(posted by danelle)
I never cease to be amazed at the ignorance surrounding this topic among parents about to give birth. Cutting off the organ of an infant seems to cry out to a parent to RESEARCH it before making the decision... But too many people (56%) in the U.S. still blindly go into this choice with no background knowledge on the extreme decision they are about to make... I ignore and delete most list-serv messages sent my way (constantly annoyed at the ignorance and pettiness of the conversations) but this particular topic is just too important to ignore. So here is my response from today's list-serv round-robin:
I would HIGHLY suggest people investigate ALL aspects of circumcision -- AND the many purposes and functions of the foreskin BEFORE their baby arrives. There is a LOT of good information out there -- as well as videos you can watch of circ being done. The U.S. is thee ONLY nation in the world that circumcises for NO medical reason. Our rate is now 56% of baby boys in the U.S. being circumcised (as of Jan 2008) but this is still far more than Canada (9%) England (3%) and most other developed countries (1-2%).
NO HEALTH ORGANIZATION IN THE WORLD recommends this procedure be done. And there are many, many reasons for this.
It is a very painful procedure for a brand new baby boy when he has just entered the world and cannot be administered numbing drugs. Working in L&D, many babies are seen crying so hard that they slip into comas. They cannot handle this terror.
The tissue removed (tissue that is exactly the same as if we cut off a baby girl's clitoral hood at birth) HAS purpose and function both in infancy (lubrication, natural antibodies, protection of the glans/head, tactile stimulation) and in adulthood (lubrication, antibodies, glans protection, and increased sexual stimulation with partners).
Circ removes the skin with the highest concentration of nerve endings of ANY male body part. It constitutes 1/3 of the newborn penis. And it can never be replaced.
If a boy/man wishes to be circumcised later in life, he is then able to CHOOSE this for himself, and be fully numbed for the procedure.
As more and more parents learn just what is involved, it is not surprising that people come to see this as a human rights violation, genital mutilation, and infant abuse. It is simply NOT something most parents would choose to do to their newly loved infant if they were fully informed and aware of the implications.
Some websites for more information on this topic include:
http://www.noharmm.org/raising.htm (this site includes fathers who were circumcised who are choosing to keep their sons intact)
http://www.mothering.com/ (the latest issue of Mothering magazine has full length research articles on the newest data, procedures, and research findings upon this topic)
THIS IS A VIDEO of the genital cutting being performed (recent U.S. hospital) with statistics from the outstanding film, "Birth As We Know It"
PLEASE research this for the sake of your new little loved one.