I think one of the things that we far too often overlook in this country is that fact that genital mutilation of newborn boys is common practice, if not standard. Why isn't there more of a cry against this? Do the benefits of circumcision (if any, and I don't see any valid argument that there are any) outweigh the cost and mutilation of a boy?

Of course circumcision isn't the only genital mutilation in the world, but it's the only type in practice in the United States. Female genital mutilation is just as barbaric, if not more so. Americans, and Europeans in general, ban female genital mutilation of babies, but why the hypocrisy in not doing the same for males?

Tags: Christianity, God, Judaism, circumcision, clitoral, covenant, genital, mutilation

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My studies in nursing have led me to good information on the subject. Lowdermilk & Perry's Maternity Nursing 7th ed., 2009 states that while circumcision reduces the risk of penile cancer and of contracting STD's, there is no real medical reason for the removal of the foreskin. Penile cancer is really rather rare even in uncut men and as for the STD risk...safer sex practices are a much better prevention than removing normal pieces of anatomy. Both my textbooks and the doctor I worked with on the OB unit during my first rotation are very clear: There is no medical reason to circumcise; it is done for no other reason than culture, religion and appearance.

During my first day on the OB unit I got a chance to witness two circumcisions and they weren't nearly as barbaric or traumatic as I'd imagined. Most doctors these days are aware that neonates feel pain and do a nerve block around the penis to reduce the trauma of the procedure. It wasn't until fairly recently that the belief that newborns nervous systems are not developed enough to register pain was overturned. There are still doctors who don't use anesthetic when performing the procedure, so it is very important that new parents ensure that pain is controlled in their infant should they choose to have him circumcised.

Pain in newborns can cause life threatening reactions. I personally do not think the benefits outweigh the risks of circumcision of a newborn before at least a week old. Newborns do not manufacture vitamin K in their gut (vitamin K assists in blood clotting) and even though it is standard procedure to administer vitamin K shots to newborns, IMHO it is safer to wait until the newborn has had an opportunity to receive antibodies from mother's milk and begin forming his own clotting factors before circumcising.

It is also important to remember that the fetal shunts do not close securely right away. Crying in the newborn can cause fetal shunts, particularly the foramen ovale, to re open and mix oxygenated and un-oxygenated blood which isn't usually life threatening, but it does delay full closure of the shunt. Obviously if the infant is in pain he will cry more than one who is not.

Infants who are circumcised also experience less REM sleep until the pain from the surgery has subsided and there is some evidence to indicate that circumcision may cause delays in mother-baby attachment.
I don't do the studies, that's just what my current textbook says on the subject. I don't know WHY the correlation exists, it just does. The textbook doesn't go into the reasons for the increased incidence of penile cancer among uncircumcised men, nor does it say that the skin causes the cancer, just that there is an increased chance of penile cancer in uncut men. As I mentioned though, penile cancer is really rather rare. When you compare it to testicular or prostate cancer any guy, cut or not, is more likely to develop a more common type of cancer.

If you read my reply you'd see that I said it more than once: There is no medical reason to circumcise. I am not arguing that it should be done from a health standpoint. Rather the opposite - I pointed out several reasons that parents should at least wait to have the procedure performed if not defer it completely. From a health standpoint I'd say there are more reasons to forgo circumcision than to have it done. I'm sorry if my reply came off as pro-circ. I'm only sharing the information I have from good sources.

You do remind me of a good point though - circumcised men are less sensitive than uncircumcised men. I don't doubt that a major reason for circumcision involved religious control; as for stifling the male sex drive, it obviously doesn't work.

I agree that it is unnecessary and it is twisted that infants have their bodies irrevocably altered without their consent. As a female, I can imagine I'd be very upset if my parents had altered my genitals while I was an infant!

This is an emotional issue. I see from your other posts that you feel strongly about it. I have to say that in your reply to Lisa that your assertion she doesn't know what she's talking about because she's a woman doesn't follow coming from a guy who isn't cut himself. She may not know what it's like to be circumcised but neither do you.

@ Hugh: "circumcision is often given to tired interns/residents/house surgeons for "practice"." I'm surprised to hear that. The nurses (most of whom are female and ALL of the nurses I've seen in maternity are female) are VERY protective of the babies on the unit and wouldn't hand a newborn boy off to a tired staff member for practice.

You guys might be surprised to learn that most of the (female) doctors and nurses I've spoken to on the subject are strongly against circumcision for many of the reasons others have mentioned in this discussion. The one male in house doctor I've talked to doesn't even use anesthesia on his circumcisions and the (female) nurses I discussed this with later told me that it's for that very reason they keep the male newborns away from him/tell the parents the dangers associated with circumcision, especially when the newborn is not given anesthesia.
Hmmm, if your brothers are all open about conversing about these things, I bet that makes some interesting conversations among you...

Are you the youngest, is that why your parents changed their policy?

Your textbook is obviously not a good source of information on this subject. "Penile cancer is one of the rarest cancers - rarer even than breast cancer in men - and figures for it are hard to come by. Circumcised men get penile cancer at about the same tiny rate as intact men. Early
studies that seemed to show a correlation had not been corrected for
age; penile cancer is a disease of old men, and the old men with cancer
in the studies had simply been born at a time when circumcision was less
customary than when the younger men without cancer were born. When men
of the same ages were compared, the correlation vanished." Quoted from http://www.circumstitions.com/Cancer.html I would encourage you to check out the page.

 

If you are seriously interested in the subjects of health and disease then you need a more accurate understanding of reality than the contemporary western alopathic medical paradigm can provide.

 

Considering what you said in a previous post about circumcision and anaesthesia, I do not understand how there could be a doctor in your ward or whatever who not only performs circumcisions on infants but also does so without anaesthetic. You and the other nurses involved should be making a formal complaint about this. It is your moral and ethical and professional duty.

^^ there is no correlation between cancer and foreskin ^^

I don't know. I'd think there'd be at least a greater risk by having a greater amount of the potentially affected tissue. In the same way you'd maybe be half as likely to get a hangnail if you chopped off one of your hands.

It's irrelevant until the deaths before age 21 from penile cancer affecting only the foreskin start to outnumber the deaths from being circumcised as an infant.
Good point Ron.

I discussed this issue with my boyfriend and he is VERY strongly for circumcision. Since I'm a girl and don't know what I'm talking about I guess I should defer to his judgment, eh? After all, the bf is actually circumcised.
The mother has a majority vote when it comes to what is done to her child. And there is definitely a female benefit to being uncut. The foreskin aids in facilitation sexual intercourse. It makes a huge difference once you've tried it :) So do have 'some' body understanding.
>> I'm a girl and don't know what I'm talking about

Nope, wrong. You are wise and he is ignorant. YOU have a prepuce and you know how good it feels to rub it. He has none and is left with only friction-based modes of stimulation; nothing like what a foreskin allows. He has no idea what he's missing.

The onle person whose judgement is tops here is the one person who will have to live with the outcome. But of the other family, an intact mom is a close second.
I agree that the bf has no idea what he is missing, but I would strongly urge that it is not in his interests to be told. My husband is cut and happy with his penis but if he had all the information I have now then he might begin to feel like many of the guys here...robbed, mutilated, victimised, and that isn't going to make him feel good at all. The only reason to *really* spell it out to a cut guy would be on the birth of his first son if he was pushing for circumcision but until such a day comes I'd suggest anyone do as I do with my guy and let him remain blissfully ignorant.
Your bf knows what it's like to be circumcised, but not what it's like to have a complete penis. So if he gets to decide, it's not just the blind leading the blind, it's the blind blinding the sighted.
Nice turn of phrase you have there Hugh.
Your boyfriend was probably circumcised shortly after birth and has had no experience of intact genitals. He doesn't know what he's missing and the fact that he feels VERY strongly in favour of circumcision should be a dead giveaway that he has serious insecurity issues in this area.

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