Interview with Dr. Dean Edell (excerpts)

EXCERPTS FROM AN INTERVIEW WITH DR. DEAN EDELL

Pacific Sun, Week of May 29-June 4, 1987


Question:

Your wife is representing a woman who is suing a Marin doctor for
circumcision her infant son.  Isn't circumcision one of your big
issues?

Answer:

Yes, and there will be a lot more of those suits.  It's a very
clear, constitutional issue.  It is a medically unnecessary
procedure and by law you can't subject a child to medical
procedure that has no medical benefit.  It's like scarification
or the binding of feet.  A parent doesn't have that right.  A
parent couldn't sign a consent to have a kidney removed from a
child for donation.


Question:

Do all physicians agree that circumcision is unnecessary?

Answer:

No, and there are still people who think the earth is flat. 
There are still a few vocal pro-circumcisions physicians.  But
the overwhelming majority of physicians feel it is unnecessary.


Question:

You claim that circumcision is painful.  Is there any question
about that?

Answer:

There's no question.  You'll hear the opposite but those doctors
are just now aware of the studies analyzing the spectrum of
babies' cries.  It's such common sense.  Babies squawk if you
pinch them--how do you figure they don't feel any pain when you
cut off half their genitals?


Question:

Why do you think we still have it then?

Answer:

Many practices persist in societies that are not questioned, and
the essentially barbaric mutilation of infant boys has been one
of them.  Because I'm Jewish I have no compunction about taking
on the whole issue.  If I wasn't Jewish I'd be accused of being a
Nazi because of my position.  But a lot of the pro-circumcision
urologists are also Jewish.  That's like talking to the pope
about birth control.  Those doctors ought to be up front that it
is their religion they feel is being threatened.

But it is changing.  Although the U.S. has the highest
circumcision rate in the world, in California only 50 percent of
boy infants are now being circumcised.  That's remarkable because
just a couple of years ago it was 90 percent.  We are very much
with it in California.  In the East the figures are still high.

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