Male infant circumcision isn’t generally medically necessary. Even a Doctor who knows these facts can still fall into old arguments to support the procedure.
Recent research has shown that circumcision isn’t always medically necessary. Aaron E. Carroll, a Professor of Pediatrics and Associate Dean for Research Mentoring at Indiana University School of Medicine, in a 2016 New York Times essay, agrees with the studies but then falls into the same trap many people do when the subject of circumcision comes up.
Over all, the evidence arguing for and against circumcision fails to make a compelling case in either direction. The benefits, while arguably real, are small; likewise the harms. In such cases, we usually leave the decision to the patient.
I also live with the knowledge that it’s possible that my children might have chosen differently. But we also have to recognize that parents make many, many decisions for their children with a greater and more meaningful impact on them than circumcision. That’s what parents do. Assuming that this is the most consequential one we might have made about our boys’ lives, and focusing so much attention on it — when evidence makes the value of either choice unclear — seems out of proportion.
Carroll not only falls back on the tradition/religious argument but also he uses the ‘a decision has to be made and as the parent I made the decision for the child…‘
As a secular humanist, I support the concept of informed consent when it comes to any medical treatment. The patient needs to be allowed to make a decision about treatment options based upon hearing, reading, and understanding the pros and cons of a particular course of treatment given to them by medical professionals.
Because circumcision isn’t always needed, a decision doesn’t always need to be made for the child. If it can wait then the child should be a party to the discussion and should be the one to give consent.
Carroll makes a point that if done later circumcision is riskier and more painful seemingly ignoring the studies that circumcision is painful no matter when it is done. Just because an infant can’t vocalize the pain doesn’t mean they don’t feel it.
If a medical professional has decided circumcision is not needed for a new born then parents really need to leave the choice up to the child when he grows older and can give informed consent.
Tradition and religion should also be left out of the discussion.