By Lauren Notini and Brian D. Earp *Note: this article also appears on the Practical Ethics Blog, and a condensed version titled “Iceland’s Proposed Circumcision Ban” is being cross-published at Pursuit. For a small country, Iceland has had a big impact on global media coverage recently, following its proposed ban on male circumcision before […]
Does Female Genital Mutilation Have Health Benefits? The Problem with Medicalizing Morality
By Brian D. Earp (@briandavidearp) * Please note: this piece was originally published in Quillette Magazine. Four members of the Dawoodi Bohra sect of Islam living in Detroit, Michigan have recently been indicted on charges of female genital mutilation (FGM). This is the first time the US government has prosecuted an “FGM” case since a federal law was passed in […]
How Different are Female, Male and Intersex Genital Cutting?
By Brian D. Earp (@briandavidearp), with Rebecca Steinfeld, Goldsmiths, University of London Three members of the Dawoodi Bohra sect of Islam were recently indicted on charges of “female genital mutilation” (FGM) in the US state of Michigan. In Norway, meanwhile, one of the major political parties has backed a measure to ban childhood male circumcision. Fearing that objections to […]
Conscientious Objection Accommodation in Healthcare – Clashing Perspectives
by Brian D. Earp / (@briandavidearp) On behalf of the Journal of Medical Ethics, I would like to draw your attention to the current issue, now available online, which is almost entirely dedicated to the vexing question of conscientious objection in healthcare. When, if ever, should a healthcare provider’s personal conviction about the wrongness of some intervention (be it […]
Circumcision and Sexual Function: Bad Science Reporting Misleads Parents
by Brian D. Earp / (@briandavidearp) Introduction Another day, another round of uncritical media coverage of an empirical study about circumcision and sexual function. That’s including from the New York Times, whose Nicholas Bakalar has more or less recycled the content of a university press release without incorporating any skeptical analysis from other scientists. That’s par for […]
Should Doctors Perform “Minor” Forms of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) as a Compromise to Respect Culture?
by Brian D. Earp / (@briandavidearp), with a separate guest post by Robert Darby A small surgical “nick” to a girl’s clitoris or other purportedly minimalist procedures on the vulvae of young women and girls should be legally permitted, argue two gynecologists this week in the Journal of Medical Ethics. Their proposal is offered as a “compromise” […]
Controversial Views on “FGM”
by Brian D. Earp / (@briandavidearp), with a separate guest post by Matthew Johnson Even the term is controversial. Female genital mutilation/FGM? Many women from societies that practice such traditional initiation rites find the term offensive. Female genital alteration? But that could refer to a wide range of procedures, including some that might be medically advised. Female […]
How Can Journal Editors Fight Bias in Polarized Scientific Communities?
By Brian D. Earp In a recent issue of the Journal of Medical Ethics, Thomas Ploug and Søren Holm point out that scientific communities can sometimes get pretty polarized. This happens when two different groups of researchers consistently argue for (more or less) opposite positions on some hot-button empirical issue. The examples they give are: […]