Scotland bans smacking

Scotland has become the first part of the United Kingdom to outlaw the physical punishment of children under 16.

The new law is designed to give children the same protection from assaults as adults.

Men Do Complain will continue to campaign for children to be protected from non-therapeutic circumcision. It is a practice that looks increasingly inappropriate in the light of this new law.

The full story on the BBC News gives us this quote from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC)

“This law sets out in clear terms that physical punishment should no longer be part of childhood in Scotland and it marks a momentous step in making it a country where children’s rights are truly recognised, respected and fulfilled.”

NSPCC demo

Children’s rights.
We would point to the major elements of our society’s codes of conduct that should protect children from non-therapeutic circumcision.

The Human Right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion which is a qualified right in that one individual cannot override another’s rights; even if that other is a child.

The criminal law protects us from physical abuse even a slap is considered as an assault.

Medical ethics should also protect children from non-therapeutic circumcision. All the elegant dancing on the head of a pin by the medical authorities to allow parents to wound their children beggars belief see this excellent talk by Dr Antony Lempert.

Rape, circumcision and consent

Image – SWNS

In Manchester this year the man, above, was convicted of raping more than a hundred men. It is not at all surprising that he was sentenced to a long prison term.

Image – Alamy

Consent is the main issue with rape, there is nothing wrong with sex; if it is your choice to have intercourse. If you don’t consent to sex then it is rape. We don’t as a society say oh well men can’t get pregnant and we don’t say date rape is fine “he won’t remember it”. The courts quite rightly hand out severe sentences to those convicted of rape.

We should view male circumcision the same way. There is nothing wrong with circumcision if it is your choice. What is wrong is circumcising a child who lacks the capacity to understand the possible consequences or to give informed consent.

Is there a religious exemption?

There is no human right to impose your religion on another person. The human right to freedom of thought conscience and religion [17] is a qualified right in that you cannot use your right under that article to override the rights of any other person.

Whatever the claimed benefits, such as, he will want to look like his father, he will want to fit in with his peers, or community. All of these have to be weighed against the irreversibility of the procedure and the justifiable sense of loss after having had a normal body part removed.

There have been two studies in America, a commonly circumcising culture, that show between 10% [16] and 13% of men circumcised as children resent what was done to them.

In the light of these studies we should do more to protect children from all forms of non therapeutic genital cutting.

Iris Fudge: 1927 – 2019

Today with great sadness we learnt of the death of Iris Fudge. M.D.C. has lost one of its staunchest supporters. Iris was a long time campaigner for the rights of all children: boys, girls and children born with atypical sex characteristics, to grow up with intact genitals, until such time as they might give meaningful consent to any treatment or modification. Iris will be greatly missed; her courage, sharp mind, humour and good company made the many demonstrations she attended worthwhile events.