Wednesday, 21 April 2010

To @MrStillwater - regarding circumcision and abortion.

I wanted to put this into a blog post because there is way too much here to put in a tweet or two.

But this is something that regularly comes up when I or others talk about circumcision. We get asked if we are pro life or pro choice, and somebody always says "if you are pro choice for abortion, how can you be against circumcision?"

Well, it's simple, to me.

Had a mini-tweet conversation with @johnhalton regarding religious circumcision and where I stand on that. As I explained to him, while I am against circumcision, I do not think it is necessary to ban it entirely. I think that the system we have here in the UK, where the NHS does not fund circumcision for medical reasons, and the fact that doctors are reasonably educated generally about foreskins and do not in most cases jump to circumcision at the slightest hint of a problem, is enough to keep circumcision to a reasonable level. Banning it entirely would cause people to go to backstreet circumcisionists and children whose parents chose it would be at a higher risk of botched operations and long term complications.

I'd like to see it be eradicated entirely, as I do ultimately think circumcision of non consenting infants is wrong. But I do not see that happening and especially in America where it is so entrenched in society.

Similarly, with abortion. I do not like abortion. I was pro-life for a long, long time, because I felt that every person, and I do see a fetus as a person, deserves life. Regardless of how they came into the world, and regardless of if they have a disability. BUT - the Baby P case hit headlines here in the UK, and I realised that if we had less abortions, there would be a LOT more abused, unwanted, neglected children out there. I don't have to go into detail about what happened to Baby P but I really think a child is better off aborted than subject to the kind of living hell that child and many others are put through every day.

It goes without saying I think as well that if you criminalise abortion, you remove a woman's right to decide about the fate of her own body, as well as her fetus'. And as with circumcision, you force women to go to backstreet abortionists which as we know from history is very dangerous to their health.

Now, let's compare this to circumcision. Circumcision ONLY affects the person whose body the penis belongs to. It does not affect the parents, or anybody else in the family. So in this case, it seems quite clear who the decision on whether or not cosmetic alteration should take place on said body. With abortion - we can't just consider the fetus, but we also have to consider the woman's physical, mental and emotional health.


  1. Hi Claire and Boys,

    I'm not sure if you're aware, but there are now quite a few Jewish and Muslim groups who are opposed to circumcision.

    Here are the links that I know

    I agree religion is such a sensitive issue, and by no means should religious groups be singled out not to circ anymore. But that said, if we ignore them, are we not just saying that those babies aren't as worth protecting as other babies?

    I like your post, and I hope you'll post more!

  2. Children who are abused should be taken away from their parents, not killed. If abortion stops the birth of children who would be abused, shouldn't abuse be gone? But since the legalization of abortion, abuse has only increased, even accounting for better reporting. If it were just about my body, sure, but if my children are people, I have no right to have them burned, dismembered, or have scissors shoved in the back of their skull, before or after birth. My four-month-old son is pretty dependent on my body, and I can't just stop breastfeeding him. I have a responsibility that if I stop breastfeeding him, I must at least make sure that he has some other way of eating.

    One day my decision not to circumcise will affect my son's wife. Does she have a right to have him circumcised unilaterally? No, even though his body might sometimes be inside hers.

    Prostitution would also be safer if it were made legal and regulated. So would rape. So would robbery. Even murder would be safer if it were legal, for the murderer at least--they could choose the most effective weapon, the one that would be most likely to kill the victim quickly and efficiently; they could kill the person in broad daylight so that they don't risk bumping into things; they could hire someone else to do it not worrying it was a setup.

    Abortion is murder, and so it should never be legal anywhere or any time except to save the mother's life (and in those circumstances the goal should be saving the mother's life, not killing the baby, and we should be looking for better ways of dealing with those cases).

  3. I don't get circumcision , i really don't . I have a son and it was a non issue, never even thought about it . Nothing i have ever read of seen has made me understand why some parents do it.

    Abortion on the other hand i do beleive there is a time and a place for , it is used to easily by some but it is neccessary for some people .