Infant circumcision: the last stand for the dead dogma of parental (sovereignal) rights

Journal of Medical Ethics 39 (7):475-481 (2013)

Abstract
J S Mill used the term ‘dead dogma’ to describe a belief that has gone unquestioned for so long and to such a degree that people have little idea why they accept it or why they continue to believe it. When wives and children were considered chattel, it made sense for the head of a household to have a ‘sovereignal right’ to do as he wished with his property. Now that women and children are considered to have the full complement of human rights and slavery has been abolished, it is no longer acceptable for someone to have a ‘right’ to completely control the life of another human being. Revealingly, parental rights tend to be invoked only when parents want to do something that is arguably not in their child's best interest. Infant male circumcision is a case in point. Instead of parental rights, I claim that parents have an obligation to protect their children's rights as well as to preserve the future options of those children so far as possible. In this essay, it is argued that the notion that parents have a right to make decisions concerning their children's bodies and minds—irrespective of the child's best interests—is a dead dogma. The ramifications of this argument for the circumcision debate are then spelled out and discussed
Keywords info:mesh/Cultural Characteristics  info:mesh/Choice Behavior  info:mesh/Freedom  info:mesh/Circumcision, Male  info:mesh/Child  Humans   Parenting   Choice Behavior   Cultural Characteristics   Sex Offenses   Human Rights   Freedom   Conflict of Interest   Religion and Medicine   Child   Infant, Newborn   Female   Male   Circumcision, Male  info:mesh/Humans  info:mesh/Sex Offenses  info:mesh/Parenting  info:mesh/Male  info:mesh/Female  info:mesh/Conflict of Interest  info:mesh/Infant, Newborn  info:mesh/Religion and Medicine  info:mesh/Human Rights
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DOI 10.1136/medethics-2012-101209
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References found in this work BETA

Justice as Fairness: A Restatement.John Rawls - 2001 - Harvard University Press.
Principles of Biomedical Ethics.Tom L. Beauchamp - 1979 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Circumcision, Autonomy and Public Health.Brian D. Earp & Robert Darby - 2019 - Public Health Ethics 12 (1):64-81.

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