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David Morton’s article “Choice Cut” (7/30) was well-written. Alas, it failed to even touch upon the question of the defensibility of the practice of circumcision, whether it’s done in the context of a religious rite or by any other justification.
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Removing intact flesh from a baby for no other reason than that tradition desires it is a violation of that child’s most fundamental human right: to have the intact body he or she was born with. Infant circumcision is the removal of healthy, natural reproductive-organ tissue from a human being without that person’s consent. At worst, it constitutes a form of very serious assault; at best, it constitutes elective surgery that under any other circumstance would require a person’s explicit and competent approval. Removing parts of a person’s reproductive organ tissue without a clear and compelling medical justification and without their consent is wrong to do to girls, as is done still in parts of Africa to this day, and it is wrong to do to boys in America (or anywhere else), whether those boys are born to Jewish parents or not. It is a clear violation of human and civil rights that should not be permitted by law—religious or secular. Consider this: If tradition were a valid reason for allowing actions to continue, the human race would still be performing human sacrifice and eating the flesh of the dead.
Many people of Jewish and non-Jewish faiths find the practice of circumcision to be abhorrent and have substantial and valid arguments—religious, social, medical, ethical, and legal—against this practice. There are resources and groups of concerned individuals that address this issue on the Internet. Those wishing to learn more may start at http://www.jewsagainstcircumcision.org and http://www.nocirc.org.
Finally, people seeking circumcision of their infant sons should be aware that men have successfully sued the hospitals and the practitioners who performed their circumcisions. I foresee a day when men will be able to sue their own parents who allowed the procedure to be done to them, so think twice before you cut your boys!