Two new examples of circumcision without consent that should be prosecuted, but not for a reason distinguishing it from any other non-therapeutic genital cutting on a child. First, from England.
A 61-year-old man, believed to be the doctor who carried out the procedure, has been arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm with intent.
The boy’s mother complained to police, saying her son was circumcised without her consent while staying with his paternal grandparents in July 2013.
If consent from one parent is permitted, it’s still a violation because the healthy¹ boy didn’t consent.
Next, from South Africa:
A police investigation is under way after a group of 27 boys were illegally circumcised in Scenery Park‚ East London‚ the Eastern Cape health department said, writes Naledi Shange.
Spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said police‚ traditional leaders and health officials raided the initiation school on Sunday afternoon.
They were accompanied by some of the parents whose children had been circumcised without their consent.
The same point on consent applies.
As in my last post, we’ll be making real progress when the meaning of their aligns with ethical principles by referencing the boys, not their parents. Still, any pursuit that raises the issue of consent at all is almost certainly progress.
¹ This key point is why the change we need is more cultural than legal. Doctors who support non-therapeutic circumcision of children – American doctors, in particular – are inclined to believe nonsense about the foreskin, such as what Brian Morris promotes. There won’t be a change in the legal until the culture changes. But if there were somehow a legal change without cultural change, the law wouldn’t matter. The boy’s chart would read “therapeutic treatment for phimosis” or some other offensive lie. Also, having a law no prosecutor will enforce is no better.