September 14, 2009 § 4 Comments
great article on male circumcision in the new york times.
As one of the few countries where circumcision is widely practiced for non-religious reasons, the United States is an anomaly. Most European countries have largely abandoned routine neonatal circumcision; the British stopped doing it when they started the National Health Service in 1948. The service refused to cover the practice because it was deemed not medically necessary, and some Europeans will frankly say they find the idea barbaric and unnatural. Yet in the United States, circumcision is the norm, and the vast majority of men — and in all likelihood the majority of doctors — are circumcised, even though rates have dropped in recent years.
Physicians reject any comparison between male and female circumcision because, they say, male circumcision does not injure men or impair any physiological or sexual functioning.
But critics say a double standard prevails: though female genital cutting is also rooted in cultural traditions, it is prohibited by law in America and considered a human rights violation. These critics object to circumcising boys for the same reasons many find female circumcision loathsome: they believe parents have no right to permanently alter the genitalia of a baby who cannot consent, boy or girl, and that far from being a useless flap of skin, the foreskin, which is densely filled with nerve endings, serves a function, protecting and lubricating the head of the penis and maintaining its sensitivity, much like an eyelid does.
i promised gloria le may a post on circumcision. since she was the catalyst that changed my mind on whether or not male circumcision is a moral question. before i had put it firmly in the realm of religious and cultural question.
here’s where i am now. if i have a penis child, i will not have them circumcised. i do not want to decrease his pleasure in sex by cutting off nerve endings on his penis. i mean i just dont buy the it doesnt have an effect on the functioning of the penis. and furthermore i dont believe in unnecessary surgery without consent. im not going to get my kid lipsuction because she would ‘fit in’ better with the other girls. or because it is ‘common knowledge’ that being thinner is healthier.
and even if there is evidence that het men who are circumcised are less likely to acquire aids. who says my son will be het? or a son? and i didnt get my daughter the hpv vaccine. or any other.
and when he gets to the age when he can decide to get a circumcision. that will be his choice. not mine.
as a midwife or birth assistant i would not refuse to support a mother’s birth because she is going to circumcise her child, daughter or son. yes. i dont think the practice is biologically necessary most of the time. but i live in a mamacentric universe. i support empowering mothers to be able to make their own choices.