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Dr. Allan Jacobs Discusses Ritual Circumcision and Human Rights

Allan jacobs
Dr. Allan Jacobs
Dr. Allan Jacobs

The Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care and Bioethics colloquium series presents “Ritual Circumcision and Human Rights: Beyond the Four Principles” with Dr. Allan Jacobs, professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Medicine at Stony Brook University School of Medicine, on Thursday, April 30, at 12 pm in the Health Sciences Center, Level 3, Lecture Hall 5.

Opponents of circumcision have increasingly used human rights arguments to justify their viewpoint. These arguments will be discussed, especially claims that circumcision impermissibly violates a right to an open future and a right of autonomy. Dr. Jacobs will discuss proposed benefits and harms of circumcision. He then will place circumcision into the context of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, both of which can be mobilized to support or oppose non-therapeutic circumcision of minors. Dr. Jacobs suggests that neither state power nor the prerogatives of parents and groups to which they belong, should be absolute. He proposes an algorithm for determining when practices that might put a child’s health at risk should be permitted.

Dr. Jacobs received his BA from Cornell University, his MD from the University of Southern California and his JD from St. John’s University. He completed his residency at Parkland Memorial Hospital and his fellowship at Mount Sinai Hospital. A board-certified gynecologic oncologist, he has served as chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Beth Israel Medical Center and Flushing Hospital Medical Center. He is director of Gynecologic Oncology at Coney Island Hospital, Brooklyn, New York. Dr. Jacobs is especially interested in the tension between state power and individual rights, and prerogatives with respect to health-related issues such as vaccination, access to investigational drugs and circumcision. He teaches biomedical ethics and health law to medical students and residents.

Please RSVP by April 27 to or (631) 444-8029.

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