’s “no pain.”