Monday, May 3, 2010

Genital Mutilation Justification

I am what is known as an intactivist, I fight for the rights of all children male and female to equal genital integrity protection. I fight this battle knowing I will make people angry and knowing I may lose friends. This fight isn't about making friends, it's about protecting children and their rights to not have their bodies mutilated by cultural or religious reasons.

Female Genital Mutilation has been banned in the US since a 1996 Bill passed to protect female children from even a pin prick on their genitals. Most people when they think of FGM automatically go directly to the worst most horrid cases because that is what makes the news. However, the most common FGM is indeed what we are doing to male children in the US on a regular, routine basis. That is the removal of the prepuce. Yes females and males both have a prepuce and yes both offer protection, nerve endings and are normal parts of the human body. At 12 weeks gestation the male and female genitalia are exactly the same, this is one of the many reasons ultrasound technicians want to wait until 18 weeks or so to accurately tell the parents what gender their child is.

Under the Constitutions 14th amendment of equality ALL persons regardless of race or gender are EQUALLY protected under the law. I have been told male circumcision is not illegal but the fact is, it IS. The 1996 FGM bill and the 14th amendment means that male children are just as protected under the "no genital cutting" protection as females, and yet we as a people ignore this fact. The question is why? It has been ingrained in our society for 1.5 centuries to circumcise infant boys. Originally it was proclaimed it would cure masturbation and then it would cure a host of ailments including blindness. Today however it is continued to be pushed on parents claiming medical benefits, cultural reasons, to "look like dad" . . . what the doctors aren't telling you is that 1 in 250 circumcisions are a cause of death in infants, or the many many botched circumcisions that lead to painful erections, horrible scar tissue or even needing a second circumcision to correct the first botch job. They also don't tell you that for them it's a money making industry. First they receive $300-400 for 15 minute procedure but that they then sell the foreskin to the cosmetic industry for even more profit! Money talks and at the loss for our sons. They also fail to mention that routine circumcision is not promoted by any single medical collaboration. That is until now.

The AAP & CDC want to recommend RIC for all male children. It is after all a very profitable business for them. They want to ignore the health benefits to male children having their foreskin, they want to ignore the fact that most of the male population of the world is uncircumcised and that there are absolutely no medical benefits to this procedure. You want to know how they are going to go about recommending this slicing and dicing of our boys genitals? By changing their stance on FGM. They are now calling it Female Genital Cutting and prescribe that it may be ok for physicians to offer a "ritual nick" suggesting it is not harmful and could build trust between hospitals and immigrants. By lightning their stance on FGM they can open the door to recommend MGM. I noticed at the end of their statement they claim that FGM is illegal and in the us constitutes child abuse. Irony? They have it. Cutting female genitals in any way shape or form = child abuse. Cutting off 1/3 of the male penis = A OK!

A quick edit -- most of this is merely sensational opinion. Currently the AAP does not rec RIC the CDC wants to recommend it. In my opinion, to get full support for this they will need and want the AAP to back them up. By softening their wording and stance on FGM I feel this is the door cracking open to them changing their policy on RIC.


  1. I wonder if this change in stance might have more to do with the fact that in a few years, the boys that were mutilated after the FGM bill became law, will be coming of legal age to sue them under the equal protection clause. If they can show that they are a-ok with some genital cutting on girls, their butts will be covered.

  2. It's very possible and I have thought about that too. There have already been some court cases where adult men have sued their circumcisers and won so this may be that CYA to the upcoming law suits that could happen.

    It just seems to have come out conveniently close to the time the CDC is going to announce their rec for RIC. Either way it's shitty.

  3. I bow before you Jenn!

    There is something going on at The AAP and I'm not sure what it is. From the early 1980's until the last meeting of The Taskforce on Circumcision, the members had been majority Jewish and those who were not had been on the record as having written in medical journals as supporting routine infant circumcision. Well, apparently that has all changed as of 2010. All of the former members were jettisoned with an entirely new panel coming on and it appears to be only one or two members that are Jewish. The position on the other new members is not known.

    The AAP had received criticism about the make-up of the panel as it was a huge conflict of interest. Whether this new panel is a turning of the page is not known at this point or if it is merely a dodge to get away from the criticism. Time will tell when the new recommendations come out.

    Frank O'Hara


  4. I am a nurse and circumcision is so very painful and unnecessary. I wish more people were like you and spoke out against circumcision. Unfortunately, so many parents who opt for circ are truly ignorant on foreskin function and what is lost to circ. They also buy into the hygiene myths. Parents believe whatever their doctor tells them. The truth is doctors don't want to speak out against circ because they are too PC and don't want to offend any Jewish or Muslims. They also rarely disclose the fact that they have a financial incentive to circumcise. Foreskin isn't sold into research at my hospital but it is in some facilities. Doctors rarely circ their own sons, but they'll gladly take your money and not bat an eye.
    Good for you for speaking out. I hope some future parents read this and take the time to fully research circumcision. The fact that parents and doctors think it's ethical to remove healthy, functioning skin is truly astonishing. Thank you for providing a voice of reason on your blog!

  5. I'm all for what you're saying but can people please stop acting like circumcision is one big Jewish conspiracy? Jewish-Americans only make up 2% of the nation's population, yet the vast majority of American males are circumcised. I'm sure there are plenty of circumcisions occuring in Alaska and North Dakota, where there are maybe 2 Jewish individuals altogether. Stop using Jews/Muslims as a scapegoat for what Americans as a whole have adopted.

  6. Anonymous, I hate to have to echo this, but there is a very strong Jewish arm in the pro-circumcision lobby. Historically, Jewish doctors helped in medicalizing circumcision and keeping it cemented that way. Aaron J. Fink invented the circumcision/HIV myth long before there were any "studies" to back this claim up. Who helped author the latest African "studies" being used by the CDC? Daniel Halperin, and he is on record saying he wants to continue his grandfather's legacy (his grandfather was a mohel). Who is practically the godfather of American circumcision today, but Edgar Schoen? Who is at the top of the CDC and AAP but Thomas Frieden and Susan Blank respectively? Who was responsible for single-handedly blocking the MGMBill in Massachussetts but Cynthia Creem?

    That's not to condemn ALL Jews though. Some of the most vocal people against circumcision today happen to be Jews. Dr. Dean Edell is staunchly against infant circumcision, and he's very vocal about it. Elias Ungar Sargon recently authored a film questioning his own tradition; "Cut." Howard Stone hates the fact that he was circumcised and he has openly ranted on his show.

    But I think it's important that we face the truth; Jews are a powerful influence that keep doctors and lawmakers from doing their jobs. It is no secret that all Jews have to do to make authorities tremble in their feet is pull the anti-Semite card. They can, and they have. This is probably the one and only reason that keeps doctors and lawyers from outright condemning the practice in the US today.

    I recommend that you read the book "Marked in Your Flesh" by Leonard Glick; an anthropologist who is Jewish himself and is against circumcision. In his book, circumcision is explained from ancient Judea, to its medicalization in the Western world. Jews have worked real hard to hide this, their most revered covenant, behind the guise of medicine. Without it, circumcision stands naked as just a superstitious blood ritual. It should be peculiar that studies focus on condemning normal, healthy, basic human anatomy, as opposed to finding actual ways to combat disease. Pointing out the fact that Jews have been influential in the proliferation of circumcision in this country is no different than saying the Spanish left their mark in Mexico, or the Portuguese in Brazil. This isn't "conspiracy theory," it's historical fact, it continues today, and it's all laid out in Leonard Glick's book. I really recommend you read it.


  7. I know of Glick's book but have yet to read it.

    Jews are only 2-2.5% of the USA. They are a much higher percentage of the well educated middle class. Jews are a high fraction of the professors in the leading medical schools. Hence Jews are much more influential than their numbers, because they are a very educated slice of America.

    Jews like Aaron Fink and Edgar Schoen have had too much influence on the AAP and now the CDC and African AIDS research.

    Continental Europe and Japan have never routinely circumcised. The UK and New Zealand used to, but completely gave it up. In Australia and Canada, it's down to 10-15% of babies, and falling. The USA is now all alone. If the foreskin is unhealthy, where is the evidence of the European and Japanese disaster?

    A fundamental problem with looking at the correlation between circ status and health problems in the USA is that foreskin is correlated with childhood poverty and uneducated parents, and childhood poverty is correlated with poor adult health.

    In Europe, most cut men are Moslems, and Moslems are the underclass, so you get very different results.