The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Equality Rights

Equality before and under law and equal protection and benefit of law

15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.



“If we view a child’s foreskin as having a valid function, we are no more justified in amputating it than any other part of the child’s body unless the operation is medically required treatment and the least harmful way to provide that treatment.”

~Margaret A. Somerville


The Valid Function of the Foreskin

“The prepuce [foreskin] is an integral, normal part of the external genitalia that forms the anatomical covering of the glans penis and clitoris. The outer epithelium has the protective function of internalising the glans (clitoris and penis), urethral meatus (in the male) and the inner preputial epithelium, thus decreasing external irritation or contamination. The prepuce is a specialized, junctional mucocutaneous tissue which marks the boundary between mucosa and skin; it is similar to the eyelids, labia minora, anus and lips. The male prepuce also provides adequate mucosa and skin to cover the entire penis during erection. The unique innervation of the prepuce establishes its function as an erogenous tissue [8].

Ritualistic circumcision involves the involuntary removal of normal, healthy genital tissue from infants and children for religious, societal or theoretical medical benefits. Although the amount of genital tissue removed is variable, the penile prepuce is removed in nearly all male circumcisions, and the clitoral prepuce is removed in a Fourcroy grade 1 female circumcision [9] (see Elchalal, pp.103-108).”