Thursday, July 16, 2015

Is Abortion Equatable to Circumcision? [Clinton Wilcox]

A friend on Facebook posed a question to me that he had received from a pro-choice person. The question was, "if the unborn feel pain, should we, then, outlaw circumcision?"

Now, it's not my desire here to get into the circumcision debate. I actually don't have a firm view on it one way or the other. What I do want to comment on quickly is the inability of many people to understand what is good for a person, and/or to think critically about their arguments and reject them if they are bad. This one is a really bad argument.

I understand the person who posted this likely doesn't consider abortion to be bad. But he/she should have at least been able to understand that since my friend is pro-life, he would consider abortion to be bad. Which means that there is a difference between abortion and circumcision -- one that is meant to kill the child, and one that is meant for the child's own good. Whether or not the infant feels pain or can consent to it, since circumcision is meant for the child's good, the doctor and parent has a moral right to make that decision on behalf of the child. There might be an argument that circumcision really does not do the child good. I don't know enough about the debate to make this determination. But if circumcision does have good benefits for the child, then it is certainly moral to circumcise a child.

So there is a huge difference between a procedure meant to kill a child, abortion, and one meant for the child's own good, circumcision. The inability of many people to be able to distinguish between good and bad (or moral and immoral) is but a sad commentary on the state of our society.


  1. i) The objection is simplistic. No one thinks it's wrong to inflict pain, per se. Some lifesaving medical procedures are painful.

    That's quite different from the infliction of gratuitous pain.

    ii) In addition, why is it permissible to inflict gratuitous pain on unborn babies, but impermissible to inflict gratuitous pain on cats, dogs, horses, &c.?

    In many states it would be a crime to do to a pet animal what is done in aborting babies.

  2. The trouble is that people often argue that abortion is for the child's own good, so that he doesn't suffer a bad life of poverty, disability etc. In both cases, the arguments in favour of cutting the body of a non consenting minor don't take his/her choice into account. Neither circumcision nor abortion are urgently needed on a young infant. Let him choose if he wants to die when he's old enough to make that permanent choice on his own life. Let him choose whether he wants to give up the most sensitive part of his healthy penis when he's of age to make sexual decisions.

    By the way, see Elective circumcision cures nothing in childhood and NO MEDICAL BOARD in the world recommends routine infant circumcision. It's elective even if some benefits can be argued for later in his life. It's about as much in a male child's best interest as parents deciding a female child will have more success in life if they force breast implants on her or preemptively remove her breast buds so she can avoid breast cancer. *Elective* non necessary surgeries are best left to the owner of body they are being conferred upon.


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