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Why do health authorities fund religious circumcision?

I was alarmed to read that some NHS health authorities are offering circumcisions to religious minorities (Clinical, October 13). While this may reduce the health risks associated with private procedures, that is no reason for them to get state funding.

The state would be unwilling to fund female genital mutilation on the grounds that it is child abuse, so why should it fund what amounts to male child abuse?

In 1989 the United Nations Convention on Human Rights of the Child stated that ritualistic circumcision violated a child's right to bodily integrity.

Your article implies that Muslims automatically and unquestioningly circumcise their male children. In fact, many Muslim authorities have great difficulty reconciling this procedure with the child's right to bodily integrity. Jews are also increasingly questioning the wisdom of circumcision.

Circumcision of healthy children amounts to criminal assault since valid consent cannot be obtained from the child and parents have no legal right to consent to non-therapeutic procedures on their child's behalf.

It is time we ended the hypocrisy of allowing circumcision while at the same time condemning female genital mutilation. Further information can be found at

Dr Simon Fisher

Newcastle upon Tyne

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