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I often come across parents who do not agree that circumcision should be
illegal. They usually argue by saying it is a parental decision like
vaccination, homebirth, etc. Here is my response:

Vaccines cannot be compared to a cosmetic surgery that removes healthy organs for
non-therapeutic purposes. This is like comparing apples to oranges.
Let's stick with comparing other actions that are considered bodily modifications of non-consenting
minors when contemplating the legality of circumcision.

Piercing is a body modification, but because it does not alter the function of a
body part, nor does it remove any tissue or organs, it is generally
accepted within reason (earlobes, for example).

Tattooing is much more extreme in that it is permanent, yet it still does not remove any
organ or alter the functions of any healthy body parts. However, most
people agree that parents should not be able to tattoo their infants or
children. In fact, a Florida family was recently charged with cruelty to
children for tattooing their 6 kids.

And then you have circumcision - a genital surgery which does
alter the function of the primary sex organ, does remove otherwise healthy tissue
and the prepuce organ, does
alter appearance forever more and is
permanent. If you aren't allowed to tattoo your children, why on earth
would you be legally able to remove healthy, functioning tissue from
your son's genitals?

Besides being creepy that a parent would have the say over the cutting of their child's genitals, circumcision of
children violates all our current laws concerning alterations of a
child's body. In our country we have laws in place that are designed to protect the bodies of children.
These laws state that no parent can request to alter their child's body
unless: A) it is medically indicated and B) a more conservative
treatment has failed to correct the medical problem that exists. These
laws are in place because bodily integrity (an intact body) is
considered a basic human right
in our society.

Human rights are granted to every single person regardless of gender, age, nationality, culture or religion.
Furthermore, doctors caring for patients who are under the age of 18 are not legally permitted to perform any
surgery on a minor unless there is clear medical need and more
conservative treatment has failed
. This is basic medical ethics,
and yet somehow circumcision has become the exception to this well
established legality. A parent cannot ask a doctor to remove a
fingernail, an earlobe, a toe, or any other part of the body. A parent
cannot remove the clitoral hood of their daughter (which is the female
foreskin - the prepuce). A parent cannot even pin prick their daughter's
genitals without it being a federal crime punishable under the FGM
Bill. Basically, every square inch of a child's body is protected by
bodily integrity laws and medical ethics laws -- every square inch, that
is, aside from the infant male foreskin. How can this be?

Now one can try to argue that circumcision is in some way a form of
preventative medicine, however, in doing so, we will run into trouble
arguing this because we are no longer living in a day and age where
amputation is considered preventative medicine. In modern medicine,
amputation is always a LAST resort when conservative methods have
failed. The only reasons amputation would be considered a first choice
would be in the case of gangrene, malignancy, frostbite, or serious
trauma to that body organ.

In addition, when you amputate any part of the body you remove the off-chance that something can go wrong
with that part. After all, it no longer exists! That isn't rocket
science. The male foreskin, however, is no more pathological than any
other part of the body. In fact, the intact female genitals are more
likely to cause its owner problems than any intact man will ever
experience on behalf of his foreskin. 65% of American women will have a
bacterial vaginal infection in their lifetime, 40% of women will have
yeast infection in their lifetime, and girls are six times more likely
to suffer from a urinary
tract infection
(easily treated with antibiotics). Each of these
health concerns for girls and women far out number any problems a boy or
man may have with his foreskin at any point in life, yet somehow we
find a way to treat women without amputating genital organs. In the
unlikely event that a man has a foreskin problem, he can enjoy the same
conservative methods of treatment that are allotted to women. Studies
conducted in countries that do not routinely circumcise have found that
less than 1 in 6,000 men will ever
need circumcision surgery for medical reasons.

We must attend to the fact that no medical organization in the entire world recommends
routine infant circumcision. Each and every organization has made a
statement that the potential benefits do not outweigh the risks and
guaranteed negative consequences. This alone is proof to the absurdness
of using circumcision as preventative medicine.

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The final, last ditch effort to arguing for circumcision would be the very
controversial study that was performed in Africa. Even if you believe
this study, which is loaded with methodological errors, you'd only have a
reduction in female-to-male sexual transmission of HIV. In our country
88% of HIV is transmitted through male-to-male intercourse and/or IV
drug use. Circumcision has proven no
benefit for male-to-female transmission, male-to-male transmission, or
IV drug use.

In reviewing The Nuts and Bolts of HIV in the USA and Why Circumcision Won't Protect Men you will see that a
heterosexual American man who engages in moderately risky sexual
activity will have a less than .03%
chance of catching HIV over a 60 year period
...not exactly a
reason to routinely circumcise all infant boys. Aside from this
statistic, we can all agree that infants and young boys don't engage in
sexual activity until they reach an age where they can make an informed
decision as to whether or not they want to amputate their precious

All this, and I still haven't even mentioned that a 5-year review of this so-called 'study' in Uganda reported that the
circumcised group and their female partners began to acquire HI...
. Rates so high, in fact, that the
study ended early due to ethical concerns
. These results
(circumcision increasing HIV transmission in Africa) were not formally
published because the study ended early. There are several studies in
the last decade that have reported no reduction in sexually transmitted
infections or HIV among circumcised males. Several studies report higher rates among circumcised men.
Our nation's track record should be testimony to an already failed
circumcision experiment. We are, after all, the only developed nation in the world who
routinely circumcises boys and we also happen to have thee highest STD
and HIV rates of any other developed nation.

Last but certainly not least, there was a recent study of circumcised females which
reported a 50% reduction in HIV among circumcised women. Shall we also
suggest that women be circumcised based on the findings of this study?
This is all moot point, however, because we do have effective protective
methods against HIV and all sexually transmitted infections: condoms.
Condoms are over 98% effective and do not involve any genital reduction
surgery on non-consenting persons.

So there you have it.

Circumcision violates our human rights laws, which are designed to protect the
bodies of minor children.

Circumcision violates our medical ethics laws that state a doctor can only perform procedures on a minor
when there is clear medical need and a more conservative treatment has

Circumcision is not good preventative medicine because amputation is always a last resort to conservative treatments.

Circumcision on babies cannot be considered a good prophylactic measure against
sexually transmitted infections.

And last but not least, because baby girls are protected from
even the most minor genital surgery (even a pin prick), circumcision is a
violation of the equal protection clause of the Constitution of the
United States which states that, "all persons shall receive equal
protection under the law" regardless of sex.

Case closed, circumcision is technically already illegal. The question is not then
whether or not it is legal to
circumcise a child - we have already established that the male foreskin
and its removal exists outside our legal and medical norms. The real
question is, when will our government recognize that they have failed to
apply the law accordingly and, in doing so, they have failed to protect
our most innocent and most fragile of citizens?

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Views: 81

Replies to This Discussion

Here here!

A great article, thanks for sharing it.

I hate getting into "that" argument with parents who feel that circumcision is normal and acceptable. I have asked on more than one occasion if these people also believe that we should have all of our children undergo surgery in childhood to remove their appendix and tonsils/adenoids "just in case" something would go wrong; that is, after all, the same rationale used when performing a circumcision, as there is in my mind absolutely no other reason to do so - someone is ASSUMING there will be a problem (I no longer consider "how it looks" to be a reasonable, rational argument for circumcision; it's a penis, it will not be any prettier no matter how you look at it) and attempting to be proactive. And yet, there are so many parents who would balk at the idea of removing these bits and pieces, yet still believe that circumcision is perfectly all right.

My husband is one of thousands of men who was circumcised badly at birth and now experiences unnecessary tightness when erect. He wishes he had not been circumcised. He wishes he had been able to make the choice on his own, if necessary. He and I are both proud that we have passed on the importance of bodily integrity to our two uncircumcised boys (who have been easy to care for and have had not a single "complication" of being uncut)!
Thanks so much for your response! I was wondering if your husband has ever looked into non-surgical restoration to help with the tightness? While it can't reverse all the losses from circumcision, it can help improve mobility of the shaft skin and recreate coverage of the glans--something that will have great benefits to both partners. NORM is a great place for info if you've never looked into it: http://www.norm-uk.org/ and http://www.norm.org/



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