Libertarianism and Circumcision

Document Type : Debate


Joseph A. Butt, S.J. College of Business, Loyola University, New Orleans, USA


Despite the millenniums-old tradition in Abrahamic circles of removing the foreskin of a penis at birth, the involuntary and aggressive practice of circumcision must not be made an exception to the natural, negative right to self-ownership—a birthright which should prevent a parent from physically harming a child from the moment of birth going forward. This paper will present a natural rights argument against the practice of male child circumcision, while also looking into some of the potential physical and psychological consequences of the practice. It will compare the practice with that of female circumcision, which is banned in developed nations but still practiced in the third world, as well as other forms of aggressive action, some once-prevalent, while disputing arguments made for parental ownership of the child, religious expression, cultural tradition, cleanliness, cosmetics, and conformity.


Main Subjects

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