Circumcision of healthy boys: Criminal assault?

Gregory J. Boyle, J Steven Svoboda, Christopher P Price, J Neville Turner

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Although a number of Australian jurisdictions have acted to outlaw female genital cutting, equal protection under the law has not yet been afforded to unconsenting minors who happen to be boys. In light of Marion's Case (Department of Health and Community Services v JWB and SMB (1992) 175 CLR 218), it is now evident that parents cannot provide legal consent for an irreversible, non-therapeutic circumcision. Moreover, there are no medical indications for neonatal circumcision (Australasian Association of Paediatric Surgeons, Guidelines for Circumcision (1996)). Consequently, enforced or involuntary circumcision must now be considered as an assault causing grievous bodily harm (genital mutilation). Legal action is long overdue in Australia to protect the physical and sexual integrity of male minors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-310
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Law and Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 2000


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