Saturday, January 08, 2005

To Snip or not to Snip...Why is it even a Question?

"There is no absolute medical indication for routine circumcision of the newborn."
-Report of the Ad Hoc Task Force on Circumcision
Pediatrics, v56 #4, October 1975

"Whatever is done to stop the terrible practice of circumcision will be of tremendous importance. There is no rational medical reason to support it."
Dr. Frederick Leboyer, author, Birth Without Violence

If you think I am a Nazi about politics...don't even get me started on circumcising baby boys... I know this may make you men out there uncomfortable, but it has been on my mind. Sorry.

I am so sick of hearing from friends that they choose to circumcise their boys 'because their husband wanted them too', and because 'their husband wanted the boy to look like him'... (insert various other ridiculous reasons here)...

When I first found out I was pregnant with a boy I had no idea what circumcision entailed. The Man and I talked about it and he offered typical male responses (found above)...his main concern was that a son of his would be 'made fun of in the locker room'. After doing some reading, I told him that I wasn't really into it but if he was married to the idea I would do it. After doing extensive reading, I told him that regardless what he thought of it there was NO WAY I was doing that to any child of mine. He was miffed at first but the more he read the more he agreed. Now he may be more militant than I am about it.

I just can't understand how a woman that will do everything for the health and comfort of the baby for nine months (no tobacco, no caffeine, water birth, mid wives, mood music, candles, birthing centers and no drugs during delivery) will then hand him over to have cosmetic surgery with no anesthesia. I will not go into the details of the surgery...You can read them for yourself here if you are interested (warning: the video on this page made me cry). Suffice it to say that it is not the 'little snip' it is made out to be. Also, for those moms that say 'Billy didn't even cry'...well, that's because Billy went into shock.

I wanted to know why Americans circumcised their gentile boys when no other country does. From all the reading I have done on the subject -it seems that it was a practice borrowed from the Jews and started here by the Puritans...for hygiene reasons? try to cut down on the evil practice of masturbation. The American Academy of Pediatrics no longer recommends circumcision -and many insurance companies no longer pay for it (my mid-wife called two months after Justice was born to tell me AAP was no longer recommending it -she and I had to fight with the hospital to NOT have it done). I felt vindicated.

The reasons that were initially given to justify newborn cosmetic surgery have all been discredited or rescinded: urinary tract infections, cervical cancer, penile cancer, higher rate of sexually transmitted diseases. Studies have shown that with proper hygiene all of these problems are at the same rate as the circumcised population.
The side effects of circumcision can be vast:
Pain ("The study states that babies do feel severe pain from the procedure, in fact more than older children and adults would")
Hemorrhage (" Excessive bleeding is one of the two most frequent complications, after pain")
Infection ("For example, in 1986 the circumcision of a baby born in Alaska resulted in severe infection and toxic shock. The baby sustained profound brain damage and kidney damage. He was blinded, and will likely never walk or talk.")
Surgical Errors ("Such errors range from the slipped scalpel that cost a Marin County baby the tip of his penis in May 1993 (as reported July 8th in the Bay Area Reporter), to the two boys who lost their entire penis during circumcision in November 1985 at Atlanta's Northside Hospital. But those are rare and extreme examples. It is much more common for too much skin to be taken off, ranging from total denudation of the penis which requires skin grafting, to merely chronic painful erections for the rest of the patient's life, and possible bowing and curvatures resulting from uneven pull of the remaining skin.")
Healing Problems, Psychological Problems, Bonding Impairment, Meatal Stenosis, Non Specific Urethritis, Excessive Tightness...
But most important: function... It seems it has been the practice of circumcision that has made the industry of Viagra and lubricant what it is today.

"The foreskin of the male has a very definite physiological function which is more apparent to the man over fifty. At some time after this age, depending on his sexual equipment, the erection is not so rigid as it was in the earlier years. After 45, the vaginal secretion in the wife is never so abundant as it was before the climacteric. Under these conditions the foreskin acts as an introducer which definitely facilitates intercourse."
David S. Hillis, MD, Concerning Circumcision
Archives of Pediatrics v57. p525.
(main source)

So, I urge you to research this fully and NOT to let your man's ego make a decision of this magnitude. Kids don't get showers in school anymore...and new reports show that the ratio has moved to 60/40 with more parents opting not to partake in this 'culturally sanctioned cosmetic surgery' each year...

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