Is Hatafat Dam Always Necessary?

In shul this past shabbat I shared correspondence I had with the chair of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Conservative Movement - Rabbi Elliot Dorff concerning this question. The covenant of circumcision - brit milah - is an ancient Jewish ritual dating back to Abraham about 4,000 years ago. It is the identifying mark of all Jewish men - whether born Jewish or converted to Judaism. It's not just the circumcision itself that is necessary but the accompanying blessings which recognize that the procedure is a mitzvah and that the boy is now welcomed into the Jewish community. Without those blessings the brit is just a circumcision. The accepted practice for centuries has been that if someone has only had a circumcision that the accompanying blessings must be said while a drop of blood (hatafat dam) is taken. Most commonly this is done for adult males who convert to Judaism, but also for adopted children and also for all born Jews who only had a circumcision. Quite naturally this is a question that I don't ask - we don't ask on our membership application whether someone has had a bris! But if a family approaches me and discusses the particulars then I have to inform them of the necessity of the hatafat dam. You can imagine that parents aren't thrilled to subject their child to such a procedure even though it is painless and the amount of blood drawn is almost microscopic. They already circumcised their boy, they aren't going to do something else to them. Most such families after hearing this from me leave and find a Reform congregation that will give their son a Hebrew name. Such was the case a few weeks ago. So I decided to ask the question of the Law Committee. Might there be a way to recite the blessings after the fact? Parents come to me after they've done the circumcision and either a few weeks or a few years later they want to give their son a Hebrew name. Can I just do that without having to do the hatafat dam? According to a paper published by the Law Committee in 1984 by Rabbi David Lincoln such a naming after the fact is not to be done. I asked the Law Committee secretary whether there had been more recent discussion. She said no but she passed on my question to the Law Committee chair. Rabbi Elliot Dorff responded quickly and said:"if we can get the family to agree to hatafat dam...we should definitely do that. In the end, though, hatafat dam is 'only' a custom that emerged in the Middle Ages, so yes, I would say that [after the fact] you could consider the circumcision...a circumcision [for the sake of conversion], pronounce the blessings over brit milah, have them immerse in the mikveh with the Jewish father saying the blessings for that, and then name them." I was thrilled with this response because now parents will be happy not to subject their child to another procedure and we can better compete with other denominations that don't require the procedure. I am also happy that the Law Committee chair was willing to take such open and liberal position.