Steven Svoboda and Peter Adler Submit Abstracts for 2014 Boulder Symposium on Genital Autonomy and Children's Rights

Attorneys for the Rights of the Child (ARC) Legal Advisor Peter Adler and ARC Executive Director Steven Svoboda have each submitted an abstract for presentation at the 2014 symposium, to be held in Boulder, Colorado from July 24-26, 2014.  The symposium is entitled Genital Autonomy 2014: Whole Bodies, Whole Selves: Activating Social Change. More information can be obtained at www.genitalautonomy.com.

Steven Svoboda's abstract is as follows:

 


The Cutting Edge: Making Sense of European Legal Developments Amidst Growing Recognition of Children’s Legal, Ethical, and Human Rights to Bodily Integrity

 

By J. Steven Svoboda

Abstract for Presentation at Genital Autonomy 2014, Boulder, Colorado, July 24-26, 2014

The 2012 Cologne and 2013 Hamm court cases from Germany upheld a child’s human and legal rights to bodily integrity. Previous decisions were handed down in Dusseldorf in 2004, in Frankfurt in 2007, and in Austria in 2007.  These cases were decided in a context of increasing acknowledgement of children’s right to bodily integrity from the United Nations, the Council of Europe, and numerous influential medical, ethical, legal, and political bodies

The legislation passed to reverse the Cologne decision suffers from four core problems. The contention that the Cologne and Hamm decisions violate religious rights is erroneous. Germany lacks a church-state separation and accords parents a level of religious control that is not available in the United States. Also, Germany lacks the precedent-based legal system of US common law. Accordingly, while these favorable cases retain their validity, they must be used with care.

 


Peter Adler's abstract is as follows:


 

Is Circumcision a Fraud?

By Peter Adler

Abstract for Presentation at Genital Autonomy 2014, Boulder, Colorado, July 24-26, 2014

Is it a fraud for physicians worldwide to circumcise healthy boys and girls? The implications would be profound since in the U.S., the statute of limitations begins to run upon the discovery of fraud. Plaintiffs also would not need to prove intent to deceive: when a fiduciary relationship exists, as here, material misrepresentations and omissions constitute constructive fraud.

Physicians have committed fraud by circumcising millions of boys without parental consent, by falsely diagnosing boys with phimosis, and by charging Medicaid for circumcision since 1965 as Medicaid does not cover unnecessary elective surgery. Physicians also often obtain parental consent by exaggerating the benefits of circumcision while understating, not disclosing, or lying about its disadvantages. If physicians told parents the truth about circumcision, few would consent to it.

Physicians also have created the self-serving myth that parents have the right to make the circumcision decision for religious, cultural, or personal reasons. Even if parents did, no physician in the world has the ethical or legal right to operate on healthy boys or girls. Thus, every circumcision of children is a fraud and exposes the physician to long-term liability.

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