Thursday, February 10, 2011

Parenting "Decision" #32: Circumcision; A Response.

I am having a discussion on a comments section of a friend of a friend's blog, and it was getting too long for replies, so I chose to do a response here instead. Her blog is HERE.

When it comes to circumcision yes, there are a lot of studies that report lower incidences of UTI's in male babies who have been circumcised. There is also a great deal of commentary about how surgery as a neonate interferes with breastfeeding, which has been shown to improve the immune system of infants and children.

I could go on and on citing sources for my medical reasons against circumcision.
CIRP.ORG has done all of the articles, research and citing of journal articles that listing them would be sadly redundant.

We know that the major medical bodies throughout the world have reviewed the journal articles, the studies and declared unanimously that it is not medically necessary. This website has organized this information into one convenient place, including hyperlinks to the organization's websites.

For a couple of excerpts I give you the Canadian Pediatric Society's bottom line, "Circumcision of newborns should not be routinely (i.e.,in the absence of medical indication) performed."

As well as the American Academy of Pediatrics statement excerpt: "Existing scientific evidence demonstrates potential medical benefits of newborn male circumcision; however, these data are not sufficient to recommend routine neonatal circumcision. In circumstances in which there are potential benefits and risks, yet the procedure is not essential to the child's current well-being, parents should determine what is in the best interest of the child."

Though, their policy on Female Genital Mutilation is as follows,

"The American Academy of Pediatrics believes that pediatricians and pediatric surgical specialists should be aware that this practice has life-threatening health risks for children and women. The American Academy of Pediatrics opposes all types of female genital cutting that pose risks of physical or psychological harm, counsels its members not to perform such procedures, recommends that its members actively seek to dissuade families from carrying out harmful forms of FGC, and urges its members to provide patients and their parents with compassionate education about the harms of FGC while remaining sensitive to the cultural and religious reasons that motivate parents to seek this procedure for their daughters."

Some of the reasons specific to this being called "life threatening", not including the deaths from infection and bleeding, is the more extreme practice of sewing closed the vaginal opening.

However, routine male circumcision is also life threatening, due to infection and bleeding there is approximately 117 neonate deaths each year in the United States associated to RIC (Routine Infant Circumcision.) According to the THYMOS Journal of Boyhood Studies, Vol. 4, No. 1, Spring 2010, 78-90.

Dr. Robert Baker said, “It would appear from statistics that at least 41 children are needlessly sacrificed to prevent one case of penile cancer. If we assume there to be about 1,325,000 newborn male circumcisions in the U.S., the annual cost to the consumers is around $54 million. And at least 229 of these newborns will die as a result of the operation.” - Published in the Nov. 1979 Sexual Medicine Today.

I would like to offer this line of logic.

A) The Major Medical Associations, Groups, Societies, do not recommend it as a routine, or medically necessary.

B) If it is not medically necessary, then we are doing it for social reasons. Weak medical/health reasons used to silence our cognitive dissonance on the subject.

C)If it is for social, or traditional reasons, how does that differ from Female Genital Cutting?

"The traditional custom of ritual cutting and alteration of the genitalia of female infants, children, and adolescents, referred to as female genital mutilation"

"The American Academy of Pediatrics opposes all types of female genital cutting that pose risks of physical or psychological harm, counsels its members not to perform such procedures, recommends that its members actively seek to dissuade families from carrying out harmful forms of FGC..."

Currently it is illegal to perform any Female Genital Cutting, as stated here. This is also a link to the mgmbill website.


(a) Except as provided in subsection (b), whoever knowingly circumcises, excises, or infibulates the whole or any part of the labia majora or labia minora or clitoris of another person who has not attained the age of 18 years shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.

Ultimately the differences are due only to anatomy. Routine Infant Male Circumcision is the social practice of surgically removing functional, healthy, purposeful tissue from an innocent, defenseless, non-consenting individual.

The purported health benefits that still convince parent's to do this to their children can be dealt with in less extreme and invasive manners so as to protect the bodily integrity of said child.

For an anatomy lesson please go to Their interest is not financial, or social, and their anatomy lesson is thorough in the support of the human body.

As for STD's, HIV, and other diseases associated with high risk sexual behavior, teach your son two things. One, safe sexual practices, and two, hygiene.

As for making it easier for a father to teach his son about how to care for his genitals, it can take as little as 30 seconds to learn all you need to know about care of the intact penis.

Care of the Intact Penis - 3 simple rules

1. Leave the foreskin alone!

2. Never permit anyone to retract the foreskin.

3. When the child can fully retract his own foreskin comfortably, he may begin to do so in the tub or shower.

For those intellectuals out there, this is a fact based editorial discussing our society, our scientists, and claims of medical benefits of RIC.

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