Here I go getting all controversial again. ;) I don’t think I have ever talked about this subject in depth before..other than to say I am opposed to circumcision. But this article about how Denmark is considering a ban on circumcision got my attention.
I have strong feelings on this issue. It is medically unnecessary and it is traumatic for baby boys so I don’t/won’t do it. Well, scratch that… actually I can’t say that I have always felt this way. Let’s just say that when I had my first boy over 11 years ago I did not feel one way or the other about circumcision. I based my decision then on the incredibly dumb idea that my son should look like his father or the other boys in the locker room. I now see it is like having my 7 year old daughter go through a nose job or the like so that she can fit in. The idea of a surgical “vanity” procedure on a baby now seems outrageous to me but I didn’t always think so. I didn’t “think” about it at all and that is a shame. And no this is not the same as a cleft palate surgery or a surgery to repair a heart defect…I am talking about a completely NORMAL, functioning body part.
Most all health arguments in favor of circumcision have been debunked. If there are any medical benefits they are tiny…like better hygiene or a the small chance that it may be harder for them to contract STDs. Both of these issues can be resolved with education from the parental units so no need to go cutting off our body parts for that silliness. I believe that the American Academy of Pediatrics now admits that circumcision is an unnecessary procedure. Many insurance companies are no longer covering this procedure either since the medical community has by and large declared it has no medical benefit.
Of course there is also the religious aspect but I find that bogus too. Not religion…just the argument that the pursuit of religious freedom should entail being able to mutilate a human being. Most people feel that female circumcision is heinous and wrong on all levels. There are many organizations that are fighting to stop this monstrous practice and they come up against the religion argument all the time. But I don’t think the religion of the people in Africa should give them a pass to take an eight year old girl and cut off her genitals. Do you? Well, it doesn’t make a difference if it is a boy or a girl. It is cutting off a portion of a very sensitive, sexual organ without any consideration of the child’s wishes and many times without any consideration for pain. Yes, male circumcision is often done without ANY pain medication.
Last year I watched a video at COSI of a circumcision and if you have never seen one actually performed… let me tell you it is one of the most disgusting things I ever saw. I think all parents should be made to sit and watch it if they are considering this procedure. I wish I had seen it 11 years ago.
I won’t even go into the argument that one looks better than the other. It goes back to my nose job argument. Is cutting into your baby so they can meet your standards of beauty acceptable?
On the other hand, foreskin does have a purpose.
The foreskin has three known functions: protective, sensory, and sexual.
During infancy, the foreskin is attached to the glans and protects it from urine, feces, and abrasions from diapers. Throughout life, the foreskin keeps the glans soft and moist and protects it from trauma and injury. Without this protection, the glans becomes dry, calloused, and desensitized from exposure and chafing.
Ultimately I think circumcision is a personal choice that the individual who OWNS that body part should have a say in. They should get to decide if “looks” or the risk of STDs or religious standards, are worth that sacrifice. Here is to keeping our boys in tact and letting them decide. They are worth it.
Also Natural Family Living: The Mothering Magazine Guide to Parenting has a chapter on this subject and why natural, attached parents are saying NO.
Thursday, January 8th, 2009