Thursday, June 15, 2006

Medically Necessary Surgery vs. Genital Mutilation

I was reading a CNN article about an 8 year old boy who has suffered from frequent penile inflammation for the past year. The divorced parents are in court, fighting over whether or not he should be circumsized as treatment for the problem.

The father who put his foot down at birth and stipulated that his son would stay uncut claims the surgery is unnecessary and alleges it could cause physical and psychological harm. The mother has faith in her son's doctor, who believes the surgery would alleviate the problem. She states that her son can't wear anything but loose clothing such as pajamas while enduring the pain.

Apparently there are also allegations of anti-semitism, with the mother claiming the father views circumcision as a Jewish practice and that his son "is not a Jew". The father denies any bias but interestingly, his attorney questioned if the mother's new husband is circumsized. She is married to a Jewish man.

I can't say I've given a lot of thought to the argument that circumcision is genital mutilation, but I can agree it isn't medically necessary. It's certainly a cosmetic choice. However, if my child was in pain and it was a reasonable treatment option I'd do it. Wouldn't any of us pretty much do anything for our child if it meant a pain free existence?


Anonymous said...

of course it's not medically necessary. neither is brushing your teeth, but not doing it can cause a lot of medical problems, as in the given example, and is much less sanitary than doing it. not doing it opens the door for so much more to happen. people who claim it as genital mutilation are rediculous. it's been a practice for thousands of years and is has proven benefits, with absolutely no proven harm. in my opnion most people who are ardently against it have some antisemitic thoughts behing their belief, since a lot of people still associate with a jewish practice.

TwinKim said...

What kind of father would allow his son to:
A. be in pain for an extended period of time and
B. Have that pain centered on his penis!

This kid is going to need years of therapy. He'll probably grow up with a ton of self hatred and possibly with gender identity confusion since he now associates the physical evidence of manhood with excruciating urination.

Arthur said...

Sounds like the mother is hoping the judge will rule in her favor based on her inflammatory accusations of anti-Semitism. It's a pretty sleazy tactic. She must have a really weak case.

Anonymous said...

it's only inflammatory if it's not true. and i don't see anything to lead me, or you, to that conclusion.

Arthur said...

You're wrong on both counts. Whether the accusations are true or not, they are still inflammatory. And yes, I do see something to lead me to the conclusion that they may be false: the father has denied them and the mother has no proof to back them up.

Kaya said...

Wow! Thanks for all the comments and debate on this story---if only my other posts elicited such a good response from readers. Guess everyone really is over Brokeback, hmm?

To update, we won't know what will happen to this 8 year old boy until a decision is handed down by the courts in August.