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Bioethics. 2009 Oct;23(8):470-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8519.2008.00683.x.

Cultural circumcision in EU public hospitals--an ethical discussion.

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1
Bioethics Department, St. Joseph University, Philadelphia, PA, USA. margheritabrusa@hotmail.com

Abstract

The paper explores the ethical aspects of introducing cultural circumcision of children into the EU public health system. We reject commonplace arguments against circumcision: considerations of good medical practice, justice, bodily integrity, autonomy and the analogy from female genital mutilation. From the unique structure of patient-medicine interaction, we argue that the incorporation of cultural circumcision into EU public health services is a kind of medicalization, which does not fit the ethos of universal healthcare. However, we support a utilitarian argument that finds hospital based circumcision safer than non-medicalized alternatives. The argument concerning medicalization and the utilitarian argument both rely on preliminary empirical data, which depend on future validation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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