The Completely Unregulated Practice of Male Circumcision: Human Rights Abuse Enshrined in Law?

John Geisheker (


We are witnessing a disturbing tend to enshrine male circumcision into law, shielding the practice from health and safety regulation of any kind. This trend precedes any honest attempt to assess morbidity, the unavoidable complications of any surgery, especially poignant for this unregulated and pre-germ-theory practice. Without a thorough assessment of morbidity, all bioethical discussions are, logically, premature. The author details a permissive and incautious milieu, including a lack of qualifications for circumcisers, rudimentary training, septic non-clinical settings, withheld anesthesia and analgesia, sub-optimal surgical protocols, a lack of back-up resources, minimal post-operative observation, minimal legal remedies, and other shortcomings. It is argued that serious inquiry must ethically precede blanket legal protections accommodating atavistic adult urges.

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