Letter: NHS ethics

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Dr Janet Menage informs us (letter, 25 September) of the NHS Executive's position that "male circumcision on ... social grounds is not an appropriate NHS service". One could give them some credit for consistency if they also said the same about abortion.

As things stand, NHS bureaucrats see fit to encourage the poisoning and premature expulsion of unborn children, typically in response to social problems, not maternal medical problems, while deploring the removal of a foreskin. Even if one considers the mother alone, to perform an abortion on a healthy woman is open to far greater ethical objections than some would raise against male circumcision. For a doctor to act in breach of medical ethics on the grounds that if he does not, someone else will - the much-invoked spectre of the "backstreet operator" - is a sign of ethical bankruptcy.

BRENDAN GERARD

Information and Research Officer

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

London SW1

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