Equivocal evidence, and the right to choose
VOLOKH at law.ucla.edu
Fri Jul 6 15:19:24 PDT 2012
From what I understand, think the health arguments for circumcision are substantial, and, as I've noted before, to the extent that parents are making a medical choice in favor of circumcision, I think it makes sense to defer to their judgment, just as it does for other medical choices. Likewise, I'm inclined to say that if there was reason to think (though also reason to doubt) that circumcision would enhance sexual function, parents could also reasonable choose that as a medical matter.
The interesting question, I think, is how we should resolve the matter if (1) the medical consensus comes to be that there was no medical benefit of circumcision and no sexual function benefits, but (2) there comes to be no consensus on whether there is a sexual function cost. My inclination would be to say that the uncertainty should not be resolved in favor of parental choice, but rather resolved in favor of patient choice: the principle that - absent medical need - practically irreversible and potentially harmful surgery should not be undertaken without the actual consent of the adult subject of the surgery.
Eric Rassbach writes:
> I am not sure that you can even rely on a claim that the sexual function was
> necessarily reduced; I know that some proponents of circumcision claim that
> circumcision actually enhances sexual function. Would you agree that if the
> evidence on that point is ambiguous or equivocal, then circumcision falls
> within the realm of things that parents can decide? That is reinforced by the
> fact that there are health reasons offered for circumcision; if those rationales
> are true (or perhaps just plausible?) then it is less like having an ear cut off
> and more like having an unsightly mole excised or an extra toe removed,
> both of which are easier at a younger age.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the Religionlaw