Involuntary circumcision: the legal issues. BJU International (1999), 83, Suppl. 1, 63–73 [PDF]
R.S. VAN HOWE, J.S. SVOB ODA*, J. G. DWY ER† and C .P . P RIC E
Medical College of Wisconsin, Department of Paediatrics, Marshfield Clinic — Lakeland Center, Minocqua, WI, *Attorneys for the
Rights of the Child and †University of Wyoming, USA
Circumcision is the amputation of the prepuce from the
rest of the penis, resulting in permanent alteration of
the anatomy, histology and function of the penis [1,2].
Recently, legal scholars have challenged the legality of
neonatal circumcision [3–7] and argued that it consti-
tutes child abuse [8,9]. While this conjecture may seem
outlandish to American physicians, who tend to a popu-
lation in which 70–90% of the males are circumcised
neonatally, such claims have a strong foundation in
legal precedent and medico-ethical standards that aim
to protect the bodily integrity of persons.