Thursday, May 19, 2016

MALAWI: USAID-Funded Program Kidnapping Children for Circumcision - Boy Loses Penis

As if it weren't already bad that circumcision advocates were using questionable "research" to push "mass circumcision campaigns" in Africa under the supposed guise of "HIV prevention," apparently US-funded organizations are now simply taking the liberty of kidnapping children off the streets and circumcising them without their parents' approval.

According to this report, SSDI, a component of the Malawi Ministry of Health, has been simply picking up children off the street, coaxing them with candy, cookies and drinks, forcibly circumcising them without their parents' awareness, and dumping them near their homes, much to their parents' dismay upon discovery.

SSDI apparently receives support from USAID to promote and perform male circumcisions through a campaign known as the "Sankhani HIV Prevention Project."

In one particular case in Chipakuza Village, T/A Lundu in Chikhwawa, a 9-yo boy has lost his entire penis, and his angry father is seeking to sue the Malawi Ministry of Health for damages.

The lawsuit documents served to the Attorney General and Chikhwawa District Hospital, stressed the need for authorities to take this matter seriously, chiefly citing the fundamental right of the minor, which had been violated, and the fact that the parents' wishes were not disregarded.

Furthermore, the father has complained that the people involved forcefully circumcised his son against the values and customs of the Sena culture, his culture of origin.

What is interesting is how "mass circumcision campaigns" continue to be pushed in Malawi, even though, according to the same news source for the story above, HIV rates in the country have more than doubled in spite of them.

Given that circumcision is elective, non-medical surgery with dubious "benefits" that are already afforded by less invasive, more effective means, given that it was forcibly performed on a healthy, non-consenting child, given that his fundamental rights were violated, and given that his parents were completely disregarded, the fact that this child has lost his penis is a disastrous tragedy in more ways than one.

This needs to be brought to the attention of the WHO and UNICEF; what has happened here is anything but "voluntary."

Related Posts:
MASS CIRCUMCISION CAMPAIGNS: The Emasculation and Harassment of Africa

Where Circumcision Doesn't Prevent HIV

Where Circumcision Doesn't Prevent HIV II

INTACTIVISTS: Why We Concern Ourselves

JAMA: Lead Article is a "Study" on Bribing Men to Get Circumcised

AFRICA: Creating Circumcision "Volunteers"

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

FACEBOOK NEWS FEED: A Complication and a Death

Circumcision horror stories are common on Facebook, it's too bad they never make mainstream media. I can only imagine what we do see is only a tip of the iceberg.

This was on my Facebook news feed just a few days ago:

Children bleeding uncontrollably is the most common story I see, usually a mother asking for "prayers" because her baby "won't stop bleeding."

In Africa, where circumcision is being pushed as a "safe" HIV "prevention", a 14-yo boy has died during the procedure.

And, as usual, his parents and others are trying to blame something else.

Read a news article about it here.

The fact of the matter is this; the child was alive and otherwise perfectly healthy, and not in need of surgery.

The "benefits" the surgery was supposed to give him were already affordable by less invasive, more effective means.

Had he not undergone this needles surgery, the child would still be alive.

This happened at a hospital setting; yearly, scores of African boys undergoing tribal initiation rites die following their circumcisions. Still others lose their penises to gangrene; others commit suicide.

The risks of circumcision include infection, partial or full ablation, hemorrhaging and even death.

Without medical or clinical indication, how is it that doctors are performing non-medical surgery on healthy, non-consenting minors, let alone eliciting any kind of "decision" from parents?

Given that male infant circumcision is elective, non-medical surgery, how is it conscionable that healthy, non-consenting minors are being put at these risks?

How is it concsionable that any number of botches, complications and deaths is deemed "acceptable?"

These are circumcision cases that manage to surface on Facebook.

Consider that there are other cases which, for reasons of shame or protection, remain secret.

When are respected medical authorities going to recognize the forced circumcision of healthy, non-consenting minors for the needless, harmful, deadly, abuse and violation of basic human rights it is?

Related Posts:
Where Circumcision Doesn't Prevent HIV

Where Circumcision Doesn't Prevent HIV II

INTACTIVISTS: Why We Concern Ourselves

Circumcision Death: Another One Bites the Dust

Circumcision KILLS

CIRCUMCISION: The Silent Killer

CIRCUMCISION: Another Baby Dies

CIRCUMCISION DEATH: Yet Another One (I Hate Writing These)

Another Circumcision Death Comes to Light

Circumcision Indicted in Yet Another Death: Rabbis and Mohels are "Upset"

CIRCUMCISION DEATH: Yes, Another One - This Time in Israel

CANADA: CPS Diverges from AAP on Infant Circumcision

CIRCUMCISION RISK: Two More Circumcision Botches

FACEBOOK: Two Botches and a Death

CIRCUMCISION DEATH: Child Dies After Doctor Convinces Ontario Couple to Circumcise


Joseph4GI: The Circumcision Blame Game

Phony Phimosis: How American Doctors Get Away With Medical Fraud

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Longtime Champion Against Male Infant Circumcision Decides to End His Life

I am sad, angry and devastated to have found out that Jonathon Conte took his own life on May 9th, this year in 2016.

For a long time now, Jonathon fought at the front lines against the cold, hard machine that is the systemized genital mutilation of healthy, non-consenting minors.

He not only participated in protests at AAP conferences and other venues, he helped at information booths trying to educate people on the subject of the forced genital cutting of minors.

He was a member of the Bay Area Intactivists group, which is a human rights organization comprised of community members who are working to end forced genital modification.

Why did Jonathon Conte take his own life?

I think when reading the words he said when he was alive, it becomes clear:

"As a child, I grew up believing that my body was whole. I grew up assuming that my penis looked and worked the same as any other. I grew up thinking that the scar on my genitals was just a natural part of my body and that all men had it. I grew up figuring that the soreness brought on by clothing and masturbation were normal aspects of being a guy. I never questioned why so many types of underwear were painful, I only found it strange that anyone could manage to wear them. I was about 14 years old when I learned that part of my penis had been cut off. It seems like this is something that one might realize earlier in life and yet I never did. I was never taught about normal male anatomy and no one ever explained to me that I had undergone genital surgery as an infant. When I learned the devastating truth, my stomach sank and my throat closed up. It wasn't easy for me to accept reality. Even though I understood that part of my body had been removed, I was in denial about the implications of this fact. I battled with depression, particularly whenever I had to see my penis. Each time that I got undressed to take a shower, I would see the scar and I would be reminded of what was stolen from me. Each time that I urinated, I would be reminded that I would never know how my body was meant to look and how my body was meant to feel. I felt violated and helpless. I felt embarrassed and angry. I felt robbed and betrayed. I felt incomplete and damaged. And yet, I was incapable of verbalizing any of this. I was paralyzed by embarrassment of my condition and by fear that others would neither understand nor sympathize. It took over a decade of trying to cope with my emotions before I gained the strength to take a closer look at the issue. I read about the functions of the intact penis. I studied the numerous physical, physiological and psychological problems that result from male circumcision and I began to recognize many of them in my own life. I learned of the way that babies are restrained during the surgery and the various techniques that are used to rip, clamp, crush, and cut their tiny bodies. I came to understand the greed, arrogance, and ignorance that perpetuates the genital mutilation of children... So now I speak out. Because I don't want any other child to have to make the same painful discovery that I did: That they were denied their human right to keep the whole body with which they were born."
Jonathon Conte, AAP Conference, New Orleans, 2013

I am not a circumcised male, but for whatever reason, I think I can understand what Jonathon was talking about. My thoughts are a mirror-image of what Jonathon had felt.

I must have been about 15 or 16 when I really gave male infant circumcision consideration, and I remember thinking it was wrong and unfair.

I saw it as a permanent physical abuse, a robbery that males had to live with for the rest of their lives.

I thought that everyone's penis worked the same way.

I thought that not having a foreskin, having a permanently exposed, dried-out head was a physical, genetic trait.

Some guys, that's just how they're born, like being born black, or without earlobes, or with a short nose, or a double-chin...

...or so I thought.

When I learned the devastating truth, that some men look the way they do because someone deliberately took a knife and forcibly cut off part of their penises, I was devastated.

I covered my crotch with both hands and cringed in horror.

Having been born and raised in the US, I felt lucky.

Like I had dodged a bullet.

Whenever I look in the mirror, I'm reminded of the horror and the mutilation that I was spared as a child.

Whenever I urinate, or whenever I masturbate, I get a pang of guilt and regret to realize that I'm enjoying my body as it is, and that not everyone in this country has this privilege.

No, not privilege, this BASIC HUMAN RIGHT.

When I first learned about this, I tried with all my might to normalize male infant circumcision.

"It's OK, they don't even remember," I tried to say to myself.

"Well, that's what Jews have been doing for thousands of years," I heard myself say again.

"Well, it's what parents want, and who am I to judge?" I kept saying.

My whole life as an intactivist has been me trying to justify the forced genital cutting of minors who can't speak for themselves.

Every time I feel I've finally found the perfect alibi, it vanishes before my eyes, and I'm left again at square one:

How is it right to take a child who has just been born, and forcibly cut off part of his most sensitive, most intimate area?

How is it right to make a man live with a permanent physical modification for the rest of his life?

To make a permanent reminder, to remind him every time he urinates, every time he masturbates, every time he is intimate with another person, every time he takes a shower, that his body is not his own?

How is it conscionable to put a healthy child at risk for infection, partial or full ablation of the shaft, hemorrhage and even death?

For elective, non-medical, cosmetic surgery?

Which leaves him permanently scarred for life?

Whenever I see a circumcision video, a picture of a child being forcibly mutilated, I see myself being strapped, held down.

Whenever I hear a baby shrieking in pain, I imagine what I might have sounded like had I been put through that same predicament.

Each time, I am reminded that a man has to live with an intentional wound, whenever he urinates, whenever he masturbates, whenever he makes love, whenever he sees himself in the mirror for the rest of his life.

Every day I live with the reality that this happens hundreds of times each day in my country.

If you do not own your own body, just what do you own in this world?

Perhaps facing this pain, this mutilation, this reality, this life sentence, this inevitability is the reason circumcised men often would rather not think about what happened to them?

Perhaps this is the reason they would rather rationalize and normalize it, rather than to question it and face it head on?

Perhaps this is why rather than question it, they would rather pretend it's "normal?"

Like "nothing happened?"

Perhaps this is why they'd rather think "I don't even remember it?"

Because to question it means that they would have to consider that something very wrong and irreversible has happened to them?

That they have to accept that they have to live with this for the rest of their lives?

That they have to consider that their parents, the people that up until this point they have trusted and loved unconditionally, have allowed others to permanently harm them?

That they have to consider they have allowed this same thing to happen to their own children?

Who wants to live with something this heavy for life?

I'm not even circumcised, but I, for one, find it difficult to live life in a world where male genital mutilation is considered "normal" for boys, but "abuse and mutilation" for girls.

A world where men have to live with the "normalcy" of having to live with permanent "choice" on their bodies they never opted for and be forced to call it "privilege."

A world where the state can mandate the forced genital mutilation of healthy, non-concenting children.

A world where it's "religion," "tradition" and "parental prerogative" to cut the genitals of boys, but "mutilation and abuse" for girls.

A world with a two-track system sexist double-standards.

A world where "my body, my choice" applies only if you happen to be born female.

A world where you are told your feelings of anger are invalid...

A world where you are told to be silent...

By judges, doctors, researchers, your parents, other parents, other men...

Because it makes them feel uncomfortable...

Because they don't want to have to think about it...

Because they don't want to have to explain it to their own children...

Because they don't want to have difficult conversations with their own parents...

Their doctors...

Their religious leaders...

Their patients...

A world where you are dismissed as being "crazy" or "out there" for having these feelings...

For daring to express them...

I'm not even circumcised, but at times I have felt the weight of this reality to be so heavy that walking out in front of a train wouldn't be such a bad idea.

Sometimes at night, I lay in bed, there next to my wife, in the fetal position, with my hands between my crotch, rocking back and forth, with tears streaming down my cheeks, feeling helpless, thinking to myself, "Had I been forcibly circumcised as a child, short of protesting, kicking and throwing a fit, there would be basically nothing I could do."

I would have to learn to live with the fact I was abused at birth.

I would have to learn to live with the fact that my parents allowed it.

I would have to learn to live with the fact that doing this to male, but not female children, is legal and perfectly acceptable in my country.

I would have to learn to live with the fact that doctors can legally reap profit from this, performing non-medical surgery on healthy, non-consenting individual.

I would have to learn to live with the fact that part of my penis went into paying someone else's Mercedes Benz or Porche.

I would have to learn to live with the fact that leaders in my country are trying to push this practice on other countries under the guise of "STD prevention."

I would have to live with a scar around my penis for the rest of my life to remind me of all of this.

To remind me that my body isn't mine.

Every time I used the restroom.

Every time I took a shower.

Every time I touched myself.

Or every time someone touched me.

Every time I'd look in the mirror I'd be reminded.

That my body isn't mine.

Because it was stolen from me.

From birth.

I'd have to live with this for the rest of my life.

I'd have to live with people telling me "Get over it."

"It was such a long time ago."

In a country, where this happens 3,000 times a day, to 1.3 million boys a year.

It is plain to see that for Jonathon, it was too much to bear.

Jonathon Conte died peacefully on May 9th, 2016 between noon and 8pm quickly and painlessly by inhaling helium. In a final act of intactivism he left his trailer with signs somewhere in San Francisco.

Goodbye, for now, Jonathon...

... we will remember you as we fight on every day for the most basic of human rights...

... the right to one's own body...

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

NEW YORK TIMES: Finally a Fairly Balanced Circumcision Article

It's rare to find a balanced article regarding the forced circumcision of minors in the media nowadays, particularly in knife-happy America, where 80% of men are circumcised. Most seem to be shameless plugs for circumcision, focusing on the latest "research," or the enthusiasm of some crazy circumfetishist gushing on and on about how all men in the world should be circumcised, which is why I was surprised to find this article in my news feed on Facebook.

The article is surprisingly balanced, considering it was written by a Jewish author. He counters the most commonly cited alibis with reason and reality, and he beckons readers to listen to what the other side has to say, without dismissing them, conceding that we might actually have a point.

I especially like the fact that he openly declares the fact that he is Jewish, admitting that he has a religious conviction to circumcise his children. I don't think I've read an article written by a Jewish person which gives both sides of the debate consideration in my life.

Still, although I see the author strive for balance, he does stop short of asking some very important questions, but I suppose I can see why; as a Jewish advocate of circumcision with a religious axe to grind, there is only so far he can go.

Still, he is to be commended, for in spite of his conviction he has given our side a fair chance.

Could it be American media is coming around to giving the questioning of the practice of forcibly circumcising healthy, non-consenting infants serious consideration?

I wrote a letter to the editor, which I doubt will be posted, because it's probably too long. I've taken the liberty of posting it here for my readers to read.

Dear Sirs,

This is in response to the recent article "Should You Circumcise Your Child?" by Aaron E. Carroll, May 9, 2016.

First off, I must applaud the author, for this is the most balanced article I've read on the New York Times concerning this issue. Most articles read like an infomercial selling male infant circumcision, citing all the wonderful things American medical organizations have to say on the matter, mostly ignoring what medical organizations in the rest of the world have to say. I applaud the author for going out on a limb and declaring the conflict of interest that he is Jewish and has religious conviction to do this to his children regardless of what the "science" says. Nonetheless, this author goes out of his way to give American readers perspective, citing reality in light of all the "research" (mostly conducted by American, presumably circumcised authors), that says male infant circumcision is all great and wonderful.

There are a few important facts that I hoped the author would include, however. For example, that in spite of having a male population that 80% is circumcised from birth, we still manage to have higher, if not the highest rates of STDs than industrialized countries where circumcision is rare or not practiced. In some instances, we have higher STDs than countries said to be 2nd world, or developing. According to the CIA World Factbook, we have a higher HIV prevalence than 53 countries where circumcision is rare or not practiced. We have more HIV than Mexico.

Finally, I'd like to pose the question; does parental prerogative and religious conviction truly justify performing non-medical surgery on healthy, non-consenting minors? Where is the limit to this? Because for better or for worse, female circumcision is also a religious conviction for some, and for better or for worse, it is what some parents wish to do to their daughters. Some readers may object to this question, citing that female circumcision is "more horrific" than male circumcision, but I will contest those who make this objection may not be fully enlightened as to the realities surrounding female circumcision.

While it is true, that female circumcision as performed in the African bush, by amateur healers, with crude materials such as rusty blades and glass shards, is brutal and life threatening, the same is true for male circumcision performed in those conditions. Scores of African men lose their lives annually due to circumcision initiation rituals, while countless others lose their penises to gangrene.

As in male circumcision, when female circumcision is performed in infancy, by trained professionals, using sterile utensils, in the pristine conditions of a medical setting, female circumcision is performed without a hitch. It must be pointed out that our very own AAP has suggested that American doctors perform a "ritual nick" in females for parents who want this for their daughters, admitting that male infant circumcision is riskier and has more adverse problems when they present themselves. A recent paper published in the Journal of Medical Ethics (Arora and Jacobs) echoes the AAP, and affirms the position that female circumcision isn't as bad as anti-FGM activists, as well as male infant circumcision advocates, would like others to believe.

Under any other case, performing elective, non-medical surgery on healthy, non-consenting individuals constitutes medical fraud. Without medical or clinical indication, can a doctor even be performing surgery on healthy, non-consenting minors, let alone be giving parents any kind of "choice?" What other elective, non-medical cosmetic surgeries are doctors obliged to perform on children "because the parents wanted it," or "because it's the parent's religious conviction?" These are the questions that Mr. Carroll forgot to ask in his paper. Otherwise, I really must say, Kudos on a paper well-written.

Thank you for your time.

Joseph Lewis

Aaron E. Carroll admits that circumcision has risks and complications, and that they are greater than zero, but he fails to mention what these risks and complications actually are.

The risks and complications of male infant circumcision include infection, partial or full ablation, hemorrhage and even death.

I close with my mission statement:

The foreskin is not a birth defect. Neither is it a congenital deformity or genetic anomaly akin to a 6th finger or a cleft. Neither is it a medical condition like a ruptured appendix or diseased gall bladder. Neither is it a dead part of the body, like the umbilical cord, hair, or fingernails.

The foreskin is not "extra skin." The foreskin is normal, natural, healthy, functioning tissue, present in all males at birth; it is as intrinsic to male genitalia as labia are to female genitalia.

Unless there is a medical or clinical indication, the circumcision of a healthy, non-consenting individuals is a deliberate wound; it is the destruction of normal, healthy tissue, the permanent disfigurement of normal, healthy organs, and by very definition, infant genital mutilation, and a violation of the most basic of human rights.

Without medical or clinical indication, doctors have absolutely no business performing surgery in healthy, non-consenting individuals, much less be eliciting any kind of "decision" from parents, and much less expect to be reimbursed.

Genital mutilation, whether it be wrapped in culture, religion or “research” is still genital mutilation.

It is mistaken, the belief that the right amount of “science” can be used to legitimize the deliberate violation of basic human rights.

Related Posts:
NYTimes Plugs PrePex, Consorts With Known Circumfetish Organization

Where Circumcision Doesn't Prevent HIV II

WASHINGTON POST: The "Great Controversy" Strikes Again

Politically Correct Research: When Science, Morals and Political Agendas Collide

Intactivism: It's Not Just for Gentiles Anymore

Sunday, May 8, 2016

This Week On Facebook

I'm not sure what pisses me off more.

The fact that an elective, non-medical surgery that is supposed to "prevent" problems is actually the root of this child's predicament, or the fact that people are actually asking for prayers for a child who is suffering because he underwent needless genital cutting expressly forbidden to gentiles in the bible.

Circumcision is not medically necessary in a healthy newborn; it is purely elective, cosmetic surgery.

The risks of circumcision include infection complications, including MRSA, herpes and gangrene, a botched operation that may need correction later on, an aesthetically displeasing result for which there can be no correction (e.g. such as too much skin removed, pulling up hairy skin onto the shaft, uneven scars etc...), partial or full ablation of the glans (head of the penis) if not the entire shaft itself, hemorrhage and even death.

The fact that a doctor is putting a child at these risks for elective, non-medical surgery on a healthy, non-consenting minor, is unconscionable.

Keep in mind, these are circumcision cases that manage to surface on Facebook.

Consider that there are other cases which, for reasons of shame or protection, remain secret.

The cases presented here and otherwise were perfectly preventable.

In any other case, reaping profit from performing non-medical surgery on healthy, non-consenting individuals constitutes medical fraud. In children, it is clear abuse.

How is it that children suffering due to non-medical, purely cosmetic surgery has become "acceptable" in modern medicine?

Related Post:
INTACTIVISTS: Why We Concern Ourselves

Saturday, April 30, 2016

INTACTIVISTS: Why We Concern Ourselves

Mother speaking with intactivists at an information booth

A common dismissal to intactivists speaking out against the forced circumcision of healthy, non-consenting minors is that we should "mind our own business."

"Parents make all decisions for their children," some say.

"Whether or not a child should be circumcised should be a parent's choice." 

In this blog post, I want to address why it is intactivists concern ourselves with the well-being of children, and why some of us may go out of our way to talk to parents about what they perceive to be a so-called "personal choice."

But before I do that, I want to address a few problems with the line of thinking that "I am the parent, therefore I decide," and that "What I do with my child is none of your business."

Parental Prerogative Is Not Absolute

First, while it is true that parents make all decisions concerning a child's well-being, it is also true that being a parent is not the end-all/be-all on whether or not decisions concerning them are justified.
A parent will go to jail if he or she decides to tattoo their child, for example. He or she can also lose their child if they decided to inject botox into her face for a beauty pageant, for another. In some states, parents will face prison if they deny urgent medical care to a child. Female genital cutting is right out, and there is no exempt for religious or cultural practice.

There is also long-standing legal precedent that says parents are not free to do whatever it is with their child by mere virtue that they are parents.

The Prince vs. Massachusetts court decision states: 

"The family itself is not beyond regulation in the public interest, as against a claim of religious liberty. And neither the rights of religion nor the rights of parenthood are beyond limitation…The right to practice religion freely does not include the right to expose the community or the child to communicable disease or the latter to ill-health or death...

Parents may be free to become martyrs themselves. But it does not follow they are free, in identical circumstances, to make martyrs of their children before they have reached the age of full and legal discretion when they can make that choice for themselves. Massachusetts has determined that an absolute prohibition, though one limited to streets and public places and to the incidental uses proscribed, is necessary to accomplish its legitimate objectives. Its power to attain them is broad enough to reach these peripheral instances in which the parent's supervision may reduce but cannot eliminate entirely the ill effects of the prohibited conduct. We think that with reference to the public proclaiming of religion, upon the streets and in other similar public places, the power of the state to control the conduct of children reaches beyond the scope of its authority over adults, as is true in the case of other freedoms, and the rightful boundary of its power has not been crossed in this case."

In short, if everything we did with our children were justified by mere virtue of being a parent, we wouldn't need child protective services.

Private Matters Online Become Public
With precedents on MySpace, and even ongoing scandals on Facebook, one would think that people would have learned by now that posting their private lives publicly social media outlets for all to see carries certain risks.

Unless one takes the proper precautions of making their account private and visible only to friends on their list, anyone can see posts to their wall, and even comment on them. When you post to public pages on Facebook, such as parenting or "mommy" sites, everyone is free to see and comment.

So controversial is this issue of male infant genital cutting that a lot of mommy sites warn about bringing up this topic, or even forbid it outright.

The fact is, when you publicly post your private life on the net, you are opening yourself to feedback from others, positive or negative, and you can't call it "people getting in your business" when the feedback you get wasn't the reassuring validation that you were looking for.

In short, if you value your privacy and you don't want people "getting in your business," publicly posting your private parenting matters on Facebook, on a parenting forum where a lot of people are likely to read about and comment on them, is probably not a very good idea.

"No one wants advice - only corroboration."
~John Steinbeck

Parents Don't Own Their Children Forever (AKA, It's Not All About You)
It is the nature of children to grow up, become individuals, and develop beliefs, attitudes and points of view separate from their parents.

Boys grow up to be men, and they have the right to be concerned about what was allowed to happen to their bodies, and they have the right to be happily content, or angrily discontent at the permanent alteration of their most private, most intimate organs which they were forced to undergo.

 These men are angry they were forcibly circumcised without their consent as children.
Should they remain silent because it makes parents uncomfortable?

Parents may view older men expressing anger at being circumcised as an encroachment on their parental prerogative, especially parents who have already made this decision for their own children, but the fact is that some men may feel angry about having been circumcised, and this is something that is beyond their control.

I posit that perhaps the reason parents react angrily to grown men protesting their circumcisions is because they do not want to have to face the prospect that one day, their children too may grow up to hate the fact that part of their private organs was cut away without their consent.

So Why Do Intactivists Concern Themselves?
There are a few answers to this question.

First, it could be personal.

People concerning themselves with stopping this practice, going as far as speaking to parents may stem from the fact that they themselves are men who are not happy, perhaps even angry with what has happened to them. They feel it was an encroachment on their rights, and by extension, that it is an encroachment on the rights of others that must be stopped.

Perhaps it's just people who see this as a violation of the most basic of human rights.

I recently saw a video with Bernie Sanders, and it spoke to me. His words are regarding other issues concerning this country, but I think it could apply here as well.

"This is what I believe. Every great religion in the world, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, essentially comes down to do unto others as you would like them to do unto you. And, what I have believed in my whole life, I believed it when I was a 22 year old kid getting arrested in Chicago fighting segregation.

I believed it in my whole life that we are in this together, not just not words. The truth is at some level, when you hurt, when your children hurt, I hurt. I hurt. And, when my kids hurt, you hurt. And, it's very easy to turn our backs on kids who are hungry, or veterans who are sleeping out in the street, and we can develop a psyche, a psyche that says I don't have to worry about them, all I'm going to worry about myself. I'm going to make another five billion dollars.

But, I believe what human nature is about is that everybody in this room impacts everybody else in all kinds of ways that we can't even understand. It's beyond intellect. It's a spiritual, emotional thing. So, I believe that when we do the right thing, when we try to treat people with respect and dignity, when we say that that child who is hungry is my child, I think we are more human when we do that than when we say, "Hey this world, I need more and more. I don't care about anybody else."

That's my religion, that's what I believe in. And, I think most people around the world, whatever their religion, their color, share that belief that we are in it together as human beings. And, it becomes more and more practical.

If we destroy the planet because we don't deal with climate change, trust me. We are all in it together, alright?

So, we have got to work together, and that is what my spirituality is about."
~Bernie Sanders

So I believe that this is is the true reason why any of us, if not all of us are concerned.

It all comes down to doing unto others as we would like done to ourselves.

At some level, when you hurt, when your children hurt, we hurt.

It's very easy to turn our backs on kids who aren't our own.

It's real easy to say "I don't have to worry about those other kids who aren't mine. I'm going to worry about my own kids, and that's it."

I believe we're doing the right thing, and when we try to treat others with respect and dignity, especially those people who are too young and small to speak for themselves, I think we're being more human than when we say "I don't care about other people's children."

Why do we concern ourselves?

Because of this.

Parents wouldn't know about these risks and complications unless someone showed them.

Doctors will not show them.

This will not show up in their news feed.

Unless we warn parents, they would never know.

Male infant circumcision has risks that doctors have vested interest in minimizing, if not omitting completely from information they give parents.

The risks of circumcision include infection, partial or full ablation, hemorrhage and even death.

We're just messengers.

Yes, we know that normally we shouldn't encroach on other parents, but we feel this information is that important that this protocol be breached.

Lives are at stake here, not to mention the harms children who do survive have to endure.

This is the body a child has to live with for the rest of his life.

Given that circumcision is not medically necessary, how is putting a child at these risks conscionable?

Why aren't parents being told about these risks?

Information is being withheld from parents.

This results in needless injury and death, not to mention the violation of basic human rights in "successful" surgeries.

That is why we do what we do.

No Judgement
This isn't meant to be judgemental toward anyone, so mothers, or fathers, need not take this personally.

I think most intactivists understand that parents made the best decision for their children based on the information they had at the time.

This is new information, so perhaps parents didn't know.

I know this is hard for parents to wrap their heads around, because many have made a decision, a decision they can't readily take back.

It's OK.

People make mistakes.

All any of us wants to do is give information. It is up parents to decide what they want to do with that information.

No one, at least I, am not accusing, or judging or calling names.

Your blogger is also a parent, and I can assume that as parents, all we want is the best for our children.

What Your Doctor May Not Tell You
No doubt parents are told about the "benefits" of circumcision. But how many have been properly informed about the risks?

Financial Incentive to Minimize or Hide the Truth
Doctors, at least American doctors, have incentive to paint for parents a very favorable picture of circumcision; they make a hefty stipend from this relatively simple procedure which takes about 15 to 20 minutes.

A single circumcision can cost from $100 to $400 dollars to perform out of pocket.

A single circumcision could cost as much as $2,000 in hospital fees, so hospitals want their doctors and nurses to push circumcision on you as much as possible.

Cases have been known where nurses confess that they have been told that a parent is not to leave the hospital until they sign the consent form for their child's circumcision.

Some hospitals list anatomically correct male genitals as an actual problem that needs to be fixed.

In some cases, parents have refused circumcision for their children, and were still billed for it after they left the hospital!

Still in others, parents have been given their child to them already circumcised, prompting lawsuits, including lawsuits that were lost.

$2000 may not sound like much, but consider that in America alone, 1.3 million babies are circumcised annually.

That makes male infant circumcision a 2.6 billion dollar a year industry.

And that's not even including the cost of circumcision equipment, such as circumstraints, circumcision kits, clamps, anesthetics, etc.

Because there is money to lose, in case you say "no," doctors and nurses will more than likely tell you all the good things about circumcision, minimizing all the bad, if not omitting it altogether.

What are the "benefits?"
The "benefits" often sold to parents, even if they can be called that, are "hygiene," supposed "protection" from STDs, and a better "appearance." (Better according to whom?)

Any "benefit" your doctor will tell you about in their sell can already be achieved by simpler, more effective means.

Hygiene can already easily be taken care of with soap and water, just like in girls.

The "protection" against STDs circumcision supposedly offers is speculative, and circumcised males and their partners must still be urged to wear condoms anyway, because circumcision fails.

What is "good appearance" is based on the eye of the beholder. In cultures where women are circumcised, labia and the presence of a clitoris are seen as "unsightly." (Since when was "better appearance" a "medical benefit?")

The bottom line is that not a single respected medical organization recommends male infant circumcision based on the current body of medical literature concerning the matter. Not a single one, not even the AAP in their latest statement, found the "benefits" so compelling that they committed to a recommendation.

In fact, other medical organizations have come out *against* it.

Only the AAP tries to remain "neutral," leaving the "choice" to be "up to the parents," presumably because coming out and saying that circumcision is not beneficial would disenfranchise members of the AAP who do reap profit from male infant circumcision, and leave them open to lawsuits. (The AAP is a trade organization whose main interest is the welfare of their members, your child actually comes second or third.)

In the real world
The fact of the matter is that 70% of the world's men aren't circumcised, and there simply isn't an epidemic of "problems" in those countries where circumcision is rare or not practiced.

In Europe, East Asia, not to mention Australia, circumcision is rare or not practiced, and it is actually being circumcised that has a "strange appearance."

With 80% of American men circumcised from birth, one would expect to observe a lower rate of STDs; higher rates are actually observed in the US, with lower rates being observed in countries where circumcision is rare or not practiced.

According to the CIA World Factbook, the US has a higher HIV prevalence than 53 countries where circumcision is rare or not practiced.

We have more HIV than Mexico.

So what are the risks?
The risks include infection, partial or full ablation, hemorrhaging, and even death.

The risks change depending on the method the doctor uses.

Galloping gangrene and complications of necrosis are more common with the Plastibell technique, and higher pain levels are observed using the Gomco clamp.

The Mogen clamp is notorious for glans amputations, so notorious that, in fact, the Mogen manufacturing company has been put out of business by the numerous lawsuits brought against it involving children whose glans was partially or fully amputated by the device.

Parents, do you know what method your doctor will be using? Has your doctor fully disclosed the risks to you? This is information the doctor should be making clear to you, and/or you need to question him or her if she isn't, as a responsible parent.

Deliberate Misinformation
Still, other doctors or nurses may give misinformation outright. Misinformation, such as "advice" to forcibly retract a child for cleaning. Or that if the child hasn't retracted by 3 years there's a problem. (The AAP actually says that the foreskin should never be forcibly retracted, and rightfully advises that this happens on its own.)

This misinformation often results in the necessity for surgery becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.

It is a parent's responsibility to make *informed* decisions for their children
This is your child we're talking about, and he will undergo life-altering surgery.

As responsible parents being asked to make a decision, you need to know these things.

Parents, you may not hear about the complications that have resulted from circumcision, because they rarely make the news, and I'm almost certain you are not involved in intactivism, where we keep an eye out on the news outlets and social media.

Circumcision complications are more common than American doctors and their trade organizations would like you to believe.

On Facebook alone, it is not uncommon to see posts by parents who are asking for prayers for their children, because there were complications and their child is in grave danger.

Typically the child won't stop bleeding (hemorrhage) or the doctor cut off the head of the penis, and they don't know if reattaching it will work.

In other cases, sadly, babies and older children have died.

Sadly, oftentimes parents are still not receptive to information we give after this, and still believe circumcision is "necessary" and it would have all worked out "if only the doctor hadn't screwed it up."

You have to remember, circumcision is not a necessary procedure.

Your child is not sick, and will not suffer from having the parts god gave him.

Is putting your child through these risks worth it?

For non-medical surgery?

Your healthy child with whom nothing is wrong?

I'm not sure about everyone else, but for me, just knowing that death is one of the risks was enough for me to say, HELL, NO.

Not my kids.

I look into my son's eyes, and it breaks my heart to imagine his lifeless body in my arms.

Ask Yourself, "Why?"
Boys and men in the rest of the world aren't circumcised.

Why is America the only English-speaking country where boys are circumcised routinely?

If infant circumcision is "so effective" at preventing disease, why can't a single respected medical organization commit to a recommendation?

What are other respected medical organizations around the world saying about the matter?

Why aren't reductions in STDs and other diseases circumcision is supposed to "prevent," observed in real-world data?

If circumcision is supposed to prevent STDs, why isn't this observable in our own country, where 80% of all men are circumcised from birth?

These are questions that, I think, parents ought to be asking themselves.

I can't say who is a good or bad parent, but what I can say is that a good parent researches everything.

A good parent tries to find everything there is to know about something before making a decision.

This is permanent cosmetic surgery on your child we are talking about here.

This is an irrevocable decision that will affect your child for the rest of his life as a man on earth.

Do you want to ruin it for him?

What if he doesn't like it?

You will have taken away his choice.

And there is nothing you can do to give it back.

This is why some men are angry about this and protest. A good parent makes decisions for their children.

It is the responsibility of parents to make decisions for their children.

Hopefully, as parents, we want to make informed decisions, especially with permanent ones like this, with which the child has to learn to live with for the rest of his life.

You may be his parent now, but you are not going to be there in the room when he masturbates or has sex with his partner.

This is his body we are talking about, the body he will have for the duration of his life on earth, and one of the biggest reasons I oppose this is because circumcising a healthy, non-consenting child violates his most basic of human rights; the right to his own body, the violation of his most private, most intimate organs.

Circumcision is a personal choice.

A private and intimate, if not *the* most private and intimate choice.

A choice that rightfully belongs to the person whose body is in question.

Human rights are everyone's business.

I close with this:
The foreskin is not a birth defect. Neither is it a congenital deformity or genetic anomaly akin to a 6th finger or a cleft. Neither is it a medical condition like a ruptured appendix or diseased gall bladder. Neither is it a dead part of the body, like the umbilical cord, hair or fingernails.

The foreskin is not "extra skin." The foreskin is normal, natural, healthy functioning tissue, present in all males at birth; it is as intrinsic to male genitalia as labia are to female genitalia.

Unless there is a medical or clinical indication, the circumcision of a health, non-consenting individual is a deliberate wound; it is the destruction of normal, healthy tissue, the permanent disfigurement of normal, healthy organs, and by very definition, infant genital mutilation, and a violation of the most basic of human rights.

Without medical or clinical indication, doctors have absolutely no business performing surgery on healthy, non-consenting individuals, much less be eliciting any kind of "decision" from parents.

Under any other circumstance, reaping profit from performing non-medical surgery on healthy, non-consenting individuals constitutes medical fraud. In children, it is clear abuse.

Doctors who engage in this practice are engaging in charlatanism and abuse. Abuse of parental trust, and ultimately, abuse of the child himself.

The day is coming when male infant circumcision will be seen for what it is, and doctors will be held accountable for their actions.

Peace to all.

Related Posts:
The "Mommy Page" Wars

The Circumcision Blame Game

"I Did My Research" - The Quest for Scientific Vindication

Phony Phimosis: How American Doctors Get Away With Medical Fraud

What Your Dr. Doesn't Know Could Hurt Your Child

OUT OF LINE: AAP Circumcision Policy Statement Formally Rejected

Mogen Circumcision Clamp Manufacturers Face Civil Lawsuit

CIRCUMCISION DEATH: Child Dies After Doctor Convinces Ontario Couple to Circumcise


"Religious Freedom" and "Parental Choice" Not Absolute: Yet Another Example

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