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In the Best Interest of the Child: Should Exception be Made for Infant Male Circumcision on Religious Grounds?

59 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 2013  

Aniaka Oluchi

Canadian Institute of Health Research

Date Written: April 25, 2012

Abstract

It has been suggested that where circumcision is carried out for religious reasons as opposed to cultural, traditional and other reasons, it is not, and should not be unlawful. Viewed from the point of view of the child, it is argued, first, that circumcision has lost its religious significance and that it is sustained only by habit. Second, assuming that there is still some genuinely held religious belief behind the practice, such belief cannot and should not be used to legitimate what may otherwise be a crime. However, the challenge posed by the amorphous concept of the best interests of the child which may, after all, not be met by a legal prohibition of, or prosecution for infant circumcision is acknowledged. Nevertheless, several approaches exist which the law might adopt to protect the best interests of the child. Ultimately, the paper concludes that a child is better left to decide himself, upon attaining maturity, if he wants to be genitally altered, a conclusion which accords with a growing position in the literature.

Keywords: Best interest of a child, Infant Circumcision, Religious Rights, Canadian Charter of Rights

Suggested Citation

Oluchi, Aniaka, In the Best Interest of the Child: Should Exception be Made for Infant Male Circumcision on Religious Grounds? (April 25, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2240101 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2240101

Aniaka Angel-Jacinta Oluchi (Contact Author)

Canadian Institute of Health Research ( email )

Canada

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