questioning the legality of circumcison - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 19 Old 03-12-2010, 01:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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?

Momma to DS (2/08) and #2 due 10/11.
 
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#2 of 19 Old 03-12-2010, 01:38 AM
 
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Really excellent!! You state the case in a logical and irrefutable manner that no one with an ounce of common sense could argue against.

One thing though - In the following quote - do you not mean that this is proof that there is NO validity of this operation as a form of preventative medicine?

Each and every organization has made a statement that the potential benefits do not outweigh the risks and guaranteed consequences. This alone is proof to the validity of this operation as a legitimate form of preventative medicine.
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#3 of 19 Old 03-12-2010, 01:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hakunangovi View Post
Each and every organization has made a statement that the potential benefits do not outweigh the risks and guaranteed consequences. This alone is proof to the validity of this operation as a legitimate form of preventative medicine.
Yes that is a typo! Thanks for catching!

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#4 of 19 Old 03-12-2010, 01:50 AM
 
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Wow this is awesome. Can you post it on one of the facebook anti circ groups so I can share it with family. I think this would be a great addition to the info out there.

Wife to DH, Mom to my Intact Boys DS1: Born 02 Pain Med Free Hospital Birth, BF'ed for 9 Months, Partially Vax'd DS2: Born 06 via UC, BF'ed 3 years 10 months, and UnVax'd
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#5 of 19 Old 03-12-2010, 09:40 AM
 
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what an excellent post. So often we are dealing with emotion, this post directly addresses the legality of circumcision with logic. awesome
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#6 of 19 Old 03-12-2010, 11:53 AM
 
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<--- That's all I can say. This was perfect.

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#7 of 19 Old 03-12-2010, 02:06 PM
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Nicely written. The following quote explains the main reason why circ is not illegal and still practiced today:

"Facts can be disproved, and theories based on them will yield in time to rational arguments and proof that they don't work. But myth has its own furious, inherent reason-to-be because it is tied to desire. Prove it false a hundred times, and it will still endure because it is true as an expression of feeling.... It is illogical -- or at least, pre-logical; but from this very fact it gains a certain strength: logic may disprove it, but it will not kill it."

-Elizabeth Janeway, Man's World, Woman's Place, 1971
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#8 of 19 Old 03-12-2010, 02:39 PM
 
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Now all we have to do is find a way to sue parents for circ'ing their son's, and take it all the way to the US Supreme Court and win!

The argument makes perfect sense, I just wonder if it would hold water in a court room (I'm sure judges would be more than happy to make an exception since its so widely practiced)
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#9 of 19 Old 03-13-2010, 09:49 AM
 
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I think if someone was to be sued, it should be the doctors not the parents.

There are a number of reasons for this:

Many parents only have a vague idea of what circ is (doctors know how extensive it is.).

Parents are sometimes given dishonest information by doctors ("If we (physicians) told parents the truth, parents would probably not opt for either method [of circumcision]).

Parents are sometimes given false information by doctors (as distinct from dishonest, the doctor has incorrect information)

Parents might think its compulsory or hospital policy.

Parents may be badgered and manipulated by hospitals and doctors.

Suing a parent may deter a parent from suing any future sons. Suing a doctor would in some cases stop them from doing tens of thousands of circumcisions.

Its not reasonable to expect family members to sue each other, some men who would be happy to sue a doctor would not be prepared to sue their parents.

Suing parents might a bit of a so-what because parents might be happy to give money to son anyway.

Doctors have more money than the average parents and doctors' lawsuits are covered by insurance.

Some parents just do what a doctor say (doctors have more power).

Some circumcisions are done without parental consent.

Doctors sometimes blame the parents (if the boy grows up and doesn't like his circumcision, he can talk to it about his parents.)

Doctors sometimes don't take responsibility (if the circ is botched in a minor way, its the parents fault, we don't guarantee it will be even etc)

Doctors make money from it, parents don't.

Doctors are suppose to have minimum levels of education, intelligence etc. whereas some parents are extremely uneducated (How could you sue someone who was illiterate for example?).

Doctors and hospitals sometimes sell foreskins for profit, parents don't.

Suing doctors is a proven method of changing doctors' behaviour.

When doctors discourage circumcision, rates drop very fast.
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#10 of 19 Old 03-13-2010, 10:31 AM
 
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This is a wonderful post! Explains it all logically. I do wish I could share it more easily. I believe the reason, the true reason circumcision still occurs is based in religion. The dogma of religion has infiltrated every aspect of life on earth. When I say religion, I do not mean Source or real spirituality, but the made up rules created by men and their misunderstandings of metaphysical events. It is part of the same machine that uses vaccines, separation tools like cribs, bottles, buckets etc and television. It is to create a mindset in a human from birth on, one of despair and fear and pain. This ensures good little slaves. I feel empowered when I read other women making such a difference. I feel empowered when I read your well put article. I believe it should be mailed, emailed and shared all over, sent to lawmakers, magazines, blogs and editorials. I applaud you! and know that the day is near when forced body mutilation will be over.

As an aside, I can't believe the family and the tattooing of kids... in some cultures, tattooing is a rite of passage.... guess my idea on it would depend on ages, size of tattoos and reason for doing so, as well as background culture. But if my child did not want it, and said it hurt I certainly would not do that either (I have no tattoos so I do not know how it feels to get one)

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#11 of 19 Old 03-13-2010, 09:22 PM
 
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Can I share this else where or do you have it on a blog or something. I would really like to pass it on but I don't think just linking to this messageboard would be a good idea.

Wife to DH, Mom to my Intact Boys DS1: Born 02 Pain Med Free Hospital Birth, BF'ed for 9 Months, Partially Vax'd DS2: Born 06 via UC, BF'ed 3 years 10 months, and UnVax'd
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#12 of 19 Old 03-15-2010, 07:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Everyone please feel free to share, share, share.

Momma to DS (2/08) and #2 due 10/11.
 
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#13 of 19 Old 03-18-2010, 04:21 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tutucrazy View Post
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.
Does anyone have a link to this review?
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#14 of 19 Old 03-18-2010, 07:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Pirogi View Post
Does anyone have a link to this review?
Are you talking about this one?
http://www.thelancet.com/journals/la...998-3/abstract

Gillian
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#15 of 19 Old 03-19-2010, 12:39 AM
 
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I'd love to copy and post it to my blog...but do I just credit it to your MDC user name? I have to give credit where it's due...it's a well written piece.

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#16 of 19 Old 03-28-2010, 01:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'd love to copy and post it to my blog...but do I just credit it to your MDC user name? I have to give credit where it's due...it's a well written piece.
I pmed you.

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#17 of 19 Old 03-28-2010, 08:40 PM
 
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Thanks!

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#18 of 19 Old 06-02-2010, 10:19 AM
 
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Wonderful, wonderful!
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#19 of 19 Old 06-03-2010, 05:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by glongley View Post
Are you talking about this one?
http://www.thelancet.com/journals/la...998-3/abstract

Gillian
This one is a head banger. How is it OK to encourage unprotected sex in a sero-discordant couple? Why did an ethic committee at Hopkins approve this? It would never be acceptable in the USA to do this experiment. It can be compared to the Tuskegee Experiment

Quote:
The trial was stopped early because of futility. 92 couples in the intervention group and 67 couples in the control group were included in the modified ITT analysis. 17 (18%) women in the intervention group and eight (12%) women in the control group acquired HIV during follow-up (p=0·36). Cumulative probabilities of female HIV infection at 24 months...

Interpretation
Circumcision of HIV-infected men did not reduce HIV transmission to female partners over 24 months.... Condom use after male circumcision is essential for HIV prevention.
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