"A common error made by those who want to justify infant male circumcision on the basis of medical benefits is that they believe that as long as some such benefits are present, circumcision can be justified as therapeutic, in the sense of preventive health care. This is not correct. A medical-benefits or "therapeutic" justification requires that overall the medical benefits should outweigh the risks and harms of the procedure required to obtain them, that this procedure is the only reasonable way to obtain these benefits, and that these benefits are necessary to the well-being of the child. None of these conditions is fulfilled for routine infant male circumcision. If we view a child's foreskin as having a valid function, we are no more justified in amputating it than any other part of the child's body unless the operation is medically required treatment and the least harmful way to provide that treatment."
~Margaret A. Somerville
SOMERVILLE is the founding director of the Centre for Medicine, Ethics
and Law at McGill University, where she holds the Samuel Gale Chair in
the Faculty of Law and is a professor in the Faculty of Medicine. As a
consultant to numerous government and non-governmental bodies, she has
worked with the World Health Organization, the United Nations High
Commissioner for Human Rights and UNESCO. She Has received a number of
honorary doctorates in law and is the recipient of many awards,
including the Order of Australia. She lives in Montreal.