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Regarding the Aug. 31 Observer story “High hopes for victims of female genital mutilation“: This story reminded once again of the sad realization that there is no hope at all in the world for the many more victims of male genital mutilation. Male circumcision advocates might say there is no comparison since male circumcision, if done properly, neither robs adult men of sexual pleasure nor poses a significant health risk. But I say that arguing that removal of the prepuce does no significant harm is not an argument at all. Nor is the apology that it has a long and noble cultural heritage that places it above disrepute. That’s rubbish.

There are even some lunatics among us who argue that male circumcision should be universally mandated as a public health measure. What advocates of male circumcision ought to be telling us instead is how the procedure is not a mutilation to begin with, and how lack of consent by infantile subjects to a procedure carried out on an intimate body part can conscientiously be dismissed. Claims of health benefits are unconvincing and exaggerated.

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