This is a little something I wrote the other day. Maybe it will help others in their journey...
Circumcision Already Illegal?
I often come across parents who don't agree circumcision should be illegal. They usually argue by saying it is parental decisions just like vaccination, homebirth, etc. Here is my response:
Vaccines can not be compared to a cosmetic surgery that removes healthy tissue for non-therapeutic purposes. This is like comparing apples to oranges. Let's stick with comparing other actions that are considered bodily modifications of minors when contemplating the legality of circumcision. Now piercing is a body modification but since it doesn't alter the function of a part nor does it remove any tissue it is generally accepted within reason (earlobes). Tattoo is much more extreme in that it is permanent, yet it still doesn't remove any tissue or alter function of any organs or body parts. However, most people agree that parents should not be able to tattoo their children. In fact, a Florida family was just charged with cruelty to children for tattooing their 6 kids. Then you have circumcision which does alter function of the primary sex organ, removes otherwise healthy tissue, does alter appearance and IS permanent. If you aren't allowed to tattoo your kids why on earth would you be able to remove healthy, functional tissue from your son's genitals???
Besides it being a bit creepy that a parent would have the say over their child's genitals, circumcision of children violates all our current laws concerning alterations of a child's body. In our country we have laws in place that are designed to protect the bodies of children. These laws state that no parent can request to alter their child's body unless A. it is medically indicated and B. a more conservative treatment has failed to correct the medical problem. These laws are in place because bodily integrity (an intact body) is considered a human right in our society. Human rights are granted to every person regardless of gender, age, nationality, culture or religion. Further, doctors caring for patients who are under the age of 18 are not legally permitted to perform any surgery on a minor unless there is clear medical need and more conservative treatment has failed. This is basic medical ethics, yet somehow circumcision has become the exception to this well established rule. A parent can not ask a doctor to remove a fingernail, or any other part of the body. A parent can't remove the clitoral hood of their daughter (which is the female foreskin). A parent can't even pin prick their daughter's genitals. Basically, every square inch of a child's body is protected by bodily integrity laws and medical ethics laws, that is, every square inch aside from the male foreskin. How can this be?
Now you can try to argue that circumcision is in some way a form of preventative medicine; however, you will run into trouble arguing this since we are no longer living in a day and age where amputation is considered good preventative medicine. In modern medicine amputation is always a LAST resort when conservative methods have failed. The only reasons amputation would be considered a first choice would be in the case of gangrene, malignancy, frostbite or serious trauma to the part. Also, when you remove any part of the body you remove the off chance that something can go wrong with that part, that isn't rocket science. The male foreskin; however, is no more pathological than any other part of the body. In fact, the intact vagina is more likely to cause it's owner problems than any intact man will ever experience on behalf of his foreskin. Did you know that 65% of American women will have a bacterial vaginal infection in their lifetime, 40% of women will have yeast infection in their lifetime and girls are 4-6 times more likely to suffer UTIs? This far out numbers any problems a man will have with their foreskins, yet somehow we find a way to treat women without removing genital tissue. In the unlikely event that a man has a foreskin problem, he can enjoy the same conservative methods of treatment that are allotted to women. Studies conducted in countries that don't routinely circumcise have found that less than 1 in 6000 men will ever need a circumcision for medical reasons. Finally, no medical organization in the entire world recommends routine infant circumcision. Each and every organization has made a statement that the potential
benefits do not outweigh the risks and guaranteed consequences. This alone is proof that circumcision is not a legitimate form of preventative medicine.
The final, last ditch effort to arguing for circumcision would be the very controversial study that was performed in Africa. Now even if you believe this study, which is loaded with errors, you'd only have a reduction in female-to-male sexual transmission. In our country 88% of HIV is transmitted through homosexual intercourse and/or IV drug use. Circumcision has proven no benefit for male-to-female transmission, homosexual transmission nor IV drug use. Looking at this article you will see that a heterosexual American man who engages in moderately risky sexual activity will have a less than .03% chance of catching HIV over a 60 year period. Not exactly a reason to routinely circumcise infant boys. http://www.drmomma.org/2009/08/nuts-...a-and-why.html
Aside from that, we can all agree that infants and young boys don't engage in sexual activity until they reach an age where they can make an informed decision as to whether or not they want to lose their precious foreskins. All this and I still haven't even mentioned that a 5 year review of this so-called "study" in Uganda reported that the circumcised group and their female partners were acquiring HIV at alarming rates. Rates so high that they ended the study early due to ethics. This was published in the Lancet. In fact, there are several studies in the last decade that have reported no reduction in STDs or HIV among circumcised males. Our nation's track record should be testimony to an already failed circumcision experiment, as we are the only developed nation who routinely circumcises boys and we also happen to have the highest STD and HIV rates of any other developed nation. Last but certainly not least, there was a study of circumcised females which reported a 50% reduction in HIV among circumcised women. Now should we also suggest that women be circumcised based on the findings of this study? This is all moot point, however, because we DO have effective protective methods against HIV and all STDs, condoms. Condoms are over 98% effective and don't involve any genital reduction surgery.
So there you have it. Circumcision violates our human rights laws, which are designed to protect the bodies of minor children. Circumcision violates our medical ethics laws that state a doctor can only perform procedures on a minor when there is clear medical need and a more conservative treatment has failed. Circumcision is not good preventative medicine since amputation is always a last resort to conservative treatments. Circumcision on babies can not be considered a good prophylactic measure against STDs. And last but not least, since baby girls ARE protected from even the most minor genital surgery (even a pin prick), circumcision is a violation of the equal protection clause of the constitution of the USA which states that "all persons shall receive equal protection under the law". Case closed, circumcision is technically already illegal. The question is not whether it is legal to circumcise a child, we have already established how the male foreskin and its removal continues to exist outside our legal and medical norms. The real question is, when will our government recognize that they have failed to apply the law and, in doing so, they have failed to protect our most innocent and most fragile of citizens?