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Circumcision: Pros vs Cons, Benefits, Risks

Circumcision is a medical practice that is surrounded by a lot of controversy. The main problem is that in some countries and cultures circumcision is a traditional practice both medicine- and culture-wise. Newborn babies are often circumcised because of various traditions, beliefs, and simply preferences of the parents. Some argue that circumcision is a terrible practice that is redundant and socially obsolete, while others believe that it is entirely acceptable and, in fact, necessary. This discussion divided a lot of participants in two opposing groups. Nevertheless, it is important to create individual opinions on whether the practice should remain or be removed. Issues surrounding circumcision and the nature of the right to be circumcised will be the discussion points of this paper.

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Issues Surrounding Circumcision

Probably the most controversial topic of this debate is whether or not parents should be entitled to circumcise their children. Bouclin (2013) provides an opinion on the subject, though in the context of Canada’s current state of this discussion. The author concludes that “only in rare circumstances can it be said that circumcision has a therapeutic aim” (Bouclin, 2013, p. 216). Other than some rare medical concerns about the child’s health, circumcision must be considered a variation of child abuse, according to the author. The main argument for that is that circumcision is a disfigurement. Moreover, the practice itself is not medically warranted in any other way.

Therefore, many researchers and social activists insist that circumcision must not be included in parental rights. Another important reason for that is that children are considered not independent in their decisions; therefore, it is up to them to decide whether or not they want to undergo circumcision later in their adult life.

Another important issue that is a result of the previous problem is the possibility of regrets that follow the infant circumcision. Jarrett, Kliner and Walley (2014) found out in a series of interviews that there are a lot of mothers that are deeply concerned that their sons would later blame them for the circumcision because they – as adults – regret having it done to them. This is a deeply problematic issue indeed. Mainly because a lot of cultures suggest having children circumcised, which often contradicts with community members’ opinions in the modern society. Nevertheless, more often than not parents are provided with a possibility to choose between available options freely. However, most statistics and rates on circumcision demonstrate that even in such progressive and liberal countries as the USA, circumcision is a norm that prevails almost everywhere in the country.

Finally, probably one of the most important things to know is that circumcision – like every other surgical process – often does not go well and results in some complications. The complications, in turn, may cause permanent damage and psychological problems later in child’s life. Other than not being able to live normally without any significant concerns, a person might suffer from shame and regret, which may build up to turn into an even more complicated psychological problem.

Thus, it becomes evident that the controversy is caused by some important issues. However, there are, of course, some benefits to circumcision. The successfully performed procedure provides better hygiene possibilities and is considered to make a male more attractive and “appropriate.” Female circumcision, on the other hand, is mostly considered to be barbaric and highly unjustified. Nevertheless, as with many arguable topics, there is no precise answer to whether or not circumcision is a must or an obsolete practice that should be omitted.

Medical and Human Right Issue

Supported by a significant number of research, Circumcision Information Australia states that “since any surgery in hygienic modern conditions has a pretty low complication rate, when the question was framed in such limited terms, it was not hard for the circumcision advocates to win the toss” (“Circumcision debate must be reframed as human rights issue,” 2014, para. 1). Although it is a perspective of just one side of the debate, which represents only one country, the gathered evidence provides a solid ground to make that assumption. Indeed, as stated before, there are no particular therapeutic problems that circumcision may solve. Taking this fact into account, one may easily argue that it is a human right to be circumcised.

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Indeed, it is stated by many researchers that the decision to perform this procedure must rest solely on one’s shoulders and must not be somebody else’s responsibility. Moreover, it must not be anyone else’s right to decide whether or not a child or an adult has to undergo circumcision. Therefore, this matter becomes a question of human rights and nothing other than that. Although the main point of concern is infant circumcision, some state that circumcision must also be prohibited as a practice. This argument is supported by the dangerous and obsolete nature of the procedure. Most developed countries do not have a tradition of circumcision, while less developed ones practice it even under unprofessional conditions, which may cause severe damage and further trauma.


All in all, there are a lot of opinions on the nature of circumcision and its implementation for both children and adults. Most of the ideas that support the prohibition of this practice are scientifically supported and provide a clear position. These state that not only circumcision must be categorized as an issue of human rights, it must also be prohibited in general. The final decision, however, is yet to be determined and is for now out of reach.


Bouclin, S. (2013). An examination of legal and ethical issues surrounding male circumcision: The Canadian context. International Journal of Men’s Health, 4(2), 205-222.

Jarrett, P., Kliner, M., & Walley, J. (2014). Early infant male circumcision for human immunodeficiency virus prevention: Knowledge and attitudes of women attending a rural hospital in Swaziland, Southern Africa. Journal of Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS, 11(1), 61-66.

Circumcision debate must be reframed as human rights issue. (2014). Web.

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"Circumcision: Pros vs Cons, Benefits, Risks." StudyCorgi, 27 Dec. 2021,

1. StudyCorgi. "Circumcision: Pros vs Cons, Benefits, Risks." December 27, 2021.


StudyCorgi. "Circumcision: Pros vs Cons, Benefits, Risks." December 27, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Circumcision: Pros vs Cons, Benefits, Risks." December 27, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Circumcision: Pros vs Cons, Benefits, Risks'. 27 December.

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