When Did Men Start Getting Circumcised?
Having served variously as a mark of virility, servility and gentility, circumcision has throughout the centuries worn many symbolic hats. While anthropologists disagree as to the definitive origins of circumcision, the earliest hard evidence comes from the first ancient Egyptian mummies of considerable vintage, around 2300 BC. That being said, Egyptian paintings date circumcision to centuries prior, depicting ritual circumcision as prerequisite to entering the priesthood.
Contention remains as to whether circumcision was a sign of pride rather than prejudice among the ancient Egyptian world. While popular among the elite, forced circumcision was inflicted on captured Phoenician and Jewish slaves as a badge of dishonor, more practical, or rather, less lethal than castration.
Whatever its initial origins, by 1800 BC the Jews were practicing circumcision for religious reasons, in deference to God’s religious injunction to Abraham as contained in the Torah.
Every male child among you shall be circumcised; and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you. Genesis 17:10-11
Though the religious reasons have remained ostensibly the same for thousands of years, the procedure has changed rather sharply. The original practice, milah, was abbreviated to only the removal of the tip of the foreskin. The decision to snip beyond the tip lay in the cultural collision between Greco-Roman and Jewish cultures. While the Jews considered circumcision among matters theistic, the Greeks regarded it as an aesthetic faux pas. As Hellenic culture became the fashion throughout the Roman Empire, Jews seeking to avoid discrimination and compete in Roman games sought to emulate their hosts by stretching the foreskin and tying it closed. However, Jewish Elders, rather unsympathetic to the “when in Rome” justification of the blasphemous procedure, instated the Brit Peri’ah around 140 AD. With this, the circumcision procedure now included removing the foreskin to beyond the ridge of the glans, ensuring all Jews would be fully shorn of Roman identity.
With circumcision having assumed a distinctly Jewish connotation, it became grounds for anti-Semitic discrimination. History is littered with examples, such as the Seleucid King Antiochus, occupying Jerusalem in 169 BC, who made the Brit Peri’ah punishable by death. The Roman author Suetonius records court proceedings, wherein a 90 year old man, suspected of evading the Fiscus Judaicus, or Jewish tax, was stripped naked for what must have been the Roman take on strict scrutiny.
After 50 BC, circumcision remained, at least popularly speaking, a largely Jewish affair, until controversy ignited among early Christians. It was yet unclear whether the Gospel required circumcision among converts, which would thus restrict Christianity to Jews or Gentiles willing to undergo the procedure. Ultimately, it was decided that circumcision was not prerequisite to conversion, and the Catholic Church maintained a degree of hostility towards the practice which would set the tone for circumcision until the 19th century.
The Greco-Roman aversion towards circumcision, once heavily salted with anti-Semitism, persisted long after unruly Gauls had overrun the empire. Indeed, by the time Britain had matured to imperial status, explorers who had been busily exporting British commerce and colonialism returned with salacious tales about the barbaric tribes that lay at the extremities of empire, and the varieties of circumcision practiced within. Sir Richard Burton wrote of one such procedure that, “tears off the epidermis from the cuts [around the groin] and flays the testicles and penis, ending with amputation of the foreskin.”
Certain Islamic peoples, such as those of the Moghul Empire, introduced the British to circumcision in a rather more unceremonious fashion: claiming the foreskins of vanquished British troops, willy-nilly on the battlefield. Despite the initial close shaves between the British and other cultures, they eventually spearheaded a change in attitude about circumcision.
Partially inspired by a sense of cultural cosmopolitanism, or fear of troops losing their heads under threat of battlefield circumcision, the British began a revival of circumcision. The social and hygienic virtues of circumcision were well entrenched during the Victorian Era, with British Royalty beginning a practice of circumcising their heirs, the peerage following suit, and the change in attitudes radiating downwards through British society and empire.
This is not to say that the religious element of circumcisions subsided. Indeed, during both World Wars the political and racial subtext of circumcision reemerged with bloody consequence. Forced circumcision accompanied the massacre of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire, while circumcision served again as a potentially lethal marker of Jewish identity under Nazi Germany.
In present day however, racial and class controversies regarding circumcision have cooled. Nonetheless, the demographic patterns and medical consensus regarding circumcision have remained far from settled. The size of the circumcised British population has dropped precipitously from 30 percent at its heyday, to roughly 4 percent today. The United States has remained steady with well over half the male population circumcised, and Israel has, unsurprisingly, become the circumcision capital of the world, with nearly a 100 percent circumcision rate.
Even within largely circumcised populations, health debates rage. Critics of circumcision cite an absence of evidence vis-à-vis the supposed health benefits of circumcision, and list a litany of disadvantages, such as pain to the child, infection, urinary complications, enhanced risk of disease, and in extremely rare cases even death from complications due to the circumcision (1 in 500,000 or about 8 babies per year in the U.S. die as a result of this procedure). Defenders of the practice, which includes the American Academy of Pediatrics, however claim that the health benefits outweigh the risks to the minority. They cite greater immunity from sexually transmitted diseases and genital cancer as well as the avoidance of certain general hygiene problems. These debates have been exacerbated by religious and antireligious camps among the medical community, with the surgical soundness of some procedures, such as the (rarely practiced today) orthodox Judaic tradition of sucking to stem the bleeding (metzitzah b’peh), being called into question.
To compound the issue, men do not have a monopoly as beneficiaries or victims of this surgical procedure. Female circumcision or female genital mutilation (FGM) which involves partial or complete removal of the external female genitalia has been around for centuries. Again, Egypt features as the setting for this operation with the Greek geographer Strabo who visited around 25 B.C. corroborating the records, as well as writings of other observers. However, physical evidence is lacking so the actual origin remains a mystery. One medical historian concedes there is no way of knowing as the ritual was widespread across many cultures from Australian Aborigine tribes to various African societies.
Like many who support male circumcision, cultural, religious, mythical, medical and even aesthetic motives are offered as justification. So devoted are some advocates of female circumcision that in 1930, the future Kenyan Prime Minister explained that the procedure was integral to the survival of Kenya’s ethnic institution. Later in the mid 1950s, when clitoridectomy was banned, young Kenyan girls even colluded with friends to perform the procedure on each other.
Despite FGM advocates, the practice grew to be viewed by its detractors as barbaric and the outcry against it has been gaining in steam since the 1960s. While the debate over the health benefits of male circumcision has kept it in the good graces of some medical institutions, the World Health organization has denounced FGM as having no health benefit and the United Nations passed a resolution encouraging countries to abandon the practice. Bans have been implemented in several African and Western countries like Kenya (2001), Egypt (2007), Sweden (1982), the United Kingdom (1987) and the United States (1992).
Despite the cut and thrust of circumcision politics, male circumcision will almost certainly remain a point of pride and tradition primarily for religious reasons, but also on a much lesser scale for aesthetic reasons; a viewpoint poignantly represented by the character of Elayne on Seinfeld, when she said of seeing an uncircumcised penis, “It had no face, no personality. It was like a Martian.”
Today male circumcision still remains overwhelmingly popular in Israel, as well as in the Middle East and North African- countries where it seems to have originated; but in Western countries the procedure is declining rapidly, with some predicting an increase in the spread of disease as a result, though many think those concerns are wildly overblown. As to female circumcision, remarkably the data indicates that it is on the rise among the immigrant population in the West.
If you liked this article, you might also enjoy our new popular podcast, The BrainFood Show (iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, Feed), as well as:
- How Dick Came to Be Short for Richard
- The Duck That Lassos Its Potential Mates with Its Penis
- Was One of the Bond Girls Really a Man?
- How Erections Work
- Avoiding Being Sued With the “Small Penis” Rule
- Brit Milah or Peria
- Declining Rates of US Infant Male Circumcision Could Add Billions to Health Care Costs
- ‘Just a Snip’’?: A Social History of Male Circumcision by Peter Aggleton
- Ritual Male Circumcision: A Brief History D Doyle
- UN Study Shows Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting on the Decline in Africa
- World Health Organization Female Genital Mutilation Fact Sheet
- Image via ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock.com
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The Philippines should be pretty high up there in percentage terms. It is a rite of manhood here.
True, and the historical reasons for circumcision in the Philippines have yet to be established.
101 Reasons not to circumcise
1. Circumcision can cause numerous complications such as hemorrhaging, Chordee (bending of the penis), urinary retention, penile adhesions (skin attachments), swelling, the removal of too much penile shaft skin, meatitis, buried penis, urethral fistulas, cysts, penoscrotal webbing, urethral strictures, stenosis, injury to remaining genital tissue, lymphedema, lacerations of the glans, necrosis, partial amputation of the penis, loss of the penis, and death. Many studies have documented infections that have occurred through circumcision such as tetanus, diphtheria, staphylococcus, staphylococcal bronchopneumonia, pseudomonas, streptococcus, Proteus, bacteremia, MRSA, septicemia (blood poisoning), meningitis, sepsis, gangrene, tuberculosis, and impetigo. Side effects can occur with the use or non-use of anesthetics or narcotics for neonatal circumcisions such, nerve damage (from improper anesthetic application), lack of oxygen resulting in hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (can cause brain damage), loss of blood leading to hypovolemic shock, and severe pain leading to apnea (leads to cerebral hypoxia), cardiopulmonary arrest, coma, pneumothorax, seizure, and stroke. All this is preventable because circumcision is not a necessary surgery. Why would you intentionally inflict pain on your child to remove a normal part of his body?
2. Most Parents in the United States do not know the risks of circumcision. The American Medical Association found that, in one study, physicians in “nearly half” of neonatal circumcisions “did not discuss the potential medical risks and benefits of elective circumcision prior to the procedure.
3. In a 2010 study published in the Journal Thymos estimates that In the United States each year around 117 male infants die as a result of their circumcision in the neonatal period (within 28 days of birth). This means that every three days in United States an Infant dies from circumcision. The number of deaths from circumcision outnumbers the amount of infants who die in automobile accidents, from suffocation, and from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The researcher behind the study stated that “The problem is this: circumcision is a killer of baby boys. No one, except for some human-rights activists, is trying to save them. It is unlikely that improving circumcision techniques would eliminate these deaths. No matter how skilled the physician is, some deaths will always occur.” The only effective way to eliminate this death toll and save these boys is to admit that circumcision is unnecessary and potentially harmful surgery and stop performing it on neonates and minors. This would give all boys the chance to decide for themselves whether they wish to be circumcised, and (if they do) would allow them to choose it for themselves as adults, when the surgical risks are so much less severe.
4. The outside of the foreskin is like normal skin but the inside of the foreskin is a membrane. This is similar to the inside and outside of an eyelid. The foreskin is as sensitive as the fingertips or the lips of the mouth. It contains a richer variety and greater concentration of specialized nerve receptors than any other part of the penis. These specialized nerve endings can discern motion, subtle changes in temperature, and fine gradations of texture.
5. The foreskin represents 50% to 80% of the skin system of the penis depending on the length of the penile shaft. The average foreskin has over three feet of veins, arteries, and capillaries, 240 feet of nerve fibers, and over 20,000 nerve endings. Unfolded, the adult foreskin measures 10 to 15 square inches. The removal of this healthy tissue reduces circulation in the penis, permanently alters the normal form and size of the penis, and results in the loss of full sexual function as an adult.
6. The highly specialized foreskin tissue normally covers the glans of the penis and protects it from abrasion, drying, callousing, and contaminants of all kinds. When circumcision is performed the glans becomes externalized and it is then exposed to air, friction, and irritation from clothing. This causes the glans to dry out, callous, and thicken causing desensitization. This process is known as keratinization where layers of hard cells build on the exposed glans of the penis. The nerve endings in the glans, which in the intact penis are just beneath the surface of the mucous membrane, are now buried by successive layers of keratinization. This diminishes the range of sexual pleasure, and may even contribute to impotence.
7. Many circumcised men complain about intense discomfort from the constant abrasion, chaffing and irritation from clothing against their externalized glans. Foreskin has a protective effect against the external environment.
8. The foreskin has protective functions Just as the eyelids protect the eyes; the foreskin protects the glans and keeps its surface soft, moist, and sensitive. It also maintains optimal warmth, pH balance and cleanliness. The soft mucosa which lies against the glans penis contains ectopic sebaceous glands that secrete emollients, lubricants, and protective antibodies which maintain the proper health of the surface of the glans. Similar glands are also found in the eyelids and mouth.
9. The word Smegma is a word that is derived from Greek and Latin words meaning soap and to wash off/ clean. Smegma is a combination of exfoliated epithelial cells, transudated skin oils, sebum and moisture. Smegma is known to have bacteriostatic, antiviral, and pheromonal properties. Smegma maintains proper health of the surface of the glans. Smegma collects under the foreskin in males, and in females collects around the clitoris and in the folds of the labia minora. We would not circumcise an infant girl just to keep things “clean”. All mammals produce smegma, and it is no reason to circumcise a male or female child.
10. A study published in the British Journal of Urology International from Ghent University Hospital in Belgium found that those who’ve had their foreskin removed as children or adults experience less intense sexual pleasure, sensation, and orgasm than their peers.
11. In an April 2007 study published in the British Journal of Urology (BJU) international , researchers in San Francisco tested Nineteen locations on the penis with the Semmes-Weinstein monofilament touch-test (in both circumcised and intact males) and found that the five areas most receptive to fine-touch are routinely removed by circumcision surgeries. In circumcised penises, the most sensitive region was the circumcision scar on the underside of the penis. For intact penises, the areas’ most receptive to pressure were five regions normally removed during circumcision, all of which were more sensitive than the most sensitive part of the circumcised penis.
12. A Danish study on circumcision published in 2011 in the International Journal of Epidemiology concluded that “Circumcision was associated with frequent orgasm difficulties in Danish men and with a range of frequent sexual difficulties in women, notably orgasm difficulties, dyspareunia and a sense of incomplete sexual needs fulfillment.” So female sexual partners of men with natural penises are more likely to achieve orgasm during sexual intercourse.
13. In a study published in the British Journal of Urology International in May of 2013 on the erogenous sensitivity of the foreskin concluded that “This study confirms the importance of the foreskin for penile sensitivity, overall sexual satisfaction, and penile functioning. Furthermore, this study shows that a higher percentage of circumcised men experience discomfort or pain and unusual sensations as compared with the uncircumcised population. Before circumcision without medical indication, adult men, and parents considering circumcision of their sons, should be informed of the importance of the foreskin in male sexuality.”
14. In a 2011 preliminary study published in the International Journal of Men’s Health showed that men circumcised at birth are 4.53 times more likely to use an erectile dysfunction drug, men with natural penises are less likely to experience Erectile Dysfunction as they age.
15. In a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology from the researchers at the University of Manchester found that the human foreskin has apocrine glands. These specialized glands located in the foreskin produce pheromones, nature’s chemical messengers.
16. In a 1996 study published in the International Journal of Legal Medicine discovered the existence of estrogen receptors in the basal epidermal cells of the foreskin. A 2003 Austrian study published in the Journal of Histochemistry & Cytochemistry in 2004 affirmed these findings. Their purpose is not yet fully understood and needs further study. Currently scientists believe the receptors aid in the absorption of vaginal secretions, which contain hormones like such as vasopressin, which helps induce pair bonding and protective behaviors in the male.
17. In studies published in the British Journal of Urology International in 1996 and 1999 found that the foreskin had special immunological functions. The Specialized Mucosa of the Foreskin contains apocrine glands which produce and secrete antibacterial and anti-viral proteins such as the pathogen killing enzyme lysozyme. Plasma cells in the foreskin’s mucosal lining secrete immunoglobulins, antibodies that defend against infection. There is a variety of sub-preputial flora which helps protect infants and adults later in in life but is removed during circumcision.
18. Globally the majority of men are not circumcised those who are mainly circumcised for religious reasons. The World Health Organization has estimated that globally 30% of males aged 15 and over are circumcised, with almost 70% of these being Muslim.
19. The American Cancer Society does not recommend circumcision to prevent any cancer. In 1996 the American Cancer Society wrote a letter to the 1989 American Academy of Pediatrics task force was claimed that lack of circumcision promoted penile cancer. The letter states “As representatives of the American Cancer Society, we would like to discourage the American Academy of Pediatrics from promoting routine circumcision as preventative measure for penile or cervical cancer. The American Cancer Society does not consider routine circumcision to be a valid or effective measure to prevent such cancers….. 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.” Partially as a result of this letter from the American Cancer Society a new AAP task force on circumcision was formed in 1996 which in 1999 concluded “These benefits are not compelling enough to warrant the AAP to recommend routine newborn circumcision.”
20. In the US the rate of penile cancer is greater than the rate in Denmark (where circumcision is rare 1.6% which is done for religious reasons.) This is addressed in the American Cancer Association letter to the American Academy of Pediatrics stating “research claiming a relationship between circumcision and penile cancer is inconclusive. Penile cancer is an extremely rare condition, effecting one in 200,000 men in the United States. Penile cancer rates in countries which do not practice circumcision are lower than those found in the United States. Fatalities caused by circumcision accidents may approximate the mortality rate from penile cancer.” Circumcised men can still contract penile cancer.
21. The tissue that develops into the foreskin for males develops into the clitoral hood and develops as part of the labia minora in females this plays a similar role to that of a male a vital role in protection of the clitoral glans, but also in pleasure, as it is an erogenous tissue. Females, it protects the glans of the clitoris; in males, it protects the glans of the penis. Thus, the prepuce is an essential part of human sexual anatomy in both males and females.
22. The rates of vulvar cancer in the United States are much higher than the rates of penile cancer in the United States. However you would not cut your baby girl’s genitals. In fact, it’s illegal, even a “nick” is illegal. A 1996 federal law (18 USCS § 116) outlaws any genital cutting on females under the age of 18. In 17 US states any cutting of female genitals is considered a felony, and in Illinois and Florida people who circumcise a female can face Imprisonment for up to 30 years, in Oklahoma you can face life imprisonment. Male circumcision involves much more than just a nick there are no laws in the US to protect them.
23. Neonatal circumcision is the only surgical procedure done to remove healthy functioning tissue on non-consenting individuals for preventative reasons. Penile cancer is more rare than male breast cancer but we do not advocate the removal of the breast buds at birth in infant males or females (Female breast cancer is far more common than penile cancer about 1 in 8 [12%] women in the US will develop invasive breast cancer) to prevent breast cancer. The rate of appendicitis and tonsillitis are significantly higher than the rate of penile cancer but we do not perform appendectomies tonsillectomies on infants shortly after birth to prevent a “possible complication” which may never occur. Less than 1% of men with foreskins will ever need to be circumcised, just as the vast majority of women will never need a hysterectomy or mastectomy. We don’t remove anything else at birth “in case” it has a problem. We don’t remove baby toenails to prevent fungal infections; we don’t cut off body parts anymore when a wound becomes infected because of modern medicine. In the very unlikely event your son does develop an infection, we have antibiotics.
24. In a study published in March of 2008 from the University of Otago in New Zealand which followed a cohort of boys through life from birth to age 32. The study found that “early childhood circumcision does not markedly reduce the risk of the common STIs in the general population”.
25. In research by the National Research Council which compared health between similar industrialized peer countries (Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Japan, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom) to that of the United States, this information was published by the National Academies Press in 2013. The research found that the United States had highest prevalence of AIDS among the 17 peer countries; it also found young people in the US have the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases. In the 16 other peer countries circumcision is extremely rare however their STD rates are much lower than the rates in the US. The research also showed that US had the highest infant mortality rate of the 17 countries with the rate being twice that of countries like Finland, Norway, Japan, and Sweden. The study also found American children are less likely to live to the age of 5 than children in other high income countries. Part of the explanation for this greater likelihood of infant mortality in the US is a large number of deaths occur from circumcision which would not occur in the peer countries due to a low circumcision rate.
26. Circumcision is very painful for infants in a 1993 study on Acetaminophen Analgesia used for circumcision published in the Journal Pediatrics in April of 1994 concluded “This study confirms that circumcision of the newborn causes severe and persistent pain. Acetaminophen was not found to ameliorate either the intra-operative or the immediate postoperative pain of circumcision, although it seems that it may provide some benefit after the immediate postoperative period” The study was a double blind study which used a placebo and Acetaminophen the study found that circumcision affects feeing patterns “Feeding behavior deteriorated in breast- and bottle-fed neonates in both groups, and acetaminophen did not seem to influence this deterioration.”
27. A study from the Washington University School of Medicine published in 1982 in the journal Early Human Development found that circumcision changes breast feeding patterns stating “A stressful, painful event such as circumcision, however, still appears to affect the feeding patterns of infants who have recently undergone circumcision.”
28. In a 1974 study published in the journal Urology® found that at birth, the foreskin is fused to the glans in a similar fashion that a fingernail are fused to a finger. This is because the glans is bonded to the foreskin through a connective tissue known as synechia. This allows the foreskin lips to dilate only enough to allow the passage of urine. This feature protects the glans from premature exposure to the external environment. By puberty, the penis will usually have completed its development, and the foreskin will have separated from the glans. This means that the foreskin needs to be ripped from the glans during infant circumcision. As you can imagine this is extremely painful for the infant, it also leaves a raw wound that is in close contact with feces and urine which makes it more prone to infection. This forcible separation is not required for adult circumcision and the risk for infection is much less.
29. Because the penis glans and foreskin are bonded together with connective tissue, they need to be torn apart during infant circumcision. Since the foreskin is ripped from the glans pieces of the glans may be torn off, leaving gouges and pits in the glans. Shreds of foreskin may also be left attached to the raw glans, forming skin tags and skin bridges of displaced skin. These circumcision scars on the surface of the glans can produce severe discomfort later in life.
30. After birth, the foreskin protects the still developing glans from contamination by urine and feces. The foreskin is lined with the peripenic muscle sheet, a smooth muscle layer with longitudinal fibers. These muscle fibers are whirled, forming a kind of sphincter that ensures optimum protection of the urinary tract from contaminants of all kinds. After circumcision is performed and the foreskin is removed and the glans of incontinent infants are no longer protected. Before a baby is circumcised the foreskin must be torn from his glans, this creates a large open area of raw, bleeding flesh. This open wound is aggravated by the infant’s urine and feces which come in contact with it. This open wound also provides easy entry for organisms to enter the damaged tissue and bloodstream through the raw glans and the incision itself. The open wound from circumcision can cause discomfort and pain for up to ten days following the procedure; the exposed flesh also creates a breeding ground for infection which can be deadly.
31. In a 1977 study published in the Medical Journal of Australia, focused on four cases of infants who were diagnosed with neonatal sepsis with meningitis. Two of the infants had an Escherichia coli bacterial infection and the other two infants had Group B haemolytic streptococcus. The researchers stated that the risk of introducing infection through iatrogenic portals (referring to the circumcision wound) of entry is a definite problem in the neonate. Circumcision is an unnecessary routine procedure, which puts the infant at risk.
32. A study published in the Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry journal shows that depending on the foreskin’s length circumcision can shorten the penis by as much as 25 percent. Most men do not want less penis.
33. The Hippocratic Oath is an oath historically taken by physicians and other healthcare professionals swearing to practice medicine honestly. Circumcision is a breach of fundamental medical ethics. “Whenever a doctor cannot do good, he must be kept from doing harm.” (Hippocrates). Removing healthy tissue in the absence of any medical need absolutely harms the patient. In the case of routine infant circumcision, nothing was diseased, and thus nothing justifies its removal. Circumcision is contrary to the motto of medicine.
34. Circumcision may cause urinary problems in a 2001 study published in the journal of epidemiology and biostatistics which focused on the Prevalence of urinary symptoms in urban Australian men aged 40-69 concluded that “Among Australian men, being circumcised or not currently living as married, were associated with increased prevalence of urinary symptoms.” Circumcision has also been shown to increase the likelihood of non-gonococcal urethritis.
35. In a 1973 study from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee published in The Journal of The National Medical Association found that Impotence may result from adult circumcision. In a 2004 Chinese study published in the National Journal of Andrology on adult circumcision concluded that “Adult circumcision has certain effect on erectile function, to which more importance should be attached.” It is important to note these studies relate to adults, but may have a similar impact on children who have neonatal circumcisions.
36. In an Italian study published in the British Journal of Urology International, in January of 2010 concluded “Circumcision should not be considered as a routine part of penile surgery unless a significant phimosis is present or revisional surgery is contemplated.”
37. In a 1989 study published in the journal Pediatrics (the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics) found that 444 circumcisions would need to be performed to prevent one UTI in males. In a separate 1998 study published in the journal The Lancet found that “195 circumcisions would be needed to prevent one hospital admission for UTI in the first year of life.” In a 2011 study published in the European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology found that urinary tract infections occur four times more frequently in females than males. In a separate 2007 study published in JAMA: the journal of the American Medical Association analyzed the information for 74,974 children 6 years of age or younger that came from 27 primary care pediatric practices in urban, suburban, and semirural areas spanned which spanned 3 states. The study found that eight times as many females got a first UTI as males, and females were nine times as likely to get a recurrent UTI as males. The reported benefits in preventing cancer and infant UTIs are totally insignificant compared to the surgical risks of circumcision. In the unlikely event a girl or boy gets a UTI they are treated effectively with antibiotics.
38. In a study conducted in Israel (a nation with a circumcision rate) at the Schneider Children’s Medical Center of Israel which was published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood in 2008 found that with infants and urinary tract infections “Its incidence peaked during the early post-circumcision period”
39. A study looking at the cost-utility analysis of circumcision published in 2004 in the journal Medical Decision Making concluded that “A cost-utility analysis, based on published data from multiple observational studies, comparing boys circumcised at birth and those not circumcised was undertaken using the Quality of Well-being Scale, a Markov analysis, the standard reference case, and a societal perspective. Neonatal circumcision increased incremental costs by $828.42 per patient and resulted in an incremental 15.30 well-years lost per 1000 males. If neonatal circumcision was cost-free, pain-free, and had no immediate complications, it was still more costly than not circumcising. Using sensitivity analysis, it was impossible to arrange a scenario that made neonatal circumcision cost-effective. Neonatal circumcision is not good health policy, and support for it as a medical procedure cannot be justified financially or medically.”
40. A 1997 report in the British Journal of Urology found that he circumcised penis requires more care than the natural penis during the first three years of life. The clinical findings of an American pediatrician showed that circumcised boys were significantly more likely to have skin adhesions, trapped debris, irritated urinary opening, and inflammation of the glans than were boys with a foreskin. Furthermore, because there are large variations of appearance in circumcised boys, circumcision for cosmetic reasons should be discouraged.
41. In a preliminary investigation published in the International Journal of Men’s Health in 2011 found that circumcised men and boys are 60% more likely to suffer from alexithymia, a psychological trait disorder which causes difficulty in identifying and expressing one’s feelings and emotions, which can lead to difficulties in sustaining relationships.
42. Complications from anesthesia may arise when it is used (It is only 45% of the time according to a 1998 estimate published in the journal Pediatrics). When local anesthetic agents are injected into the corpora cavernosa they can injure the tissues causing possible long term nerve and tissue damage. General anesthesia led to deaths related to circumcision in a study published in the British Medical Journal. Caudal anesthesia is sometimes used but like the use of all regional anesthetics has its own inherent complications. With Anesthesia idiosyncratic reactions and over dosages can occur. Solutions that contain epinephrine may produce local tissue problems or systemic toxicity. The most common method is a topical crème which only slightly reduces pain.
43. Anesthesia is required by U.S. federal law (7 USC § 2143) for any painful procedure on a veterinary or lab animal. However there are no laws similar to this for children, where the majority of circumcisions are still performed without anesthetic.
44. In a study published in the 1997 December Journal of The American Medical Association (JAMA) from the University of Alberta in Edmonton found that significant portion of male newborns in North America do not receive any anesthetics for circumcision in some areas 64%-96% doctors did not any anesthetics.
45. In a study published in 1998 in the journal Pediatrics found that Obstetricians perform 70% of circumcisions and are the least likely to use anesthesia with only 25% using anesthetics for the surgery. Currently the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have no parameters for training practitioners to perform and manage complications of neonatal circumcision.
46. In 1997 a study to see what type of anesthesia was most effective in relieving neonatal circumcision pain was ended early for humane reasons so they did not have to subject any more infants to the operation without anesthesia. The researchers revealed that for those circumcised without anesthesia there was not only severe pain, but also an increased risk of choking and difficulty breathing, one of the infants from the study even had a seizure.
47. Sugar water is what is most commonly used during circumcisions to relieve pain. However a pacifier with sugar water is not that effective at relieving pain during a very traumatic surgery. Anesthesia or narcotics are not commonly used, because some doctors believe infants cannot feel pain, others do not use them because they do not know if infants will have a reaction to what is used. Circumcision without anesthetic can cause changes in the infant’s future psychological and psychosocial development.
48. Some obstetricians give infants vitamin K before a circumcision procedure because there is a common misconception that infants are born with a deficiency of this vitamin. The administration of vitamin K to an infant can produce jaundice.
49. Various studies have shown that infants in fact do feel pain and are more sensitive to pain than adults. In a 2004 study published in the journal Newborn and Infant Nursing Reviews found that infants’ response to pain is more exaggerated than adults’, resulting in increased cortisol production, secretion of antidiuretic hormone leading to water retention, and the breakdown of carbohydrates, fat, and protein for energy. This reaction causes an increased metabolic rate, which raises the susceptibility for complication. In a 2009 in London study a researcher affirmed that in “babies there is a very strong, exaggerated, behavioral response to pain, much stronger than you would see in an older child or adult”. A 2009 study published in the journal Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience found neonatal pain alters adult pain sensitivity making them more sensitive to pain. A 2011 study published in the journal Current Biology from University College London concluded most babies can start sensing pain a few weeks before they are born.
50. Infants in fact do feel pain in a study published in 2004 in the Journal of Perinatal Education found that infants are more hypersensitive to pain and concluded that “the introduction of early pain has long-term effects on the development of pain processing… This review provides evidence that significant and long-lasting physiological consequences may follow painful insults in the very young, including changes in the central nervous system and changes in responsiveness of the neuroendocrine and immune systems to stress at maturity.”
51. Studies conducted at the University Of Colorado School Of Medicine published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine have found that circumcision disrupts a child’s behavioral development. They found that circumcision is performed it is followed by prolonged, unrestful non-REM (rapid-eye-movement) sleep. In response to the lengthy bombardment of their neural pathways with pain, the circumcised babies withdrew into a kind of semi-coma of long non-REM sleep periods that lasted days or even weeks.
52. From 1995-1997 a series of studies by the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) were published in The British medical journal Lancet which concluded that male infants feel pain during circumcision; they remember that pain six months later when they receive their routine vaccination. These studies found that pain experienced by infants in the neonatal period had measurable changes in the infant’s behavior such as significantly longer crying bouts and higher pain scores. It found that circumcision may have long-lasting effects on future infant behavior, and that circumcised babies have a lower pain threshold than babies who have not been circumcised. The studies also showed that infants circumcised without anesthesia may represent an infant analogue of a post-traumatic stress disorder triggered by a traumatic and painful event and re-experienced under similar circumstances of pain during vaccination.
53. A study published in the May 2002 Journal of Health Psychology concluded that male circumcision causes a host of psychological problems including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. A similar study published in 2005 in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that in women who were circumcised they were more likely to have severe mental health problems such as psychological consequences from the surgery and PTSD.
54. -The Canadian Paediatric Society found that of every 1,000 boys who are circumcised: 20 to 30 will have a surgical complication, such as hemorrhaging or infection, 2 to 3 will have a more serious complication that needs more treatment, 2 will be admitted to hospital for a urinary tract infection (UTI) before they are one year old, About 10 babies may need to have the circumcision done again because of a poor result.
-The Canadian Paediatric Society found that of every 1,000 boys who *are not* circumcised: 7 will be admitted to hospital for a UTI before they are one year old, and 10 will have a circumcision later in life for medical reasons.
55. Every year some boys lose their entire penises from circumcision accidents and infections. If a penis is amputated, the individual who lost their penis will have to undergo phallic construction which can use grafts of the arm, leg, chest, pubic flap, or the abdominal muscle. In some cases of extreme damage from circumcision individuals have been sexually reassigned through transgender surgery.
56. Circumcision is considered to be a cosmetic surgery, why would you even consider giving your infant cosmetic surgery? Would you give your infant Botox, nose job, breast implants, or a labiaplasty? If you answered no to this why perform the surgery on a male who is not old enough to decide if he wants cosmetic surgery? Parents’ sexual preferences are not valid reasons for circumcision, because you will not be having sex with your son. If you prefer the look circumcised penises, your son may not and he may grow up to regret the decision you made for him. You do not know how your son will feel in 20 or 30 years, circumcision is irreversible you cannot un-circumcise. When they are old enough, understand the risks, and want to get circumcised the risks are much less severe than neonatal circumcision, and the doctor is more accountable for the procedure.
57. Technical surgical problems may arise during circumcision, and most often a poor surgical result isn’t recognized until years after the event. If too little foreskin is removed the remaining foreskin can fuse to the head (glans) of the penis causing scar tissue to develop this requires corrective surgery. When too much foreskin is removed it produces a shortened penis when the penis is forced inside the body into the pubic fat this condition is called a buried penis. This can lead to problems in adulthood when the man does not have enough skin to have a comfortable erection. Some men even have their skin split open when they have an erection.
58. Circumcision often causes penoscrotal webbing, this occurs in tighter circumcisions where the skin is so tight that, when erect, some skin from the scrotum and groin is pulled forward on the bottom or ventral side of the penis. This erect penis appears to be smaller than it is because of the scrotal skin covering roughly a third of the shaft. This penoscrotal webbing makes the penis appear short on its undersurface and causes hair to grow on the penis where hair is not normally found due to the pulling of hair bearing skin. Penoscrotal webbing can also cause discomfort with intercourse and difficulty using a condom. The only solution for removing the webbing is through surgery.
59. Circumcision is very lucrative procedure; it is quick for doctors to perform, in the case of infants they cannot complain on the outcome of the surgery. Infant Foreskins are sold at a very high price to the biomedical industry. A Neo-natal fibroblast can be sold for as much as $2,000 dollars; Infant foreskins are part of a multi-million dollar industry. A number of commercial enterprises use infant foreskins for of breathable bandages, anti-aging cosmetic face creams, and injectable collagen. The Babies who are circumcised and at risk during the procedure, receive no portion of the profits from the industries who use their body parts.
60. Circumcision can causes scarring circumcision leaves a large circumferential surgical scar on the penile shaft. Depending on the amount of skin cut off and how the scar forms, the circumcised penis may be permanently twisted, or curve or bow during erection. The contraction of the scar tissue may pull the shaft into the abdomen, in effect shortening the penis or burying it completely. With the circumcised penis, there is a stark contrast of pigmentation between the shaft skin and surgery site this contrast in skin tone can be a source of embarrassment and self-esteem issues in some circumcised males. The circumcision scar may contain amputation neuromas which do not mediate normal sensation and are notorious for generating pain.
61. Circumcision may cause penile necrosis which is a form of cell injury that results in the premature death of cells in living tissue by autolysis. Penile necrosis can be caused by circumcision infections, toxins, or surgical trauma. In the past starting in the mid-1970s doctors advocated sex reassignment after this occurred. When the entire penis is lost following such a misadventure, it usually is best to change the child’s sex of rearing to female. Such changes are particularly successful when accomplished before 18 months of age. Surgical reconstruction along female lines is far simpler and eminently more satisfactory in such circumstances than is reconstruction of a phallus.
62. Non-Religious circumcision gained popularity in the Victoria Era. They started to circumcise to desensitize the penis to prevent masturbation. If boys or girls were caught masturbating doctor would often punish them with circumcision. In males doctors claimed circumcision cured cured epilepsy, convulsions, paralysis, elephantiasis, tuberculosis, eczema, blindness, club-foot, alcoholism, bed-wetting, hip-joint disease, fecal incontinence, rectal prolapse, wet dreams, hernia, headaches, nervousness, hysteria, poor eyesight, idiocy, mental retardation, insanity, and provided immunity against syphilis. Also in the Victorian Era doctors also performed female circumcisions often performing clitoridectomies this was because doctors believed that the “unnatural irritation” of the clitoris (from masturbation) caused epilepsy, hysteria, and mania. A clitoridectomy was believed to cure hysteria, erotomania, Mental illness, and lesbianism. Dr. John Harvey Kellogg one of the most famous advocates for Yogurt enemas, and circumcision believed that masturbation caused everything from psychosis to epilepsy. Kellogg was a major activist for circumcision he advocated it on conscious patients without anesthesia so boys would not masturbate. In women Kellogg would apply phenol (carbolic acid) to woman’s clitorises so that they would not masturbate. Why are we still following this advice? (Except for the yogurt enemas, and carbolic acid)
63. The United Kingdom helped circumcision regain popularity after the Victorian Era. During WWII the United Kingdom reintroduced circumcision to allied forces fighting in the war. When the troops returned home they had their infants circumcised in hospitals this procedure was common in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom. In 1949 British paediatrician Douglas Gardiner wrote an influential paper which found that circumcision resulted in the deaths of about 16 children under five years of age each year in the United Kingdom. Gairdner also wrote that circumcision was medically unnecessary and non-beneficial. In 1950 the British National Health Service deleted non-therapeutic neonatal circumcision from the schedule of covered procedures. Shortly after the circumcision was delisted in the UK the circumcision rates fell in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
64. In New York City, a report found that 11 babies in as many years had contracted herpes during their circumcisions, of whom two died and two more suffered brain damage. The infection was caused by the Orthodox Jewish ritual of metzitzah b’peh. Today’s circumcision is much different from ancient Jewish circumcision, Hebrews and early Jews made this very small slit in the tip of the prepuce to allow the few drops of blood to be shed as the blood sacrifice of the covenant. Greeks placed high importance on the foreskin where a very large foreskin was the epitome of a desirable penis. Romans also considered the foreskin to be important. Jews seeking to avoid discrimination and compete in Roman games sought to emulate their hosts by stretching the foreskin and tying it closed. However, Jewish elders were unsympathetic to this and considered it blasphemous procedure and modified circumcision making it much more severe what we know today as Brit Peri’ah so all Jews would be fully shorn of Roman identity. This caused many Jews who were circumcised to try and restore their foreskin through wearing a bronze weight known as the Pondus Judaeus (also known as Judaeum Pondum). Many Jewish parents are no longer circumcising their child and letting them chose for themselves. Many traditional customs from the 613 commandments in the Torah are no longer followed today.
65. Circumcision is believed to of have first occurred in ancient Egypt It was considered to be a mark of passage from childhood to adulthood. The alteration of the body and ritual of circumcision were supposed to give access to ancient mysteries reserved solely for the initiated. In the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the sun god Ra circumcises himself, and the blood from the cutting created two minor guardian deities. Now we know that circumcision does not unlock ancient mysteries.
66. In a survey which ran from 1993 to 1996 published in the January 1999 British Journal of Urology international found that many circumcised men experience psychological and emotional trauma resulting from circumcision. Of the first 313 respondents of which 94% were circumcised in infancy – 49.5% cited a sense of parental violation, 50% of men expressed feelings of low self-esteem/inferiority to intact men, 62% expressed feelings of mutilation, 59% cited feelings of resentment/depression, 55% had symptoms of genital dysmorphia, , 41% of respondents reported that their physical/emotional suffering impeded emotional intimacy with their partner(s , and 84% reported some degree of sexual harm, progressive loss of glans sensitivity, excess stimulation needed to reach orgasm, painful coitus and impotence. In extreme cases psychologically sensitive individuals can express aggressive, violent, and suicidal behavior. Many of the respondents of the survey had not sought help for their suffering for fear of embarrassment, fear of ridicule, and the mistrust of doctors.
67. This brings me to my next point some doctors still circumcise with an electrocautery gun, which is very painful for the infant having parts of their genitals burned off. In many cases entire penises have been burned off. Similarly to previous point this has resulted in doctors advocating sexual reassignment and was the cause of the famous case regarding David Reimer.
68. Circumcision causes meatal stenosis which is also known as urethral strictures. This occurs when the urinary meatus no longer has its protective foreskin it exposed to the outer environment. The urinary meatus can rub against urine soaked diapers resulting in irritation, inflammation and mechanical trauma. This can cause an Infection at the urethral opening, leading to ulcers around the meatus. After the ulcers from the infection heal scar tissue forms this sometimes blocks the flow of urine. Another way Metal Stenosis can occur is from the interruption of normal circulation of blood throughout the penile skin system and glans most notably through damage to the frenular artery. The blood flowing into major penile arteries is obstructed by the line of scar tissue at the point of incision, creating backflow instead of feeding the branches and capillary networks beyond the scar. Deprived of blood, the meatus may contract and scarify, obstructing the flow of urine. Urine backed up into the bladder can cause painful urination, obstructive renal disease, and possibly kidney damage. This complication requires corrective surgery.
69. Circumcision may cause lymphedema. This occurs because circumcision severs the lymph vessels, interrupting the circulation of lymph and sometimes causing lymphedema, a painful, disfiguring condition in which the remaining skin of the penis swells with trapped lymph fluid.
70. When you remove the Foreskin you remove all the specialized parts such as its Frenar Band (Also known as the Ridged Band), the Meissner’s Corpuscles, The Frenulum the Dartos Fascia, The Apocrine Glands, the Sebaceous Glands, the Langerhans Cells, The Dorsal Nerves, The Foreskin’s lymphatic vessels, the Foreskin’s estrogen receptors, and The immunological defense system of the soft mucosa in the foreskin.
71. Your son may have been born with hypospadias. Hypospadias occurs in 1-2 of 100 boys born, if an infant is born with this disease the foreskin needs to be present for the doctor to fix this disorder.
72. If the circumcision removes an uneven amount of tissue during the surgery it can cause skin to be tighter on one side of the penis than the other. A circumcision that is too tight can cause infections of the meatus, it can cause the penis to bow/curve, have no skin mobility, painful erections with the tightness of the remainder shaft skin which can lead to bleeding during sex from breaks in the skin. This becomes an effective way to transmit and contract sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.
73. Many men go through extreme measure to get back their foreskin, In the US today men can restore their foreskin through surgical methods or through stretching with weights. This however does not bring back any of the specialized tissue such as the nerves and immunological functions that were lost during circumcision as an infant. In surgical restoration to re-cover the glans with skin requires skin that is surgically grafted from another location on the body. The most current methods currently use skin from the scrotum and inner-thighs. One hospital in Miami estimates the cost of the surgery is $7,600 which does not include consultation, lab tests, medical clearance and psychiatric clearance. The invasive surgery has the usual risks associated with surgery and anesthetic. Full recovery typically takes about three months.
74. Many condom companies today are engineering condoms to replicate the feeling of foreskin for both males and females.
75. Foreskins are a fetish to many women and gay men. By removing the foreskin during circumcision there are a variety of sexual acts that can no longer be performed.
76. In a 2011 study published in the African Health Sciences journal that looked at condom use among circumcised and intact men in Botswana found that men who were circumcised were more likely to not to use condoms than intact men. In a 2007 study published in The Journal of Medical Ethics stated that “men may engage more often in unsafe sex if they believe circumcision protects them from acquiring HIV.” This false sense of security is believed to be associated with studies that say circumcisions prevent HIV and STDs, when in fact the operation may be only slightly reductive. This false sense of security causing Africans to wear condoms less may increase the spread of HIV in the long term.
77. The American Medical Association states that “virtually all current policy statements from specialty societies and medical organizations do not recommend routine neonatal circumcision, and support the provision of accurate and unbiased information to parents to inform their choice”. The AMA Recognized policy statements issued by professional societies representing Australian, Canadian, and American pediatricians did not recommend routine circumcision of male newborns. In 1999 The American Medical Association has called for the re-training of American physicians due to the fact a significant portion of physicians never received informed consent, or used anesthetic in their procedures
78. State governments in the United States are turning away from the procedure. Eighteen states have eliminated Medicaid coverage for male circumcision. Colorado recently eliminated Medicaid coverage of circumcision which is expected to save the state $186,500 a year. Many private insurance companies no longer reimburse circumcision because it is an elective non-therapeutic procedure.
79. In the UN Commission on the former Yugoslavia published in May of 1994 defines male circumcision as a sexual assault and a human rights violation.
80. On June 27, 2013 the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe issued a committee report on the need for protection of the physical integrity of children. This report was published on September 6, 2013. On October 1, 2013 the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, adopted a resolution concerning the protection of the physical integrity of children, and made recommendations to the parliaments of the European nations regarding the human rights violations inherent in the circumcision of male children. The resolution is known as Assembly Resolution 1952 “Children’s right to physical integrity”. In the resolution the Council of Europe states “The Parliamentary Assembly is particularly worried about a category of violation of the physical integrity of children, which supporters of the procedures tend to present as beneficial to the children themselves despite clear evidence to the contrary. This includes, amongst others, female genital mutilation, the circumcision of young boys for religious reasons, early childhood medical interventions in the case of intersex children and the submission to or coercion of children into piercings, tattoos or plastic surgery.”
81. Currently the governments in Denmark and Norway are debating circumcision bans. Denmark is debating a circumcision ban because it is violation of Children’s rights. Denmark’s National Council for Children has recommended the legislation of a law banning circumcision of boys under the age of 15. The argument behind the National Counsel for Children was because “Circumcision is the irreversible damage to a child’s body before he is given the chance to object,” The Council also promoted the ban to create of equality among the sexes where female circumcision is illegal. Norway is debating a ban on non-medical circumcision of minors without their consent because it is a violation of their rights and the procedure is irreversible, painful and risky.
82. In 2012 the regional court in Cologne, western Germany, ruled that parents could not grant consent for ritual (non-therapeutic) circumcision of children in the region stating that the “fundamental right of the child to bodily integrity outweighed the fundamental rights of the parents”. The court determined that “Circumcising young boys on religious grounds amounts to grievous bodily harm”, The court also stated “The body of the child is irreparably and permanently changed by a circumcision,” Other quotes by the court include “This change contravenes the interests of the child to decide later on his religious beliefs.” ,and “The religious freedom of the parents and their right to educate their child would not be unacceptably compromised, if they were obliged to wait until the child could himself decide to be circumcised,”.
83. The South African Children’s Act (No. 38 of 2005) has made the circumcision of male children unlawful except for medical or religious reasons. The act makes non-therapeutic infant circumcision a criminal act (unless it is performed for religious reasons). In the act it even states “every male child has the right to refuse circumcision”. The South African Medical Association (SAMA) has formally stated that there is no justification for routine circumcision of male babies or children.
84. In 1891 the United States supreme court, determined that bodily integrity is a common law right, in the case of Union Pacific Railway Company v. Botsford, it stated that “No right is held more sacred or is more carefully guarded by the common law than the right of every individual to the possession and control of his own person, free from all restraint or interference of others unless by clear and unquestionable authority of law.”
85. The non-therapeutic circumcision rate around the world is very low, and the circumcision rate in the US is falling rapidly. In the United States today circumcised babies are the minority. Natural penises may seem unfamiliar to you but your son’s generation will see them as normal.
86. The foreskin provides the necessary amount of skin to provide coverage during an erection. Foreskin has been shown to enhance the sex act for female partners; this is because of the process of invagination (also known as gliding action) since the penis moves within its own sheath it lubricates itself and seals in female vaginal secretions; this reduces friction, irritation, and dryness within the vagina. This non-abrasive gliding of the penis in and out of itself within the vagina facilitates smooth, comfortable, pleasurable intercourse for both partners. A circumcised penis is permanently incapable of invagination.
87. The Council on Scientific Affairs of the American Medical Association issued a policy report in December 1999 that classified neonatal circumcision as a “non-therapeutic” procedure.
88. In 1997 joint statement between The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, classified neonatal circumcision as an elective procedure.
89. In a 1993 research paper of the Queensland Law Reform Commission on the circumcision of male Infants concluded that “On a strict interpretation of the assault provisions of the Queensland Criminal Code, routine circumcision of a male infant could be regarded as a criminal act”, and that doctors who perform circumcision on male infants may be liable to civil claims by that child at a later date. In Australia today cosmetic circumcision for newborn males is currently banned in all Australian public hospitals.
90. No medical association anywhere in the world recommends non-therapeutic, routine infant circumcision. The closest a medical association has ever come was in 2012 when the AAP stated “the American Academy of Pediatrics found the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks, but the benefits are not great enough to recommend universal newborn circumcision”. In March of 2013 after the AAP released their statement an article was published in Pediatrics (The Official Journal of The American Academy of Pediatrics) which found that the AAP’s new policy was influenced by cultural bias not scientific fact. It analyzed the AAP’s points and thoroughly dismantles the AAP’s 2012 policy statement. The authors of the research were 38 pediatricians, urologists, epidemiologists, and professors, representing 20 medical organizations (15 of which are peer organizations to the AAP) and 15 universities and hospitals in 17 countries (Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Sweden, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom).
91. The Australian College of Paediatrics termed circumcision traumatic, a possible violation of human rights, and called for parents to be provided with full and complete information about circumcision before making a decision.
92. The Paediatrics & Child Health Division of The Royal Australasian College of Physicians believes that newborn baby boys and young infants do not need to be circumcised, unless there is a medical reason.
93. “The Australasian Association of Paediatric Surgeons does not support the routine circumcision of male neonates, infants or children. It is considered to be inappropriate and unnecessary as a routine to remove the prepuce, based on the current evidence available.” The AAPS goes even further stating routine infant male circumcision is “A traditional practice prejudicial to the health of children that should be abolished.”
94. In 2010 The Royal Australasian College of Physicians says “After reviewing the currently available evidence, the RACP believes that the frequency of diseases modifiable by circumcision, the level of protection offered by circumcision and the complication rates of circumcision do not warrant routine infant circumcision in Australia and New Zealand.” The RACP also stated that the foreskin protects the glans, and that “the foreskin is a primary sensory part of the penis, containing some of the most sensitive areas of the penis. The effects of circumcision on sexual sensation however are not clear, with reports of both enhanced and diminished sexual pleasure following the procedure in adults and little awareness of advantage or disadvantage in those circumcised in infancy.”
95. The 1996 Australasian Association of Paediatric Surgeons Guidelines for Circumcision stated “We do not support the removal of a normal part of the body, unless there are definite indications to justify the complications and risks which may arise. In particular, we are opposed to male children being subjected to a procedure, which had they been old enough to consider the advantages and disadvantages, may well have opted to reject the operation and retain their prepuce.” The AAPS also stated in their guidelines “Neonatal male circumcision has no medical indication. It is a traumatic procedure performed without anaesthesia to remove a normal functional and protective prepuce. At birth, the prepuce has not separated from the underlying glans and must be forcibly torn apart to deliver the glans, prior to removal of the prepuce distal to the coronal groove.” In 1996 the Australasian Association of Paediatric Surgeons informed the Australian College of Paediatrics that neonatal male circumcision has no medical indication. It is a traumatic procedure performed without anaesthesia to remove a normal functional and protective prepuce.
96. In the 1996 Canadian Paediatric Society position statement on circumcision concluded that the “Circumcision of newborns should not be routinely performed.”. Later in 2004 the CPS stated “After reviewing the scientific evidence for and against circumcision, the CPS does not recommend routine circumcision for newborn boys.” Other Canadian provincial health organizations discourage infant circumcision such as The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba who issued a policy statement on circumcision in 1997, which says that “specific medical indications for the performance of circumcision in the neonate are rare.”, They also released a separate statement in 2002 saying “the degree of benefit is small and does not support a decision to circumcise neonates.”. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia (CPSBC} issued an official policy statement in June 2004. Strongly cautions physicians against the performance of unnecessary elective non-therapeutic circumcision of a child. “If an unnecessary elective non-therapeutic circumcision is to be performed, this statement requires physicians to obtain the consent of both parents before performing an unnecessary elective non-therapeutic circumcision of a child.”
97. In the United Kingdom medical agencies oppose neonatal circumcision: “The British Association of Paediatric Surgeons recognises that male circumcision is required in certain religious and cultural groups. Notwithstanding this, it is the majority opinion that the practice should be discouraged.” The British Medical Association states that, “the medical harms or benefits have not been unequivocally proven but there are clear risks of harm if the procedure is done inexpertly.” The British Medical Association has also made more claims such as “The BMA opposes unnecessarily invasive procedures being used where alternative, less invasive techniques, are equally efficient and available. Therefore, to circumcise for therapeutic reasons where medical research has shown other techniques to be at least as effective and less invasive would be unethical and inappropriate.” The BMA has even allowed doctors not to perform non-therapeutic circumcision on moral, ethical and legal grounds. They actually state that circumcision is an invasive and radical procedure.
98. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that “Physicians counseling families concerning this decision should assist the parents by explaining the potential benefits and risks and by ensuring that they understand that circumcision is an elective procedure.”
99. In 2010 the Royal Dutch Medical Association (KNMG) published a seventeen-page position statement in English regarding the circumcision of male children. The Royal Dutch Medical Association concluded “The official viewpoint of KNMG and other related medical/scientific organisations is that non-therapeutic circumcision of male minors is a violation of children’s rights to autonomy and physical integrity. Contrary to popular belief, circumcision can cause complications – bleeding, infection, urethral stricture and panic attacks are particularly common. KNMG is therefore urging a strong policy of deterrence. KNMG is calling upon doctors to actively and insistently inform parents who are considering the procedure of the absence of medical benefits and the danger of complications. Insofar as there are medical benefits it is reasonable to put off circumcision until the age at which such a risk is relevant and the boy himself can decide about the intervention, or opt for any available alternatives.”
100. In 2003 Finland’s Central Union for Child Welfare issued a circumcision statement stating “The Central Union for Child Welfare considers that circumcision of boys that violates the personal integrity of the boys is not acceptable unless it is done for medical reasons to treat an illness. The basis for the measures of a society must be an unconditional respect for the bodily integrity of an under-aged person.”
101. In 2008 the World Health Organization (WHO) passed a resolution (WHA61.16) to eliminate Female Genital Mutilation stating “It involves removing and damaging healthy and normal female genital tissue, and interferes with the natural functions of girls’ and women’s bodies…FGM is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. It is nearly always carried out on minors and is a violation of the rights of children. The practice also violates a person’s rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.” However WHO promotes male circumcision in the areas it seeks to abolish female circumcision. All of the points WHO made to abolish female circumcision are applicable to males: it involves removing and damaging healthy and normal male genital tissue, and interferes with the natural functions of boys’ and men’s bodies….circumcision is recognized as a violation of the human rights of boys and men. It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against men. It is nearly always carried out on minors and is a violation of the rights of children. The practice also violates a person’s rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.
WHOO! COMMENT IS LONGER THAN THE ARTICLE. GRT JOB JAY.
An entire article on circumcision that refers to it as a Jewish requirement but manages never to mention that this is also mandatory under Islam. Wow. Well researched. Israël may well have a circumcision rate close to 100% but I suspect you would find similar rates in many Muslim countries.
Because of the huge Jewish immigration to Israel since the 1970s, the circumcision rate among adult Israeli me falls short of 100%. The circumcision rate among Jewish infants today is about 95% and is slowly falling. Many Israelis are very secular, and there are Israelis who agitate against circumcision in Facebook and elsewhere.
Well thanks to Jay i had to scroll all the way down to his bottom to comment.;-)
100% Muslims do circumcise and they make total of 1.5 billion in population.
Not only it makes it look fancy but it helps men and women save them from STD(Sexually kind of transmitted kind of diseases) aho !
Hi Imran – There isn’t any evidence that male circ saves men or women from STDs or UTIs. The studies are inconclusive at best. Cutting genitals always causes harm.
Roughly 80% of adult men in the USA are circumcised. The USA also has the highest STD rates of any first world country. So much for circumcision preventing disease…
And the Americans think more circumcision is the answer to increasing std rates. How stupid is that!
Do keep in mind that most Americans have given no thought to the question “are circumcised men less likely to catch STDs?” Those that have given it thought, do not all agree that Yes is the correct answer. The problem is that 1-2 dozen USA public health academics and CDC scientists have convinced themselves that the answer is Yes. Their opinions matter a lot because of what is written on their business cards. A huge problem is a handful of Americans with PhDs who have published in medical and public health journals, claiming that the alleged findings of the African clinical trials can be applied uncritically to the USA.
The vast majority of American men born in American hospitals were circumcised at birth sometime last century. The reasons for these circumcisions seldom included resistance to STDs. If that was the desired outcome, it didn’t work. The reasons for last century’s very high American circumcision rate were seldom articulated: “it’s simply what is done”. There were unspoken fears that an intact son would be ridiculed by his cut peers, and rejected by the women he tried to date.
That American parents without uni degrees fall into such error can be humoured and forgiven. What is much harder to understand is the inability of lecturers in USA medical schools to think clearly circ status and human health. American medical schools are bastions of contempt for the American foreskin.
Male Genital Mutilation did not originate with a Jewish God and a man called “Abraham”. Indeed, the name itself and the entry in the Bible (Genesis 17) first appeared in Babylon, during the Babylonian Captivity, the name and the procedure made up by Jewish Priests to help distinguish the captive Jews from the Babylonians. By the way, the Captivity lasted from 597 to 538 BCE … over 1,300 years after the putative life of Abram.
If read without horse blinders it’s all right there in the Bible for anyone to read.
No matter any buils**t reason… this is just stupid ignorant use that came out of the mind of an idiot that happened to be the boss at the time and his brow nosers kept going…
If they believe we are created in God’s image , then why alter it ? Common sense shows that the foreskin is there for a reason . When a penis becomes engorged it needs the extra skin when it lengthens. My opinion is that it is a barbaric practice that started in ignorant times. The hygiene argument falls flat as the penis can be thoroughly washed simply by pulling the foreskin back.
It is not anti-Semitism to be against circumcision, and this article has many untrue things in it such as the claim that the Ancient Romans, Gauls, and others were anti-semetic. Also Muslim invaders into what is now India did not forcibly mutilate the genitals of European soldiers.