Dr Martin Scurr: ‘Why I think the circumcision of boys is wrong’

Dr Martin Scurr writes the ‘Ask the Doctor’ column in the Daily Mail. Our thanks to Jeff for pointing us to his piece in today’s edition. Extracts:

Regardless of the method of pain relief, the baby will be in agony for days afterwards, until the wound has healed.

And last year, a very careful study in Denmark of 340,000 boys born between 1994 and 2003 showed that those who undergo circumcision at birth run a greater risk of developing autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

For many years, we have known that pain and stressful surgery in early childhood can have long-term psychological consequences — indeed, newborns perceive pain and stress in the same way as older children and adults. Other studies have confirmed a link between a single painful injury and lifelong problems with stress response.

This sort of information prompted the vast Danish study, which found a 46-62 per cent increased risk of ASD in circumcised boys in the first ten years of life, and an 80-83 per cent increase in the first four years. This is shocking…

And then what about the ethics? Many children do not later share their parents’ beliefs or even their cultural values.

In my view, circumcision is a violation of human rights, and society has an obligation to protect children too young to object.


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