Decision about circumcision deserves thoughtful contemplation by parents

In Opinion
The Bloodstained Men & Their Friends nonprofit organization has actively voiced their fight against circumcision. Their cause finally brings the necessary attention that the procedure needs for the general public to be responsible in making this decision. (Courtesy of Flickr)

If anytime during the weekend there’s a crowd of men and women wearing white jumpsuits with blood-stained crotch areas and signs that say not to cut baby penises, don’t panic: They’re not harmful, just trying to save innocent penises everywhere.

Southern California has been blessed with the hosting of protests this weekend and the following days by a nonprofit organization called Bloodstained Men & Their Friends, which aims to educate the public about the importance of foreskin and infant circumcision.

The organization has impressively proliferated their caution across the nation, a cause that doesn’t see the proper concern that it needs.

It’s important to educate prospective parents on this controversial topic seeing as 58 percent of all boys born in American hospitals still undergo the procedure, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

The fear or discomfort of talking about circumcision isn’t hard to understand. It’s an odd concept and one that is, evidently, still debated, but this organization has succeeded in shining a light on this problem.

The process of circumcision needs to be discussed more seriously and with a bit more knowledge than is available to parents already.

Thankfully, that’s exactly what this organization aims to do, albeit with a heavy and loud hand.

One might consider this cause superfluous or unnecessary, but after looking at the reasoning for these consistent protests, it’s no surprise that this effort has been in effect for five years.

A reason that this problem is discussed so infrequently or with no real seriousness is because no one really understands how much of a health impact the decision has on a child.

Those who are in favor of circumcision often state the fact that it poses a greater health benefit for the child during their baby stage, meaning the procedure offers protection for toddlers from UTIs, according to a study by the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

The same study states the procedure’s health benefits outweigh the risks, a common phrase those that prefer the procedure tout.

Despite protecting against UTIs, it’s also important to realize that these infections are incredibly uncommon in male infants regardless of the procedure and when it does happen, it can be easily treated with antibiotics.

Foreskin can also help protect glands from becoming numb as they age by releasing natural lubricants that otherwise would cause issues like chafing without it, according to the British Journal of Urology.

A common argument among those advocating for circumcisions is that it’s more hygienic. False. It might seem that taking away the skin would protect from any bacteria, but it actually helps keep unwanted bacteria out, especially during infancy.

In addition to naturally cleaning itself through secreting certain fluids, foreskin protects from any harmful contact from clothing.

Along with sexual benefits like increasing arousal, according to a study by UCLA, having foreskin seems to be, by most accounts, the better option for parents who are deciding for their child.

It’s not an easy decision, and obviously not one that the child can make for themselves. So the best way to go about this is by being as educated as possible, and thanks to the Bloodstained Men & Their Friends, this information is penetrating the minds of passersby.

It might not be the first topic one might want to think of while eating a sundae on Sunday, but it might be something to think about at a later point in time. And when that happens, hopefully this organization will leave some stain of education and awareness.

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11 commentsOn Decision about circumcision deserves thoughtful contemplation by parents

  • Thanks for the thoughful article!

  • The Idea being, ‘No Disease, No Treatment, and definitely no surgery needed to correct what is normal. Even tonsils get more respect, they aren’t removed unless there are chronic problems = Your son doesn’t need to have a partial emasculation through circumcision.

  • I think you mean the glans, not “glands” …

    The audacity of some parents, thinking that this could be *their* decision to make! Shame on them, and may they beg their children’s forgiveness.

  • The question deserves no contemplation at all. The answer must be “no” just as it is for fmg.

  • Yes- performing medically unnecessary amputations of the most nerve dense skin in the body with minimal anesthesia on an un-consenting patient thus drastically reducing sexual function in later life so the hospital can sell the tissue at enormous profit “needs contemplation” on just how barbaric and outrageous this practice is.

  • This is an interesting article, which raises a lot of good points. One problem, however, is that it puts on parents the responsibility to regulate this practice.

    I believe that we need several important legal changes to protect the public.

    * No unqualified person should circumcise anyone. Those who perform circumcisions without proper qualifications should be prosecuted for assault and reckless endangerment.

    * Records should be kept of all circumcisers. If the operation results in any adverse outcomes, the circumciser should pay for any remedial treatment that might be necessary.

    * Incompetent circumcisers should pay damages and then be banned from circumcising anyone else.

    * Dangerous traditional practices such as oral suction of the circumcision wound (metzitzah b’peh), should be firmly discouraged by public education and a ban should be considered.

    * No one should be circumcised unless there is a written medical report by an independent physician that the person to be circumcised is strong enough to withstand the surgery and is free of any conditions (e.g., bleeding disorders) that make the procedure more dangerous.

    * No child should be circumcised without the written permission of both the mother and the father.

    * No older child or adult should be circumcised without their informed consent in writing.

    * Any forced circumcision of an older child or adult should be treated as a sexual assault and the perpetrator should be branded as a sexual offender.

    These proposed changes won’t stop most religious or medical circumcisions but they will raise safety standards by strict oversight of the practice.

  • Tonsils used to be cut off just as routinely as foreskins, and in fact they did both together as “T&C” (Tonsillectomy & C*rc*mc*s**n”) to save on anaesthetic. Many a boy woke up from “a little throat operation” hurting down there as well – doubly traumatising. We’ve all come to our senses about tonsils, but they didn’t carry any cultural baggage.

  • “It’s not an easy decision”. It is when you just say No, and in most of the developed world it’s not a decision at all. It’s not offered and seldom asked for. The USA is just behind the times.

  • “Any forced circumcision of an older child or adult should be treated as a
    sexual assault and the perpetrator should be branded as a sexual

    But if the parents agree to having it done on a child, you think it’s OK?
    Please explain what mental gymnastics you have gone through to reach the conclusion that commiting sexual assault on a human becomes perfectly legal if that human’s parents agree to it.

  • @disqus_TlsMzzkLN9:disqus
    I think even if the minor is an infant, circumcision should still not take place. In my opinion, the major issue of circumcision is not the risk of it, as there are little deaths in America due to it. More emphasis should be placed on the principle of the procedure though; those deaths, although little, were in the name of a useless procedure. I myself am circumcised, but harbor no ill will against my parents, however I agree with @jeff brown in that if you were to treat forced circumcision without parental consent as sexual assault (although in my opinion extreme), how is it that you would not say the same about an infant, the infant cannot consent. My issues with the procedure are the same issues I have with FGM : the rights of the child. Granted parents are the legal guardians of minors, but this does not mean they own the child. I find it wrong for parents to choose for their child in a case like this because the procedure (as of yet) is irreversible. If the child grows up and is against circumcision (which many are), there is little they can do to reverse the procedure. Finally, even if the procedure was easily reversible, it should still be frowned upon if not banned outright, as genitals in both males and females contain numerous nerves and cutting either male or female genitals would cause intense pain. Also, even in painkillers are used, it is not that effective as using too much painkillers can kill the infant and painkillers cannot prevent the pain after the procedure, as it leaves an open wound. Overall, I am against circumcision (and also FGM) due to both violating basic liberties.

  • Jeff, I did reply to you in detail, nine days ago, but that reply is still pending for some reason. Briefly, forced circumcision of adults is a clear human rights violation. If you want evidence, google “forced circumcision”.

    The mental gymnastics that you mention is discerning the difference between what is impossible at this time and what may have a chance of agreement. Move against the forced circumcision of grown men and you might get some agreement.

    Even William Wilberforce moved against the slave trade before he took on abolishing slavery. If William Wilberforce could go for harm reduction, perhaps you could, too.

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