It’s banging a well-beaten drum, but as always, when public health officials discuss voluntary adult male circumcision, they never mean voluntary or adult. Again:
Kenya could expand circumcision of newborn babies if a pilot project in Nyanza is successful.
The organisation carrying out the pilot exercise reports that more parents are warming up to the idea of their babies being cut a few days after birth. The exercise follows earlier studies that proved circumcision of infants would be safe and acceptable.
Nyanza Reproductive Health Society says they have cut 600 male infants since January in the pilot programme.
If the 18-month project is successful, infant circumcisions will be rolled out countrywide. “The circumcision of an infant is safer, less technically challenging, faster, easier to care for postoperatively,” says Marisa Young, the PhD student at University of Illinois who is heading the project.
Was it acceptable to the 600 males circumcised in this program since January? Science without ethics is disgusting.
In 2012, Marisa published a study in the journal Pediatrics [ed. note: link], which revealed a high acceptance of circumcision for infants in Nyanza where circumcision is not a rite of passage.
“As adult MC becomes more prevalent, demand for Infant Male Circumcision (IMC) is likely to increase,” Marisa says in the study, which found mothers more willing to have their babies circumcised, compared to men.
From the beginning, WHO/UN/UNAIDS aimed for social acceptance, which would lead to high acceptance of circumcision for infants. We don’t want to admit we’ve made a mistake or been harmed in any way. To admit this, we must admit the obvious flaw in believing that “high acceptance of circumcision for infants” matters. The issue is always whether there would be high acceptance of circumcision by these infants. We do not know. Post hoc defenses are interesting, at best. They are irrelevant. But as we see again here in Ms. Young’s unethical study and program, the key is always to circumcise males before they can choose not to volunteer. It would be too obvious a violation to force circumcision on non-consenting adults, so children become the target.