CULTURAL CIRCUMCISION IN EU PUBLIC HOSPITALS – AN ETHICAL DISCUSSION
Version of Record online: 5 DEC 2008
© 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2008 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Volume 23, Issue 8, pages 470–482, October 2009
How to Cite
BRUSA, M. and BARILAN, Y. M. (2009), CULTURAL CIRCUMCISION IN EU PUBLIC HOSPITALS – AN ETHICAL DISCUSSION. Bioethics, 23: 470–482. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8519.2008.00683.x
- Issue online: 25 AUG 2009
- Version of Record online: 5 DEC 2008
- circumcision (male);
- public healthcare (EU);
- cross-religious dialogue;
- bodily integrity;
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.