AAP: Health Benefits Of Circumcision Outweigh Risks

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP – the science-based one) has recently published the results of its task force on circumcision. The AAP evaluated the recent evidence and determined that “the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks and that the procedure’s benefits justify access to this procedure for families who choose it.” We have previously discussed the ruling of a German court that parents who circumcise their sons based on religious beliefs are committing child abuse.

The specifics benefits of circumcision include

  • prevention of urinary tract infections,
  • penile cancer, and
  • transmission of some sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.

However, the AAP notes that the health benefits are not great enough to warrant routine circumcision.

The AAP notes that the benefits warrant reimbursement via medical insurance policies. We await the Christian conservatives’ outrage, claiming that circumcision, and it accompanying reduction in sexually transmitted diseases, will increase male promiscuity.

The AAP Technical Report recommends that “circumcision should be performed by trained and competent practitioners, by using sterile techniques and effective pain management.” The Task Force notes the problems with finding competent providers.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University have found that “twenty years of falling circumcision rates have cost the country $2 billion in preventable medical costs.” Eighteen states have dropped their Medicaid coverage of the procedure.

Those who claim that the uncircumcised penis is natural and hence, better, commit the naturalistic fallacy. The  argument that circumcision violates a “right to bodily integrity” would also apply to any number of surgeries to correct birth defects like fused limbs and the removal of vestigial tails.

While circumcision for health benefits has a rational basis, circumcision to demonstrate a commitment to an imaginary being is not rational.

H/T: David Bernstein (VC), Monya Baker (Nature), The Virginian-Pilot.

143 thoughts on “AAP: Health Benefits Of Circumcision Outweigh Risks

  1. Put me in the health camp….though it may originally been based on religious beliefs… It’s more of a health benefit….

  2. “[…] the ruling of a German court that parents who circumcise their sons based on religious beliefs are committing child abuse […]”

    No. The accused (whose acquittal by the first instance was upheld by the State Court Cologne BTW) in that case was the doctor, not the parents. And the offense in question was causing bodily harm, not child abuse.

    The point of the court wasn’t if circumcision is good or bad (“abuse”), the point was the validity of the informed consent.

  3. I find it interesting that the American and some European medical associations seem to reach very different opinions. I suppose it’s just another example that scientists are no more free from prejudice and bias than anyone else.

  4. well.. I would think that the USA might have amore bias towards…. and as for Europe… Canada… Germany…. France… they all come to the opposite conclusion than the USA…..

    also…. WHY is it OK to cut a males genitals????

    and NOT OK to cut females????

  5. Waldo – while your statement is true & suspect the conclusion you want to draw is very wrong.

    Scientists are human and suffer from the same human failings we all do. That is why they insist on peer review and repeatability before reaching consensus. Even in this post the details of the two stories are far more important than the glaring headlines that people want to focus on to proved their point. Those details are much more nuanced and complex than some people want them to be.

    Good science, the kind done in the past about the dangers of smoking and currently being done about climate change, takes time, it takes multiple reviews, it takes teams of actual scientists combing over the results the find errors and even to weed out – HEAVEN FORFEND! – bias and prejudice. That is what makes it better than the fake science done by tobacco companies or coal and oil company stooges who do not provide for peer review but do write beautiful headlines.

  6. Gurl – do you really not know what is involved in female circumcision or are you just trying to be funny?

    But lets pretend the two are similar. It still would come down to any medical benefits from doing or not doing each. The health benefits of male circumcision have been known for years (the reduction in cancer was explained to me 50 years ago) despite any real questioning of the practice. There needs to be more study but that appears to be happening. No such benefit has been witnessed in female circumcision but it could be studied.

  7. Our adopted son was ~3 when we got him. He was uncircumsized. After about 4 UTI’s our pediatrician urged circumcision. My poor boy was 10 and it was very tough for us to have him undergo it, but it stopped the UTI’s. Plus, guys who served in the military will tell you the dudes w/ “hoods” get the clap much more frequently. Just sayn’.

  8. There was a movie on tv last night with that schmuck Clint Eastwood. He was smoking the entire movie. Millions of kids and adults were encouraged by the schmuck to take up smoking. Then the old fart appeared on tv at the national convention. He made no apologies for the millions whom he condemned to illness and death.

  9. It’s really easy to find circumcised doctors who are against circumcision, but surprisingly difficult to find male doctors in favor who weren’t circumcised themselves as children.

    The AAP are way out of line with other national medical organizations, and it’s very disappointing that they say this:
    “Parents are entitled to factually correct, nonbiased information about circumcision”

    but they provide information that is both biased and highly selective. They simply don’t seem to consider that the foreskin might actually be valuable.

    How strange that all the health benefits the AAP claim don’t seem to exist in Europe, where almost no-one circumcises unless they’re Jewish or Muslim.

    I suppose it’s a good thing they didn’t look at operating on girls to prevent breast cancer. 11% of women get breast cancer, and 3% die of it, so the health benefits to the girls would massively outweigh the risks.

    Meanwhile, other national health organizations including the Canadian Paediatric Society and the Dutch Medical Association continue to recommend *against* circumcising newborns.

    Female and male circumcision are more comparable than some people (including Frankly) think. Firstly, in countries where female circumcision is done under unhygienic conditions, male circumcision is too (broken glass, no anaesthesia, etc). Many boys die each year in Africa from tribal circumcisions – over 100 young men died last year in just one province of South Africa. In some countries though female circumcision only involves the removal of the clitoral hood – the anatomical equivalent of the foreskin – and is done to babies in sterile conditions, even with pain relief. Check out how it’s done in Egypt, Malaysia or Brunei, for example. Circumcised women choose to have their daughters circumcised, citing how it’s cleaner, good sexually, reduces secretions and smegma and is generally hygienic, and also mentioning studies showing circumcised women have lower infection rates. Basically the same reasons that people use to defend male circumcision. It’s just a cultural difference.

    This is just one study that showed health benefits to female circumcision:
    http://www.iasociety.org/Default.aspx?pageId=11&abstractId=2177677
    “Conclusions: A lowered risk of HIV infection among circumcised women was not attributable to confounding with another risk factor in these data.”

  10. well… here is an article on this study from Canada….
    and I must say, I tend toward having more faith in their conclusion….

    The USA is PRO Circumcision…. that is ingrained in the culture and tradition….

    here is the article……

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/

    “The Canadian Pediatric Society’s position statement says circumcision of newborns should not be routinely performed.”

    and….. “Goldman contends medical studies showing benefits are flawed and that the academy’s new position is “out of step” with medical groups in other developed countries.” an additional, older article stating why it is difficult to provide accurate study
    result…..

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/art

    … same demographic limitations apply to the spread of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). A study from a venereal disease clinic in Africa reported that circumcision was less common among HIV-infected males as compared with HIV-negative males who attended the same clinic.

    This clinic served two different tribes, each having who have different religions and mores. Again, the prevalence of circumcision was but one difference between the groups and so cannot be considered the only reason for the discrepancy in their infection levels–and circumcision certainly cannot be depended on for protection against a deadly virus.”There are several published studies that conclude that circumcision prevents urinary tract infection in infant boys. These studies focus on infants who were examined for fever, were hospitalized and were diagnosed as having discharge from a urinary tract infection. These studies may be biased in another way. For years, physicians have heard that uncircumcised boys may be more prone to urinary tract infections. Circumcised boys, therefore, are more likely to be checked for signs of infection than are their uncircumcised friends. Unfortunately, there have been no studies designed to test boys (circumcised and not) prospectively for urinary tract infection.

  11. Jag, Our pediatrician, who we trust implicitly, said have your son cicumsized and 90% chance he won’t have another UTI. She was correct. jag, maybe it takes a dude to truly empathize w/ having your hood whacked when you’re 10. My wife felt so bad for him, but I literally had sympathy pains. Better done when babies than pre-adolescent.

  12. Gurl – do you really not know what is involved in female circumcision or are you just trying to be funny?

    NO… actually NOT trying to be funny…..

    There are many in Europe that feel, cutting the healthy tissue of a boy, is just as bad as cutting the healthy tissue of a girl….

    It seems that the USA is the ONLY ONE who comes to this conclusion….

    France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland…. UK…. Norway…. Holland… ETC….. come to the TOTAL OPPOSITE conclusion that the American study does….

    Now…. One thing I do know…. The AAP is made of of many Doctors…. now, I do have to wonder, how many of them are Jewish, and are going to have a religious BIAS in this study.????

    We can not look at this study, that goes against what MOST of the rest of the rest of the world, and not look at the possible religious bias that may have shaped these opinions….

  13. Clint Eastwood was simply acting out the role of a character. He was no more responsible for encouraging others to smoke as J. P. Patches or Bozo the Clown were responsible for young adults listening to Insane Clown Posse and becoming Juggalos.

  14. Nick…. there could have been other methods that may have worked just as well….

    I think teaching a boy how to clean himself properly is very important….

    there are GIRLS that get many many UTI’s…. YOU teach the girl how to take care of her genitals so this does not happen….

    just as a woman is more adept at teaching her daughter how to keep herself clean…. I man with a foreskin is also most likely going to be a better teacher as to teach a young boy with a foreskin how to keep himself clean…

    Now should people start taking children’s appendix out????? this will also curb infection and can potentially be life saving…..

  15. The circumcisee has no say in it, it is all about the choice of the circumcisor imposed upon the circumcisee.

    Unless it is only done after the age of majority.

  16. Unfair analogy, jag. Let’s have an intellectually honest debate. Your problem seems mostly philosophical, which I can abide. I’m just giving you my personal experience, I’m neutral philosophically on this topic. However, I’ll always err on the side of caution, even @ the craps table.

  17. nick spinelli
    1, September 1, 2012 at 11:06 am
    itchinbaydog, OK, you hate Clint. Fine. But, Hollywood made smoking cool, not just Eastwood.

    Nick…. this is VERY true….

    Ohhh I remember watching I LOVE LUCY….

    and she would walk over to the fireplace….. pull a cigarette out of the cigarette box on the mantle…. and then motion for Ricky to light her cigarette…..

    There was a romance to it….

    YES.. I still smoke to this day….. and yes, I do partially blame OLD Hollywood…..
    THO…. it is my choice to smoke now…

  18. http://www.jewishjournal.com/health/article/is_there_a_docta_in_the_house_20030905/

    there are a lot of Jewish doctors in the USA…. If you read the article, you will see what I mean….

    Now, you can’t tell me, that this might not have some basis on this study….

    the REST of the world again…. Comes to the OPPOSITE CONCLUSION, than this study does…..

    I am just saying, that one might want to look at all data from around the world, before just buying into this latest study…..

    WHY does the USA come to the opposite conclusion of the REST of the WESTERN WORLD on this subject???????

  19. @ Frankly, you might be surprised. I’m completely in support of parental choice when it comes to circumcision. I don’t completely trust the American or the European med associations, but I put more faith in the AAP than I do the others generally and based upon what I’ve read about the medical risks and benefits.

    Mainly however, I commented above because I just find it interesting that in America, where circumcision is much more common and socially acceptable, the American docs tend to support it, and in Europe, where it is much less common and socially acceptable, the docs tend to oppose it. Since their both supposedly talking only about the objective, scientific medical pros and cons, they should be in agreement. The fact that they’re not, I attribute to cultural and societal, not scientific, differences. I find that interesting and informative. It makes me think that it’s always a good idea to question whether social and cultural biases are influencing supposedly objective, scientific conclusions.

  20. Those who claim that the uncircumcised penis is natural and hence, better, commit the naturalistic fallacy. The argument that circumcision violates a “right to bodily integrity” would also apply to any number of surgeries to correct birth defects like fused limbs and the removal of vestigial tails.

    ——————————————————————————–

    EXCEPT….. it is NOT a DEFECT if EVERY BOY is born with one……

    and a number of birth defect surgeries, are done for cosmetic reasons…..

    are you also saying that MOST European men are deformed because they have a foreskin????

  21. Jusagurl

    You got it right, a Washingtonian. Watched JP as a child. In fact, on my birthday when I was about 8 or 9 my parents arranged for me to be included on JP’s ICUTV birthday announcements. My present was in the dryer.

  22. Gurl and others,

    It all began in the desert. OK? And keeping it clean is difficult in a desert. Nature fixed that with the uretha opening into the vulva on a woman. Men were not so lucky.
    No more details for now.

  23. idealist707
    1, September 1, 2012 at 11:38 am
    Gurl and others,

    It all began in the desert. OK? And keeping it clean is difficult in a desert. Nature fixed that with the uretha opening into the vulva on a woman. Men were not so lucky.
    No more details for now.

    and this is EXACTLY right…..

    Tho, luckily, the USA is NOT mostly Desert…. :-)

  24. Watch the video at the link and learn something. The foreskin is there for a reason. It has over 20,000 nerve endings where the clitoris has about 8,000. I would like to know the statistics for infant males getting STDs or HIV? Maybe we should remove all teen-aged girls breasts because “some” of them will grow up to have breast cancer?

    I have no problem with whatever an adult male wants to do with his penis once he is 18. His body/His choice. In my state, I can’t tattoo my son until he is 18-years old but I can cut off a part of his anatomy, without his consent, when he is days old. Circumcision can always be done. It can’t be undone.

    http://www.nocirc.org/

  25. Darren Smith
    1, September 1, 2012 at 11:36 am
    Jusagurl

    You got it right, a Washingtonian. Watched JP as a child. In fact, on my birthday when I was about 8 or 9 my parents arranged for me to be included on JP’s ICUTV birthday announcements. My present was in the dryer.
    ——————————————-

    Ohhhh That is soooo COOL….

    I NEVER got the birthday announcement…. :-(

    Still, I watched him most of my childhood….

    Duff McKagan wrote a great article about how JP Patches shaped Seattle….. and the music….

    http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/reverb/2012/07/jp_patches_made_seattle_bands.php

  26. JMQuinn
    1, September 1, 2012 at 11:51 am
    Watch the video at the link and learn something. The foreskin is there for a reason. It has over 20,000 nerve endings where the clitoris has about 8,000. I would like to know the statistics for infant males getting STDs or HIV? Maybe we should remove all teen-aged girls breasts because “some” of them will grow up to have breast cancer?

    I have no problem with whatever an adult male wants to do with his penis once he is 18. His body/His choice. In my state, I can’t tattoo my son until he is 18-years old but I can cut off a part of his anatomy, without his consent, when he is days old. Circumcision can always be done. It can’t be undone.

    http://www.nocirc.org/

    BRAVO….. Good post….. :-)

  27. Do we circumsize dogs, horses, bulls, etc.? Wouldn’t it do good things for them?

    Note, we all should have good hygiene. So do it yourself and don’t go to sleep until you do (after intercourse).

  28. justagurlinseattle, incredibly uneducated people such as yourself is why the debate on circumcision never goes anywhere.

    If you really equate the remove of a bit of foreskin with the removal of the clitoris than you have no business having a discussion with adults. If you truly think that the foreskin is equivalent to the clitoris than it is quite obvious that you really are a “gurl” and not a girl or woman.

    Please educate yourself in basic anatomy before continuing this debate

  29. David,
    interesting topic! I think parents have a responsibility to consider circumcision if the doctors they trust recommend it for their child. Beyond that, all I can say is Ouch!

  30. Actually…. I did NOT say it was the same….

    My point is… you can NOT cut a female… NOT even a little…..
    NOR do I think anybody should……

    THO, you can cut a part of a boys PENIS off….. and nobody blinks an eye…. WEll… in the USA anyway…..

    It does NOT seem to be really fair….

    there are A LOT of men that feel mutilated and violated by circumcision….

    EDUCATE YOURSELF!!!!!

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/the-lay-scientist/2011/dec/06/1

    Infant male circumcision is genital mutilation

    Men should have the right to choose circumcision, not have the choice forced upon them. Infant circumcision without consent or immediate medical justification is an unjustified violation of basic human rights, that shares more in common with ancient coming-of-age rituals than responsible medical practice

  31. Actually…. I did NOT say it was the same….

    …actually you did. You directly compared them.

    My point is… you can NOT cut a female… NOT even a little…..
    NOR do I think anybody should……

    …again, removal the clitoris is not cutting “a little”.

    At first I thought you might just be brainwashed/uneducated. From your response it is obvious you are delusional so you enjoy yourself “gurl”

  32. Gurl’s arguments strike me as being a lot more rational than yours Christie, and she hasn’t resorted to name calling.

    Please read my post from 12:10pm when it gets approved.

  33. Just so you know.

    Saw a long scientific program on our science channel.
    It gave the results of a study of how women’s sexual nerves are distributed.

    It can be summarized, with individual differences, such that women’s clitoris in fact extend along the labia to the anus, and in some cases are in the anal periphery as well.

    Some women reach orgasms doing fellatio. Sex is indeed a personal experience. Some women are so frank as to say while dancing: “Excuse me, I have to go do myself”. A minority admittedly.

    So comparing the foreskin to the clitoris is not a correct one in terms of sources of sexual pleasure.

    But then it was circumcision we were talking about.
    I can take care of my own hygiene.

    And my once girlfriend. a nurse on the thorax surgical ward occasionally took care of other patient needs when bathing them in the ward bed.

  34. justagurlinseattle “there are A LOT of men that feel mutilated and violated by circumcision”

    Well wait a minute. You seem to be trying to build a clear equivalence between circumcision and procedures performed on women.

    If there really were that kind of equivalence then I do not believe we would be having the debate.

    I am no expert, but based on what I have heard, the procedures performed on women are clearly damaging and follow the women into adulthood and all through their lives.

    In contrast, when males are circumcised at an early age they literally have no memory of it or any associated pain. And as has been reported here there are medical benefits.

    Finally, I have never heard of any men who felt mutilated or violated by circumcision. I did not actually check and keep count, but I assure you over the years I have know quite a few men who were circumcised. I am prepared to assert, admittedly without data from a survey, that feelings of mutilation or violation are simply not an issue with men who are circumcised.

    None of that says that circumcision should be performed. But I think it is clear that it is reasonable to distinguish what is done to little boys and what is done to girls.

    What is done to girls seems to be damaging under any circumstance.

    What is done to boys simple does not fall in the same range.

    Creating a false equivalence between the two does not help us understand the real issues that are involved.

  35. As I said…. ANY form of cutting… EVEN a little cut is NOT allowed…..

    NOT all forms of Female Circumcision are DRASTIC…..
    THO, we have come to this conclusion due to it NOT being a societal NORM…… so we dismiss it as being drastic….. EVEN tho, we are willing to cut an entire part off of a baby boy, because it is a societal norm….

    we consider cutting a female at all… even a NICK…. is considered MUTILATION…..

    ————————————————————————

    http://www.mndaily.com/2010/09/20/cut-divides

    Members of the Somali community in the Twin Cities disagree on whether to support the mild form of circumcision some refer to as a “clitoral nick,” where a woman’s clitoris is poked and allowed to bleed, a practice that’s believed to render her “clean.”

    While some, like Ahmed, believe they should be able to practice the long-standing tradition, others are equally passionate about leaving it behind.

    On par with ear piercing

    Widespread discussion around the topic resurfaced in May of this year when the American Academy of Pediatrics Bioethics Committee reviewed a 1998 policy which banned any female circumcision. The committee recommended that the AAP approve what it called a “ritual nick,” arguing it’s on par with ear piercing and “much less extensive than routine newborn male genital cutting,” or circumcision.

    Douglas Diekema, chairman of the AAP’s Bioethics Committee at the time, has long believed that pediatricians should be able to perform a nick as an alternative to a more dangerous procedure performed in a nonmedical setting.

  36. I have a post from 12:10pm which is “awaiting moderation”, but that may help to explain why some people believe there is a real comparison between female genital cutting and male circumcision. The less common male circumcision is (or the more common female cutting is), the more likely people in a country are to compare the two.

    My post from 10:40 answers some of your points.

  37. justagurlinseattle “there are A LOT of men that feel mutilated and violated by circumcision”

    Well wait a minute. You seem to be trying to build a clear equivalence between circumcision and procedures performed on women.

    ——————————————

    NO…. BUt at the same time…. Just google… Men Mutilated by Circumcision….

    There is web site after website on this subject….. MEN from the USA….
    a lot of circumcised men feel very violated and disfigured by this…..

    and as with rape…. who are we to say, what degree is worse.????

    PLUS….. there are men who are actually mutilated via circumcision…. I mean the penis is damaged beyond repair…..

  38. ml66uk
    1, September 1, 2012 at 12:42 pm
    I have a post from 12:10pm which is “awaiting moderation”, but that may help to explain why some people believe there is a real comparison between female genital cutting and male circumcision. The less common male circumcision is (or the more common female cutting is), the more likely people in a country are to compare the two.

    My post from 10:40 answers some of your points.

    TRY reposting it….

    This time tho, only allow 2 links in your post….

    This helped me when this happened to me….

    just try removing links that you may have in your post…..

  39. Thanks for the suggestions. Here goes:

    @Christie:
    The foreskin is homologous to the clitoral hood, but has more nerve endings than the external clitoris. Even a pinprick on a girl’s genitals is illegal though. Why don’t boys get the same protection?

    The people that cut girls compare male and female circumcision all the time. So did the doctors that used to promote female cutting in the USA:

    http://www.noharmm.org/CircintheFemale.htm
    Circumcision in the Female: Its Necessity and How to Perform It
    Benjamin E. Dawson, A.M., M.D. – Kansas City, Missouri
    President, Eclectic Medical University
    American Journal of Clinical Medicine, vol. 22, no. 6, p. 520-523, June 1915

    http://www.noharmm.org/femcirctech.htm
    Female Circumcision: Indications and a New Technique
    W.G. Rathmann, M.D. GP, vol. XX, no. 3, pp 115-120 , September, 1959

  40. http://www.noharmm.org/circumfemale.htm
    Circumcision of the Female
    C.F. McDonald, M.D. – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    GP, Vol. XVIII No. 3, p. 98-99, September, 1958
    (“If the male needs circumcision for cleanliness and hygiene, why not the female?”)

    More recently, the AAP’s Bioethics committee changed its policy on female cutting in 2010 saying “It might be more effective if federal and state laws enabled pediatricians to reach out to families by offering a ritual [clitoral] nick as a possible compromise to avoid greater harm.”
    They were forced to retract this about six weeks later:
    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/722840
    Dr Diekema, the chair of the committee said “We’re talking about something far less extensive than the removal of foreskin in a male”.

  41. The worst forms of female genital cutting are unquestionably worse than the usual form of western male circumcision, but the worst forms of male circumcision are also worse than the lesser forms of female cutting. Over 100 males died of circumcision in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa in 2010, and there were at least two penile amputations.

    Compare that with this:
    http://aandes.blogspot.com/2010/04/circumcision.html

    Why would the procedure in that most recent link be illegal in most western countries, yet this is legal:

  42. If anyone has a reference to support groups for adult male victims of circumcision perhaps could they please post the reference here. I did a very brief check. I did see web sites by people taking a stand on the basis of principle against circumcision.

    I did not see any support groups for males who considered themselves to be victims – but I would guess there are some – somewhere – maybe.

    It seems to me there are two concerns regarding mutilation from male circumcision, (1) those who regard the practice, on principle, to be mutilation and (2) the issue of accidents or mal-practice.

    Clearly the possibility for mutilation is a concern for parents. But stories of hundreds of damaged boys may not be particularly relevant when evaluating the common practice here.

    Does anyone know of the rate of serious problems arising from the actual procedure of male circumcision as practiced here in the US or other western nations.

    My impression was that serious complications were relatively rare.

    The one that I am aware of that made the popular press involved the tragic evens of a boy who was accidentally mutilated and raised as a girls. He eventually wrote a book regarding his experiences, the attempt to teach him to live as female, his realization that there were problems, and finally his life as a male.

  43. Well, well, well.

    First nature’s guide. The collection of smegma under the clitoral hood and the foreskin are usually accompanied after a while by irritation or itching. The child reacts and manifupoates the area, often dislodging the smegma.

    Nicking a clitoral hood on a young baby can be compared in terms of remaining trauma memories to those of birth circumcisions. Removing the foreskin, besides so-called hygenic reasons, desensitizes the meatus, making intercourse with premature ejaculation less likely, etc.

    Excision is ascribed, as is suturing shut a vulva with an opening left for urination/menstruation, to muslims beliefs in reducing the woman’s unnatural lusts, and assuring virginity at marriage, chiefly in Somalia. Some literally have to be cut open some months before marriage so as to permit intercourse. We have many Somali refugees here, and the Swedes have forbidden it by law, so they send their girls home to get it done, it is alleged.

    The ritual of nicking of rhe clitoral hood for ritual purifying is news to me.
    I will inquire of a Somali the next oppoutunity I get.

  44. Idealist….

    I too, am always shocked by FGM….. HOWEVER, I leaned that it is NOT always as drastic as what you describe….

    I do have to wonder tho, would we as Americans, be just as shocked at Male circumcision,as we are Female Genital Mutilation, had we not grown up in a country where this was the norm????

    We are VERY shocked at what they do to women in some of these Tribes via Female Genital Mutilation…. and RIGHTFULLY so….. BUT, is this just because we are not accustomed to this?????

    Same question visa versa…. Are we OK with male circumcision because we are accustomed to this as a society.???

    What if we had NEVER seen a circumcised male.???
    then we saw graphic photos of a baby having his foreskin removed????

    Would we be just as shocked???

  45. Removing the foreskin, besides so-called hygenic reasons, desensitizes the meatus, making intercourse with premature ejaculation less likely, etc.
    ……

    actually… If I remember correctly, I saw a study where this was an OPPOSITE finding…..

    Circumcised males were more likely to have premature ejaculation issues….

  46. I’m Jewish, I did not have my son circumcised, he understood that he could get it done himself when he was 18 if he wanted to, he didn’t want to, I don’t involve myself in any further questions about his position on the matter; surely if he wants me to know something he will tell me. But it is interesting how I came to the decision not to have him circumcized, since I had exactly eight (8) days to make the decision at the time. I weighed the irreversibility of the procedure against the real data (that he would have a lot more risk-time after age 18 than before, in terms of hygienic considerations AND vulnerability to disease) and decided, well Hell, may as well choose the easy way out.

    That was the last time I chose the easy way out in making decisions raising him and I think we did all right in the long run.

  47. Desensitizing/sensitizing. There went that pro-circumcision argument. I am not, mom said I could do it myself, when I asked why the others were.

    As for accomodation to custom, that is true. Why else do
    we have such a difference between Europe and USA?

    But just as in male circumcision, female processes of all varieties, if done under unhygenic conditions will lead to terrible consequences. Dirty hands will kill just as they used to do at childbirth.

    If people want to hear of really bizarre practices, the aborigine tribes have scarification and slitting of the foreskin as a rite of passage of young teenage men.

    Chatwin mentioned it in passing in his book “Songlines”.

    Haven’t studied any of it. Just random pickings.

    Prefer the Trobriand Island methods for rites for youths of both sexes. They share dorms together for at least two years, encouraging free sex. Read more if you are interested in anthropology.

  48. OT OT OT

    Am suffering political hunger pangs. You all are full after the convemtion but I abstained. So here is one after analysis of a progressive source.

    “Politicians from both parties twist facts or spin policy, but Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign has had a particularly strained relationship with the truth, repeating false claims with impunity — even after fact checkers, mainstream media organizations, and blogs have all debunked their assertions.”

    Their are several OP Eds at the NYTimes to the same effect.
    Here:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/01/opinion/collins-only-the-good-get-rich.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120901

    and here:

    http://mittlies.com/

    from where the excerpt was taken. A link from ThinkProgress.

    Now that itch is scratched.

  49. PS The Romney campaign, the Republican methods, and the convention all confirm the same thing.

    Those who scream the longest and the loudest always win the “what do I believe and remember” contest.

    No truth needed. In fact the more extreme the lie the better the effect.

    It must be a genetic defect, now too prevalent to be called abnormal anymore.

    I will now stop my political detour.

  50. Malisha….

    IN NO WAY did you take the easy way out…..

    in my opinion, you did the opposite….
    MOST people will just do, as most other people will do….

    MOST babies in the USA are circumcised…. So, most people are going to follow that line of tradition….

    Personally, I think you were reasonable….

    Funny thing is…. I am not exactly anti circumcision…. I grew up in the USA…. MOST the men I have known in my life, we also “FROM THE USA”…

    In moving here, this became a topic, that I was not used to in the USA… as men , here are NOT cut….

    So, this being so, I wanted to learn more about what people thought of this…..

    this is when I learned that many men felt victimized by being cut, and not left intact…..

    In Europe…. I have heard men joke, they they would not trust a man, who did not have a foreskin…..
    Of course I asked if that was a jewish jab….
    and it was affirmed NOPE… it was a jab at men in the USA…. :-)

    my point is…. this is far more complex than just buying into the next study by the AAPA…..

    we are OK with things, such as this, because they are social norms…. and we should just be careful not to buy into any study, just because it affirms our beliefs…..

  51. @ Dredd “The thing is, this is about parental ego.

    My kid will have a better penis if …

    It is all about “the better penis.”

    The trophy penis.”

    I disagree that this is what actually motivates parents. Is there really anyone who equates a circumcised penis with a “trophy” penis?

    But, so what if they did? I know I would like to have a trophy penis! I’d be pretty damned disappointed in mom and dad if they had the opportunity to give me a trophy penis and neglected to do so.

  52. Why else do the jews produce so many Nobel prize winners.
    Wize jewish mothers seems to be the answer.
    Picking and choosing. Life’s multi-lemmas.

    PS There are no wize fathers. Nature crapped out on that when he made males.

  53. Waldo….

    I’m not sure parents care so much about this…. THO, I do suspect some fathers do… :-D

    BUT, there are men in the USA that were not cut, as babies… and feel left out, so now want to have this done, so they can look like everybody else….

    It is quite sad really….

  54. idealist707
    1, September 1, 2012 at 2:33 pm
    Why else do the jews produce so many Nobel prize winners.
    Wize jewish mothers seems to be the answer.
    Picking and choosing. Life’s multi-lemmas.

    PS There are no wize fathers. Nature crapped out on that when he made males.

    ——————————-

    hahahahaha…. again with the laughter….. :-D

  55. @ justagurl, “NO…. BUt at the same time…. Just google… Men Mutilated by Circumcision….

    There is web site after website on this subject….. MEN from the USA….
    a lot of circumcised men feel very violated and disfigured by this….. ”

    I did some quick looking but didn’t see anything non-anecdotal. Personally, I don’t find anecdotal accounts by guys persuasive, especially by guys outside the US where a lot of there anguish seems to come from the fact of being different from the norm. In fact, to the extent that you believe men feeling anguish over their penis looking different, then this seems to be an argument in favor of circumcision in the US. Anyways, it’s certainly contrary to my personal experience and I cannot think of a single guy I’ve known ever express even mild regret at being circumcised (admittedly, not a regular subject of conversation).

    While I’m unpersuaded by anecdotal evidence, I freely admit that my personal experience might be misleading me. I wonder whether there is any reliable surveys out there on how adult circumcised men feel about having been circumcised as infants? My gut, at least for US men, is that the vast majority as glad it was done when they were infants or it’s unimportant to them. I’d be surprised if significant numbers feel “violated and disfigured” by it. But, I’m open to changing my opinion if presented with reliable surveys.

  56. well…. That is just it…. most of it is going to be anecdotal…

    It is not illegal to circumcise…. so there are not going to be the same types of web sites out there…

    I will agree tho, OTHER than reading some stories of men on line…. MOST of the men I knew…. did not care or was it even relevant conversation….

    and nor do men in Europe talk about it…. except to say…. they are glad they are not cut….

  57. It appears some men have a fetish on this as there is a magazine called UNCUT. Or did I dream that. Whatever.
    As long as it does not shrink or fall off or refuse to do its duty, then all it well. Don’t actually know what the hassle is about.

    I kinda like mine, with the foreskin that goes click like a shutter on a camere. Now you see me, now you don’t. Peepeye!

    Circumcised probably have other tricks.

    Hope the humor got from to all.

  58. One last thing.

    The foreskin makes for ungritty intercourse on the beach.

    The reply to that is too gross: Oh. she cleans if for you first. Lucky you. Resourceful women of the desert.

  59. They brand men like a herd of cows. American men are such wimps to let their sons be subjected to this absurd surgery. If it were women tied down & cut, the Feminists would be howling all over the world. The male genitals are a cheap commodity. There is no argument too absurd for the circumcisers. They insult the appearance of the intact penis, claim that circumcision heals everything from body warts to HIV, and draw an illogical distinction between female & male genitals. Circumcision is the mark of a slave, not a free man.

    Top Ten Tortures Less Painful Than Circumcision

    10. Get knocked out by Mohammed Ali.
    9. Pull out your fingernails.
    8. Eat a pile of steaming bear phooey.
    7. Skin yourself alive.
    6. Fall into a vat of molten iron.
    5. Get run over by a train.
    4. Go through a sausage grinder.
    3. Saw off your legs.
    2. Poke out your eyes.
    1. Go To Hell

    ~Dick-Scalper

  60. Gurl,

    “my point is…. this is far more complex than just buying into the next study by the AAPA…..

    we are OK with things, such as this, because they are social norms…. and we should just be careful not to buy into any study, just because it affirms our beliefs…..”
    by gurl.
    ——————-

    Now you are at the depth I like to reach when I can. Good on ya’.

    It’s ag good thing, in a way, that it is done and over with for the boys. Contemplating it is horrendous for aborigine boys in their teens. They run away from it literally. So would most American men too, if they were 13 and facing circumcision. I’m just guessing. Don’t come near me with a knife you ass!, they would say.

    I’ll borrow a card from the evangelists. If god did not want us to have a foreskin, he would have not given us one.

    Now those who think otherwise can console themselves with this old old joke.
    The guy who got cut with his moms sewing scissors now is called “frilly dilly”. We thought that was fun when we were in our teens.

    Probably was fun for his girl friends. Built in French *******!

  61. This only in reply to the story, not comments.I read the report. It reccommended that parents should make whatever decision they feel they want to live with as their sons grow up. There is no reason to beleive all these benefits will obtain.

    My comment is: Has no one ever heard that mother’s (mine, at least) saw to it that even as an infant I must pull back the foreskin and clean with soap and water. Just think of it, cleanliness! No surgical side effects! Even in the 60″s, Jewish doctors prescribed soap and water! Prostitutes in the 50’s were careful to use soap and water–before and after. What has happened to common sense? Maybe we should remove toenails, unneeded some say, to prevent infected ingrown toenails that might become infected and cause gangrene? If ever there could be a problem get rid of it (at great expense) seems to be the mantra.I am 82 and I say this issue is hysterical baloney that requires actual education, never a scalpel. Only those with a foreskin know the others are missing….

  62. My comment disappeared before I could correct mothers not mother’s, and Only those with an intact foreskin can know what those without it are missing–in more ways than one….

  63. Donull and the ladies reading,

    Same as in the 60’s in Winnemucca, Nevada. Soap and water.

    And never did I get an “ugh” from the girls when they found the surprise in my pants. I was clean, and it skins back on its own when erect. And when it is not, then it is not interesting to the ladies. Although some will try to help out.

    Obsession? Not me. Gross, is in your mind. How do you know what is being put in when it is erect. Do you check it. I never got more than a glance. Even lil’ John, my buddy with 11 inches got no stares, shy glances maybe. But it was rid’em cowgirl then.
    But the rest is censored.

    Big deal over a detail nature provided and medicine screwed up with. In the early 1900’s a doctor in his bag, had (besides a pack of Camels) three effective remedies.
    Codeine, laudanum and ethyl alcohol.
    That was medicine then.

    Our minds are still in that period. Copy cats all.

    I will defend my foreskin until my death and then donate it to research at some American university.

  64. As a Jew I would like to state that this procedure has been part of my religion for a minimum of 3,500 years.

    As a male who has been sexually active all my life I have never found a problem with being circumcised and have never had any other circumcised male ever complain to me about the loss of their foreskin.

    I have never had sex with any woman who complained to me about my having no foreskin and have had sex with women who have stated a preference for circumcised males.

    As an aged male with prostate problems and the urinary frequency/urgency associated with it, I am quite grateful to be circumcised, since I do like to keep my penis clean.

    To be a Jewish male is to be circumcised and I’ve probably attended 75 “bris” (bris milôh’s) in my life and have never seen one that was either barbaric looking, or anything but a quite temporary discomfit for the infant. Indeed on a few occasion I have actually held the child being circumcised in my arms.

    Female circumcision (or Female Genital Mutilation) as it is now called is a practice whose purpose is:

    “an essential part of raising a girl properly—girls are regarded as having been cleansed by the removal of “male” body parts. It ensures pre-marital virginity and inhibits extra-marital sex, because it reduces women’s libido. Women fear the pain of re-opening the vagina, and are afraid of being discovered if it is opened illicitly.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_genital_mutilation

    The purpose of FGM is to prevent the woman from enjoying her sexuality and to ensure she remains a virgin. It is a cultural practice that dates back to ancient Egypt at least and it is not a tenet of either Judaism or Islam. Male circumcision’s purpose is not to limit sexual pleasure and so comparing the two is a false equivalency.

    Finally, those who know me here know that I am loath to charge anyone with being anti-Jewish when it comes to the Israel debate. I don’t take charges of bigotry towards any person or group lightly. Therefore it pains me to say that this decision in Germany, given the history of the “Shoah” is a very unfortunate one and whether unintended, the result is anti-Jewish and anti-Islamic. For those who are members of either religion, even for someone
    less than observant like myself, it is our duty to circumcise our male children. To some that may seem barbaric, but then to Jews and Muslims “drinking the blood and eating the body of Christ” seems pretty barbaric.

    The end result of this German action, if it is not turned around will be the expulsion of Jews and Muslims from that country, simply because their religious freedom will have been compromised. you will forgive me for wondering if give Germany’s history, there is not something intentional in this ban.

  65. “I will defend my foreskin until my death”

    I’m pretty sure your foreskin is safe from harm as no one is arguing for mandatory circumcision. It reminds me of those opposed to gay marriage who seemed to think that those in support of gay marriage were going to make them marry someone of the same sex. When it comes to circumcision, the only ones trying to use governmental power to impose their ideas and morals on others are those who oppose it.

  66. Waldo,

    Excuse me saying so, but my final sentence was meant as humor. Guess our tastes differ. “You” might even be in the majority on my sense of humor.

    But I have only my taste to go after. I don’t write jokes for TV. That last sentence was meant as a joke too, if I must say so to be understood.

    Your comments are accorded the same freedom as mine. Go to it as you desire. No pain here. Just thought you might like to know of my real intent.

  67. PS

    From the video film provided by Scalper, it would appear that there at that Student Union, the only propagators for diminishing circumcision were using information and reasoned discussion Wish more would use such techniques.

    Are there any pushing for government prohibitation?
    Then tell them to FO, it is mine to defend. No more prohibitions, except for Romney and Co. Couldn’t help that one kick.

  68. @Waldo “When it comes to circumcision, the only ones trying to use governmental power to impose their ideas and morals on others are those who oppose it”

    I think I have to agree.

    It seems to me that the ones who feel most strongly about this are the ones who do not practice it and have not been through it.

    The men who have actually been through it at a young age seem to be telling us that it is not such a big deal.

    If there are any support groups for victims of male circumcision they are being pretty cagy and not that easy to find.

    I have to wonder, are there any counselors whose practice is composed mainly or significantly of men who feel they are victims of circumcision?

    The benefits may be small or non existent. But, baring some tragedy, the damage also seems small. I say this despite the gruesome videos. I don’t think one can evaluate a medical procedure on the basis of the way it looks.

    This really seems to be a non issue, except in the minds of those who feel compelled to impose their view on others.

  69. I sometimes follow this blog and I wanted to weigh in here because I think not enough credence is given to this idea of “bodily integrity,” which I think is an emerging right in human rights law. I am not an expert on this and I am going to post here some links in a moment but we should consider that in most developed countries there are strict prohibitions against all forms of genital cutting to the point that you cannot lay a medical instrument on an infant girl’s genitals without good medical reason. This is so entrenched within out culture and reflected in our laws that even if tomorrow we found out that there might be some “potential” medical benefit to excising a portion of a girl’s labia to say prevent UTI (which are far more likely in a girl than a boy anyway) or STDs, we would still maintain that genital cutting of a baby girl is wrong or at least I hope we would! Correctly, we would point out that antibiotics, proper hygiene, and safe sex practices are far better options rather than strapping down an infant and cutting off parts of their functional genitalia in hopes of preventing some theoretical infection 20+ years down the line.

    Well, the same holds true for a boy, and this seems to be the disconnect I find in these conversations. Even if the cited health benefits of circumcision exist (by the way, if you read the AAP report carefully and consider the opinions of other organizations, you will realize there is little debate regarding the general lack of applicability of the benefits to infants of the developed world), you would still have to show that there are not less invasive, cheaper, more effective, consent-respecting alternative treatments to circumcision. Since there are, circumcision creates a major ethical problem. For example, UTIs affect 1% of boys in the first year of life and can be treated with antibiotics, circumcision is almost always unnecessary. Should we still insist on cutting off every boy’s foreskin? I hope not!!! If you look at circumcision, you will find the medical case for it is very dubious, having its roots in 19th century hysteria regarding sex and masturbation. Its a cultural practice in search of a medical problem that has time and again created post ad-hoc justifications. The simple fact is that developed countries, aside only the United States, do not practice circumcision in large numbers, and they for the most past enjoy far better health outcomes. As such, on a population and public health level, circumcision has not been shown to offer any significant health benefits.

    Most important of all and this gets always lost in the medical conversation is that most most men do not choose to get circumcised later in life because they find their foreskins to be functional, beneficial, non-optional parts of their genitalia. Clearly, there is an ethical problem to remove this at birth if the vast majority of men later in life choose not to and many men who have been circumcised attempt foreskin restoration techniques.

    Here are the two links I promised:
    http://blog.practicalethics.ox.ac.uk/2012/08/the-aap-report-on-circumcision-bad-science-bad-ethics-bad-medicine/

    http://newhumanist.org.uk/2856/circumcision-time-to-cut-it-out#.UD9zabUIKCE.facebook

    Whether passing a law against circumcision is a good/idea is far more complicated and I don’t have a good answer to that. I share cultural sensitivities and strongly believe in protecting the rights of the minority. However, given the direction we taking with this idea of “bodily integrity” I certainly see the reasoning for it.

  70. http://www.drmomma.org/2012/08/aap-circumcision-policy-statement.html

    A BRILLIANT Blog… with a letter to the AAP regarding this last study….

    Chojnacm…. BRAVO!!!!!

    The Link your provided was also brilliant in that it addresses EVERYTHING I was thinking about this study, but….

    A. did not have the energy to look up and source…..
    B. Could not have possibly written it as well…

    Both the Practical Ethics UK blog, and the Dr. Mommy blog that I have posted above, go over this study with a fine tooth comb… and dismantle it piece by piece….

  71. In the part of the world in which my daughters were born (southwest US), folks have the habit of poking holes in the ear lobes of baby girls for cosmetic purposes, sometimes within weeks if not days of bringing them home from the hospital. I’ve always considered that (1) child abuse, and (2) my daughters’ own business whether they wanted holes in their ears..

    It was a big deal, a rite of passage, for my girls to get their ears pierced prior to start of 5th grade classes. And each expressed some displeasure at my not letting their ears be pierced before the age of remembering things.

    This may seem like a small thing, but it was part of my attitude around my daughters: you are the person with the primary responsibility for your own health and safety, and no one does anything to you without your express consent.

    I saw my 5’2″ daughter as a freshman make the popular,hotshot sr. high school quarterback cringe and back away with a vicious rebuke when he took a liberty with what had been a friendly hug. It helps me feel not so nervous as she a long ways out of my sight these days.

  72. Oro Lee,

    That is a great story….

    My daughter is now 14… I tend to be of the more Rock N Roll.. Punk Rock mom….. I took my daughter to her first Punk show, a few months back…. Took her to her first heavy metal show last year….. We do EVERYTHING together… and I tend, as you may have guessed, to be rather Liberal… even in my parenting…..

    THO… I made my daughter also wait, to get her ears pierced…. 12 was the magic age…. I was 12 when I had mine done…
    and my daughter was 12 when she had hers done…. :-)

    Funny part of that is…. I have a sister…. she is 12 years younger than I am…. she was the responsible one… she was more, stable and conservative…. when she had her daughter, she had her ears pierced when she was just a few months old…. :-\

    What is ODD…. my daughter was GLAD, I was making her wait…. and even to this day thanks me for this…. :-)

  73. Kraaken, whatever has to do with penises is very serious.
    I’m not making a joke by saying this.

    Story: My kid was in the bathtub playing with his bathtub toys when he was three. He decided to stick his penis into a toy that I thought had a kind of sharp plastic edge — I think it was a boat. I said non-chalantly, “Honey don’t stick your penis into the toys, OK, you could get scratched.” He looked up innocently and asked, “then what can I stick my penis INTO?” I said, “well, nothing.” He then looked devilish and said, “I KNOW SOMETHING I can stick my penis INTO!” (He was always too smart for me and always had a fast answer, so this gave me pause, but then I asked the predictable question): “And what would that be?”

    “MY PANTS!”

  74. Bodily integrity is no new fad. One of the fathers of western law, Sir William Blackstone wrote in 1765: ” “Besides those limbs and members that may be necessary to man … the rest of his person or body is also entitled by the same natural right to security from the corporal insults of menaces, assaults, beating, and wounding; though such insults amount not to destruction of life or member….” – Commentaries on the Laws of England.

    You don’t have to commit the naturalistic fallacy to think that a person has a human right to all the normal, healthy, non-renewing body-parts he was born with, and that if it had been the slightest bit harmful, it would have evolved away aeons ago. (The appendix can’t do that, for obscure genetic reasons.)

    The AAP policy is culturally biased and seriously flawed. It should be withdrawn.

    (The policy itself is annotated at http/www.circumstitions.com/Docs/aap-12-anno.pdf to cite the faults that follow.)

    It fails to consider the structure or functions of the foreskin, a normal healthy body part, only the cutting of it off. It does not, for example, cite Taylor’s groundbreaking 1996 paper, The prepuce: Specialized mucosa of the penis and its loss to circumcision. The erogenous value of the foreskin has been known for millennia, even to its enemies. Recent denial of that value is confined to those who have no experience of it.
    It bases its conclusions about sexuality on two physiological studies that did not consider the foreskin, and on surveys of African adult volunteers for circumcision in the context of HIV prevention.
    It treats normal intact penile features as pathological; late separation of the prepuce from the glans can take as long as 17 years but the AAP says it should separate within two months; and it associates “preputial wetness” with disease when it is normal, just like oral wetness.
    It is filled with confirmation bias – finding the results the authors want.
    It claims benefits of circumcising outweigh the risks without ever numerically comparing them.
    It exaggerates benefits and minimizes risks and harm: For example –
    It cites a study showing that “circumcision ablates [removes] the most sensitive part of the penis” and ignores that finding.
    It admits the African HIV findings may not be applicable to the USA, but goes ahead and applies them.
    It cites a study suggesting circumcising men increases the HIV risk to women, and ignores that finding.
    It cites a study showing that a narrow foreskin (phimosis), not a normal one, is the issue in penile cancer, and ignores that finding.
    It dismisses major complications and death from circumcision because it did not find any statistical studies of them.
    It discusses the action of the Mogen circumcision clamp without mentioning that the clamp has caused too much of several boys’ penises to be cut off; lawsuits have driven the company out of business.
    It repeats the common claim that it is safer to circumcise babies than adults, but offers no evidence for that claim.
    Its discussion of the ethical question of removing genital tissue from a non-consenting person versus leaving it for him to decide assigns no value to his autonomy or his human right to bodily integrity.
    It compares the costs of doing it early vs late, but not with the benefits of not doing it at all.
    Its ethical consultant, Dr Douglas Diekema, has said elsewhere that circumcision is not necessary and has a risk of harm, and that a parental wish is not sufficient to justify doing any surgery, and it ignores that.

    The AAP’s policy seems bent, not on considering the healthy intact penis at all, but on restoring insurance and public funding to circumcision in order to find a new market among the poor.

    The AAP should withdraw its circumcision policy the way it withdrew its female genital cutting policy after a storm of outrage two years ago, when it recommended a token ritual nick to baby girls, much LESS extensive than neonatal male genital cutting.(Dr Diekema headed that committee and has never recanted from that policy.) If that was unacceptable, how can this be acceptable?

  75. @bigfatmike

    “It seems to me that the ones who feel most strongly about this are the ones who do not practice it and have not been through it.”
    And that counts against us because…? We still have the part in question and we know its value.

    “The men who have actually been through it at a young age seem to be telling us that it is not such a big deal.”
    …because they don’t know what they’re missing.

    “If there are any support groups for victims of male circumcision they are being pretty cagy and not that easy to find.”
    Search on “foreskin restoration” First-person accounts from >200 men who resent being circumcised are at http://www.circumstitions.com/Resent.html

    “I have to wonder, are there any counselors whose practice is composed mainly or significantly of men who feel they are victims of circumcision?”
    I think the counselling is mainly peer-to-peer. I do know of three lawyers who are occupied just about full time on cases involving botched circumcision.

    “The benefits may be small or non existent.”
    So why do it?

    “But, baring some tragedy, the damage also seems small.”
    But you can’t bar some tragedy, up to and including death, even from a “properly performed” unnecessary circumcision. To upend Stalin, a million deaths is a statistic, but one death is a tragedy. And there are many mishaps that are unnoticed on a baby, but devastating to a man’s sexual functioning.

    “This really seems to be a non issue, except in the minds of those who feel compelled to impose their view on others.”
    The people who feel compelled to impose their view on others are the people who are so determined to cut parts OFF of the penises of others, who will not be children all their lives, but men with every right to decide for themselves what parts of their own genitals they want to keep.

  76. Preventative mastectomies offer a marginal survival benefit to some, particularly younger women. According to Nal’s reasoning, parents own the bodies of their offspring until the age of 18, and have the power to mutilate their children at will if they believe it is for the child’s health benefit. If tests can demonstrate that a preventative mastectomy of a teenaged female has a health benefit, there is a “rational basis” for parents to order it be performed. To object is to commit a naturalistic fallacy.

  77. The apologists & proponents of male circumcision defend & justify it with as much cynicism, arrogance, misinformation, and callousness as the ardent proponents of its female circumcision equivalent–the removal of the clitoral hood in many cultures. Try that in America and see how far you get. Boys? who gives a $^!t, men are dogs, stick it to ’em before they grow up. Read between the lines of many respondents and THAT is the message.
    ~Dick-Scalper

  78. Nal,

    You are saying that individuals have no right of self-determination over their own bodies. What is more fundamental than that?

    Laws against genital modification and mutilation should apply equally to males and females.

  79. From the Vancouver Sun: “I am reminded of Aesop’s fable of The Fox Who Had Lost His Tail, in which a fox whose tail had been cut off publicly advised all foxes to sever their own tails.The fox expounds at length on the many benefits of tailless life until interrupted by another fox who says, ‘If you had not yourself lost your tail, my friend, you would not thus counsel us.'” http://www.vancouversun.com/business/endorsement+male+circumcision+undercut/7178837/story.html#ixzz25HVJUoht
    ~Dick-Scalper

  80. “We recognize the inherent right of all human beings to an intact body. Without religious or racial prejudice, we affirm this basic human right. Parents or guardians do not have the right to consent to the surgical removal or modification of their children’s genitalia. Physicians and other health care providers have a responsibility to refuse to remove or mutilate normal body parts.”

    – First International Symposium on Circumcision May 3, 1989

  81. “Most important of all and this gets always lost in the medical conversation is that most most men do not choose to get circumcised later in life because they find their foreskins to be functional, beneficial, non-optional parts of their genitalia. Clearly, there is an ethical problem to remove this at birth if the vast majority of men later in life choose not to and many men who have been circumcised attempt foreskin restoration techniques.”

    Your reasoning is poor because you are only looking at one side. I can flip your statement around and it would be just as factually true as what you wrote:

    Most important of all and this gets always lost in the medical conversation is that most men who are circumcised as infants do not choose to have foreskin restoration techniques later in life because they find their circumcised penises to be functional, beneficial, and have no need or desire for a foreskin. Clearly there is an ethical problem to not remove the foreskin at birth if the vast majority of circumcised men later in life choose not to try foreskin restoration and many men who have not been circumcised choose to have the foreskin removed.

  82. Consider this Waldo. Is the ethical case for female genital cutting (which if you don’t know is an umbrella term for a wide range of procedures which can be on par or far more detrimental than male circumcision) any weaker because the majority of women who have undergone female genital cutting do not attempt restorative techniques and perpetuate the practice on their daughters and granddaughters?

    My point in stating the fact that most men enjoy their foreskins and would not part with them willingly is that this tells us a great deal with regard to what the preference of the individual might be on whom an elective surgery is being considered, elective being the key word. And we must absolutely consider this since 99% of the time circumcision is not necessary. Consequently, we must weigh the individual’s preference without the surgery and try to attempt to respect his right to autonomy, which is an established right in medical ethics. From that perspective, you can’t seriously say that there is an “ethical problem to not remove the foreskin at birth.” After all, men who are not circumcised can always choose to be circumcised later in life. However, the reverse is not true and those men are screwed.

    In short, I think you only are attacking a straw man. Yes, most circumcised men are happy with their state, but there is no guarantee their sons will be and in terms of elective surgery, knowing what their preference most likely will be without the operation, I think the ethics are pointing us clearly in the direction of holding off the procedure.

  83. Thankful I live in Europe and see European doctors and don’t have to educate them about why a foreskin is worth having. (For my son’s sake) I personally thankful female circumcision did not take off very well many years back, as doctors/researchers would be working really hard to justify and preserve that cultural-medical habit, if it generated enough funds that they’d miss it.

  84. Malisha, LOL!!!

    HUGH7, thanks for the list and the reasoning.

    Waldo, for showing his ignorance, even in handling terminology. The massive cultural embedded
    circumcision practiced in the USA is no small target. But the rest of the modern nations oppose circumcision.
    When does the State Department rule on which nation to attack first?

    Smegma has a natural function, badly smelling as it may become if left too long. The smelly bacteria are not just a signal, but function to prevent pathological (harmful) bacteria from taking root.
    We have slso had mentioned the biological functions associated with a foreskin vv the glans.

    The only defense seem to be the usual illogical one:
    “I got one, so should everybody else have one too.”

    That someone with a medical background actually proposed “nicking” women is outrageous. Money hogs.

    And here’s a kick at the boys, are you too lazy to do your own hygiene?

    And to lovers of antibiotics. Our health services are giving out reminder cards to patients that overuse and repeated use does more harm than good.

    MIRS and other resistant bacteria strains are a problem which is increasing. Years ago the best and permanent cure for otitis in children was a treatment by a knowledgeable D.O.
    MIRS has become such a problem that those treated in foreign hospitals are screened for infestation/infection by answering a routine admission form.

    And here we are discussing false facts supporting myths versus the body designed by “God”. What do the evangelists say. Nonsense as usual.

  85. Waldo 1, September 1, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    @ Dredd “The thing is, this is about parental ego.

    My kid will have a better penis if …

    It is all about “the better penis.”

    The trophy penis.”

    I disagree that this is what actually motivates parents. Is there really anyone who equates a circumcised penis with a “trophy” penis?

    But, so what if they did? I know I would like to have a trophy penis! I’d be pretty damned disappointed in mom and dad if they had the opportunity to give me a trophy penis and neglected to do so.
    =====================================
    You can’t go to certain places where certain celebrities dwell without that trophy penis:

    Kolob is a star or planet described in Mormon scripture. Reference to Kolob is found in the Book of Abraham, a work published by Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement. According to this work, Kolob is the heavenly body nearest to the throne of God … Kolob has never been identified with any modern astronomical object and is not recognized by scholars as a concept associated with any ancient civilization.

    (NeoCon Planet: The Presidents of Kolob). You may think I am kidding about Kolob, the trophy planet.

    Who wouldn’t.

  86. Hugh7 1, September 1, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    Bodily integrity is no new fad … You don’t have to commit the naturalistic fallacy to think that a person has a human right to all the normal, healthy, non-renewing body-parts he was born with, and that if it had been the slightest bit harmful, it would have evolved away aeons ago. (The appendix can’t do that, for obscure genetic reasons.)
    ==============================================
    The myth of the vestigial appendix is still in some of the textbooks, but not in the minds of interested researchers:

    “Maybe it’s time to correct the textbooks,” says William Parker, Ph.D., assistant professor of surgical sciences at Duke and the senior author of the study. “Many biology texts today still refer to the appendix as a ‘vestigial organ.'”

    The lowly appendix, long-regarded as a useless evolutionary artifact, won newfound respect two years ago when researchers at Duke University Medical Center proposed that it actually serves a critical function. The appendix, they said, is a safe haven where good bacteria could hang out until they were needed to repopulate the gut after a nasty case of diarrhea, for example.

    “Darwin simply didn’t have access to the information we have,” explains Parker. “If Darwin had been aware of the species that have an appendix attached to a large cecum, and if he had known about the widespread nature of the appendix, he probably would not have thought of the appendix as a vestige of evolution.”

    (The Appendix of Vestigial Textbooks). It gives new meaning to the vestigial foreskin.

  87. @Hugh7 “”The benefits may be small or non existent.” So why do it?”

    Thank you for your response. I think the quote ‘why do it’ is the strongest part of your remarks and I tend to agree.

    But the response to ‘why do it’ is that those in the community seem to feel that there are intangibles associated with the practice that make it compelling. The question for those of us outside the community would seem to be how should we as a society respond

    To me the proper response of society is not so clear. I think one of the most interesting processes we will see over the next several decades is where and how society draws the line between human rights and traditional practices including male circumcision.

  88. @Hugh7 “It seems to me that the ones who feel most strongly about this are the ones who do not practice it and have not been through it.” And that counts against us because…?”

    If I gave the impression that we should not consider your opinions then let me apologize for the confusion and clarify that I think your arguments should be given serious consideration.

    Nevertheless I think we should always be aware of who is presenting arguments, particularly when the discussion is political. Today, on a regular basis we encounter political group that either will not reveal their membership or that intentionally mis-lead us regarding their support.

    So, yes, I definitely want to know something about who is advocating a particular position. The politics, the motivations, the way the facts are presented or suppressed may all count either for or against the position that is advocated.

    In this particular case we have a political movement acting against an ancient traditional practice. I think many of us believe that before we condemn a traditional practice we need to clearly identify compelling reasons for the action. To do less is little more that cultural imperialism – “my way is superior to your way”.

    So, Hugh7, the questions comes down to: have you fairly presented your arguments, have you given us compelling reasons to support your view, or do your arguments amount to little more that rationalizations of your own prejudices and stereotypical thinking.

    Those questions, in my opinion require some serious thought.

  89. Mike Spindell,

    I can fully understand your feelings and concerns regarding the ruling of the LG Cologne. And you’re right the thrust of this ruling is alarming for both Jewish and Muslim communities in Germany.

    But I would like to add some counterpoints.

    First it isn’t really a ban. Germany has a civil law tradition in which precedents are not binding. The ruling itself admitted that another court could’ve come legitimately to another conclusion. That was the reason the doctor was acquitted (mistake as to the wrongful nature of the act).

    The ruling didn’t change the legal standing of male circumcision: there isn’t a statue specifically allowing it, and courts and legal scholars can’t agree if and what defense would exempt it from the normal prohibitions of harming another person. The ruling has just aimed a spotlight on this mess.

    Secondly this spotlight (and the media row around it) actually produced some good: when the German parliament interrupted their recess to rubber stamp the EU bail out money, they also formally instructed the Federal Ministry of Justice to prepare a bill legalizing and regulating religious circumcision, and present it before fall.

  90. @Hugh7 “We still have the part in question and we know its value. “The men who have actually been through it at a young age seem to be telling us that it is not such a big deal.” …because they don’t know what they’re missing. ”

    Well, exactly. But, that does not seem to greatly interfere with sexual pleasure, creation of babies or any other life function.

    Again it seems that it is the uncut men who feel strongly about this. Who exactly is really upset about this. So far as I can see from the arguments this amounts mostly to uncut men claiming that ‘mine feels much, much better than yours’.

    Ok I will stipulate your pepe is much better than our pepe could ever be.

    So where exactly is the compelling argument for anything except that you are a really lucky guy with a really, really nice pepe?

  91. Intacivists are both male and female, and have a wide range of political and religious views, but most male intactivists were cut as babies.

    It’s a highly controversial area, but there is some evidence that circumcision may interfere with sexual pleasure:

    http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2011/06/13/ije.dyr104.short
    “Conclusions Circumcision was associated with frequent orgasm difficulties in Danish men and with a range of frequent sexual difficulties in women, notably orgasm difficulties, dyspareunia and a sense of incomplete sexual needs fulfilment.”

    It’s worth remembering that no-one except for Jewish people and Muslims would even be having this discussion if it weren’t for the fact that 19th century doctors thought that :
    a) masturbation caused various physical and mental problems (including epilepsy, convulsions, paralysis, tuberculosis etc), and
    b) circumcision stopped masturbation.

    Both of those sound ridiculous today I know, but that’s how they thought back then, and that’s how non-religious circumcision got started. If you don’t believe me, then google this: “A Short History of Circumcision in North America In the Physicians’ Own Words”. Heck, they even passed laws against “self-pollution” as it was called.

    And very occasionally, things go badly wrong, resulting in death or serious injury. I just don’t see a reason not to wait and let the person most affected choose for themselves. There are only two countries in the world where more than 50% of newborn boys are circumcised – Israel and the USA (around 55%). Other countries circumcise, but later in life, usually anywhere from around seven years old to puberty or adolescence.

    If our son wants to be circumcised when he’s 18 (16 if he knows what he’s doing), I’ll pay for it and help him find a good surgeon. Until then, he stays intact. His body – his decision. If he wants to be circumcised later, it’s easy to fix – safer, less painful, and better cosmetic results. If we’d had him circumcised, and he wanted to be intact, it’s a problem.

  92. idealist707 1, September 2, 2012 at 7:05 am


    Smegma has a natural function, badly smelling as it may become if left too long. The smelly bacteria are not just a signal, but function to prevent pathological (harmful) bacteria from taking root.

    We have slso had mentioned the biological functions associated with a foreskin vv the glans.
    ===========================================
    In my post up-thread about the vestigial appendix, I mention a similar phenomenon within the linked-to post.

    Doctors who continue to ignore the research are now doing shit transplants:

    This practice of the surgical removal of the appendix eventually led to the insane practice of sh*t transplants:
    One day in 2008, Ruth, a Long Island teacher, walked into her doctor’s office with a container of a relative’s feces, lay down, and had her doctor pump the stool inside her.

    (Fickle Fecal Transplants). You can’t make this sh*t up alone, it takes experts who know their sh*t, but not their microbes.

    (Weekend Rebel Science Excursion). What next, Smegma (“a thick, cheeselike, sebaceous secretion that collects beneath the foreskin or around the clitoris”) transplants?

  93. “Secondly this spotlight (and the media row around it) actually produced some good: when the German parliament interrupted their recess to rubber stamp the EU bail out money, they also formally instructed the Federal Ministry of Justice to prepare a bill legalizing and regulating religious circumcision, and present it before fall.”

    Berliner,

    Thank you for clarifying this issue and putting it into context. The media i this country consistently does a poor job of contextualizing American issues, much less those from other parts of the world. It is a relief to see that the discussion in Germany is a much more nuanced one that takes into account both Jewish ad Muslim sensibilities.

    As to the theme of this thread which is the AAP’s report o the benefits of circumcision, my original comment did not address that at all and that omission was purposeful. From a Jewish and a Muslim perspective male circumcision is performed as a ritual of identification with ones faith. It is my belief that it is not harmful to the male, nor is there proof of its harm.
    However, I am neutral as to whether non-Jews and non-Muslims should or shouldn’t have it performed. I don’t advocate circumcision. I advocate those whose religious belief calls for it to not be interfered with in the practice of their faith.

    What I did in my original comment was make a clear distinction between male and female circumcision, by providing a link to show that either Islam, or Judaism calls for female circumcision in any manner. That it is practiced in some countries that are Islamic is not a matter of the Islamic religion per se, but is in fact a cultural artifact that pre-dates both Judaism and Islam. FGM is a practice I decry, especially because it purposely interferes with the free expression of female sexuality. That makes it a sub-set of the continued attempt by males to ensure subjugation of females.

    “We recognize the inherent right of all human beings to an intact body. Without religious or racial prejudice, we affirm this basic human right.”

    As to the “First International Symposium on Circumcision” and its descendants, it is one thing to state “without prejudice” and quite another to actually maintain that “pristine state” when it comes to male circumcision. As a Jew, their position on male circumcision being banned as violating an “inherent right” denotes great prejudice on their part by inference. Since my original comment put out an argument that was definitely a religious one, it is interesting to me that except for Berliner’s timely clarification of the German issue, no other anti-male circumcision commenter address the religious issue. When it comes to Jews and Muslims I don’t see how one could adopt an anti-male circumcision position without directly addressing the religious issues entailed.

    “Judaism requires circumcision for boys, but does not allow it for girls.[23] Islamic scholars have said that, while male circumcision is a sunna, or religious obligation, female genital modification is not required, and several have issued a fatwa against Type III FGM” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_genital_mutilation

    Again I differentiate between male circumcision and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)” and link to a Wiki article on the cultural background and areas of incidence of FGM. I think those who have commented here in opposition to male circumcision should comment on how that position would affect a Jew like me who believes it is both an obligation to my faith and a duty towards Jewish/Islamic male progeny.

  94. You’re correct: it is your belief–but what is it based on? You have never experienced the other. A religious belief is irrefutable in your view. But your view is apparently threatened hence we get endless words trying to justify your view to others. If you truly believed in your view, you would not be trying to convince others of that about which you cannot possibly know. You do not have a foreskin, stop being defensive and try to accept that reality.

  95. MikeS,

    A fallacy?

    How can a non-jew speak for or against measures which might effect the Jews? The jews must speak for themselves, IMHO. And they usually do most effectively.

  96. BigFatMike,

    “….where and how society draws the line between human rights and traditional practices including male circumcision.” BFM

    Since it began in the 19th century, it can’t be all that traditional. I’ll bet there have been studies revealing a great resistance against the introduction of the practice. And it was said above that only 55% have had it done. Hardly a big majority, considering the disinformation published and the “me-too” effect.

    But no sweat here. Just was looking for an issue to take issue with. All arguments have loose ends, except those who will define away their loose ends. And you know who that is. Smile.

  97. @idealist707

    Thank you for your response. You always have an interesting view.

    You have brought my attention to something I have been skimming over – perhaps others have too.

    Sometimes we are discussing the advisability of what I will call common practice or perhaps common medical practice. I don’t know the history but I am going to guess that the practice of regularly circumcising boys in the US had a big up-swing beginning sometime around the time of the depression or WWII. I am guessing that because it seems likely that prior to that time there were far fewer hospital births. Perhaps some other reader can give us some information regarding when circumcision came to common practice and the reasons why it became common practice.

    The other similar, related issue we are discussing is traditional religious practice that goes back thousands of years and the reasonableness of restricting that practice by society.

    And sometimes we are discussing both issues in a way that is all mixed up.

  98. “A religious belief is irrefutable in your view. But your view is apparently threatened hence we get endless words trying to justify your view to others.”

    chaletfor2,

    I’m not defensive about this at all. I’m am simply strongly stating that this is a deeply religious matter for both Jews and Muslims. In the former it represents a 3,500 year old tradition that those of us who are proud of our Jewish heritage wish to continue. It doesn’t matter to me whether or not Non-Jewish and Non-Muslim males are circumcised or not, just but out of trying to dictate religious freedom of long standing based on currently developed belief systems. Also there is no law that males other than those of the aforementioned religions must be circumcised, to my knowledge. If there were such laws I would be opposed to them and if I was for instance a Christian and didn’t want my male offspring to be circumcised he wouldn’t be.

    “You’re correct: it is your belief–but what is it based on? You have never experienced the other.”

    My belief is based upon being the proud member of a religion and a culture, that has struggled through thousands of years to maintain its identity against a world that has tried to destroy it violently. I cannot impart to you what it feels like to be a Jew, in a way that you could tangibly experience, but I ca by my words at least convey to you that it is an issue that resonates strongly with me.

    As for never having experienced the other you are correct, but since I’m quite satisfied with my lifelong sexuality, that is a moot and irrelevant point. I would also say that those who have been circumcised and feel they are missing something sexually, perhaps are blaming their own failures upon their parents and/or pediatrician. As for those who have not been circumcised and feel that is a blessing, more power to you that your happy with your penis, just as I am happy with mine.

    “If our son wants to be circumcised when he’s 18 (16 if he knows what he’s doing), I’ll pay for it and help him find a good surgeon.”

    ml66uk,

    I would think that before finding your son a good surgeon, he would in that instance be better served by finding a good therapist since it would seem to me (excepting some medical condition) that he would be dealing with what is known as “Body dysmorphic disorder”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_dysmorphic_disorder.

  99. “Consider this Waldo. Is the ethical case for female genital cutting (which if you don’t know is an umbrella term for a wide range of procedures which can be on par or far more detrimental than male circumcision) any weaker because the majority of women who have undergone female genital cutting do not attempt restorative techniques and perpetuate the practice on their daughters and granddaughters?”

    Why, yes, it is. Is that sufficient reason by itself to allow it? No, of course not. But, it seems foolish not to consider how those most affected by it view and are impacted by the practice. Certainly, if there’s even a bit of utilitarianism in your ethics then you’d want to know the results of a particular decision (and the results of alternative decisions). And, if you are more of a rights based person in your ethical outlook, you’d definitely consider the opinions of the people whose rights you’re arguing are being violated. Is it your position that we should disregard the opinions of the very people who are most directly affected by any policy decision banning circumcision? That seems outrageous to me.

    “My point in stating the fact that most men enjoy their foreskins and would not part with them willingly is that this tells us a great deal with regard to what the preference of the individual might be on whom an elective surgery is being considered, elective being the key word. And we must absolutely consider this since 99% of the time circumcision is not necessary. Consequently, we must weigh the individual’s preference without the surgery and try to attempt to respect his right to autonomy, which is an established right in medical ethics.”

    Huh? What “individual” are you talking about when you say “the preference of the individual might be on whom an elective surgery is being considered?” Do you mean the uncircumcised infant? If so, then why are you excluding the opinions and experiences of those who are circumcised as infants? If you’re talking about whether a parent should have their son circumcised, then it is proper to look at the experiences, opinions and choices of both circumcised and uncircumcised men. If you’re talking about banning infant circumcision, then it’s only the choices of those who were circumcised as infants that’s relevant because those are the only ones who would’ve been affected by a ban. Yes, respect their preference. And, if you do that you’ll respect the fact that circumcised men by and large do not wish that you or the government would have interfered with in their lives when they were infants. Your personal preference argument cuts against you when you’re talking about banning the practice, as opposed to simply whether a parent should have their son circumcised.

    “From that perspective, you can’t seriously say that there is an “ethical problem to not remove the foreskin at birth.”

    I do not say that there is an ethical problem to not remove the foreskin. That’s a decision rightly left up to the infant’s parents. You misunderstood my prior post. I was simply pointing out the logical fallacy of your prior post by showing that the same logic could be used to support a mandatory circumcision requirement if we only looked at it from the perspective of those who had been circumcised as infants, as opposed to only looking at it from the perspective of those who had not been circumcised as you seem to want to do.

    “After all, men who are not circumcised can always choose to be circumcised later in life. However, the reverse is not true and those men are screwed. In short, I think you only are attacking a straw man. Yes, most circumcised men are happy with their state, but there is no guarantee their sons will be and in terms of elective surgery, knowing what their preference most likely will be without the operation, I think the ethics are pointing us clearly in the direction of holding off the procedure.”

    Men who are not circumcised at birth cannot go back in time and choose to be circumcised at birth. The pros and cons of infant circumcision and adult circumcision are not the same. As we are influenced and altered by our past, no matter what choice a parent makes regarding infant circumcision it will permanently and irreversibly change that child’s future. That’s true of all sorts of decisions that parents make for their children that impact their futures in ways vastly more significant that whether or not they are circumcised as an infant. As children, particularly infants cannot make good decisions for themselves, parents are generally given that power since they usually have their children’s best interest in mind. The alternative is to give society in general the power to make those decisions. There’s rightly some instances where society should step in and take that power away from parents. However, there’s a very heavy burden that needs to be met before the state should do that. Since infant circumcision almost always has no perceived negative consequences by the men who have been circumcised and there’s medical benefits to the procedure that outweigh the medical risks (at least according to the AAP), that heavy burden has not been met. And, that’s not even considering important non-medical benefits to the procedure, such as religious or cosmetic benefits. Throw those into the balance and I think the case for banning circumcision more and more looks motivated either by hostility to Jews and/or Muslims, or simply another example of authoritarian-minded people who think they know better than you or your parents do what’s best for you and want to use the power of the government to impose their morality on others.

  100. “It’s worth remembering that no-one except for Jewish people and Muslims would even be having this discussion if it weren’t for the fact that 19th century doctors thought that :
    a) masturbation caused various physical and mental problems (including epilepsy, convulsions, paralysis, tuberculosis etc), and
    b) circumcision stopped masturbation.”

    So what? They also thought corn flakes and graham crackers helped prevent masturbation and those products would not exist if they hadn’t thought so. Is that any reason not to eat corn flakes or graham crackers?

  101. Your reply has proven my point. There’s a blind spot in reasoning that ‘struggling thousands of years’ can never fill. Why not live with it? Uncertainty, unavoidably, is part of life. It’s not so bad! Embrace it. The alternative, certainty, can’t be effected in this particular instance, no matter how many thousands of words one might use. Suggesting that the natural should be changed would require an unobtainable burden of proof. Change for religious purposes is an affectation and it should be left at that.

  102. “If he wants to be circumcised later, it’s easy to fix – safer, less painful, and better cosmetic results. If we’d had him circumcised, and he wanted to be intact, it’s a problem.”

    Safer? I’m somewhat skeptical but don’t know and it’s plausible. I’d like to see the evidence for that statement.

    Better cosmetic results? Again, I’m skeptical but it seems plausible. I’d like to see the evidence.

    Less painful? Not a chance!! Ask anyone who’s been circumcised, whether as an infant or an adult, whether they would prefer to be circumcised as an infant or as an adult, and I bet the overwhelming preference would be infant circumcision. An infant has no apprehension or memory of the event. Not so with an adult and consequently I’m sure that an adult circumcision is both physically, mentally, and psychologically more painful.

  103. @ R Scalper: “Merciful Mothers” are, at present, nearly everywhere in the world, subject to the dominance (for the most part) of the patriarchal culture in which they conceive and birth children. Circumcision AND female genital mutilation are both part of patriarchal religions; in fact, I know of no non-patriarchal religion that advocates any kind of genital cutting — admittedly I have not tried to study this question much.

    Anyway, “good mothers” are, at present, those mothers defined by their cultures as “good” so I really don’t know how merciful most of them are able to be.

    In my way, my sons would not be circumcised and my daughters would not have to shave their hair off their bodies. All of this is theoretical for the most part —

  104. @justagurlinseattle
    Many nationalist organizations, like Deutschbund and Action Française, advanced this idea that cutting the foreskin transformed the individual into an untrustworthy individual. Antisemitism was, through this usage, a founding tool of European national identities. I doubt that most contemporary Europeans understand the roots of this notion. Did you ask them what it is about foreskin that makes one trustworthy?

  105. well… I was smart enough to ask, who that dig would be at… and it was a joking dig at AMERICAN men…. in fact, I have yet to hear anyone talk about Jewish people here….
    HOWEVR< Americans and their seemingly lack of real world knowledge is often brought up…..
    They don't think ALL Americans are dumb…. they do think a good portion of them are quite ignorant…. and arrogant…. and the combination is one that I can understand many around the world, do not trust…..

    many that i have met, feel that American men are a little dishonest….
    It has to do with corruption that takes place in the USA….
    The Supreme Court, Corporations as people…. MONEY as free speech…

    The Right on about Evolution… etc…

  106. Justagurl, If many people “feel that American men are a little dishonest,” they are wrong by half. Or maybe they’re praising them with faint damns. Or something. But what that has to do with the foreskin, I have no earthly idea, nor do I think there is a coherent explanation for the idea that there is a connection. In fact, has any research been done about the…nevermind. As someone said earlier on one of these threads, “It’s mind-bugling.” And that doesn’t just apply to musicians!

  107. @justagurlinseattle The notion may be applied to Americans, but it probably has its origins in relations and politics concerning significant minorities in their native countries. The slurs used to undermine a minority can also be used to attack political opponents who don’t belong to that minority. Ever see a photo-shopped picture of the President in a turban?

  108. MY GOD…. It was said JOKINGLY…. and yes… I am sure it had NOTHING at all to do with any kind of RACISM…… in fact 100% positive it had NO ROOTS in Islam or Judaism……

    Europeans bag on Americans…. just as Americans bag on the French….
    and YES… I have heard an American or two say, Can you really trust a man that wears a beret?????
    it is a joking thing to say…..

    ENOUGH already… stop making a huge deal out of something I said, was said in jest….

  109. Those who claim that the uncircumcised penis is natural and hence, better, commit the naturalistic fallacy. The argument that circumcision violates a “right to bodily integrity” would also apply to any number of surgeries to correct birth defects like fused limbs and the removal of vestigial tails.

    While circumcision for health benefits has a rational basis, circumcision to demonstrate a commitment to an imaginary being is not rational.
    ===================================================
    When you’re an infant, it’s not like you have a choice. I don’t see a problem with it and I don’t believe in an imaginary being.

  110. Malisha, the points you raise about the Patriarchy are discussed in Miriam Polluck’s article @ http://www.drmomma.org/2011/10/circumcision-identity-gender-and-power.html or http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/circumcision-identity-gender-and-power (subscription required for Tikkum)
    Circumcision: Identity, Gender, and Power
    By Miriam Pollack © 2011
    Citation: Pollack, Miriam. 2011. “Circumcision: Identity, Gender, and Power.” Tikkun 26(3).
    Published at DrMomma.org with author’s permission.
    ~Dick-Scalpers

  111. Just to clarify Waldo, my post was not about making circumcision illegal. I have mixed feelings on that since I am not sure if that would be the right step, let alone a practical one. However, I sympathize with the recent ruling in Germany and there is clearly a trend for states to intervene in matters related to proxy consent, patient autonomy, etc. However, the ethical and moral case against circumcision is much more clearer (neither what is ethical/unethical should necessarily be legal/illegal) and I was trying to point to some things that stand out in my mind. If I have time, I will respond to the rest of your post.

  112. Mike Spindell: “[…] that takes into account both Jewish ad Muslim sensibilities. […]”

    I know this is an older discussion, but I just read this in the news.
    The state minister *) of justice of Berlin has updated the guidelines for the city’s prosecutors, so that they won’t open cases for male circumcision if:
    all legal guardians consent in writing,
    the legal guardians declare that they regard the circumcision as a religious duty (i.e. not a matter of tradition, aesthetics, or hygiene),
    and the procedure is performed by a doctor according to the usual medical standards.

    This is wildly seen as a reaction to the fact that the Jewish Hospital Berlin has stopped offering religious circumcisions due to “legal uncertainties” after the Cologne ruling. Many people found the idea of a Jewish hospital not offering religious circumcisions disturbing.

    *) Actually “Senator of Justice” (Justizsenator), because the executive/cabinet of the city-state Berlin goes by the name ‘senate’.

  113. “Researchers from Johns Hopkins University have found that…” WRONG. They didn’t FIND. They estimated. This was a simulation, extrapolating data from Africa and applying it to the United States. Critics would wonder why compare the United States to Africa and not to Europe. Could it be that the Johns Hopkins University is also involved in the RCTs in Africa that are used to justify the mass circumcision of Africans, and that the AAP’s statement was about to come out and they wanted to make some noise and boost the subject? (In fact the AAP’s statement was supposed to be released on the 20th but it was delayed until the 27th and then this simulation came out on the 20th, hmm suspicious)

    “The argument that circumcision violates a “right to bodily integrity” would also apply to any number of surgeries to correct birth defects like fused limbs and the removal of vestigial tails.” While in principle this argument is somewhat correct, there is a difference between correcting a birth defect and amputating healthy functional tissue. Let me ask you, are there any other parts of the body that you would be willing to give up as part of “preventive medicine”?

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