Sunday, November 24, 2013

EUROPE: Israeli MK Lectures PACE on the Medical Virtues of Ritual Circumcision

In the latest plea for the Council of Europe to reject their resolution, MK Meir Sheetrit tries argue that resolution is "medically unjustified." This is certainly a different tune than what Shimon Peres sent to Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland, arguing that infant circumcision is of "great importance" in Jewish and Muslim religious tradition, that it is a "fundamental element and obligation of Jewish tradition" that has been practiced by Jewish communities "for thousands of years."

The fact that Meir Sheetrit is choosing to argue "medical benefits" in lieu of "religious freedom" is interesting to say the least.

Is the argument for "religious freedom" so weak that it has to be propped up by a sudden interest in public health?

I will analyze excerpts of the Jerusalem Post article conveying this news:

"The committee said that circumcision is dangerous because 1.5 percent of children get infected," Sheetrit told The Jerualem Post Wednesday evening, "but infections can be taken care of."

...and completely unconscionable considering that they are caused by a needless operation on healthy, non-consenting children.

"Circumcised males are 60% less susceptible to HIV and it lowers the risk of penile and prostate cancer. Those are fatal diseases, as opposed to a passing infection."

Preventing HIV is not the reason Jews circumcise their children, is it?

Newborns are already at zero risk for sexually transmitted disease. Additionally, circumcision FAILS to prevent HIV, which is why even the most enthusiastic circumcision purporter in Africa cannot overstate the use of condoms enough.

Here is what the American Cancer Society has to say regarding penile cancer:

In the past, circumcision has been suggested as a way to prevent penile cancer. This was based on studies that reported much lower penile cancer rates among circumcised men than among uncircumcised men. But in many of those studies, the protective effect of circumcision was no longer seen after factors like smegma and phimosis were taken into account.

Most public health researchers believe that the risk of penile cancer is low among uncircumcised men without known risk factors living in the United States. Men who wish to lower their risk of penile cancer can do so by avoiding HPV infection and not smoking. Those who aren't circumcised can also lower their risk of penile cancer by practicing good hygiene. Most experts agree that circumcision should not be recommended solely as a way to prevent penile cancer.

80% of American males are circumcised from birth. Yet, according to the ACS, 1 in 6 US men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. If circumcision is supposed to prevent prostate cancer, I'm afraid it is not very effective.

"Opponents of circumcision raised the claim that the child should have autonomy.

However, there are two other ethical arguments for circumcision.

The first is that of "community and divinity," which fits with freedom of religion arguments, Sheetrit told the committee, citing University of Chicago cultural anthropologist Richard Shweder."

Does this include communities who believe it a religious rite to circumcise their daughters?

"The second is the "best interests standard," cited by Dr. Caroline McGee Jones of the University of Texas Health Science Center, explaining that it is ethical for parents to circumcise their son if they believe it will benefit him and his well-being."

What if parents believe female circumcision will benefit their daughter and her well-being?

It must be asked, what other non-medical procedure are doctors obliged to perform on children at their parents request, because they, the parents, believe it is "beneficial?"

"According to Sheetrit, PACE members from several countries approached him after the meeting to say he changed their mind, but Rupperecht remained unconvinced."


Sure they did.

The fact is that the trend of opinion on routine male circumcision is overwhelmingly negative in industrialized nations. No respected medical board in the world recommends circumcision for infants. All of them, including the AAP in their latest statement, state that the "benefits" are not great enough.

Does MK Meir Sheetrit intend to take an unfounded position against the most respected medical organizations in the west?

Is he seriously suggesting he knows more than the ombudsmen who signed the resolution?

Related Posts: 
COUNCIL OF EUROPE: Non-Medical Circumcision a Human Rights Violation

COUNCIL OF EUROPE: When Israel Says "Jump," Secretary General Says "How High?"

ISRAEL: The Emperor's New Foreskin

Politically Correct Research: When Science, Morals and Political Agendas Collide

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