Body modifications for non-medical reasons should require consent

The Nordic countries show off their level of civilization again:

During a meeting in Oslo, Nordic ombudsmen for children, Nordic paediatricians, and paediatric surgeons agreed a resolution urging their national governments to work for a ban on non-therapeutic circumcision of underage boys.

The ombudsmen concluded that: “Circumcision without a medical indication on a person unable to provide informed consent conflicts with basic principles of medical ethics.” They found the procedure “to be in conflict with the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, articles 12, and 24 (3) which say that children should have the right to express their own views and must be protected from traditional rituals that may be harmful to their health.”

The council of Europe went in the same direction and made it clear that this includes much more than circumcision:

The practices condemned by Ms Rupprecht include the circumcision of young boys for religious reasons, female genital mutilation in some cultures, medical interventions in the case of intersexual children, and the submission to or coercion of children into piercings, tattoos or plastic surgery.

As was to be expected, though, the “religion and tradition trump children’s rights”-brigade reacted:

A statement issued by the Israeli foreign ministry called on the council to overturn the resolution, saying that “claims that circumcision harms young boys’ health and body are false, and do not rest on any scientific evidence”.

The resolution cast “a moral stain on the Council of Europe, and fosters hate and racist trends in Europe”, it added.

Israel objected to inclusion of female genetic mutilation in the resolution, saying it bore no comparison with the ritual circumcision of boys. “Circumcision of male children is an ancient religious tradition of two important religions, Judaism and Islam, and it is also common among some Christian circles. Any comparison of this tradition to the reprehensible and barbaric practice of female genital mutilation is either appalling ignorance, at best, or defamation and anti-religious hatred at worst,” the statement said.

The resolution was “an intolerable attack both on the respectable and ancient religious tradition that lies at the base of European culture, and on modern medical science and its findings”.

Compare this strong language with the carefully worded statement of the council it reacted to:

“Some parents, often with the best of intentions, give their consent to medically unjustified operations or interventions, which may have serious consequences for the physical integrity of their children, some of whom suffer for the rest of their lives,” said Marlene Rupprecht (Germany, SOC), whose report was today adopted by the PACE Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development.

That’s right, one group talks about “medically unjustified” and “might”, whereas the other talks in absolutes, claims that their pre-scientific traditions are much better than other pre-scientific traditions, and attacks strawmen. And somehow the former are painted as evil.

This entry was posted in health benefits, health care policy, religion, secularism. Bookmark the permalink.

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