The doctor, psychotherapist and a Jewish mother -
Dr Jenny Goodman - spoke out against male circumcision on BBC's Woman's Hour yesterday (Friday 29th June).
In an interview with Jenni Murray that included opposing views from Ibrahim Mogra an Imam form leicester and a member of the Muslim Council of Great Britain.
Dr Goodman said:
"Circumcision is removal of the foreskin, part of the baby’s body, without the baby’s consent and it does cause pain, it does cause damage and it very frequently causes complications that bleeding and infection, which are complications for any surgery, but the kind of complications we accept if surgery is being done to save life and limb.
"So on the one hand I do think the child has the right to remain intact and not be injured. On the other hand we have two sets of human rights in terrible conflict here. We have the child’s right to its human body, to not to be hurt, but we also have the right of religious freedom and they’re both real and they’re both valid rights, but I think when they come into conflict like this my instinct would be to say the child’s rights have to come first.
"However the law can be a blunt and heavy-handed implement and I would far rather that we outgrew the practice of male circumcision by a grassroots movement from below. And I can tell you it is beginning with the mothers, because what happens to a mother when a baby has part of his body removed with pain and trauma and the danger of bleeding, is the mother is instantly disempowered.
"Her natural instinct to cherish and protect the child and keep him from all harm is brought into immediate conflict with her loyalty to her tradition, her tribe, her community. And she is told that if this procedure isn’t done he cannot be part of his community. Now that is a circular, self-perpetuating argument with an element of the Emperor’s new clothes
"If you don’t circumcise that’s not an irrevocable decision, a boy or a young man can choose that for himself later on. My problem is imposing this on helpless infants and in most clutures helpless mothers as well."