Here's what I have so far...It took me all day!Here’s what I’ve got, I'm sending it to him now. And then I'm done with him and the topic! Remember, the reader is my uncle: a 60 year old pro circ nurse. I’m hoping he’ll actually read everything...
Have you actually done any recent research on the topic, or are you just basing your opinion on anecdotal “evidence”? Because I can tell you that I have been researching this for over a year and I have research on my side.
Here are two very compelling articles to start with that I would like you to read:
Separated at Birth from Men's Health magazine:http://www.infocirc.org/MensHlth.htm
And The Case Against Circumcision - By, Dr. Paul Fleisshttp://www.cirp.org/news/Mothering1997/
Plus a summary of Recent Medical Studies on Circumcisionhttp://www.circumcision.org/studies.htm
Now to discuss the points that you made in your emails...
In regard to sensitivity and effects on sex: Circumcision amputates approximately 50% of the heavily innervated skin and mucosa of the penis, tissue that is a specific erogenous zone. Excision of the foreskin renders the remaining skin taut and immovable, eliminates its protective, sensory, and sexual functions, and destroys the gliding action of the foreskin, changing the natural mechanics of normal human reproduction. Here is a link to NORM regarding what is lost http://www.norm.org/lost.html
. Circumcision creates an abnormal physical appearance with a disfiguring scar encircling the shaft of the penis and the glans penis permanently exposed to drying, abrasion, and mechanical injury.
In regards to infections & complications in intact males, do you advocate forced retraction of infants and small children to "clean" the foreskin? Forced retraction is most likely the cause of complications in intact boys. This leads to micro-tears that can introduce bacteria and cause infection. Doctors, nurses, and parents need to learn more about proper care of the intact penis, that is, LEAVE IT ALONE! The AAP says, “The foreskin usually does not fully retract for several years and should never be forced. The uncircumcised penis is easy to keep clean by gently washing the genital area while bathing. You do not need to do any special cleansing, such as with cotton swabs or antiseptics. Later, when the foreskin fully retracts, boys should be taught how to wash underneath the foreskin every day.” For more on that topic read, “Normal development of the prepuce, birth through age 18” http://www.cirp.org/library/normal/
Now in regard to HIV, there are several statements & studies that you need to read, especially as a health care professional, here are just a few:
Langerin is a protein produced by Langerhans cells in the mucosal lining of foreskin, and it actually fights HIV: http://www.cirp.org/news/healthday2007-03-05/
Research on Langerin: a natural barrier to HIV-1 transmission by Langerhans cells http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/en..._uids=17334373
Doctors Opposing Circumcision HIV statement:http://www.doctorsopposingcircumcisi...Statement.html
Circumcision overstated as HIV preventative: http://www.biologynews.net/archives/...inst_aids.html
African News, Circumcision is No Silver Bullethttp://www.africa-interactive.net/index.php?PageID=4620
In those much publicized studies in Africa, the researchers’ motives were suspect, and the research was terribly flawed. One thing that especially bothers me is that the circumcised group got specific instructions to abstain from sex and use condoms that the intact control group did not. The widespread promotion of the African studies’ findings gives a message of false protection because men might think that being circumcised means that they can have sex without condoms without any risk, which is untrue. And remember that if circumcision prevented AIDS then the USA wouldn’t have such a high rate of infection. You’ll read about this in the links above, but I also want to reiterate the enormous problem of prostitution in Africa that contributes to their AIDS crisis, as well as, a widely held belief that if an HIV infected man rapes a virgin he will be cured (the younger the better...sick!)
Also in regard to the promotion of circumcision as a preventative measure against HIV, it is reminiscent of the incorrect statements that the AAP used in the past to promote circumcision as a preventative measure against penile and cervical cancer. In 1996 the American Cancer Society wrote a letter to the AAP; saying in part “Portraying routine circumcision as an effective means of prevention distracts the public from the task of avoiding the behaviors proven to contribute to penile and cervical cancer: especially cigarette smoking and unprotected sexual relations with multiple partners. Perpetuating the mistaken belief that circumcision prevents cancer is inappropriate.” http://www.cirp.org/library/statemen...s/1996-02_ACS/
A newly published study by Sorrells, “Fine-touch pressure thresholds in the adult penis” (British Journal of Urology Int’l, 2007 http://www.doctorsopposingcircumcisi...rells_2007.pdf
), shows that circumcision significantly decreases penile sensitivity, not only raising serious human rights concerns but also a genuine concern that circumcised men, with one-fourth the penile sensitivity as intact men, might not wear condoms, which further desensitize the penis. The foreskin is MEANT to retain moisture. The Glans penis is a mucous membrane that is meant to be moist. It only becomes dry and keratinized after circumcision. That is not its normal state.
It is also important to remember that the consideration of circumcision with regard to STD and AIDS prevention does not apply to children. Babies and children are not sexually active. Kept intact from birth, they can weigh the issue for themselves when they are old enough to consent. Should the choice of sensitivity & function of the foreskin VS possible STD prevention be the choice of the parents, or the owner of the penis??! I argue that the choice should be left to the owner of the penis to make when they are an adult. In fact, physicians have legal and ethical duties to their child-patient to render competent necessary care based on what the patient needs, not what someone else, including a parent, expresses. The child has a legal right to bodily integrity. Upon reaching adulthood, the child may have a right to sue to recover damages for injuries or unnecessary surgery sustained in childhood. The parent must ethically and legally make decisions for the child based solely on the best interests of the child.
Why is circumcision as an adult "more problematic"? Adults are given general anesthesia, they are given proper pain management after the surgery, and they don't die from circumcision. Infants do! Here are just 3 examples of babies dying from it:http://www.cirp.org/news/theguardian2007-02-17/http://www.udonet.com/circumcision/chose_to_circ.htmlhttp://healthblog.ctv.ca/blog/_archi...2/2967860.html
It is suspected that the numbers of deaths due to circumcisions are under reported. “...most doctors who have a baby die after a circumcision would prefer to attribute the results of his unethical operation to secondary causes, such as infection or bleeding, while ignoring the primary cause, which is the circumcision that resulted in the infection or bleeding. It is, therefore, very hard to identify the total number of deaths that occur from circumcision.” http://www.cirp.org/library/death/
Is adult circumcision simply more problematic because it is easier to perform this surgery on an unconsenting newborn? A newborn who will not have the luxury of an anesthesiologist, proper monitoring during a surgery, and proper post-operative care afterwards? (More about adult circumcision vs infant circumcision http://www.nocircoftx.org/info/vs.html
The adult circumcision rate in other countries where the foreskin is not blamed for every penis ailment is statistically tiny. Look at the adult circ rate in Finland...its .07% or less, and look at Canada...1%. Cutting off a healthy foreskin for perceived problems or for possible rare future problems is an American phenomenon...Europeans for example have an extremely small rate of circumcision in comparison. Therefore they have a lot more knowledge about the care of an intact penis. THE FORESKIN IS SUPPOSED TO BE CLOSED! Lots of kids are fully retractable by age 4 to 5, but some do not fully retract until puberty. At what age were they diagnosing "closed foreskin" where you worked? Are you referring to Phimosis? If that is indeed the case, Phimosis cannot be diagnosed until adulthood. In fact a vast majority of these supposed "intact problems" you saw, even if they are real problems and not just mis-diagnosed phimosis, can be treated without surgery. Amputation should be considered the treatment of last resort, not the first and only option.
I have been speaking with a nurse who worked at one of the largest Level 1 pediatric Trauma centers in the U.S. They served a large and diverse population. For many of whom they were the only medical care provider. She saw only one "problem" in an intact male child in the years that she worked there. It was easily treated with antibiotics and did not require circumcision.
Now in regard to FGM vs MGM:
In the countries where female circumcision is performed they believe it has health benefits. Studies have been done “proving” that circumcised females are less likely to contract HIV as well. There are three types of female circumcision, one involving removing the clitoral hood (the female prepuce). It is directly analogous to the foreskin (the male prepuce.) Both are extremely erogenous tissues with unique zones of specialized nerves, making them extremely valuable for optimal sexual feeling. I have numerous sources dealing with female & male genitals/circumcisions, here are a few:
Common Denominators between Male & Female "Circumcision" http://www.noharmm.org/comparison.htm
Embryology, Development of the male and female genitals:http://www.circumstitions.com/Develop.html
Ontario Human Rights Commission acknowledges harm of male circumcision:http://www.infocirc.org/pressrel.htm
Male and Female Genital Alteration: A Collision Course with the Law?http://www.cirp.org/library/legal/davis1/
You say the female procedure is designed to eliminate pleasure, that’s exactly why male circumcision was started in this country. It was during the Victorian era when masturbation was viewed as evil and injurious, and needed to be eradicated.
1860 in the Lancet, by Athol A.W.Johnson “In cases of masturbation we must, I believe, break the habit by inducing such a condition of the parts as will cause too much local suffering to allow of the practice being continued. For this purpose, if the prepuce is long, we may circumcise the male patient with present and probably with future advantage; the operation, too, should not be performed under chloroform, so that the pain experienced may be associated with the habit we wish to eradicate.”
1887 in Treatment of Disease in Children, by P. Blakiston “There can be no doubt of masturbation’s injurious effect, and of the proneness to practice it on the part of children with defective brains. Circumcision should always be practiced. It may be necessary to make the genitals so sore by blistering fluids that the pain results from attempts to rub the parts.”
1888 Plain Facts for Old and Young, by John Harvey Kellogg “A remedy for masturbation which is almost always successful in small boys is circumcision...The operation should be performed by a surgeon without administering an anesthetic, as the pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind, especially if it be connected with the idea of punishment...”
1895 in Medical Record, Masturbation in the Adult, by E.J. Spratling “In all cases of masturbation circumcision is undoubtedly the physicians’ closest friend and ally...To obtain the best results one must cut away enough skin and mucous membrane to rather put it on the stretch when erections come later. There must be no play in the skin after the wound has thoroughly healed, but it must fit tightly over the penis, for should there be any play the patient will be found to readily resume his practice, not begrudging the time and extra energy required to produce orgasm. It is true, however, that the longer it takes to have an orgasm, the less frequently it will be attempted, consequently the greater the benefit gained...The younger the patient operated upon the more pronounced the benefit, though occasionally we find patients who were circumcised before puberty that require a resection of the skin, as it has grown loose and pliant after that epoch.”
Once the fears over masturbation fizzled and the authorities realized that circumcision did not end masturbation anyway, they had to invent all sorts of medical problems that circumcision could supposedly cure and reasons to continue promoting the practice. Why would they still want to promote it so heavily today? It is big business! From the initial fee for the circ, to the bills racked up in pediatricians offices for complications, to the money that urologists make redoing botched circumcisions, or circs that get redone for a tidy profit when parents don’t think it looks enough like Daddy’s tight circ...and let’s not forget the huge commercial market for foreskins, see “Harvesting Foreskins for Commercial use”: http://www.alternet.org/envirohealth/47421/
and “Where Do All the Foreskins Go”? http://www.norm-uk.org/where_do_foreskins_go.html
Today no major medical organization in the world recommends circumcision because the benefits do not outweigh the risks. Although circumcision is routinely practiced by some groups for religious and cultural reasons, the routine practice of circumcision is not medically recommended. In its latest policy statement in 1999, the Task Force on Circumcision, established by the American Academy of Pediatrics, concluded that the scientific evidence at that time was not sufficient to recommend routine neonatal circumcision. This position was also supported by the Canadian Pediatric Society. In many areas of the US and Canada circumcision is not an insured service; parents have to pay for it. Here is a rundown of Medical Organizations Official Policy Statements throughout the world:http://www.cirp.org/library/statements/
Circumcision puts the patient at risk of surgical mishap, adhesions, meatitis, meatal ulceration, infections, bleeding, and even death. This directory contains articles about the complications, risks, adverse effects, and disadvantages of circumcision and their treatments: http://www.cirp.org/library/complications/
Here is a link to a list of some circumcision complications with pictureshttp://www.circumcisionquotes.com/complications.html
Let me take one problem, for example; 10% of circumcisions result in meatal stenosis:http://www.emedicine.com/ped/topic2356.htm
I challenge you to show me one negative thing that happens in 10% of intact boys! And I want PROOF. Not anecdotal stuff.
Just because most boys cannot bring up an actual memory about the moment of circumcision, it does not mean that it does not affect them deeply. The physical, sexual and psychological harm caused by circumcision begins from the moment a baby is strapped into the Circumstraint. Usually performed without anesthetic, (foreskins are only commercially valuable when drug free) the operation is excruciating for the baby. Research published in medical journals like The Lancet shows that circumcision causes overwhelming pain, long-lasting post-operative pain, traumatic shock and behavioral changes. It also alters babies’ sleep patterns, feeding habits and activity levels, and disturbs the mother-infant bond. ( For a short summary of problems with circumcision see: http://www.circumcision.org/information.htm
) It has been shown also that circumcised boys have a much lower tolerance for pain than intact boys. For example; see this article “Baby’s Pain Sensitizes it to Future Trauma” http://www.infocirc.org/babypain.htm
. I can personally attest to all of that. Plus, it is positively sickening that their first genital experience is one of such pain in a situation where they can neither fight nor flee.
I truly regret circumcising my boys for many reasons, not the least of which is Colby’s buried penis; he was normal before his circumcision. In a forum that I belong to there is a thread for parents who regret circumcising their sons, as of today there are 43,390 posts to that one thread alone.
And finally, my hope is that you can be persuaded to advise parents to leave babies intact like these nurses have... Nurses for the Rights of the Child http://www.nurses.cirp.org/
or at least not advise them to circumcise for problems that can be solved in other ways.
If you want to discuss this further, you first must provide me with an authoritative reference justifying the permanent amputation of this normal, healthy, functional tissue.
Because no non-replaceable human body part is inherently disposable. That's the standard in ethics, practice, and law, and the male foreskin is by-definition included in that standard. Can you explain exactly how and why people should be allowed to treat the foreskins of male children as uniquely and singularly deprived of that protection, and disposable?
It simply does not matter whatever else you say about merely potential conditions or illnesses, because if you can't do that one thing first, then you do not have what is fundamentally and unavoidably needed to support a position in favor of permitting routine and ritual male circumcision without a direct medical health necessity, at all.
First present me with an authoritative reference providing valid and supportable grounds for the unique and singular exclusion of the foreskins of male children from the default standard of protection of all normal, healthy, functional body parts. It is an absolute requirement for you to provide this before I can take anything else you have to say on the matter seriously.
JennyThank you to everyone who helped me write this, I couldn't have done this without you. Thank you for letting me borrow your words. You are welcome to take this letter and edit as necessary in your own intactivism.