Friday, 29 June 2012

British Humanists call for circumcision ban

The British Humanist Association (BHA) has welcomed a German court ruling that the circumcision of young boys for non-medical reasons constitutes bodily harm. 

The national charity which works on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity has called for a debate on the outlawing of non-therapeutic infant circumcision in the UK.

According to an article on male circumcision in The New StatesmanAndre Copson, CEO of the British Humanist Association, thinks it is "an open and shut case, ethically speaking" on the grounds that "respect for the autonomy of a person requires that they give consent for irreversible procedures affecting their body like cutting pieces off their genitals".

Pavan Dhaliwal, BHA Head of Public Affairs, makes a more detailed comment at

She says: "It is wrong to carry out genital surgery on a child when the procedure has no medical justification, carries a risk of harm, is irreversible, and when the child is not in a position to give their consent.  Female genital mutilation is already illegal in this country, and there also needs to be legislation to outlaw the circumcision of male children, when it is not carried out for medical reasons.  

"This would not constitute an attack on religious freedom, because boys would still be allowed to be circumcised when they reach an age to consent, should they choose to undergo the procedure out of a believe that their covenant with god required it.  But infants are too young to give their consent, and their right to bodily integrity must take precedence over the religious beliefs of their parents.’"

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