Where, Science, Ethics, and Human Rights Meet

Our presentation on July 13, 1999 in Denver before approximately 200 physicians at the Thirteenth Meeting of the International Society for Sexually Transmitted Diseases Research (ISSTDR) was well received. Our talk, entitled, "Where, Science, Ethics, and Human Rights Meet," concluded the panel on "Male Circumcision, STD, and HIV: Science, Ethics, and Controversy." I discussed various aspects of male circumcision including an overview of its anthropological and historical roots, ethics, law, and human rights. I said the burden of proof must lie with proponents of this amputative surgery and that no religious exception exists to excuse a physician's potential ethical and legal liability, particularly given that the religion of the patient cannot be known at the time of the operation. Comments after the panel ran overwhelmingly in favor of not performing non-medically indicated surgery on unconsenting minors.

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