The Instigator
Pro (for)
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The Contender
Con (against)
5 Points

Religious/Ethical Circumcision is Male Genital Mutilation

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/13/2015 Category: Health
Updated: 11 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 526 times Debate No: 82517
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (8)
Votes (1)




Most of the time, circumcision is performed before the male is old enough to consent. They effectively have their foreskin cut off without being consulted first, yet no one I know agrees that it is wrong. To me, it's still removing part of a person's body with no medical reason- wrong.


Thank you for your opinion.

I'm going to provide some of the Waltham benefits of curcumcision and show why it's not mutilation.

1) As far as health benefits go, here's a quote:

"There is some evidence that circumcision has health benefits, including:

A decreased risk of urinary tract infections.
A reduced risk of some sexually transmitted diseases in men.
Protection against penile cancer and a reduced risk of cervical cancer in female sex partners.
Prevention of balanitis (inflammation of the glans) and balanoposthitis (inflammation of the glans and foreskin).
Prevention of phimosis (the inability to retract the foreskin) and paraphimosis (the inability to return the foreskin to its original location).
Circumcision also makes it easier to keep the end of the penis clean." [1]

Basically the male foreskin just causes unnecessary issues that a man doesn't have to deal with when it's gone. There aren't any health risks of circumcision, unless you're older than newborn. Getting circumcised even as an older baby can be more complicated and risky, which is why it's done when the baby is new born. So the benefits of being circumcised as a newborn far outweigh the costs. [1]

2) Even if my opponent proves we shouldn't circumcise babies, he cannot uphold that it's mutilation of the male gentalia.

The definition of mutilate is "to cut up or radically alter so as to make imperfect." [2]

That's not what circumcision is. Circumcision is just for keeping people healthy by removing an unnecessary part of the penis. Not to mention, I've never heard a guy complain about being circumcised. Most guys are just glad it happened when they were babies so they can't remember what it felt like.

Thanks for reading.


Debate Round No. 1


Even if these claims are true (I don't see how it'd prevent cancers in women and, of course it'll lessen cancer of the penis- if I chopped of my arm, I wouldn't get a cancer on it because it'd be dead and thus never giving cancer a chance to form), shouldn't it be down to personal choice? Imagine if all girls had their breasts removed once they've finished puberty and doctors tried to justify it by saying 'it lessens your risk of breast cancer'. Totally unethical, right? It should be up to her to choose if/and/or when she has a mastectomy.

All surgery has it's risks; it only takes for a doctor to misdiagnose you (happens to about 12m Americans a year) or for a fuzzy-brained surgeon to administer too much anesthetic and you can end up under six inches of concrete in the near-future.

I'm not against circumcision- it has medical benefits, sure- but it shouldn't be carried out until the individual male can make the choice to be circumcised himself. Let's not forget that it has drawbacks too; many men say that circumcision lessens the feeling in their genitalia during sex and this can make it harder for a couple to conceive. According to the NHS website, circumcision has more disadvantages than advantages.



Thank you for that response.

I'm going to be rebutting that last round point by point.

1) My opponent says that this plan doesn't protect women from getting cancer.

I don't see how this is a relevant point to any degree. Women don't have penises, so any points about women are completely irrelevant, unless we're discuss the transimission of STD's, in which case women are sort of affected. But I'll hit that one later.

2) Removing a girl's breasts after puberty is a bad analogy.

Women's breasts are for feeding her babies, which happens later in life (hopefully). A man's penis flap doesn't have any benefits except a tiny bit more pleasure during sex. A woman needs breasts to provide natural food for her baby. A guy doesn't need his penis flap for anthing significant.

3) My opponent's point about misdiagnosing is completely irrelevant.

It's really difficult to misdiagnose a penis flap. If you look at the penis, and it has a flap, then the penis has a flap. If you look at the penis, and it doesn't have a flap, then the penis doesn't have a flap.

However, both my evidence and her evidence proves that there are risks with circumcision, and my evidence proves those risks are miniscule for a new born, but they get greater even if the baby is just a year older. By the time a man can consent to circumcision, the operation will be a whole lot riskier.

4) The NHS doesn't substantiate its claims.

The NHS has two claims on the disadvantages of circumcision. They say it's a risky operation, and sexual pleasure is lessened during... well... you know... sex.

However, one of these risks, as I've said, is significantly greater if the baby is not a newborn. The other risk is something that doesn't justify the medical risks.

None of my medical risks were disputed. In fact, every single one of them was conceded.

So increased risk of STD's (because the flap traps everything and doesn't allow for things to pass around while it's open).
A man's flap can also get stuck up or down, decreasing pleasure in life overall.
Diseases specifically related to the skin flap (an unnecessary part of the body) will not happen at all if circumcised.
If the flap isn't cleaned regularly, the penis can easily get infections, even regularly.

5) My opponent needs to prove substantially that the penis flap is necessary for a man.

So far, I've proven that the harms of having a flap far outweigh the benefits. Penis flaps are just an annoyance except for during sex.

Thank you for reading.
Debate Round No. 2


Firstly, my argument about female cancers is a rebute of your argument that circumcision can prevent cancers in women (round one argument). Why would circumcising/not circumcising a man affect the body of the women he has sexual relations with?

Secondly, the part(s) of the penis removed during circumcision do serve a purpose, just as a female's breasts (which, by the way, aren't removed even if the woman is incapable of reproducing- they're just left alone). Con is failing to recognise that the foreskin is not the only thing that may be removed during circumcision. Up to five different areas can be amputated. This has been linked to infertility as men who've been circumcised can have difficulty ejaculating, thus preventing conception. Con also fails to recognise that circumcision, no matter the age of the male performed on, can go very, very wrong. In one case, it even lead to the suicide of a man called David Reimer.

David and his twin were both scheduled for circumcision as infants due to a tightening of the skin of the penis (often misdiagnosed in babies). David's surgery went horribly wrong and he was rushed out of the theatre. Horrified, Reimer's parents stopped his twin's surgery from going ahead in fear that he, too, would be just as severely mutilated. David's genitalia turned black and rotted away entirely as a result of the botched surgery. Confused of what else to do, David's parents allowed him to undergo gender reassignment. They raised him as a girl, but he was put through further surgery to reconstruct his body. Eventually, Reimer's parents told him about the failed circumcision. He'd often odd as a little girl so decided to live as a male, rejecting female hormone treatments. However, these series of horrific decisions made by surgeons and medical proffessionals proved fatal. He committed suicide in 2004. There are many more cases of males being horrified that they were circumcised without being giving the option themselves. This is not the only case of death and emotional trauma circumcision has been linked to, as you can read in the first source. Source also argues that baby boys have a slightly higher risk of death through blood loss as the loss of just over 2 ounces of blood can be enough to kill a newborn. Con makes an argument that circumcision can prevent STDs, but they disregard that so can proper hygeine of the genitals. Why put males through the risk of blood loss and/or emotional trauma, when they can simply learn how to correctly clean themselves?

Again, I am not against circumcision full-stop. I just think that it shouldn't be done at birth- a man should make the decision to be circumcised or not in later life. If he's prepared to take that risk, that is completely ethical, but that choice should be his alone.

My source also points out the double-standard of circumcision- why is it okay to circumcise a boy but not a girl? FGM is seen as hoorrific but, in the long run, it has less an effect on the individual's ability to reproduce. Women do not need to climax to get pregnant, but men must in order to impregnate. This just shows the sexist double-standard that circumcised males face.



I'm going to try to address everything you in here.

1) Sorry I honestly overlooked the female cancer thing. I did look it up though. Females most commonly get cervical cancer from a disease called HPV. As stated earlier an uncircumcised penis can trap diseases more easily. Since the cancer is gotten from the disease, it can be released during sex and given to the female. [1]

2) I'm really sorry about David, but that's not relevant at all. David Reimer was born in 1965. [2] Medicinal practices have had 50 years to improve. Anything in 1965 was more dangerous than anything done in 2015 except maybe McDonald's. Actually, there are rarely any complications during circumcision now. [3] Normally there's no exessive bleeding, no need for stitches, and it completely heals in about a week.

Even people in the scientific community agree the it's worth the risks and put it at the same level as vaccination. [4] just a normal procedure to avoid diseases before they happen.

My opponent has not provided any up to date evidence about the complications of circumcision. Also, wen quoting always use quotation marks. This entire section was almost entirely made up of someone else's word's from the link posted.

And I was unable to find scientific sources or even personal testimony that say that circumcision involves more than the flap. I need my opponent to provide that evidence in the next round as well.

3) A clitorus doesn't have any severe costs. My opponent needs to make make circumcision and female circumcision equal in order to prove there's a double standard. As far as I can tell, they're not equal, so the standard shouldn't be equal either. Like it would be ridiculous to expect a 10 year old to run a mile in under 4 minutes. Kind of extreme, but it's the same principle. The two things are different so the standards are also different.

Dropped points:

Breast analogy: my opponent merely made the statement that circumcision and breast removal are basically the same, but doesn't actually substantiate the claim. There is a nation o hundreds of millions of men repopulating just fine without their flap. I need to see some sort of statistic or something. Having three or four guys who can ejaculate is just three or four guys who can't ejaculate.

Misdiagnosis: my opponent has yet to prove this as a current problem with evidence. The only evidence given here is 50 years old.

All of the benefits of circumcision: just reminding everyone here that circumcision has several benefits, and these are agreed upon at this point in the debate.

Necessity: so far the flap is not necessary in the debate, and since we can reasonably assume that doctors are better now than they were 50 years ago, we can assume that the benefits of circumcision outweigh the costs.


Debate Round No. 3


Firstly, I must rebuke the statement claiming my source was outdated. While David's case is old, the source is not. It reports incidents as recent as 2013, so to claim my source was outdated was untrue. As for the issue of misdiagnosis, David's circumcision was a result of misdiagnosis. Both the Reimer twins had a problem with the tightening of the skin over the glans of the penis (source stated that it is actually not at all uncommon in babies) which was then treated with circumcision. This proved to be unnecessary as, in light of the complications with David's circumcision, his brother was not circumcised after all and the issue involving the tautness of the foreskin eventually resolved itself. From this we can assume David would have also recovered without the need for surgery. Instead, he had to go under the knife several more times and live his childhood as a girl. (1)
I will state again that I'm not against circumcision completely, but I am against neo-natal circumcision. The disgusting truth is that circumcision, even in the US, is barbaric. Doctors are wary to anaesthetise a baby for various reasons and it's not uncommon for a baby to be strapped or held down while his foreskin is torn from his glans (which are fused at birth, thus increasing the likelihood of the glans tearing too) while fully conscious (2 and 3). The source I used previously also states that this is true (a statement coming from a nurse who had her own son circumcised years before understanding how the procedure is carried out. When she realised that she had put her son through this excruciating procedure, she felt immense guilt. This leads nicely into my next point.
Besides the obvious immediate pain circumcision causes, there are long-lasting effects too. Upon noticing that their genitals look different to that of other boys, a boy can go through a process of shame, embarrassment or even loss. They feel that a part of them was literally cut away and killed without their consent. On the mother/father's part, it is common for them to regret letting their son(s) undergo the circumcision as, after all, they want to prevent the infliction of pain upon their offspring. Several mothers say that years later, disregarding whether or not their son had been physically or emotionally scarred by the circumcision, they can still recall the ear splitting screams of their child and a father was described as inconsolable after his son suffered complications following circumcision.(2)
The double standard I attempt to highlight is that we can agree that the case of Reimer and of the mothers traumatised by their son's circumcision, yet it is legal. Yet, in the case of FGM, which also has both physical and psychological drawbacks, is seen as completely inhumane and is condemned, though both male and female circumcision are, in my opinion, equally sickening.
Lastly, I must state that circumcision is a choice- or at least it should be. If a male wants to be circumcised in later life, he can make this decision for himself. It should not be made for him.

    1. (further sources supplied within link)


Thank you, I guess I'll just finish up by responding to the previous points:

1) David Reimer

My opponent said that because the article cited had cases from 2013, that the evidence is recent. That does not make the evidence recent in the debate. None of these examples were in the debate. The judges and myself should not be expected to do independent research for my opponent's side of the debate. The arguments should all be posted in the rounds with the sources to show where it was derived from. Because the recent examples are not in the debate, I ask that they not be considered in the analysis. Not to mention, the examples would have to be statistically significant for there to be some sort of ban on circumcision for newborns. Things go wrong all the time. We don't ban childhood vaccinations just because some people have had negative effects. The cases are not statistically significant.

2) Effects of circumcision.

My opponent hasn't provided any credible evidence here. Source 2 is an organization specifically against circumcision, which means they need to provide evidence for themselves in order to remain objective. They are clearly not objective in their determination, and I didn't see any supporting evidence on their page. So basically, the source is obviously biased, and all its claims are unfounded.

The second source is Yahoo Answers, and that person didn't provide any evidence either (not cited anyway). Yahoo Answers is like texting a stranger for information and trusting them to be honest. Therefore, this entire section is unfounded.

But as long as we're allowed to use anecdotal evidence, I hung around guys all of high school, and they talked about their genitals around me. I've literally never met a guy who was ashamed of circumcision.

Besides, circumcision vs uncircumcision isn't going to stop guys from doing their wang measuring wars. They just do that, and circumcision isn't included in that battle. The real issue with how guys feel about their genitals is not related to circumcision.

3) FGM

My opponent did not provide why they are equal. She said there are drawbacks to female circumcision just like male circumcision, which would only make sense if a majority of parents in the US were sadistic and wanted their children to suffer. Male circumcision has clear and prevalent health benefits. Female circumcision apparently doesn't according to all that's been said in this debate. Therefore, because the two forms of circumcision are no equal, equal treatment is not in the question.

4) Choice

My opponent is still ignoring all the evidence I've posted about how male circumcision is much more difficult when a man could make that choice, and the risks she's worried about are ridiculously higher. It also takes longer to heal.

"Of course, infant circumcision is one thingp " it is almost always safe, rapidly-healing and non-traumatic (particularly if anesthetic is used). Adult circumcision is a more involved matter " healing is much slower and can be complicated by erections. Adult circumcision typically requires abstinence from masturbation or intercourse for between 4 and 6 weeks." Dr Oz [1]

All of the professional sources agree that circumcision carries a lot of health benefits and is much harder when you're an adult. Literally none of this was disputed at all so that leads me to my summary:


My side:

I have provided clear health benefits of circumcision that make it a medically healthy choice just like vaccinations.

It is far easier and safer to circumcise a baby as a newborn.

My opponent's side:

My opponent has provided no recent examples of circumcisions that went wrong nor did she attach any statistical signficance to anything.

Almost all points were unfounded or founded in poor evidence.

Make sure to read this next part:

She dropped almost all of my points from above including where I said female circumcision must have benefits to be equal to male circumcision, necessity of the foreskin, medical advantages of circumcision, the cancer point for women, circumcision is not mutilation because the penis remains very useful afterward, and misdiagnoses don't happen anymore (a guy saying they happen a lot isn't a substantiated claim unless he was a professor or doctor).

Thank you for reading this.


Debate Round No. 4
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by harrytruman 9 months ago
yeah, not a good argument Donald Keller, them feeling like an outcast is used to justify FGM, though I don't see why boys are, looking at each other naked? Excuse me? Is this the UNited States of America or the Gay States of America, oh well, Gay SA! Gay SA! Gay SA!!!!
Posted by harrytruman 9 months ago
Really? Genital mutilation results in mental, physical, and emotional trauma, whereas circumcision, I have faced no emotional, mental, or physical trauma as a result, it's just easier to clean. Also, breasts are actual flesh, whereas foreskin is, well, skin, big difference between skin flesh, and, tissue/muscle/fat/organ/mammary gland flesh.
Posted by donald.keller 11 months ago

Advice: Pro, you need to post your arguments. Don't just say that your source has your argument in it, actually post it yourself. If you don't, then there is no argument. Especially since the judge will not read your source for you.

Also, post statistics, not stories. Stories are not objective, they are ipse dixit. They are someone's point of view, an opinion at most. Stories aren't compelling.


Pro will have BOP in this debate.

Pro starts with a fair case... He claims that circumcision is wrong because the child isn't of age to consent. He does, however, face one problem. While this is a good case, it's his only case. The next problem is that, while it's a start, it only proves it's wrong, not that it's mutilation. He then says that it's not done with any medical purpose... This will prove to be a bad decision.

Con starts by addressing the medical benefits. These health benefits are empirical for her. The biggest part of this round, and maybe the whole debate, is Con showing that it's more dangerous to get circumcised at older ages. Even months after the birth, it becomes more of an issue. This makes circumcision at birth far more important and necessary.
Posted by donald.keller 11 months ago
Con then addresses the issue I had brought up... Being wrong doesn't prove it's mutilation. Good catch, Con.


Pro starts badly. Claiming that he doesn't see how (a few benefits here) could be true. This isn't a refutation. Aside from conceding the health benefits case, he hurts his own by relying on something being hard to believe to counter it. It could stop cancers, I don't know... But Pro's source says it can, and Pro offers no reason to doubt it.

Pro says there are health risks to surgery. He ties no quantity to this, so I have to assume it's very little. I have reason to believe the health risk of circumcision is greatly outweighed by the benefits Con listed. More importantly, Con addressed health risks by saying they get far worse very quick if circumcised later in life. So this rebuttal holds no impact. Also, misdiagnoses may be an issue, but I'm not sure how it's be relevant here... Circumcision doesn't involve a diagnoses...

Pro then says that it lessens pleasure, and that makes it harder to conceive. This doesn't seem very important... And saying that the NHS claims disadvantages outweigh advantages doesn't matter. As no disadvantages are listed in the debate, they do not exist. All arguments should be listed in the debate, and not in the sources. I will not check the sources for you. More importantly, is that Pro doesn't weigh the advantages to the (not listed) disadvantages. If there are more disadvantages, are they worse?
Posted by donald.keller 11 months ago
Pro also brings up cutting off a girl's breast. I don't buy this analogy. You're removing the breast completely, in dangerous, while circumcision has benefits, and leaves the penis almost entirely intact.

Con says cancer isn't relevant because women don't have cancer. However, her list included cancer among women, which is what Pro was talking about. I'll have to assume this one benefit is dropped, as it's not properly addressed.

Con addresses the analogy Pro listed. Con then addressed the misdiagnoses claim, bringing up the issue I had. Con then explained that Pro's source lists off two disadvantages... This doesn't outweigh the benefits at all...

Ultimately, Pro didn't make any compelling case, while Con made thorough refutations of each case.


Pro again starts by saying it's not likely that circumcision can alter the risk of cancer in women because, well, how could it? This, again, isn't a refutation. So me a source saying the claim is false, and you will get somewhere. Clearly, it can (useless you show a source saying otherwise.)

Pro says that up to 5 areas are removed in circumcision. He doesn't say what these areas are. This lack of detail weakens his case. I will, as stated prior, not review someone's source to find an argument they should have been posting themselves. I left with no information on what's removed, or what roles they play. Pro also gives a story of a man's suicide. This isn't compelling because it's one guy... This doesn't show that suicides or even basic health problems are common. Don't give me stories, give me statistics. For all I know, this one suicide is related to issues that correlated with, but weren't caused by circumcision. Details are important, and stats are even more important. Consider that I could find a suicide story for virtually anything.
Posted by donald.keller 11 months ago
Pro brings up why it's good to circumcise a boy but not a girl. This question isn't likely to last long, since a vagina is so different from a penis, that they aren't even the same operation. I will see if Con brings this up, otherwise the question stands to be to only compelling part of this round.

Con addresses cancer in women. This wasn't needed since Pro never actually disproved it (while last round, Con simply didn't address the topic, so I held that against her).

Con addresses the suicide story, and does so effectively. The time different was a great start. Con also addresses the lack of "other parts" included in circumcision, and goes on to post about doctor's opinions of circumcision. This is a strong refutation.

The question about Female circumcision was refuted by explaining how a vagina is different from the penis, bringing up the issues I assumed Con would bring up.

This was the first round where Pro actually addressed why it was like mutilation, and Con has, at this point, addressed each one. Con then brings up each dropped case, which is an issue for Pro.

Pro says that his source brings up modern examples... This is irrelevant. HE should have been bringing up those cases. Saying "my source said" only matters if "you" said it as well. And what are these examples? Unless Pro throws them out there, they aren't in the debate.

"The disgusting truth is that circumcision, even in the US, is barbaric..."
This outlash doesn't help your case...

"it's not uncommon for a baby to be strapped or held down while his foreskin is torn from his glans..."
Making something sound bad doesn't make it bad. Also, they aren't "torn" off... They are cut off. This has been established through out the debate.
Posted by donald.keller 11 months ago
I'm curious... Wouldn't the boy who wasn't circumcised feel like the outcast? And why are little boys looking at each other naked? Either way, the rest of this is bringing up more stories, and not stats. Therefore, I consider all cases dropped by Pro, minus the final analogy (female body parts). Pro, address arguments, don't throw stories at them. Stories at merely ipse dixit. They mean nothing.

Pro drops the fgm case. He only says that one is considered "okay" while the other is bad... This is just an expanded version of the same line, and doesn't address at all the case Con made of how one is different from the other. Pro has dropped Con's refutation, and therefore the case.

"None of these examples were in the debate. The judges and myself should not be expected to do independent research for my opponent's side of the debate."


Con addresses that Pro, when arguing choice, ignored that the choice becomes far more dangerous later in life, this is true. Con also explains that Pro essentially didn't respond to the FGM case she made, and that Pro never proved objective harms from circumcision.


Throughout the debate, Pro dropped arguments. Pro relied too much on her source's content, without actually posting those arguments in the debate (saying "my source says" isn't an argument.) Pro waited until R3 to post arguments for why it's mutilation, and relied on stories instead of arguments.

Con addressed the fact that there were many benefits and little to no negative effects. Con also established that not circumcising the child at birth disadvantages the man greatly in life.

Ultimately, Pro never showed that it was mutilation because he never showed that it was objectively bad, or even that it was unfavorable for men...

Pro never proved his case, therefore Con wins.
Posted by BlackFlags 11 months ago
Well technically it is and I don't think it is really a bad thing. Do not like when it is forced, but I generally prefer both circumcision and especially female genital mutilation.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by donald.keller 11 months ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: This vote is on behalf of the Voter's Union. (PM me if your debate needs votes.) Arguments in comments. Sources are for Con because she has more quality to a substantial degree. And Pro's sources were used to make her arguments for her, which weakens them (a source for an argument not made in the debate is not a source. It's a pointless link.)