AUSTRALIA: Royal Australasian College of Physicians says newborn circumcision still not justified


When considering routine infant circumcision, ethical concerns have focused on recognition of the functional role of the foreskin, the non-therapeutic nature of the operation, and the psychological distress felt by some adult males circumcised as infants. The possibility that routine circumcision contravenes human rights has been raised because circumcision is performed on a minor for non-clinical reasons, and is potentially without net clinical benefit for the child.

Recently there has been renewed debate regarding both the possible health benefits and the ethical concerns relating to routine male circumcision. The most important conditions where some benefit may result from circumcision are urinary tract infections, and in adults HIV infection and cancer of the penis. The frequency of these conditions, the level of protection offered by circumcision and complication rate of circumcision do not warrant a recommendation of universal circumcision for newborn and infant males in an Australian and New Zealand context.

The College closes with a bit of ironic humor.

If the operation is to be performed, the medical attendant should ensure this is done by a competent surgeon, using appropriate anaesthesia and in a safe child-friendly environment.

Download Royal Australasian College of Physicians Circumcision Policy Statement Aug 27 2009

About David Wilton

fronterizo, public defender, intactivist, gay
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