The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly

Volume 12, Issue 1, Spring 2012

The Principle of Totality and Integrity

David Lang
Pages 99-128

Elective Child Circumcision and Catholic Moral Principles

The ethical propriety of routine male infant circumcision has been debated in journals of medicine and law for many years. This article explores the issue from historical, medical, and moral perspectives. Two essentially different forms of circumcision (one more drastic than the other) are distinguished. Discussion focuses on the effects of the more radical kind of nontherapeutic surgery on a normal healthy child’s body: whether it constitutes a mutilation, whether it is medically warranted, and whether it is ethically defensible in light of general philosophical principles and Catholic moral doctrine. The conclusion questions the social bias favoring parental choice to circumcise a non-consenting son. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 12.1 (Spring 2012): 99–128.

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