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     INFORMATIVE VIDEOS: 
    
Facing Circumcision  Eight Physicians Tell Their Stories
     Restoration in Focus  
Instructional Video for Foreskin Restoration
     They Cut Babies, Don't They?  
One Man's Struggle Against Circumcision
     Whose Body, Whose Rights?   Award-winning documentary seen on PBS!

THE BOOK THAT EXPOSES IT ALL: 
    
Circumcision Exposed
Rethinking a Medical and
Cultural Tradition

FORESKIN RESTORATION with:
The P.U.D.  new low pricing!
and The VacuTrac at special pricing!
plus the Foreballs device

 

Tide is Turning Against Circumcision

Lawn Griffiths - Staff Columnist
The Tribune/Mesa, AZ, p. A15, March 11, 1999

American males won a human rights victory on March 1 when a task force of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the most influential group of pediatricians, concluded that circumcision of newborns is not medically necessary and need not be routinely performed.

After reviewing 40 years of research, the group, representing 55,000 pediatricians, produced its most definitive report to date, saying that the very slightest potential benefits of foreskin removal of newborns don't outweigh the risks and cannot be recommended.

Lawn Griffiths.gif (24KB)

Sadly, the findings come after hundreds of millions of males of upwards of three generations have had to permanently lose a part of their most private and sensitive anatomy. Along the way there have been deaths to newborns from complications and botched circumcisions that have led to a lifetime of pain, disfigurement and sexual dysfunction.

The United States is the only country that continues to circumcise the majority of newborn male babies for nonreligious, non-therapeutic reasons. The national circumcision rate has fallen to about 60 percent from more than 90 percent in the 1960s.

In the western states, the rate is about 35 percent, in part because Asians, Hispanics, American Indians and other ethnic groups have not embraced it. About 80 percent of males worldwide are left intact.

Intactivists - activists for leaving the male intact - are celebrating the new report, saying it underscores what they have been saying for decades: That nature put foreskins on males, and females, and the rest of mammals for a variety of purposes, including protection, lubrication and the mechanics and pleasure in sexuality.

Human rights, however, is at the heart of the debate. The issue now turns to medical ethics. Clearly, if a surgery, such as removal of the foreskin, is deemed medically unnecessary, then parents, pediatricians and others in the medical profession have no justification for the cutting of healthy flesh from the bodies of helpless, nonconsenting human beings.

Circumcision then becomes mere plastic surgery, and the medical profession has a long tradition of not carrying that out on the bodies of the nonconsenting when it's not to repair injuries or deformities. What gives any parent the right to order the removal of healthy tissue from a child?

In 1996, Congress made female genital mutilation in America illegal in the face of efforts by immigrants, especially from Africa, to have it performed on their daughters. They cite their cultural traditions, yet female circumcision has been universally condemned by human rights groups.

That American ban was noble human rights legislation. Yet it clearly is discriminatory against American males who are not legally protected from surgical alteration of their genitalia, albeit less radical and destructive than female circumcision.

Uninformed and misinformed parents have generally trivialized the foreskin and regarded it as disposable flesh. But not only is it the most erotically sensitive part of male genitalia, it represents well over half of the skin system of the penis and averages three feet of veins, arteries and capillaries, 240 feet of nerve fibers and more than 1,000 nerve endings. If unfolded, the adult foreskin amounts to at least 15 square inches of flesh most American males are denied.

Circumcision not only forever removes that specialized structure, but it can lead to tight and painful erections, curvature, skin tags and skin bridges, and the keratinizing or callousing of the glans from rubbing against clothing and bed clothes. Resentment of having been violated is also an issue. The new recommendation calls for an anesthesia to be used, if parents still choose to go forward with it, but the "unkindest cut" still burns later from a baby's urine and waste until healing occurs.

As more medical insurance companies and HMOs recognize that circumcision is unnecessary and therefore a procedure no longer warranted for coverage, the circumcision rates will plummet more. The estimated $250 million spent for the needless procedure are health care dollars sorely needed elsewhere.

Circumcision is painful, unnecessary and permanent. If we truly respect our offspring and all their human rights, then we would respect a male's birthright to be whole as nature made him. Everyone has the right to an intact body, and parents should honor that.


Tribune writer Lawn Griffiths can be reached via e-mail at lgriffiths@aztrib.com or by phone at 602-898-6522.

More Pages Related to Male & Female Circumcision

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