(Alexandra Garcia/The Washington Post/Getty)

An initiative to ban circumcision of males under 18 years of age in San Francisco will appear on the November ballot. Supporters compare the procedure with female genital mutilation, which is outlawed in the U.S. Opponents of the bill tout medical benefits of foreskin removal and the rights of religious groups. We take up the debate.

Guests:
Lloyd Schofield, proponent of the ballot measure
Abby Michelson Porth, associate director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, part of a coalition opposing the measure
Laurence Baskin, chief of pediatric urology at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital

  • Kerry Gough, General Counsel

    This is probably one of the most ill-conceived ballot measures ever. It is well established that circumcision reduces the frequency of transmittal of HIV during unprotected sex between males, as well as reduces the incidence of cervical cancer among women whose partners are circumcised 

    • James3D

      Cutting healthy genital tissue from infants and children is medical fraud, HIV and cervical cancer are part of a very long list of excuses used over the last 150 years to cut the genitals of children. If you think you are better off with less penis, less chance of infection, go ahead, have some of your own penis cut off. Children need to be protected from such insanity.

    • Devout

      You’re right, it reduces risk of transmittal of HIV. That logic would allow the preemptive removal of the breasts of teen girls in order to prevent the potential of breast cancer.

      My religion happens to demand that I remove a finger from my newborn child. Tell me, Counsel, am I within my rights to follow the laws of my religion?  

      • Dennis from SF

        You can also remove your genital can be 100% potection again HIV, why don’t you do that. 

        You know, this is wrong message to send to the public that circumsize your child, and they can have unprotected sex.

    • David

      Wrong. It is very controversial, not well established. In fact 10 out of 18 countries in Africa have higher HIV among circumcised men than intact men. Moreover, largely intact Europe suffers lower rates of HIV than largely circumcised America.

    • Dabeef

      As a ballot measure it seems very frivalous, but ballot measures are a part of our political proccess. Personally I do consider circumcision mutalation and lament my Catholic parents having been talked into allowing our family doctor into taking away a large number of my nerve endings. To cut or not to cut should have been my choice.

    • maggellan77

      Are you aware of the damage that circumcision is doing to condom use rates in Uganda and other parts of Africa? http://allafrica.com/stories/201105050159.html The full PANOS is worth reading, if you have the time.

      The transmission of HIV in “unprotected sex between males” is not well established. http://sti.bmj.com/content/early/2010/06/30/sti.2010.042895.full.pdf

      There is also the CDC report http://www.safaids.net/content/circumcision-not-effective-preventing-hiv-among-msm-study-finds

      If you want to reduce cervical cancer rates, Gardasil is much better, save the money that you were spending on circumcision and put it into free condom programs and education.

    • Peter Williams

      Objections:

      1) Relevance? Dual mastectomies on children will reduce their chance of developing breast cancer. You want to do that too?

      2) Credibility? Evidence on the effectiveness of condoms and education in reducing HIV is plentiful. Evidence re circumcision, not so much; their is a clear agenda driving some of the literature, reflecting a consistent pattern of exaggerated or wholly invented benefits.

      Unless you think circumcision also cures epilepsy: Sayre, “Circumcision versus epilepsy, etc;” Transcription of the New York Pathological Society meeting of June 8, 1870. Medical Record 1870 Jul 15;5(10):231-4

      In any case the STD benefits are certainly not “well established”. Or are you an expert witness in epidemiology, in addition to being a lawyer?

      3) Ethics. For legal opinion, see, e.g. http://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?collection=journals&handle=hein.journals/jchlp17&div=10&id=&page= or search on “informed consent neonatal circumcision”

      4) Liability. Neonatal circumcision exposes doctors and hospitals to expensive lawsuits that have an increasing chance of being resolved for the plaintiff, for reasons that have been explained extensively here and elsewehre.

      For an extensive history of circumcision in this country and the UK, I suggest:

      http://www.historyofcircumcision.net/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=31

      In brief, it is a fraud that persists because it is an embarrassment for the urology & paediatrics community to admit that it has been living in Victorian England for the past 100+ years. It’s time to fess up.

      IMHO I think juries tend to frown on fraud perpetrated by doctors hiding behind white coats with deep pockets.

      • Peter Williams

        Ugh. There, not their.

  • Gerald Fnord

    I can think of no more accurate introduction to life on Earth.

    • chrisco

      Touche.

  • James3D

    Yes ban all forced genital cutting on infants and children! Only fully informed consenting adults should be allowed to make permanent body modifications on their OWN bodies.

    • me

      let kids choose what to eat, too! it’s not right for anyone to impose a diet upon them! let them choose when to bathe and where to go and everything! kids are people too!!

      • Strandwolf

        Weak.

        • Jo

          your response?

      • Peter Williams

        Pathetic. That’s not what this argument is about.

        • me

          sure it is. you’re talking about taking away a parental right and giving it to the child. 

          • CynDaVaz

            This isn’t a parental ‘right’.

          • Peter Williams

            Yea. We also don’t allow parents to beat their children. Terrible, I know.

          • It never was a parentat right. It concerns nobody but the owner, and the decision should be delayed until HE is ready to make it.

          • Laylabayet

            Again, the child is not deciding when he is a child. He is deciding when he becomes an adult.

      • Laylabayet

        we are not saying let the child decide. We are saying let the person decide when he becomes an adult.

  • Stephanie Bernstein

    I’d like them to discuss the difference between female genital mutilation and male genital mutilation.  Where FGM is done to make sex painful for women as well as causing continuous health problems including infection, male circumcision does not limit male enjoyment of sex, in fact it is recommended to prevent the spread of disease such as HIV. While I am against FGM, I am jewish and support the option of male circumcision.

    • maggellan77

      You are quite incorrect. In the communities that perform most FGM (Types I an II), it is done for many reasons. These are varied, including such strange, to us, beliefs as:-
      the clitoral glans touching a baby’s head will kill the baby the glans is the male organ and the inner labia/foreskin the female organ, therefore you must remove the male part (glans) from females and the female part (foreskin) from males

      The majority of women (it is women who perform/seek the majority of FGM) give three main reasons for performing/seeking FGM for their daughters:-

      Tradition
      Religious requirement
      Cleanliness/hygiene

      These also happen to be the three main reasons given for circumcision. This is not surprising, since the earliest evidence for cutting of either genders genitals dates back to ancient Egypt. I would suggest that you read this- http://www.with-heart-against-fgm.com/fgm/articles-on-fgm/mgm/

      You say that male circumcision is recommended to prevent HIV. I would challenge you to find a medical body that recommends it for those of us in developed nations. There isn’t one. The reason for this is that all the studies that have been done in Europe or North America have found no benefit from circumcision, in prevention of HIV acquisition. 

      Further to that, male circumcision has been shown to increase the HIV acquisition in women who have circumcised partners by the same 50% touted for male protection, negating any benefit.If we are to accept the protective factor from male circumcision, we must also accept the protective factor from FGM. Despite their best attempts to show a negative in protection for women, studies have shown that FGM provides protection for women in preventing HIV acquisition. 

      Why then, do we not allow FGM for protection? It has the same reasons for being performed and as long as Type III is not used has similar levels of damage. 

      Are you aware that last year the American Academy of Pediatrics nearly proposed allowing Type IV FGM? Sadly, whenever we argue for male circumcision, we are helping to give arguments for FGM to be made legal again, as it was for 96 years of the last century and was quite common practice for American doctors.

      Please think about these things and ask yourself one simple question- If we allow male circumcision for Jewish cultural and religious reasons, should we allow FGM for Afrian/Muslim cultural and religious reason?

      • Jamie Poston-Benford

        I want to paste this to my facebook wall! Best Post Ever! It just amazes me how people can think any form of FGM is so wrong, but cut a baby boy. Okay. I am starting to believe that common sense is not so common in the United States and I am not just talking about this subject.

        • Hey Jamie- friend me on facebook (Frank McGinness) and I’ll give you all my collected circumcision references. Otherwise just see my tweets KOTFrank

      • Peter Williams

        Fantastic. Amen. Well said.

    • Stephanie, you didn’t read the first comment which I talked about female circumcision. The latest from our government pubmed:Int J Epidemiol. 2011 Jun 14. [Epub ahead of print]Male circumcision and sexual function in men and women: a survey-based, cross-sectional study in Denmark. Conclusion:
      Circumcision was associated with frequent orgasm difficulties in Danish men and with a range of frequent sexual difficulties in women, notably orgasm difficulties, dyspareunia and a sense of incomplete sexual needs fulfilment. Thorough examination of these matters in areas where male circumcision is more common is warranted.

  • Joachim Pedersen

    All three studies in Africa were terminated early due to defects in the methodology! Oft cited is not an indication of good science! The data from these studies has severe statistical issues! 

    • me

      the doctor blew this objection out of the water.

      • Guest99

        No he didn’t. When you have a study you dont stop when you start to get good results. Thats NOT the proper way to do a study.

        • Guest

          You are 100% incorrect.

          If you are performing a study of drug A vs drug B and the preliminary results indicate that one is vastly better than the other, it is unethical to withhold the better drug from half of the test population.

          In regards to the African study:
          When doctors realized that, by having an uncircumcised experimental group, they were exposing their subjects to an increased risk of HIV infection they had no choice but to end the study.

          • Joachim Pedersen

            OP here, sadly this seems like another case of science abused to further a political end.

            Sorry I didn’t include my detailed analysis in my first post, here is a follow up. If there were not ethical/methodological issues with the study it makes no sense to stop it early. Drug trials/studies are prime example, trends are not sufficient to win approval. There must be statistical backing for the efficacy of treatment!

            The original study showed only borderline statistical significance over all, condom use was higher in the circumcised group, and pre-study safer sex knowledge was greater as well. p. 663 of the study. Given that the results from the data only suggest a marginal reduction in risk, which is statistically insignificant for the first standard deviation (68.2%) of the studied population, you cannot say with any absolute *statistical certainty* that circumcision decreases risk of HIV transmission! Yes there is a trend in the data, but the quality of the data is not good enough to make any of the absolute statements that have been thrown about!  

            “The intention-to-treat analysis showed a progressive decrease in incidence in the intervention group over the entire follow-up period (p for trend 0·014). Incidence fell in the control group between the time of first follow-up and the time of second follow-up,  and remained stable thereafter; however, the trend was not significant (p=0·6). The IRR of HIV acquisition associated with circumcision also fell over time; this increase in efficacy was of borderline significance (p=0·054 for the time-by-study arm interaction).”

            citation
            “Male circumcision for HIV prevention in men in Rakai, Uganda: a randomised trial”
            Ronald H Gray, Godfrey Kigozi, David Serwadda, Frederick Makumbi, Stephen Watya, Fred Nalugoda, Noah Kiwanuka, Lawrence H Moulton, Mohammad A Chaudhary, Michael Z Chen, Nelson K Sewankambo, Fred Wabwire-Mangen, Melanie C Bacon, Carolyn FM Williams, Pius Opendi, Steven J Reynolds, Oliver Laeyendecker, Thomas C Quinn, Maria J Wawer, Male circumcision for HIV prevention in men in Rakai, Uganda: a randomised trial, The Lancet, Volume 369, Issue 9562, 24 February 2007-2 March 2007, Pages 657-666, ISSN 0140-6736, DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(07)60313-4.
            (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673607603134)

          • Peter Williams

            Thank you, Joachim!!!!!!!

    • Actually, the African studies were stopped due to ethical considerations. It would have been unethical to continue to let the uncircumcised group continue to be at higher risk of HIV/AIDS infection. Better to end the test and offer circumcisions to those that wanted the lower risk.

      • Guest99

        That is such BS… The same type of BS you kind of people spout! You’ll reach for anything to forward your delusional cause. Again, site your sources for this info if you want to be taken seriously.

  • Lee Thé

    There should be no exception for religion because there should be no such law in the first place. Equating circumcision to female genital mutilation is both erroneous and offensive. Female genital mutilation is intended to make its victims incapable of experiencing sexual pleasure and often imposes painful, lifelong medical consequences. Male circumcision, if anything, has the opposite effect sexually and confers proven significant public health benefits.

    Moreover, stories like this are used by the Republican Party to tar all liberals with the brush of the “Loony Left.” If this passes I guarantee you it will appear repeatedly in Republican propaganda campaigns.  

    • maggellan77

      Please read my post which is just a few posts down.

  • Guest99

    Anyone who thinks circumcision is a good idea is either cut themselves, and doesn’t know what they are missing, or you are religious, and therefor delusional.Religious people believe in intelligent design. So you think you’ve got a better design than god? Kind of doesn’t work…..
    Anyone who thinks circumcision is a good idea is either cut themselves, and doesn’t know what they are missing, or you are religious, and therefor delusional.
    Religious people believe in intelligent design. So you think you’ve got a better design than god? Kind of doesn’t work…..

    Kerry Gough …you are so uninformed. It is NOT well
    established. You need to do a lot more reading on the subject before making
    such a statement.

    As a lawyer you should be ashamed of yourself for making
    such a statement without all the facts.

    As a lawyer you should be ashamed of yourself for making
    such a statement without all the facts.

    • me

      I’m religious and I don’t believe in intelligent design.

      I also know that I’m free from your anti-religious tyranny in this country.

      you do your thing, I’ll do mine.
      what an amazing concept.

      • Brad

        I was not free from tyranny in this country. My genitals were mutilated. I’m a victim of genital mutilation because of the tyranny of circumcision without consent. 

  • karen_green

    If one’s concern is mutilation why not ban ear piercing of young children which provides absolutely no health benefits.

    • AaRon

      Because piecing isn’t taking a body part away! Circumcision is! And besides, those holes might fill in, but I’ll never get any of my foreskin back.

      • Jo

        what about haircuts and nail cutting?? is that wrong?

        • maggellan77

          Both of which grow back. Nothing has been permanently removed.

          • me

            of course it’s been removed. maybe the kids wants really long hair and a parent has it cut against their will. should we arrest the barber and the parent? are we going to be arresting doctors?

          • maggellan77

            You really do like to cherry pick. It grows back. That is fundamentally different. 

            Cutting hair causes no loss of nerves, grows back, has no painful recovery and is painless.

            Cutting fingernails causes no loss of nerves, they grow back, has no painful recovery and is painless.

            Yes, we would arrest doctors who perform illegal circumcision, as we would arrest those who cut female genitals.

        • SteveB954

          Do you not see the difference between cutting sexually sensitive tissue from the genitals of a child which will never grow back and cutting hair or nails?

    • Anna

      There are of course levels of parental abuses, and levels of everlasting. Female mutilation the way it is practiced is worse than male mutilation the way it is practiced, which in turn is worse than ear piercing, which in turn is worse than having your kids wear shoes that give them bruises. The legal line must be drawn somewhere and the slippery slope argument is simply propaganda.

      • Brad

        Only the most severe forms of FGM is worse than MGM. But it’s ALL mutilation. Men deserve equal protection from genital cutting. Period. Enforce the 14th Amendment. 

    • Peter Williams

      That is absurd. This is a classic slippery-slope fallacy.

      You’re welcome to propose a ban on ear-piercing, but I don’t think it will get very far. If you are suggesting that these are at all similar in their effects, however, then you must not have a penis. When I look down at mine, I see something that was mutliated without my consent. Comparing it to an ear piercing? Give me a break.

      • Jo

        sorry that you feel disgusted when you look down. when i look down i’m proud. 

        but it was your parents’ choice. take it up with them. just because you’ve got problems with it doesn’t mean you can take the choice away from other parents.

        • B rad

           It’s not a choice that belongs to parents, just as it is not for parents of girls. The only difference between FGM and MGM is cultural bias.

        • Peter Williams

          I think that says a lot right there. I can be proud of my achievements, but my penis? How are you proud of your penis? What, tell me, did you do to make your penis what it is today? What obstacles did you overcome? What challenges did you meet head on, to get the great penis that you are so proud of today?

          Anyway I did not say disgusted, but I did say mutilated, absolutely. Happy, yes. But proud? That’s for schoolkids, sorry.

    • It is already illegal to pierce a child’s genitals.

  • Pete

    With all of the other real problems facing this city, I can’t belive this is even discussed! It is a waste of energy and money!

    • Peter Williams

      So why did you comment? Go back to what you were doing….

  • AaRon

    This is the most unbalanced thing I’ve heard on KQED. I was born Jewish,
    and I’m circumcised… and I wish I never was either, but I didn’t have
    that CHOICE.  Abby says that this measure is an attack on civil
    liberties and religion… I say this measure is to protect them.
    What about my right to CHOOSE my religion and CHOOSE to keep what I was
    born with, instead of having my parents choose my religion and what body
    parts I keep and scar me for life.  KQED should have more than just Lloyd as a proponent, if
    they wanted to keep this balanced.

    • me

      your parents decide all kinds of things for you. maybe you’re a vegetarian now and they made you eat meat. take it up with them.

      just because you don’t like their choice doesn’t mean you should take away that choice from everyone.

      • Anna

        Only, having eaten meat doesn’t permanently change your body. Clearly those are very different, almost as un-analogous as Ms Porth’s very stupid likening of catholic baptism to circumcision.

        • me

          sure it does. what you eat definitely changes your body. if one kid is raised on only organic food, she will have fewer pesticides and other toxins in her body than someone raised on junk food, and that results in a lower risk of heart attacks and many other diseases. that is a much bigger effect than removing a little foreskin.

          • It’s little when he is little. A man’s foreskin is 15 sq in of skin, arteries and veins, a thin layer of muscle, and more than 20,000 specialised nerves, like those of the fingertips or lips. (That’s why a kiss on the lips is more erotic than one on the cheek.)

          • Tinwoodsman

            Vacuous arguments.

      • Jamie Poston-Benford

        cutting off a healthy part of a person’s most private parts can not compare to the food that a person would feed their child.  A circumcision can be done at anytime, but can never be undone.

        • Dana

          Sure it can. Do you think feeding your child formula as apposed to breast feeding is a healthy choice for your baby? But millions of women do it anyway.

        • me

          actually, they can be undone. you hang weights from the remaining foreskin for a while.

          • maggellan77

            This is true, but it does not replace the lost nerve endings or the ridged band. They cannot be replaced.

          • CynDaVaz

            Nope. While restoration can be very helpful to men, that still doesn’t ‘undo’ a circumcision. Once the foreskin has been cut away from the body, it never grows back.

        • You have to feed the child SOMETHING. There is no need to cut parts off his body at all.

      • CynDaVaz

        The thing is, this isn’t a choice that even remotely belongs to parents. It’s an unnecessary, painful, damaging, permanent alteration inflicted upon the body of a non-consenting human being. This is a choice that belongs to the owner of the penis, and no one else.

      • There is no other choice like this one, to cut a normal, healthy, functional, non-renewable part off his body.

        You never know which baby will or will not like that choice for him. There is no good reason not to leave the choice to HIIM. Going by the rest of the developed world, the number who will choose or need to have themselves circumcised is miniscule.

    • Good reasoning, and sad, Aaron.  Yes, this is a religious act and choosing faith or no faith is a decision for later years.  The medical arguments sound like the “purity” doctrines of the past.

      • me

         lower hiv and uti rates, as well as rates of other complications, is not an illusion.
        if you don’t want one, don’t get one. 

        • maggellan77

          That is exactly what people are asking for- if you don’t want one, you don’t have to get one. You make the decision, not someone else. 

          • me

            and you decide for your kids, too.

          • CynDaVaz

            This isn’t a decision that belongs to parents. This law would protect the inherent human right of the child to make such a decision for HIMSELF.

          • If you decide for your kids, they don’t get to decide for themselves, do they?

        • CynDaVaz

          The supposed health ‘benefits’ are ultimately bogus. This is why no medical organization in the WORLD recommends the routine circumcision of infants.

        • chromesthesia

          What prevents HIV is condoms. Infections can be prevented by cleaning the foreskin, not cutting it. It isn’t  right to cut part of the body when there are alternatives that would work better.

    • Dana

      Your ending comment would have been even less balanced. On the show you had 1 person that was for, 1 person that was against and one person that didn’t care either way and was more concerned about that facts. Are you saying you wanted 2 people that was against?

      • Peter Williams

        No, that is not true.

        The MD was, as he clearly stated, for the parents making the decision. Therefore he was against the initiative, and against the notion that one has the right to make decisions regarding one’s own body.

        Moreover, he was not overly conerned about the facts as they pertain to sexual issues related to circumcision. His perspective clearly related directly to disease state and not quality of life. In fact, it is not even clear that he understood the history of circumcision in this country, which is that it was promoted as a cure for masturbation.

        Do not be decieved that because somebody has a few letters after his name that he represents dispassionate authority.

      • There were two for the status quo and one for change. Was the doctor concerned about his child patients’ human rights?

    • maggellan77

      I wonder how many of the Christian parents are aware that by circumcising their boy, they are effectively making their son a Jew, as their son cannot be saved by Jesus? 

      Galatians 5 is quite clear on this:-

      ” 2Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.
       3For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.”This means that your son must keep the whole of the Jewish Law, including stoning to death rape victims, unruly children and homosexuals.

      • Dana

        Hopefully God would override Jesus and save us himself. If not, then God is even more selfish then I originally thought.

      • CynDaVaz

        Well, circumcision doesn’t make someone a Jew, and Christians who cut for religious purposes don’t have a justifiable reason for doing so. But for that matter, religion simply isn’t a valid justification for inflicting genital mutilation on a non-willing human being.

    • Peter Williams

      This was very unbalanced, and it was unbalanced by design: 1 for, versus 2 against.

      The question before us is whether the parents of the child should have the right to make the decision to circumcise or not circumcise their sons, or whether it is only the person being circumcised who truly has the right to make that decision.

      On this matter, Dr. Baskin by his very own words makes it quite clear that he believes the parents have the right to decide.

      Therefore, on its face, he is not a neutral party re the issue before us.

      1 vs 2 is not “fair and balanced”, not even on Fox News, much less KQED.

    • Reuven

      ” I I was born Jewish,
      and I’m circumcised… and I wish I never was either”  This explains everything. At least you have the decency and fairness to say it loud. You had the misfortune to be born Jewish. Unfortunately for you, you cannot change that, so you can at least fight everything that is Jewish. 

  • jennifer kranzke

    This should not be a measure for the public to vote on. As with abortion we should all have the opportunity to make decisions for our own bodies.
    We did not circumcise our son, it can be a desicion he can make on his own as an adult.
    Infants are traumitized by circumcision why would you cut a baby boys genitiles and not a little girls? Why would you cut any one at birth?
      

    • me

      as with abortion, this is a personal decision that should not be banned by an intrusive government, but left up to each family’s choice.

      • Peter

        So you are in favor or allowing female genital mutilation then? Congratulations@5a65bb97eccf2ac2a4e7249776240172:disqus
         

        • Guest

          Comparing female genital mutilation and circumcision is a horrible thing to do. Using this dishonest language cheapens the terrible experience of people who ACTUALLY were abused or mutilated as children!

          If you hate circumcision, that’s your choice. You can start an information campaign and convince your friends and family — but you should NOT try to legislate your beliefs.

          • Bertin

            I couldnt agree more.  What business does the government have getting into this?  Its just like government intervention with gay/lesbian marriage….ITS NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS!

          • SteveB954

            Last year the American Academy of Pediatrics proposed allowing doctors to make a small incision in the genitals of girls if her parents requested it. The AAP stated that some forms of female genital cutting are less damaging than male circumcision.

          • Brad

            I feel abused for being circumcised. I was deprived of the normal sexual experience and suffer both cosmetic and functional problems because of it. How dare you say my suffering is less important than that of females or other child abuses. This has nearly ruined my life.

            FGM is only worse in your eyes because it’s not practiced here. That’s called cultural bias.

          • Peter Williams

            Why are you trying to legislate your beliefs by keeping immigrants from Sudan from ritual genital cutting? How culturally arrogant of you. Really.

            No seriously. I’d love for you to explain the difference to me. Please.

            Is the difference a matter of kind, or degree?

            I think we can all agree that infibulation is far more severe than male circumcision, but that is a matter of degree, not kind. What about removing the labia? Or the clitoral hood? Are you saying that that is not equivalent to male circumcision?

            Come now, I’m fascinated to hear this.

        • Brad

          No. I’m just saying if you think it’s up to the family, then you must also allow FGM. Male genital mutilation is no more ethical than FGM. It’s all the same. Men deserve equal protection under the law from unnecessary genital cutting as guaranteed by the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution.

          Genital integrity is a basic human right. Not simply a woman’s right. 

      • Brad

        Only if you give the same right to parents who wish to cut their daughters. 

      • Where do you draw the line?

      • The government’s involvment in abortion would limit HER choice about HER body, that’s why they don’t. The government’s involvment in circumcision would be to ensure that HIS choice is protected for HIS body, so they need to.

    • TS

      As in abortion, I agree that if you are against circumcision, don’t have one done.

      • Anna

        Alas you can’t decide whether to have a circumcision before you can talk, understand the word circumcision, and generally be older than 2 days.

      • Which is why you need a law.  If you’re opposed to circumcision, in order to NOT have one, you need to grow up intact.

  • Tom

    Is there a difference between performing a circumcision on an infant versus an adult in terms of procedures used, pain felt?  Is it more difficult or stressful for a circumcision to be performed on an adult?

  • Joe Murray

    I’m anti-circumcision, but pro-choice. This initiative is bad government. Leave ti to the parents and the individuals. Our parents have many years and opportunities to screw us up – cutting us or directing us to one religion or another is just a couple of them.

    • maggellan77

      Surely, the pro-choice option is to leave the choice to the individual who owns the penis?

    • maggellan77

      Pro-choice should mean that the choice should belong to the individual. It is his penis and should remain his choice.

    • Peter Williams

      That’s exactly the point – to leave it to the individual, when he is 18, to decide for himself. What could be more pro-choice than that?

    • SteveB954

      “Pro-choice” is a meaningless label in this debate unless you say who gets to choose. Everyone is pro-choice. I am “pro-choice” for the owner of the penis. It is his body. It should be his choice.

      If parents pierced their son’s penis, they would go to jail. Male circumcision is a more severe form of permanent body modification than genital piercing.

    • CynDaVaz

      No, leave it to the OWNER of the penis. That’s more ‘pro-choice’ than allowing other people to make such a decision for someone else.

  • Amor1967

    We should be allowed to decide if we want to have a circumcision or not!
    It should be like getting a tattoo. Get it when you are 18. Only, if you want it and would like to have the same religious believes as your parents.

  • Damoon

    Many parents deny their children from receiving many medical procedures such as receiving vaccines since they are the decision makers and yet this does not reflex the child’s opinion. Many parents don’t believe in certain preventative medical options which might be beneficial and yet they do not face any legislature preventing them from doing so.    

  • Redseedivers

     As a Jewish father who chose not to circumcise my son, I can say this is one of the most ridiculous ballet I saw. This ballet is violating the constitutional right to exercise religious practice. On the other hand the statistics shows that there are less circumcisions being done.  This is also doing disservice to the cause of the proponents.

    • Jamie Poston-Benford

      exercising your religion should not mean that a person should be allowed to remove a healthy part of their sons most private parts. What about the religious freedom of the infant, whom one day will be an adult. To circumcise is to forever mark a person in a religious believe that they may not practice when they are older.

  • chrisco

    My first impression without knowing anything is to be against this bill on civil liberties grounds. So arguments about religious freedom, civil liberties, deeply entrenched parental Constitutional rights in raising their children seem to be on firm ground, and compelling.

    But the talking point about “hate motivation” and Nazi propaganda really turn me off. And are completely off point and pathetic and counterproductive. So what if a few hateful individuals are for or against Something. Let’s talk about the Something.

    • me

      well, it’s not just supported by haters. it was written by them.

      • Peter Williams

        No, the bill is about love, not hate. Love for babies and children and their rights.

        I’ll confess that I did hear some hateful rhetoric from the panel, but the hateful voice was not that of the bill’s supporter, Mr. Schofield.

  • Strandwolf

    A brutal practice without the consent of the victim. The talk of freedom of choice and rights of the PARENTS begs the question. This is absurd.

    • Anna

      Very well put. Since coming to the US from Europe 4 years ago I have been continually horrified by arguments parents’ right to hit their children and this is certainly along the same lines. The notion that until your 18th birthday (and then suddenly you become a person) you are the property of your parents and all rights are only with them seems antiquated to say the least. Coverture, anybody?

    • Dana

      While we are at it, they shouldn’t cut off that umbilical sticking out of a babies belly. That would also be mutilation and they would need to live with that for the rest of their life.

      • Anna

        Um, no. Umbilical cords must get cut, and do get cut, without exception across the whole world on every single child. The hail-storm of fallacious analogies continues…

      • Peter Williams

        So Dana, since you are so clearly for circumcision, perhaps you can enlighten us on exactly why we have the tradition of circumsision in this country in the first place?

        Hint: It has nothing to do with hygiene or STDs. Think more like medical quackery and a famous brand of breakfast cereal.

      • Dana, this is getting tedious. and stupid. You can’t just grab every possible interaction between parents and children and say “They do this, therefore it’s OK to cut part off a baby’s gentials – but only a boy’s.” 

        The umbilical cord has no nerves. If it’s not cut it dries up and falls off by itelf. (Some crunchy moms put the placenta in an icecream carton and let that happen.) They only reason its cut is that otherwise it’s untdy and inconvenient. It doesn’t impact on the child’s future in any way.

      • Yeah, we should have complete control over absolutely everything about our kids, I want my child to have blue eyes.

      • Laylabayet

        you have nothing but strawman retorts… the umbilical cord is no longer needed or “alive” 5-10 minutes after the baby is born. The foreskin is a living piece of flesh that serves a purpose. It is full of nerves. The cord is not.

    • Dana

      It’s also absurd that you have parents forcing their children to each junk food, speeding up the onset of Diabetes. But there it is. If children had the freedom of choice that parents do, most of them probably would never reach adult hood because they would have done something childish like fall down a flight of stairs because they were to busy playing or drink that pretty pink bottle of dish washing soap because it smells like strawberries.

  • slb

    I find the whole practice creepy and barbaric and dressing it up in religious tradition doesn’t change that fact.  However, i think that there are bigger problems in this state that we should be discussing.

    • Brad

      Would you say the same of FGM? Most forms of FGM aren’t as severe as MGM. 

  • Lisa_813

    This is an inane argument. Circumcisions are performed as a matter of health and hygiene by Jews and Gentiles, alike. It does not affect sexual performance or pleasure. These misguided people should focus on ending female genital mutilation which is barbaric, affects sexual pleasure and has many serious health consequences not addressed in the woman’s life.

    • Peter Williams

      Pure baloney.

      First, how would you know?

      Secondly, female genital mutilation does not affect sexual performance. After all, those women are able to have babies, aren’t they?

      I’m sorry, does that comment enrage you? It should. But it’s the same logic you are using. Just because a man is able to attain an erection and ejaculate does not mean that circumcision does not have an effect on sexual performance or pleasure. That is absurd.

      Let me give you one simple example: Masturbation. Masturbation in the circumcised male is much more difficult. If you doubt this, consider that the REASON we do routine circumcision in this country dates back to Victorian-era prudery which saw circumcision as a cure to the evils of self-pleasure. If you still doubt it, I encourage you to look for videos online of men masturbating, both in their natural state and their surgially altered state.

      In the natural state, the foreskin glides up and over the glans and then down again. There is no need for abrasive rubbing, or for lubrication either.

      In the circumsied state, stimulation is only possible by fricative motions that either require lots of lubrication or which abrade the skin, leading to lesions. And yes I am speaking from experience.

      Similar physiology is taking place during coitus.

      So again, baloney, to put it in polite terms.

      • Guest

        I guess I’m just better at masturbating than you — I’m cut and it’s really not an issue. Perhaps you should see your doctor, you might have some other physiological issue.

        • Peter Williams

          Go search for video of an uncircumcised man masturbating. Don’t worry, we won’t question your sexual orientation. 🙂

          Be prepared to be amazed. Your penis in its natural state can do things you never imagined.

      • Jo

        “Secondly, female genital mutilation does not affect sexual performance. After all, those women are able to have babies, aren’t they?”

        so women should only have sex in order to have babies? that’s the only purpose? that sounds like the people who cut off clitorises to prevent enjoyment.

        • maggellan77

          I know that it goes against most people’s thinking, but the majority of women who have had FGM done to them, still have orgasms. Even the majority of women who have suffered Type III (infibulation) still have orgasms. 

          The clitoral glans is not the only part of the clitoris. There are 18 parts. The reason for circumcision, according to Jewish tradition, is to reduce sexual pleasure. Sound similar?

          • me

            that’s not the reason for Jewish circumcision. it is done to distinguish Jewish boys in the diaspora from others. it’s there to preserve the nation.

          • Brad

            Read Maimonides. Then read about Dr. Kellogg. You stand corrected.

          • maggellan77

            Thanks, Brad, you got there before me.

          • Laylabayet

            Please read Questioning Circumcision:A Jewish Perspective by Ronald Goldman

        • Peter Williams

          Obviously you did not read, or understand, my point.

          Of course women do not only have sex just to have babies. That is patently absurd and offensive.

          The point is that you were using the same absurd reasoning yourself. That is, you state that male circumcision does not affect male performance or enjoyment of sex, based on what…. that they can still have it and enjoy it?

          Trust me, if you cut off half a man’s penis at birth, he would still want and enjoy sex. Would you still argue that there was no loss of pleasure? Of course not.

          Therefore, your reasoning has no merit. You have no evidence on which to stand to support your assertion that circumcision does not affect pleasure or performance. Presumably the only reason you might think so is that circumcised men still want and enjoy sex. And that sort of logic, as I point out, is the same as thinking that women are not harmed by FGM because they can still have babies. Which is patently absurd and offensive, as stated.

        • Peter Williams

          Of course women should have sex for reasons other than having babies.

          That is the point.

          Have you perhaps never heard of sarcasm or irony, used as rhetorical tools? What else do they not teach in school these days?

    • MARYA

      Lisa,
      You obviously have never “had” an uncut male as a sex partner.  I was so shocked by the depth and uncotrollability of orgasm and the encredibleness of never having any drying or soreness afterwards that I never want to go back to circumcised sex. 
       
      The foreskin is a sexual treasure for women and men alike.  Unfortunately, 95% of men in my generation were circumcised in this country (1969), so I am forced to date men born out of the country if I hope to have the delicious, sensual and amazing sex that us humans were meant to have.
       
      It is my hope that someday you open your mind to the possibility that the foreskin ON THE MALE PENIS has SOMETHING  to do with intercourse and pleasure, for indeed it does.
       
      Furthermore, A MAN’S RIGHT TO CHOOSE!  How can anyone truly oppose a man’s right to choose what happens to his most sensitive organ?
       
      Additionally, how about our constitutional amendment of EQUAL PROTECTION UNDER THE LAW?  If girls are protected from knives to their genitals regardless of the religion of their parents, so should boys. 
       
      I keep being shocked that so many people find it OK to take a scalpal to infant boys penises.  As a health care provider having the bad luck of having to witness these at work, I can tell you, great harm is being donw, the infants feel it, breastfeeding is interrupted, and it is a very sad thing to watch repeatedly.
       
      More physicians need to step up and put down the knife.
       
      Web sites you may want to check out include http://www.jewsagainstcircumcision.org, doctorsopposingcirc.org, and any foreskin restoration site.
       
      The pure fact that so many men look to restore their foreskin should be proof that we need to leave THE DECISION TO MEN AND WHAT’S RIGHT FOR THEIR OWN BODY!
       
      Blessings on your search for truth  and knowledge,
       
      MG

    • JB

      Sorry for being blunt or crud but Lisa you are just as biased and misinformed as the Dr. on the radio. Mutilation is Mutilation! How can you believe that a circumcised man with 13 square inches less of the skin that has the greatest concentration on nerve endings could not diminish sexual pleasure. I’m a 47 year old male that was circumcised at birth.  Several months ago I started the process of using a device called a DTR to restore my Foreskin. I thought I was doing it for purely cosmetic reasons and to take back a choice that was taken from me.  As the saying goes you don’t know what your missing if you never had it,(or don’t remember it).  The looser skin has diminished friction and increased both my control and  the length of time it takes me to reach orgasm.  No complaints from my spouse on 20 years.  I should also state that after gland of the penis was covered 24/7 for a few months what I thought was normal skin pealed off much like a sunburn to reveal a much more pleasurable part of my anatomy.

    • Laylabayet

      Please read Questioning Circumcision:A Jewish Perspective by Ronald Goldman PhD

  • Jeremy

    The argument made by Mr. Schofield and others regarding the individual liberties of the baby is perplexing.  It suggests that there is some widespread regret and/or resentment by males that they were circumcised, such that they need to be “protected from their parents.”  But I’ve never known any circumcised man, whether Jewish, Muslim, Christian, or otherwise, to express this view.

    • Strandwolf

      Well, here I am.

    • Peter Williams

      Here’s one person, a circumcised male, who resents it. You can find many many more if you bother to search online.

      Come on, how often does this come up in conversation?

      I’ve resented it my entire life, but the only person I’ve ever mentioned it to is my wife. Oh, and my parents, who just said “it’s what everybody did.”

      Quite a few of those who don’t resent it probably just never gave it much thought. Maybe it never  to them that the reason their glans chafes all the time, why running and biking are uncomfortable, why masturbation is difficult and and in some cases abrasive without lots of lubrication, why they have difficulty achieving orgasm later in life, etc etc….. is that they were circumcised.

      • Guest

        My husband and both of his brothers feel that they were mutilated against their will.  They were circumcised in the 1950’s.  After I read ‘Sex as Nature Intended It’, I told my husband about the difference in movement during intercourse between cut and un-cut men and how it affected the woman’s pleasure.  He tried out the ‘un-cut’ way and it totally turned around our sex lives.  I didn’t think our sex was inferior before, but not I know different.  I’ve explained the difference to some friends, and they now enjoy much improved sex lives with their cut and mutilated men.

    • Brad

      I hate the fact that i’m circumcised. most men simply don’t know what they are missing, and those that are informed about it, reflexively deny that they are missing out on anything, because the are afraid of that truth.

    • Going by the sales of foreskin restoration devices, tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of men hate it enough to try to undo it.

    • Heres another person.

  • chrisco

    Without knowing anything and on first impression, I am against this measure on civil liberties grounds and deeply entrenched Constitutional rights of parents related to raising their children. The implications for such a law on other parental and citizen rights is alarming.

    But arguments about anti-Semitism and a “hate motivated” campaign are quite off-point and pathetic and counterproductive. Who cares if some hateful individuals are for or against something. Let’s talk about the something.

    • Brad

      What about my rights? I was denied the right to intact genitalia. Or should only women be granted that right?

    • Brad

      What about my civil liberties. This ban actually supports civil liberties, because it protects the rights of the individual to chose when they are old enough whether or not to be circumcised. Parents have no right to consent to unnecessary surgery on their children, let alone on their genitals, and not just for girls.

  • guest

    I was circumcised at the age of 18 for medical reasons, which means I lived both situations. I prefer the latter situation, definitely, and for various reasons. I’d be happy to comment on the air if you want. Contact me by email.

    • Jamie Poston-Benford

      How long have has it been since you where circumcised? How much sexual activity did you have before being cut? Some circumcised men do not noticed sexual dysfunction until their 40 or older. I am not trying to be snarky I am just asking.

    • Peter Williams

      That’s fine for you, but that’s not the issue here. The issue is one of choice, outside of medical necessity. I can guarantee you that there are many men in your position who find just the opposite.

  • Romy

    I am not sure if banning circumcision is the right way to go, even though I am totally against circumcision. If it were so great, than the entire male world would be circumscised. I wish doctors would inform parents in a more objective way. Just as the doctor on your show, they list all these great benefits and of course parents want to protect their children, but I think doctors should rather say: 85 % of the world isn’t doing it an they are fine, it is an unnecessary medical procedure. Arguments like hygiene are so stupid, because cleaning your child’s penis is the easiest thing ever. I rather have people use condoms than rely on their missing foreskin. I wouldn’t be surprised if HIV goes up, because people think they can’t get it now. The African studies are nice and good, but it still doesn’t protect the women from the men that still get it. And like I said before, if it has really such a tremendous impact everybody would do it. Also, no one ever talks about the pain. Just because babies can’t tell you about the pain and because they forget about it, doesn’t mean they don’t feel it. Great entry into an already cold world, get a dose of pain as a welcome present. We as parents run to the doctor for each sniffle, but some parents are totally fine to have their 1-2 day olds go under the knife. I hope those parents are at least brave enough to attend the surgery and stand there watch their child scream his head off for a completely pointless surgery.
    But I have people rather focus on promoting vaccination that banish circumcision.

  • Parents should research circumcision and make an informed decision for the health & well-being of their son. 

    Male circumcision is a safe, popular, healthy & beneficial procedure for individuals & parents to choose. It provides benefits such as 12x less likely for UTI, +22x less likely for cancer, 28% less risk for herpes, 35% for HPV & 60% for HIV/AIDS. The risks are about 0.2% and are typically minor & easily corrected.

    • Guest99

      Pleas site your sources, or they are meaningless…

    • maggellan77

      Please do not use relative risk reduction (RRR) figures for your benefits. They are very misleading. Absolute risk reduction (ARR) are much more accurate and preferred by those who wish accuracy. Figures like 60% for HIV acquisition sound very big, but the ARR is much lower. The ARR for HIV in the trials in Africa was around 2%. That figure is much lower than the number of men who dropped out of the trials. 

      We should not hide behind large percentages over a small affected group.

    • Jamie Poston-Benford

      UTIs can be treated with antibiotics. A man has more of a chance of getting breast cancer, than penile cancer.  28%,35% and 60% is still not 100% so condoms STILL need to be worn by circumcised and intact men.  And the last time I check an infant is not having sex, so why would they need to be circumcised to prevent disease. While some risk of circumcision may be minor there are those that are not.

      • Circumcision provide protection against UTI, and also kidney damage that can come from untreated/under-treated/repeated UTIs.

        Circumcision should be part of any safe-sex practice to help prevent the infection & spread of STDs.

        Baby boys grow to be men that have sex, so circumcision for STD prevention makes sense.

        Circumcision risks with trained doctors are ~ 0.2% and are typically minor & easily corrected.

        • Reasoning101

          Utter rubbish. The definitive study on serious complications from circumcision, by Williams & Kapila, found the rate to be between 2 and 8 percent. That’s about 50,000 botched infant circumcisions per year in the United States, including those requiring re-circumcision and several that lead to brain damage and death.

          There has never been any study on UTIs that controlled for proper penile care (i.e., no retraction). None. In its absence, it can be noted that there are absolutely no statistical differences in male infant UTI rates between the US and Europe, where infant circumcision is almost nonexistent. Moreover, reported rates have not risen one iota as Australia and Canada have begun abandoning neonatal circumcision over the last generation. UTI is a bogus claim. Similarly, there has been absolutely no rise in STI rates in those countries, and Western Europe overall enjoys better sexual health than the US.

        • Lilly

          Death from circumcision isn’t easily corrected.

    • Peter

      Oh really? Those are quite bold claims. I have never encoutered anything so strong from even the most fervent circumcision fetishist.

      Somehow I thought that, as an educated society, we would encourage our children to learn how to use condoms when they became sexually active, instead of irreversibly surgically altering them at birth for dubious health benefits.

      I do believe that statistics – real ones, not inflated ones – have shown that condoms are quite effective against the conditions you mention.

    • Peter Williams

      BTW I do hope that our listeners are smart enough to realize how completely absurd a number like “22x less likely for cancer” is.

      22x.

      This is such a huge number that basically even in the US the only guys walking into the typical clinic with cancer and UTIs should be European & Asian transplants. Think about it for a second.

      In other words, basically, the number is a complete load of baloney. Thanks very much for the propaganda however.

    • Laylabayet

      Hello Mr. Morris
      Ladies and gentlemen, meet Mr. Brian Morris and Mr. Jake Waskett who are circumfetishists and run circinfo. They spread inflated and false data and love watching babies and men have their genitals cut.
      http://www.circleaks.org/index.php?title=Circumfetish 
      Guess what Mr. Morris/Jake Waskett, the tide has long turned. Parents are saying no to genital cutting because the truth is readily available for quality research – and no, your website is not included on that list of quality research.

  • I am cut. I have never had any problems. My wife and I are TOTALLY satisfied. Is it possible that the nerves are damaged when adults get circumcized while children/infants are still developing those nerves?

    • Guest99

      How do you know if you would be more satisfied if you were not circumcized? You dont know what you are missing. So I’m not sure you can make a statement like that.
      Its like saying vanilla is your favorite flavor if you’ve never tasted chocolate. How would you know?

      • I doubt my wife would be very happy if my sensitivity were any greater. The question is if the nerves generating the sensation are fully developed or concentrate in different areas when comparing individuals cut as an infant or as an adult.

        • Rokony

          Although the brain does compensate for all the lost nerve endings…and in the end those of us who are cut enjoy sex….it creeps me out that my mucous membrane is permanently DRY and rubs against my boxers uncomfortably. Frankly, I wouldn’t remove my eyelid and I certainly don’t want the inside of my cheek to dry out, so I can only ASSUME that I would appreciate a wet head on my penis the way it should have been.

        • Peter Williams

          It’s an interesting comment because one of the supposed health “benefits” of circumcision that its proponents love to parade is that it reduces premature ejaculation.

          And why would it do that, pray tell?

          Because you have reduced sensitivity, that is why.

          In your case, you wife might complain if your sensitivity were any greater. But, there are things you can do about that, such as desensitizing creams.

          Circumcision, however, is irreversible, and there’s no such thing as a sensitizing cream (some claim to be, but come on, once the nerve endings are cut – and there ARE nerve endings cut – they ain’t coming back).

        • Laylabayet

          My husband is intact (not cut) and has no issues with “too much” sensitivity or premature ejaculation. He has more feeling giving him good control.

  • As a formerly religious person I was not “cut” and am glad for that.  I would suggest this law exclude for religious reasons, at least to begin with.  Then, it must be discussed honestly for what it is:  a religious rite that is practiced first, “because God told us to” and second, as a way for one religion to “prove” superiority and special election by God over everyone else.  In other words, with all the claims about anti-Semitism, the cutting of infant foreskins was and is an extreme anti-Gentile act.  Let’s be honest about the actual origins and purpose here. 

    • me

      lol. it’s not done to «prove superiority», thanks for perpetuating stereotypes. Jews don’t think they’re superior. stop reading that comic.
      anti-gentile my foot. that’s offensive.

      it’s done to distinguish Jews from others in the diaspora. to remain a people, even in exile.

      wow.

  • Dana

    Government has no place in deciding if my child should be circumcised or not. I was circumcised as a baby and not at 38, I have never felt any side effects and my sex life has been just fine. Lloyd Schofield needs to go get his facts strait.

    • Anna

      I’m guessing (hoping) your basis for comparison with regards to your sex life is somewhat limited.

      Also, government has a perfectly legitimate place is deciding that some citizens may not mutilate other citizens, regardless of their relationship.

      • Dana

        Not sure what it is you are trying to say in your first statement. Perhaps you can elaborate.

        • Anna

          You say that you were circumcised as a baby. Therefore you cannot know what potential sex life benefits you are missing out on had you had a foreskin. It seems that this argument is made on both sides of the debate: ‘I am circumcised/uncircumcised and my sex life rocks. Hence it wouldn’t have been better had I been uncircumcised/circumcised.’ Which is an argument that can only be made by someone with significant sexual experiences both before and after circumcision.

  • Lior

    I am a doula (birth assistant,) a home-birthing, breastfeeding, crunchy granola  Jewish mom. As a doula, I have assisted families in the months leading up to and following the birth of their children – including deciding to do circumcisions.

    Circumcision in the hospital or doctor’s office can take a long time, sometimes includes tying down the baby, and usually does not include religious ritual.

    Circumcision by a mohel is much faster, less painful for the baby and inckudes important religious ritual and prayer. Local anesthetic can usually be used, from topical cream and anesthetic, as the doctor on the show has mentioned, to freeze spray, which numbs the foreskin tissue.

    I am all for parents deciding to have a bris (as the Jewish ritual is called) with a certified mohel they have researched.

    • Strandwolf

      Does the moyle use his fingernail? Does he insert the cut penis into his mouth? These are standard practices and definitely unhygienic.

    • Jamie

      Do you also support the mohels who put their mouths on the penis of the child?

      This has caused sexually transmitted infections to be spread, leading to at least one death.

    • Devout

      So, if cutting off some part of a baby is quick and easy, that makes it ok? The defining line in this issue is speed of the circumcision?

      • Dana

        Is it okay to cut your fingernails and toe nails too? That’s a form of mutilation as well and if done wrong can be very painful.

        • Devout

          Let me think…

          Foreskin: does not regrow, painful to remove
          Nails & Hair: do regrow; not painful to remove

        • Peter Williams

          Ok Dana let’s cut off your labia and see how you feel about that. Isn’t that, uh, just like a hangnail or something?

    • Peter

      Somebody should tell the baby.

      I’ve been to a bris. The ear-piercing cries of the restrained infant, not to mention the blood everywhere, were enough to send quite a few women from the room. It made me want to vomit.

      However, the real issue is that if we are going to allow this at all, that it should be done in this fashion, not in a hospital.

      The idea of MDs, sworn to the Hippocratic oath, performing unnecessary and deleterious surgery on a patient who can not offer his consent, in hospital of all places – that has to end NOW.

      • Dana

        Yes why don’t you tell that to the motorcycle driver that was just knocked unconscious because he/she was thrown off his/her bike after being rear ended and now has cracked ribs and a hole in his/her lung. Maybe the doctor should wait for that person to wake up so they can be asked if they want it fixed.  

        • Peter Williams

          Uhh, point being?

        • Look up “unnecessary” and “deleterious”.

    • You can have the important religious ritual and prayer at a Brit Shalom without the cutting. The “numbing” wears off in a few minutes, but urine gets in the wound for about another week. Here are videos of Brisot Milah. http://www.youtube.com/user/mesholam8 Yes it’s fast (if they haven’t been edited), time enough to make a disastrous mistake.

    • Laylabayet

      I have been to a couple of Bris ceremonies and there is no less pain for the baby. That is a myth. There are still probes, scalpels and crushers involved.  Freeze spray does nothing for the layers of tissue or nerves – it numbs the outer layer of skin.
      As a doula, you should be giving clients both sides of the issue including books like Questioning Circumcision:A Jewish Perspective by Ronald Goldman PhD and websites like http://www.beyondthebris.com, http://www.jewsagainstcircumcision.org, etc
      I find it hypocritical to work so hard towards a gentle, peaceful birth and then holding that baby down to remove what is medically known to be the most sensitive part of a males genitalia.

      • Laylabayet

        Also, learn about Brit Shalom. A nice, alternative ceremony where the baby is welcomed without being sliced.

  • Tom

    Your doctor seems at the least uninformed and even perhaps biased against this measure. How can he possibly claim that there is “no loss in sensitivity” when the FACT is that several inches of extremely sensitive skin — with millions of nerve endings — is cut off? Additionally, the head of the penis (glans) is biologically designed to be covered and is similar to a mucus membrane; having that skin removed and having the glans exposed to constant friction from clothing is obviously going to affect the sensitivity of that tissue. 

    Abby’s claim that this is “hate mongering” is a clear instance of turning this issue on its head. There’s nothing hateful about stopping the genital mutilation of helpless infant boys. She’s just using inflammatory language to obfuscate the real issue. Shame on her. She’s an embarrassment to the Jewish community.And would Abby PLEASE stop saying “at the end of the day”? 

  • Amit

    Statistics have not shown a significant benefit to circumcision. Religious/social reasons apart, what are the benefits of circumcision? Evolutionarily speaking why do your pro-circumcision guests think is this organ still being maintained?

    • Rokony

      Those statistics are virtually NEVER from studies done on first world nations. Um, nothing wrong per se with doing studies in Africa, where MANY of your statistics are coming from, but… It’s not good medicine to take findings from “third world” nations and apply them to our society. For example, truckers meeting with prostitutes had higher HIV infection, but the women used a kind of leaf that dried out their genitals for a LOCAL phenomenon known as “dry sex”. The findings make headlines, which lead to such off the cuff remarks as yours, but sadly you –like most of the country– is misinformed.

      • Rokony

        oh let me further explain…the uncut truckers had higher HIV rates, so this “PROVED” circumcision was awesome. BUT the “dry sex” leads to genital tearing, hence more blood interaction. ALSO, the Muslims in the study had less HIV infection, but they also ABSTAINED more often from sex with prostitutes due to religious reasons, and THAT’s why they were infected with HIV less. This point was not fully explored in the study. Yet headlines abounded about the wonders of CIRC. OMG, this study I am referring to is just ONE example of how we have been FLEECED by this preposterous blood ritual…..one of the last blood rituals to hold on in our country. ARCHAIC…duh. I don’t agree with government legislation per se, but at least it brings up the question of stopping this ritual. Religions evolve, so that is no excuse, religious people. I am Jewish, though not very religious. Anyways, only a small percentage of the US is Jewish and the majority still snip.

    • Jo

      like abortion, we’re not pro-circumcision, we’re pro-choice.

      • maggellan77

        If you were pro-choice, you would be arguing for the choice of the child, not for someone else to choose for you.

      • SteveB954

        Everyone in this debate is “pro-choice”. The question is,  “Who gets to choose?” Does the person who has to live with the decision for the rest of his life get to choose or another person get to choose?

  • Dartangion

    Removing part of the body in advance of disease is absurd. We don’t remove girl’s breasts in advance to prevent future cancer, which is vastly more prevalent than any of the issues associated with intact foreskins.

    Babies need to be protected from this ancient and Barbaric tradition. Doctors who come up with excuses to protect circumcision have a political/moral agenda.

    This is no different than Clitoral Mutilation, foot binding, scarring, or any other form of mutilation.

    Free speech and freedom of religion do not allow parents to abuse children.

    • Jo

      very different.
      the purpose of foot binding and fgm is to repress women.
      that is not the purpose of circumcision.

      and scarification is legal.

      • SteveB954

        Scarification of a child is illegal. Male circumcision is a more severe form of permanent body modification than scarification.

        • me

          in your opinion. circumcision is like getting a haircut. it’s a tiny piece of skin. there are no negative effects.

          • SteveB954

            One of the characteristics of cultures that cut the genitals of children is devaluing the parts they cut off a child’s body. African attitudes about intact female genitals are similar to American attitudes about intact male genitals.

            Once people learn about the anatomy of the male foreskin, they realize that it is much more than “a tiny piece of skin”.

          • Brad

            There are numerous negative effects. It’s not like a haircut. Your hair is dead. Your foreskin is alive, extremely sensitive. In fact, a study published by the British Journal of Urology showed that circumcision removes the most sensitive parts of the male genitalia. You can see for yourself. You likely have some “inner” skin left. Does it feel better to touch that inner skin or the head of the penis. It’s the inner skin. It’s far more sensitive. Circumcision removes almost all of the inner skin. 

          • Circumcision will be “like getting a haircut” when foreskins grow back in a couple of weeks. The eyelids are also “tiny pieces of skin”. There are many negative effects, up to and including death.

          • If you say so, there are plenty of other body parts you can remove to prevent disease that the child may not miss. But we don’t do it. Circumcision has remained because men believe what they have is the best, and their sons need it to be the best as well. Leaving a child intact will not guarantee harm. Whereas circumcision guarantees a lost body part and a scar. It can always be done later, but it can never be undone.

      • The original purpose of “medical” circumcision was to prevent, “cure” and punish masturbation – to repress males. (J H Kellogg recommended circumcsion for boys, carbolic acid for girls.) One of the purposes of ritual circumcision was also to repress men:

        “As regards circumcision, I think that one of its objects is to limit sexual intercourse, and to weaken the organ of generation as far as possible, and thus cause man to be moderate.”

        “The bodily injury caused to that organ is exactly that which is desired…there is no doubt that circumcision weakens the power of sexual excitement, and sometimes lessens the natural enjoyment; the organ necessarily becomes weak when it loses blood and is deprived of its covering from the beginning.

        – Maimonides, Moreh Nevuchim (The Guide for the Perplexed)

        p.378 of the Dover edition
        1956.

      • Laylabayet

        The scarification of children is NOT legal

  • Jennifer

    This ballot measure has many subversive intentions, the most obvious including xenophobia – preventing “others” from living and raising families in SF, and misogynistic – in attempt to set precedent in legislating a safe, legal, accepted medical procedureu a la the anti-choice movement. In the least Mr. Schofield has some kind of sexual/penile complex and wants to take revenge on everyone in the city of SF. 

    There is no reason for this safe, legal, accepted medical procedure to be criminalized.

    • maggellan77

      Where on earth do you get “misogynistic” from? That I just cannot see.

      Xenophobia I can’t quite understand since this is something that has been in American culture for over a century.
      I do not see why you needed to use quotation marks around others. I also do not see how this prevents them from living in SF. In fact this may prevent some of the boys from dying in SF.

      Circumcision is not safe. If it was, then no-one would die, suffer penile amputation, hemorrhage, infection or develop Meatal Stenosis because of it.

      Do remember that it was only a short time ago that FGM was a “safe, legal, accepted medical procedure” in America.

  • Bzeiser

    The leftwing fascists in SF are once again trying to use the police power of the state to reduce the liberties of individuals. Since when does the government have any right to interfere with a benign, medically approved procedure

    This is the most specious and ridiculousidea that the left-whackos in SF habe come up with in a long time.

    • Peter

      On the contrary, the measure aims to INCREASE the liberties of individuals.

      *I* want the liberty to decide whether, when and where I am circumcised.

      What could possibly be more clear?

  • Guest

    If Mr.Schofield really believes in his cause, why is he disguising the purpose of the measure by claiming it protects people from “mutilation”? Using this dishonest language cheapens the terrible experience of people who actually were abused or mutilated as children!

    What’s next, a ban on child ear piercings?

    • Peter Williams

      Speak for yourself. I think my penis was mutilated. If we cut off little girls’ labia minora, would you not call that mutilation?

      Functionally – as opposed to developmentally – these structures are actually quite homologous.

    • Brad

      My penis was also mutilated. 

  • Neut

    Voluntary genital AMPUTATION, even if it is partial, should not be legal under any circumstances.

    • Jo

      that’s fascist.

      • Brad

        What was fascist was to deny ME the choice. My foreskin was taken without my consent. THAT is fascist.

        A ban on circumcision of minors supports individual liberty. Allowing circumcision of minors is a denial of individual liberty. 

      • Peter Williams

        “Fascist”. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  • Jamie Poston-Benford

    UTIs can be treated with antibiotics. A reduction in transmission of disease is no excuse for not using condoms. Cut or intact a man still needs to wear a condom. The foreskin is not just a flap of skin, nor is it a birth defect. The foreskin has 20,000+ nerve endings and has a function. Female circumcision does not make sex painful for every women. Male
    circumcision can make sex painful for some women because the foreskin
    has been removed and part of the foreskins purpose is to aid in sexual
    pleasure. Another function of foreskin is protection, glands(head) is suppose to be an internal organ not external.  Yes, there are types of FGM that are more extreme that male circumcision, but there are also types of FGM that are less invasive than male circumcision.  Here is a blog post from a mother whom had her daughter circumcised.  http://aandes.blogspot.com/2010/04/circumcision.html  The removal of the foreskin(clitoral hood) from a female is less invasive than the removal of foreskin from a male and the reasons for doing so are the same as those used for male circumcision.

  • FamDoc

    I am a Family M.D. and have had many deliveries of male babies and have been asked to provide circumcision.  I stopped providing the service because no matter what form of “anesthsia” was given, the baby was held down in four point restraints and cried horribly.  I would sweat and get nauseated by my actions.  This shouldn’t be illegal, but we need to look at current practices.  We don’t continue many other religious rituals we once have did as we educate and evolve.  Thank you for the discussion.

    • SteveB954

      Thank you for not performing non-therapeutic circumcisions. This would probably not be an issue now if the medial profession had ended the practice of non-religious, non-therapeutic male circumcision several decades ago.

    • CynDaVaz

      FamDoc – America needs more doctors like you.

    • Some doctors seem to think that if the parents demand it, they have to do it. They simply don’t. And yes, thank you.

  • Stevv

    All the accusations of hate aside, all religion aside, it’s mutilation. It’s not an ear lobe. This ritual of genital mutilation, is not appropriate as a routine procedure in our hospitals for all males. 

  • Neut

    Every person has a right to their entire body, not just most of it.

    What about the rights of the infant?  Why not take the pinky finger, too?  Where any given superstition (called religion) draws that line is arbitrary.  This idea is not anti-semitic any more than banning witch burning was anti-catholic.  The Abbey person seems a hate-monger and one who fans the flames to her benefit.  Kinda like Karl Rove.

  • Guest

    I missed some of the program, so I am not sure if this question was
    answered already. But when Mrs. Porth was asked to explain the benefits
    and purpose of male circumcision in Judaism, she didn’t really answer. Also, I don’t believe that religious
    freedom and tradition are sufficient excuses to condone all behaviors.
    While I think circumcision performed by trained professionals should be
    available to willing parents, educated societies should be able to limit
    some religious practices if they are deemed hurtful or unlawful. Some
    religions have performed brutal animal (or human) sacrifices for
    centuries, and some fundamentalist Muslims, Jews, and Christians
    practice terrible misogyny still today.

  • MJS

    I can’t believe the previous commenter thought Abby was biased against the proposition.  If anything, she was biased in favor of it.  She described the 7,000 + signatories on the ballot initiative as a ‘groundswell’ – that’s actually less than 1% of the population of San Francisco, hardly a super-majority.

    I also don’t know where this ends.  Studies say breastmilk is best for babies, should we next ban the sale of formula in San Francisco?  Or make it illegal to feed children anything but organic food due to the health risks of pesticides?  I’m a pretty progressive person, but this proposition absolutely crosses the line for me.  Mommy issues should be talked out with your therapist, not imposed on the will of the citizenry.

    • Peter Williams

      Again, a bogus slippery-slope argument, not to mention patronizing.

      So you are saying that the fact that my genitals have been surgically altered against my will is a “mommy” issue?

      If we cut off little girls’ labia minora at birth, would we tell them the same thing when they got older and complained? Go talk to a therapist about your “daddy” issues?

      I’m sorry, don’t like the shoe on the other foot?
       

      • me

        I’ll bet you had to attend school and eat your vegetables against your will, too.

        • Peter Williams

          Not at all. I love vegetables.

          Next completely irrelevant and/or specious argument please?

        • This comment would have some relevance if you had to continue attending the school, and eat the vegetables, of your parents’ choice for the rest of your life…

  • guest

    The gentleman who is exposing a ban has sited several instances when men complain about negative side effects particularly lack of sexual satisfaction. In each case he has mentioned anecdotal evidence. He never mentions any rigorously controlled scientific studies that refute the scientific studies mentioned by the doctor. Does he have any he can point to? He does not seem to have a case backed up by anything but anecdotal data.

    • Female Guest

      Yes there were no specific studies. I can’t speak for the men, but wouldn’t you typically enjoy sex more if your partner was enjoying it more? Sex with an uncircumcised penis just feels better to the woman and that could influence a man’s sexual satisfaction as well.

    • Peter Williams

      There are many.

      You can look for more info on wikipedia’s article on sexual effects of circumcision. Being wikipedia, “pro” and “con” voices have both chimed in.

      One thing that is lacking from most of these studies is that they focus on the glans – perhaps because they were authored by doctors who were circumcised and who therefore were glans-centric. In fact there is quite a lot of erogenous tissue that is cut away during the circumcision process.

      Another thing lacking is that the focus is primarily on tactile sensation, and not on the physiology of masturbation or coitus itself. For the latter, see the book, “Sex as Nature Intended It”: http://www.sexasnatureindendedit.com

      This last item is not a peer-reviewed article, but it points out many aspects of the physiology of coitius itself that appear to have been completely ignored by the scientific community.

      Speaking as a scientist myself, this sort of thing does not surprise me. We tend to get tunnel-vision sometimes. Anyway the book makes for fascinating reading.

    • maggellan77

      May I suggest to you the penile sensitivity mapping done by Sorrels et al- http://www.circumstitions.com/Sexuality.html#sorrells

      This is not anecdotal, but an actual experiment. As far as I know, it is th only experiment and not anecdotal study, from either side.

  • Female Perspective

    What What about the woman’s perspective? I am a Jewish woman who is married to an umcircumcised man. Sex with an uncircumcised man has been more enjoyable for me. Less lubrication is needed and the sensation of the foreskin contributes to sexual satisfaction as well. I think circumcision takes away from the sexual satisfaction of women. Theis fact seems to be something no one wants to talk about.

    • Peter Williams

      I have heard this, and there is even a book on this subject.

      I shudder at the thought, however, that they only way women could be brought into this argument is if they saw the deleterious effects on their own sex lives, rather then on the men themselves.

      • Female Guest

        My concern is of course primarily for the men. I just noticed that no one had mentioned the effects on women.

    • Dana

      I’m sorry but just because you didn’t have an enjoyable experience doesn’t mean all women go through that. I am circumcised and have never needed lubrication to satisfy my partner. In my experience, women provide more then enough lubrication when properly stimulated.

      • Female Guest

        I actually enjoyed all my sexual experiences very much – seriously! I have been very lucky in that way. Sometime though you just want to go at it quickly and may not have warmed up (be quite as lubricated) as much as other times. The uncircumcised penis just feels better – I am sorry to say. The foreskin creates a great sensation. I am not trying to make all you uncircumcised men feel badly – I just want people to think about the implications of the decision to circumcise your baby boys.

      • Female Guest

        I have always enjoyed my “experiences” and am very lucky in this way. However, intercourse with an uncircumcised penis has it’s differences. One of my concerns is that baby boys don’t have a choice about circumcision and their later sex lives later could be even better better if we abstain from the practice of circumcision.

    • Peter Williams

      Oh yes here is the book:
      http://www.sexasnatureintendedit.com/

    • Ms.M

      My husband is intact and I agree, the sex is great. He has much more feeling and sensitivity than the cut men I’ve been with.

  • Robin

    Circumcision as a religious practice for 5000s has represented, symbolicaly, the covenant between the Jewish people and Abraham.  Those who wish to ban it — on allegedly “free choice” grounds — are disingenuous.  Their concern is not for our children.  They are anti-Semites who have found a new way to render illegal a religiously and culturally signficant ritual and, thereby, threaten the identity and community of Jews.  They are the inheritors of the Nazi scheme to “purify” the race.  Shame on them.

    • Brad

      It has nothing to do with anti-semitism. Genital integrity is a basic human right, and not just for girls.

      Even many jews are against circumcision because of the many ethical problems associated with it. Are those jews anti-semitic?

       

  • Female Perspective

    I see all these men writing-in about how their sex lives haven’t been affected by their circumcision. How do they actually know that if they were circumcised as an infant? You would have no idea if you could have experienced more sensation. You would have no idea if your sex life could have been better because your female partner would enjoy it more.

    • Dana

      My partner is more then happy and I have never had any complaints. As for me if I had any more sensation, then I probably would not make my partner happy because the sexual experience would end quickly. Your comment is mute.

      • Female Guest

        I am very glad that you have a good sex life. My comment is mute? My point is that parents should not make this decision for their baby. I would never tell any of my past relationships that their penis didn’t feel as good as an uncircumcised penis. That would be cruel snce they can’t change it. That is the bummer for everyone. Men who have been circumcised are missing out and so are their sexual partners. At least the men won’t know that they are missing out because most don’t have anything to compare it to since they did not have a choice and were circumcised as babies. All I know is that I hope my Jewish daughter ends up with an uncircumcised man for both their sakes.

      • Peter Williams

        Well there you go! The definitive study. He’s happy, therefore it could not conceivably be better.

        (BTW just between the two of us I think you mean “moot” not “mute”.)

  • Jamie Poston-Benford

    mutilate 1. To deprive of a limb or an essential part; cripple. 2. To disfigure by damaging irreparably. 3. To make imperfect by excising or altering parts.

    1. the foreskin is an essential part. It’s main purpose is to protect
    the glands(head). It also aids in sexual pleasure for both partners. 2.
    circumcision can disfigure by damaging irreparably. There are cases of
    boys lose some or all of their penis. 3. Foreskin is not a birth defect
    and to remove a healthy functioning part of the body is to make
    imperfect.

  • gypsy666

    About circumcision. . . my son was born in England (where circumcision is
    less common?)–at University College Hospital in London.  I choose to have
    my son circumcised for health reasons (infections, etc.) and I watched the
    procedure.  The doctor inserted a small plastic ring under the foreskin and then tied a string around the foreskin on top of the ring.  It took about 15 seconds to remove the foreskin–no anesthetic.  The ring was left in place
    for a few days and then fell off.  His foreskin was fine–no bleeding or
    tenderness.  He cried for about 1 minute while it was being done–not as
    much as he cried when he was being weighed at the clinic!  Unless and until we have evidence that shows that circumcision is harmful in the medical sense, I think this should be a personal decision made by parents.

    If you feel otherwise, go ahead and argue your case and try to change people’s opinions–but legislation?–silly waste of time and money!

  • dmytwinkle

    i had a circumcision performed when i was in my mid 20’s after re-occurring episodes of venereal warts and treatment.  i come from a naturalist background and also mid-european, so there’s all sorts of personal weirdness which frankly biased me towards “no cut” decision.  my doctor at the time, from a good jewish family but a naturalist like myself, was opposed to my decision to cut.  i based my decision on pragmatism.  there was some discomfort for about a week, but life went on afterwards.  no further incidence of venereal warts.  sex was still good.

    • Good deal, I’m glad you like it. I don’t like mine and after restoring a little I really don’t like the fact that this want my decision. 

  • Craig

    This is NOT an appropriate role of government!  

    All the medical information given during the program is informative and important, and should be the basis PARENTS use to decide whether to circumcise at birth or to delay the decision for their (or their son’s) later decision.  

    It is INAPPROPRIATE for government to be involved in circumcision decisions.  NANNY GOVERNMENT trivializes the important basic role of all governments.  

    Proponents should make their information widely available, but to codify someones foreskin is well beyond sensible government.  

    • Roko

      Well that’s interesting. Did you know the government codifies a woman’s clitoral hood? (It is illegal to remove one in the USA) A clitoral hood is the female equivalent of a man’s foreskin.

    • Peter

      This is *exactly* what government is for. This is NOT nanny government. This is govermnent at its finest, protecting the rights of those who do not have a voice (infants).

      It is NOT my parent’s right to decide what to do with my body. It is MY right.

      Got it?

      • Bertin

        Thats funny because I thought government was to help the economy so people can work so they can have a roof over their head and food on their plate.  But apparently it is a great use of time and energy to squabble over a small piece of skin.  Yes, Lets make this matter a TOP priority….who cares about all the homeless in SF…no big deal right!

        • Brad

          So we shouldn’t worry about FGM then either. Let’s get rid of that law.

          Or maybe, just maybe, men deserve equal protection under the law, as the US Constitution demands. 

        • Reasoning101

          You have it completely backward. In the United States, job creation is the role of private enterprise. We live in a capitalist society. The role of government is to protect the person — that’s why in every criminal case filed in this country, the government is the plaintiff. It’s there to secure the safety and integrity of each and every individual, regardless of age. Someone wounds a 7-year-old with a knife? Government lays charges and prosecutes. It’s as true for 1-day olds as for 100-year-olds. Once you’re born (not conceived, BORN) the US constitution and a panoply of federal, state and local laws are there to protect you from wounding. And genital surgery without a medical diagnosis is a criminal wounding. No adult can give proxy consent for unnecessary surgery on a minor.

          Saying “a small piece of skin” shows your ignorance. There’s only one peer-reviewed, published report on the anatomy of the foreskin (BJU, 1999) and it demonstrates once and for all that the foreskin represents more than half the skin of the penis; it is highly evolved, specialized and functional; and its removal changes form and function forever. There is no debate.

        • Peter Williams

          Seriously? You thought that was what the government was for? Sounds like you really ARE a supporter of the nanny state then.

          I’ve read the US constitution a few times, but I don’t recall there being anything in there about the primary function of the gov’t being to help the economy. Can you point out the relevant passages for me? Do enlighten me please!

  • Anna

    Several of the comments from your circumcision proponents strike me as incredibly flippant, dismissive, and inaccurate. Ms Porth likened a circumcision ban to forbidding Catholics from baptizing their children (and clearly a permanent alteration to a child’s body is very different from the laying of hands) and the good Dr Baskin made it sound as though the nurse who called in from Scranton had only had “one bad experience” with circumcision. Shame on them, and shame on KQED to just let these two run amok with their stupid comments.

    Also, I started listening about halfway through and did not realize that there was an opponent to circumcision on at all until after 15 or so minutes. Mr Schofield should have been allowed (or even encouraged) to counter the most ridiculous claims immediately as they were uttered, especially Ms Porth’s repeated assertion that the measure was hate motivated.

    • Peter Williams

      I agree completely.

      Of all the panelists on the show, ironically, the most hate-filled speech came from the mouth of Ms Porth. It was really quite striking.

  • JPM

    I grew up in Great Britain where circumcision is very uncommon. I was shocked as a young person coming to this country to learn that American boys had this procedure as babies without their consent, I think it should be an informed choice that an adult makes not a family imposing their beliefs on to a baby. I’m surprised more young American aren’t angry that a part of their body was removed without their consent. All the men in my whole family in Great Britain are uncircumcised with no health problems as far as I know and my two sons who are now 16 and 20 are both uncircumcised with no problems. 

    • CynDaVaz

      JPM – I know, it’s a shock to many non-Americans when they discover that we routinely mutilate our children. I totally understand their shock. This practice of cutting in America is disgusting and a blatant violation of human rights.

    • Brad

      Most men are completely ignorant of normal male anatomy. Also, they have a reflexive response that there are no side effects and no sexual loss whatsoever. They are scared of admitting that they are missing out on something sexually. Believe me, I’m a circumcised male, who simply can’t deny the logic that circumcision is harmful and indeed is an act of permanently disfiguring sexual violence. It’s like rape, only worse.

  • Ms Porth’s claim that this is “hate mongering” is a clear instance of turning this issue on its head. There’s nothing hateful about stopping the genital mutilation of helpless infant boys. She’s just using shrill and inflammatory language to obfuscate the real issue. Shame on her. She’s an embarrassment to the Jewish community.

    And Dr. Baskin seems at least uninformed and even perhaps biased against this measure. How can he possibly claim that there is “no loss in sensitivity” when the undeniable fact is that several inches of extremely sensitive skin — with millions of nerve endings — is cut off? Additionally, the head of the penis (glans) is biologically designed to be covered and is similar to a mucus membrane; having that skin removed and having the glans exposed to constant friction from clothing is obviously going to affect the sensitivity of that tissue. 

    And would Abby PLEASE stop saying “at the end of the day”? 

  • Brazilophile

    I was awakened to this utter gibberish an hour ago! It is difficult to comprehend  the total lack of informed opinion and prejudicial nonsense spouted by (who the hell is) Lloyd Schofield. Circumcision, “The Covenant with Abraham”, is performed  by a moel, usually a few days after the birth of a son. In New York City hospitals, it is carried out within 24 hours of a  male birth.  I watched my infant sons’ circumcisions performed in sterile conditions.  They were over it in a matter of minutes…usually  because they were being suckled and wanted to eat more than they needed to cry.
    Circumcision is a matter of hygenic concern for boys, men and their sexual partners. While I don’t recommend it for an adult male, no male infant should be denied this simple procedure.  Not every boy had been properly educated with regard to genital cleanliness.  I have seen the painful, life-changing results of unprotected sex with an uneducated male.  The resulting pregnancy was a
    blind child, unable to sit up on its’ own at 8 months. It’s mother (15 years of age), condemned to a future of 24/7 care for a human whose brain would never serve it.
    Whether performed by the  moel or the OB, or a family physician…or NOT, is a matter for the couple involved. Not me, not you, not the city council, nor my next-door neighbour. IT IS A PRIVATE MATTER!!! And if it has anything to do with “family values”, as one caller spouted, it most surely is That family in the delivery room.

    • Brad

      It is a private matter.  Private to the person to whom the penis belongs, and no one else. The principle of privacy and individual liberty supports the position that only the person to whom the penis belongs, the child, not the parents ever has the right to decide whether or not to circumcise. Not bannind circumcisions of minors actually denies individual liberty. 

    • Peter Williams

      Yep, that blind child was clearly the result of an uncircumcised male. If only the knife had gotten there sooner, the tragedy could have been averted. I certainly do see the compelling clarity of your argument here…..

  • trite

    Right at the end of the program  the question was asked  “What is the foreskin for”? The doctor said “Good question,” and first said that other parts of the anatomy, e.g., the appendix, have no real use, but then said, very late in the game, that it was for the protection of the penis. This question should have been asked right at the beginning and the doctor should have elaborated on the question of protection rather than showing his evident bias in the discussion. Surely “first do no harm” remains the mandate of the medical profession, so why cut unless there is a religious reason.

    • Brad

      Religious reason is not sufficient justification. The FGM ban make no religious exceptions. No religious exceptions should be allowed for male genital mutilation either. Genital integrity is a basic human right until a person is old enough to decide themselves. Men deserve the same rights women do.

  • trite

    The discussion about what the foreskin is for was delayed until right at the end of the program when the doctor, having waffled about uses of the appendix, admitted that the foreskin protects the penis. He should have elaborated. This discussion should have been right at the beginning of the program. Doctors supposedly “first do no harm,” so why, unless there is a religious reason, should doctors cut?

  • Rokony

    Sometimes, admittedly rarely, but sometimes boy’s genitals are cut too much and deformed. It happens! Too bad cuz they were born just fine.

    • Guest

      Sometimes, admittedly rarely, but sometimes an uncircumcised male has a develops phimosis, a condition in which the foreskin becomes un-retractable. If untreated, emergency surgery is required.

      Phimosis occurs in 0.6% of uncircumcised males.
      Serious complication occur in 0.2 to 0.6% of circumcisions.
      Neither option is risk free.

      I don’t think circumcision should be mandatory — but banning it is absurd.

      • Jamie Poston-Benford

        phimosis is something that can happen to an intact man, however there is treatment that does not involve circumcision. Phimosis is over diagnosed in the United States. Retraction can happen anywhere from the age of 3-17 average is around puberty.

      • maggellan77

        Phimosis? Let me do a quick look at the research on treatment…….uh huh…….right……ok. Well that didn’t take long. You treat it with steroid cream and stretching and that works for 80%+ of cases. Then you look at doing a dorsal slit. It’s only in a tiny percentage that you might need a circumcision.

        Wait a minute. Phimosis also seems to be found in circumcised boys, in somewhere between 2.9 and 5.5% of circumcised boys. http://www.cirp.org/library/complications/blalock1/How strange? That figure is higher than your serious complication figure and your figure for Phimosis in intact males.

  • Sriram

    Good discussion, which I think shows that there are good arguments both ways.  However, I support the ban primarily for this reason:  When an uncircumsised boy reaches 18, and he feels he would be better off without his foreskin, he’s free to have that procedure done.  However, the converse is not true, i.e., when a circumsised boy reaches 18, and he feels he would be better off with his foreskin, there’s nothing he can do.  Therefore, I think it’s reasonable to ban the procedure on infants.

  • jeeves

    Need to contextualize this conversation against the backdrop of a rising right-wing movement worldwide. This type of hate(anti-semitic jargon) always rears it’s ugly head when the economy is doing poorly. The comic book features a blond robust Aryan hero, while Jews are portrayed as demonic. Their hands look like claws. The demonizing of Jews was part of Hitler’s propaganda machine in the 1930’s. No matter what the proponents of this measure proclaim – we all know it is anti-semiticism!

    • Peter Williams

      Congratulations, you found one anti-semitic voice. So that makes everybody else anti-semitic too?

      You know, you really have to explain this to me and my Jewish wife.

      I’m not Jewish. I’m circumcised. Nobody asked me. I would like to be asked. I would like a fundamental human right. That is what I am fighting for.

      So am I somehow now all of the sudden anti-semitic because I want a basic human right? That’s a might broad brush you are painting people with.

      Please do not tell me that it is fear of being labeled anti-semitic that keeps this pracitce going in this country, that allows it to be done in hospitals by doctors, and that funds it through taxpayer dollars (medicaid). We are talking about a wholescale industry that profits from this. Jews and non-Jews alike should be against this.

      Please be a part of the solution and not the problem. Work with circumcision activists to make circumcision a religious act performed by a mohel in a religious setting, not in a hospital by an MD. Wouldn’t that be the antithesis of anti-semitic?

      Yes, I realize that is not the legislation as written. Welcome to the legislative process. Again, work to be a part of the solution, and don’t stand in the way of the overall anti-circumcision movement, because it is not slowing down. That I guarantee you.

  • Bertin

    Excuse me for being blunt but what business does the government have to intervene with such a matter?  Futhermore, there are issues that are clearly more important such as unemployment and homelessness.  It is absurd that time and energy is being put into such a matter.

    • SteveB954

      What interest does the government have in making it illegal to tattoo or pierce a child’s body?

      Every person has a right to decide what permanent body modifications are done to his or her own body.

    • Peter Williams

      You put YOUR time and energy into it. But I’ll agree with you that that was absurd.

  • John

    I’m circumcised and so is my son, the latter only after my pediatrician wife had exhaustively reviewed the literature at that time.

    I used to find it interesting and now I just despair at how both extremes of the political spectrum use the same tactics, including, if you repeat [fill in your ideological statement] enough times, [it] must be true, or, at least, “truthy.”  And if one can cite at least one person that suffers from or has an opinion about [fill in your favorite “affliction”], then one can say that there’s a mandate or “groundswell” of support or the support of “all right-thinking Americans.”  Both a la Mr. Schofield and, sadly, Ms. Myrow.  

  • Another FamDoc

    I am also a family M.D. and have had a number of patients who have been circumcised later in life, for various reasons.  All of them have commented on a not slight but rather dramatic loss in sensitivity, including erectile dysfunction, following their circumcision.   Most have said they would not do it again and some even feel they were misled with regard to the indications.  Some have actually begun foreskin restoration programs which can restore the foreskin using soft tissue expansion techniques.

    My experience has been exactly the opposite of Dr. Baskin’s contention that there is “no difference” in sensitivity before and after circumcision.  Perhaps the short term (one year) follow up and limited sample size, in the study he cited, are  reasons for this discrepancy.  However I would have to disagree with him on an anatomic basis.  Most of the nerve endings in the penis are in the foreskin and at least half of these nerve endings are cut away in the process of circumcision.  

    Cleanliness and healthfulness have also been cited as indications for circumcision.  However, these indications are based on studies which are ambiguous and conflicting with recent studies now showing higher rates of HIV in Africa among men who are circumcised.  As was mentioned, the rate of HIV infection is much higher in the U.S.A. than in Europe while most men in the U.S.A. have been circumcised and most men in Europe have not.

    While there are certainly medical indications for circumcision, these are few and there are no medical indications for routine infant circumcision.  Routine infant circumcision is a cosmetic procedure with side effects which are at least concerning and potentially harmful.  Whether or not a ban is enacted, I would not recommend it.

  • Jen Wolosin

    I was so angry hearing the program this morning.  I kept waiting for the phone number to be repeated, but it never was.  I am a reform Jew and I find this measure to be completely anti-semitic and offensive.  It makes me so nervous to have someone attempt to strip away a Jewish tradition that has been around for thousands of years.  How dare him/they!  I’ve always been secure in this society, knowing that my beliefs and practices are tolerated and protected.  If this thing were to pass, it would make me feel like I was living in Germany in the 30’s…what will they ban next?  Please don’t fall for this!  

    I also have a 19 month old son who was circumcised as a baby.  He was a BABY.  He’s fine.  He’s actually one of the happiest babies I know.  Let him and me and those like me be.  

    My blood is still boiling.  Not only was the content terrible, it was horribly moderated.  I’ve been a loyal and regular Forum listener, but I don’t know if I will continue to be.

    • Jack

      exactly as you state – he was a BABY!!!  You could wait until he’s 25 and ask him if he’s happy about it,but he still won’t be able to give you an informed opinion will he – since he’ll never have experienced life/sex the way he was born.
          There are many traditions and religous/cultural practices that now seem hideous with hindsight. I hope as a new mother you can understand that some people seek to protect babies such as your son from unnecessary pain and removal of part of their most intimate body parts without their consent. 
           I think the discussion as to whether those rights are superceded by the religious beliefs of the parents is the crux of the matter. I think it’s a great disservice that you and Ms Porth on the show avoid that discussion, preferring instead to characterize it as ‘anti-semitic’. Other than a tiny minority, I don’t believe that to be true.
           I’m a loyal and regular Forum listener too, and I thank Forum for a discussion that at least attempted to treat the subject seriously.
          

    • Peter Williams

      One thing you should know about Forum: If you don’t manage to call in the second they announce the number, you will never get in. Ever.

      So no sweat on them not repeating the number. It’s irrelevant.

      As far as it being anti-semitic: That is not the intent of the overwhelming majority of people who support this, who are not Jewish and were circumcised none the less.

      If the Jewish community wanted to come forward and be constructive with this, that would be fantastic. A compromise could be made in which, say, circumcisions are forbidden in hospitals, but are allowed in private residences or temples.

      Unfortunately (as I see it) that route was not taken. That is partly the decision of the proponents, but responsibility also lies with the detractors: It would require the community that Ms. Porth represents to take a constructive, rather than an adversarial, stance; they do not appear to be inclined to such a route.

      It is a shame, because the train has left the station, and whether or not this initiative passes, there will be more like this. In support of drawing religion out of this debate and pulling the greater Jewish community into a constructive discussion, I suggest that Jewish organizations work to find ways to move circumcision out of the hospital, where it does not belong anyway. Besides, why circumcise the gentiles? It just makes them angry. Save it for the mohel.

  • Jo

    just like with abortion, no one is pro-circumcision.
    we are pro-parental choice.

    it’s up to the parents.

    we may not all agree with every decision every parent makes, but we don’t live in a fascist state.

    you may THINK abortion is murder, but you can’t impose that on others. don’t have one, but you can’t make it illegal.

    you may THINK circumcision is abuse, but you can’t impose that on others. don’t let your kid have one, but you can’t make it illegal.

    i think feeding a kid macdonald’s is abuse that forever changes the kid’s body in a detrimental way. but i can’t impose that on everyone, now can i?

    • Brad

      No, it’s not parental choice, any more than female genital mutilation is parental choice. No parent has the right to decide what parts of genitalia their children get to keep. The principle of individual liberty does not support a parents right to consent to unnecessary surgery on their children, let alone their children’s genitalia. This applies not just to girls, but boys as well, unless you wish to deny boys equal protection under the law in violation of the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution.

      We have a ban on female circumcision. Why should men be denied the same protections? A ban on all genital cutting, for boys too, actually is the position most supportive of individual liberty. Only the person to whom the genitals belong ought to have the right to decide which parts they get to keep. This is not a right that is for women alone. There is no defensible argument to the contrary.

    • Josh

      A big flaw with your argument – children aren’t property.

      Do you think parents should be able to tattoo their babies?

      What about giving their baby a nose job?

      What if they think their girl’s labia is too long?  Do they have the “right” to give her labiaplasty?

      What other body parts do you think parents should have the right to cut off?  Earlobes?  Pinky toes?…

      To turn your analysis around:

      you may THINK circumcision is a great thing, but you can’t impose it on others.

      You want to cut off part of YOUR OWN PENIS then go right ahead – that’s your right.  But you have no right to cut off a normal and healthy part of another human being’s body.

      Your body = Your choice
      Not your body = Not your choice
      His penis = His body = HIS choice

  • SteveB954

    I was shocked that a pediatric urologist at UCSF knows so little about the anatomy and function of the foreskin.

    I wonder what other normal part of a child’s body Dr Baskin thinks it is ethical for a doctor to cut off a child’s body if his or her parents request it.

    The principles of medical ethics require doctors to use effective,
    non-invasive methods before they use surgery. It was disturbing that Dr
    Baskin did not mention that there are effective,
    non-invasive ways to treat the rare medical problems related to an
    intact foreskin.

    • Peter Williams

      Dr Baskin demonstrated real ignorance on this issue. I don’t think he has any idea whatsoever what the function of the foreskin is. To him it’s just like the appendix, which is another thing MD’s can cut off and bill you for.

      Remember the surgeon’s credo: “A chance to cut is a chance to cure.” (And no I am not making that up – it’s a famous saying.)

  • Randomvariousetc

    This has attracted wingnuts like poo attracts flies….

  • Dr. Baskins is a complete embarrassment. His answer for what is the function of the foreskin was “something that gets cut off during circumcision.” Typical American urologist. What a joke. Too bad it’s not funny for the innocent child that is being subjected to genital mutilation.

    Abby Porth came off as an absolute clown, or maybe a parrot, screaming “Hateful” and “Anti-Semitic” at every opportunity and completely ignoring the human rights issues.

    Lloyd did an excellent job keeping the debate on point, and the host also did a nice job balancing out the ignorance of the doctor and Porth. I was also encouraged by all of the intelligent call-ins.

    Ban it, SF.

    ~Barefoot Intactivist

  • roko2

    Okay, I have one more comment….

    For those of you who are pro circ, read ONE book:
    What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Circumcision, by Dr. Paul FleissI never cared either way until one day a total stranger came into my house to look at a room for rent in my mission apartment. We struck up a conversation and he dropped by another day to gave me the above book.
    Holy canoly, I am telling you it turned my world upside down. Not just because of the information, but because I did more research, then when I would try to have simple conversations with people, they almost always became arguments where I would be called a zealot. That was my first real experience where I was fully informed on the nuances of a complicated issue and found myself a total outcast simply for taking a societally contrarian position. It is a terrifying place to be because you quickly get labeled as a nut job, and only dig yourself in a deeper hole by insisting on speaking to the nuances of the debate, hoping your friends/family will listen to reason. I too was called an anti-semite, and a lunatic. And people told me there were more important things to worry about. I agree, but that doesn’t mean we can’t address the issue.

    Listen, If HOSPITALS WEREN’T PROFITING SO MUCH FROM THIS PROCEDURE IT WOULD BE OVER AND DONE WITH. Jews comprise roughly 3% of our population….PROFIT is the motive that perpetuates this practice, not ritual!

    Let’s have an honest debate here!

    • Peter Williams

      Profit includes, for example, the sale of foreskin to make cosmetics for women to help erase the wrinkles that come from middle age:

      http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=a-cut-above-the-rest-wrin

      Let me ask our listeners: Suppose we cut off parts of little girls’ genitalia, ground them up, and sold them to middle-aged men to put on their heads to help male-pattern baldness, how would that make you feel?

      Not so great, huh?

  • MARYA

    I was actually stunned that this Dr.  Baskin had no answer for what the foreskin’s function was.  Maybe KQED could find a physician who can in future discussions.

    In the meantime, here is an internet link for thorough information on the anatomy and function of the human male foreskin.  Read it and weep for there are certainly many functions, including sexual, immunologic, protective, sensory and muscular.  Baby boys deserve the right to choose if they want to keep this magnificent peice of anatomy!

    This comes from a public web site eNotAlone and is written by a Paul M.  Fleiss MD in Los Angeles and a Frederick M.  Hodges:

    http://www.enotalone.com/article/3509.html

    MG

  • graaff

    The amount of money and energy spent on this amazes me…

  • coco

    by the logic of the proponents of this ban, should we wait until the fetus is 18 years old until we ask if they wanted to be aborted?

    ps, since circumcision reached its peak in the 40s, I can only surmise that many of those same men were at their sexual peak during the ‘sexual revolution’…too bad they couldn’t enjoy it!!

    pps, have any of you ever ready the book the portnoy’s complaint?  I’m pretty sure Jewish males’ sex drive (including my own) has been left intact despite 5000 years of ‘genital mutilation’…the horah the horah!  But hey I guess we’re just barbaric according to many of you.  The same barbarians who gave the world Einstein, Freud, Spinoza, Kafka, etc etc.  Oh yeah, and that genitally mutilated mensch Jesus.  Call me crazy, but I think I’m sticking with barbarism.

    ppps, giving the benefit of the doubt that all 7000 signatures were valid, 7000/700,000 equals 1% does not equal ‘groundswell’ ms. myrow.

    wish I could stay and continue chatting dick talk with you shlemiels, but on one final note: yes, you’re all absolutely right. it was that one harmless operation that occurred when you were a child that has everything to do with your sexual ineptitude.  THERE CAN BE NO POSSIBLE OTHER EXPLANATION WHY YOU ARE BUNCH OF SEXUALLY INEPT MEN.  its definitely not the obsession with foreskin, definitely not.

    • Josh

       The abortion issue is a red herring. We have both pro-life and pro-choice people in our movement.

      If you’re pro-life then if a fetus has the right to live, then surely a baby has the right to all his body parts.

      If you’re pro-choice then you believe in “her body, her choice,” so for his body it’s his choice.

      Any way you slice it, cutting the healthy genitals of non-consenting infants and children is wrong.

  • SF soon-to-be father

    Dear anti-circumcision folks,

    Why does this need to be legislated?  Why not focus your efforts on education? 

    If If circumcision is so bad then the facts will speak for themselves, and public opinion will eventually turn against circumcision.  As it is, however, the facts seem to argue against you.  The UCSF doctor cited studies demonstrating that circumcision provides health benefits and does not lead to decreased sexual enjoyment.  You cite anecdotes.  (E.g., we have this one you tube video of a guy who had a bad experience).  I am inclined to believe the science. 

    Your energy would be better spent trying to pull together actual concrete data demonstrating the negative effects of circumcision. 

    – SF soon-to-be father

    • Peter Williams

      The basic argument is that the facts are in support of anti-circumcision, that these facts are not widely known, and that cultural memory is so strong a tide to fight against that facts alone are not enough, as is often the case. Facts alone sometimes speak for themselves, but slowly; in the meantime, people suffer.

      As for your questions:

      First, re decreased sexual enjoyment, there is plenty of concrete data out there, besides anectodal, if you look at the comments. See e.g., the peer-reviewed work referened at http://www.circumstitions.com/Sexuality.html#sorrells as pointed out above by maggellan77.

      And how do you provide a study evaluating sexual enjoyment? This is a
      difficult thing to do. However, there is a good deal of common sense
      here: You cut away 75% of the tactile sensitive tissue. I think there
      will be an effect.

      Second, regarding the “facts” about STD prevention, see e.g. the rebuttal by Joachim Pedersen below. These “facts” the good MD presented are anything but free of controversy. Most of them are inflated by researchers with clear agendas (shocking, I know).

      I do not believe for a moment the MD presented a balanced view of the science. One must understand the history here and the substantial investment the urology/pediatrics community has in this practice, which ultimately has its roots in Victorian-era prudish attitudes about masturbation and human sexuality (this, by the way, is a completely incontrovertible fact – see, e.g., Kellogg). I am am not speaking here of some dark conspiracy theory but rather simple human nature: it is simply that there is a cultural heritage there that has practiced this surgery for so long that it has forgotten why it started it, and has to find reasons to keep doing it.

      Speaking as a scientist myself, the science here that the good doctor quoted was from a select, arguably biased set. This sort of thing happens all the time in science. As my PhD advisor said, some of the best progress in science happens at retirement parties.

      So as a soon-to-be-father, ask yourself this: What is the chance my son comes to me later and says, “Dad, why didn’t you circumcise me? I’m really upset about it.” I’d say the chance is pretty close to zero. And if I’m wrong, well hey, he can go get himself circumcised!

      And what if I’m right?

      Do you have any idea how many men there are out there who would love to say to their dads, “Dad, why DID you circumcise me?” Go search on foreskin restoration. There are thousands upon thousands upon thousands.

      Don’t do it. Your son will thank you for it later.

      Fair enough?

    • Josh

      It’s been proven that the male prepuce (“foreskin”) has more than 20,000 highly sensitive nerve endings.  It’s been proven that it averages 15 square inches in the average adult and can comprise up to half of the total penis skin.

      It seems to me the the burden of proof is on the people who want to cut it off to show how removing so much highly sensitive genital tissue wouldn’t affect a man’s sexual experience.

      But *even if* the effects were merely cosmetic, it’s still only the OWNER of the penis who would have a right to have it modified in that way.  Just as we wouldn’t allow parents to tattoo their babies, there’s no reason we should allow them to cut off part of their sons’ penises.  This should be common sense, but we’ve been brought up in a culture that teaches us this is something “normal” to do.

      Finally, as to the supposed “health benefits,” the studies are highly disputed, with a number of flaws, and the researches usually had a strong pro-circumcision bias.

      But *even if* there were some modest health benefit, most of the supposed benefits are during adulthood.  There’s no serious childhood illness that circumcision is said to reduce the risk of.  Indeed, not a single medical association in the world (not even Israel’s!) recommends routine infant circumcision.

      Any amputation can potentially reduce some risks – simply because you can’t have a problem with a body part that’s not there anymore.  If we cut off girls’ breasts that will greatly reduce the rates of breast cancer, if we cut off toes that would reduce the rates of athlete’s foot, etc.  But such reasoning does not justify cutting off perfectly normal, healthy, and functional body parts from infants and children.

      If a man makes an informed decision to have part of HIS OWN PENIS cut off then that’s his right, but nobody has the right to force it on a child.

    • SteveB954

      In my opinion this needs to be legislated because American doctors will not end the practice of non-religious, non-therapeutic circumcision on their own. The American Academy of Pediatrics said in 1971 there is no valid medical indication for newborn male circumcision.

      The fact that Muslim and Jewish parents believe that male circumcision is a religious requirement is not a sufficiently good reason for American doctors to tolerate medically unnecessary genital surgery on non-Muslim and non-Jewish boys.

      The UCSF doctor demonstrated a shocking lack of knowledge about the function of an intact foreskin. If a person believes that a normal part of the human body has no value or function, it is easy for them to justify cutting that part of a child’s body.

    • maggellan77

      It needs to be legislated, because it is a form of abuse and no matter how much education you put in place, there will still be people who will abuse their children.

      Studies are a good starting point, but are not the most accurate way of finding facts to develop scientific theories. Take a look at Sorrels et al from 2007. http://www.circumstitions.com/Sexuality.html#sorrells This was an actual experiment- no anecdotal, self reporting. Scroll down on that page to see just how much is lost. There’s your science.

    • Tinwoodsman

      “Why does this need to be legislated?  Why not focus your efforts on education?  ”

      Because this issue is not about knowledge or education.  It is about feelings.  Circumcised men have a powerful incentive to find nothing wrong with their incomplete penises.  They continue the practice, as fathers and doctors.  They are not unbiased.  They make up and believe absurdly conducted “studies”. 

      Only by legislating and forcing unethical actions to end, will we begin to address the problem. 

      Same was true for ending Jim Crow, and ending racism, and for integrating the military.  Same is true for ending discrimination against homosexuals.  Education only goes so far, when you have bigotry and  emotional attachment to presumed superiority.

      Same exact issue applies here. 

      And it is unethical to mutilate boys genitals, just as much as it is unethical to mutilate girls.  – Right?

  • UncircumcisedAndProud

    Against Circumcision.  I’ve been listening to this show and it seems that it has been argued that circumcised and uncircumcised males show no difference in sexual pleasure, that both circumcised and uncircumcised males can lead equally healthy lives, and that this ban would be both an attack on the civil liberties of the parent but would protect the civil liberties of the child.

    However, there is one topic that has not been addressed, the stigma that children who do not receive this unnecessary cosmetic procedure which is apparently painless or at least less painless than it would be as an adult (and preposterously compared to dental surgery, if only we removed your teeth at birth you could avoid the pain later in life).  I am uncircumcised, and I can tell you categorically that there is a stigma associated with being uncircumcised.  The ritual practice of circumcision and its widely adopted practice by the secular society has placed upon children who are not circumcised a sense of abnormality, that somehow their uncircumcised penis is less beautiful or attractive than a circumcised penis.  Moreover that an uncircumcised penis is unclean.  This is absolutely untrue, with proper cleaning an uncircumcised penis can be just as clean as a circumcised penis, however the myth persists.

    I am thankful that over the years the rate of circumcisions has fallen, and I am thankful that my parents did not inflict this procedure on me as a child (which makes me wonder what studies have been done on the emotional impact on the child, of which I have no experience).

    I also fail to see how a circumcision is not analogous to a labiaplasty.  Labiaplasty has become increasingly popular among female adult performers and often involves the reduction of both the labia majora and minora.  The only difference I see between the two procedures is that circumcision is mostly performed on infant males, whereas labiaplasty is performed on adult women.  Women whose genitalia by law cannot be harmed (even one drop of blood according to a guest).  Why are men not afforded this same protection?  At one point Porth argued that this law would not protect the civil liberties of the child but rather further restrict the civil liberties of parents.  She then used the logic of a slippery slope that if we start regulating circumcision where would we stop?  Latinos piercing of a girl’s ears?  Baptisms?  It would seem that she thinks where logic fails, fear would prevail.  Ear piercings can grow back.  Baptism water can be dried off.  Foreskin cannot grow back.  Furthermore, the existence of one injustice does not validate the existence of another.  Rather we should strive to bar all injustices inflicted on children.

  • Josh

    I encourage people to educate themselves about the many functions of the male prepuce (“foreskin”).  It’s there for a reason, and only its OWNER has any legitimate right to have it removed.

    A good place to start: http://www.noharmm.org/anatomy.htm

  • Ben

    One thing to consider:  Just about everyone would consider it wrong if the parents were to have their 18 year old son (who wasn’t circumcised) forcibly held down and circumcised against his will.  Everyone would say that as an adult it’s his decision.

    But when you circumcise a baby, you’re also taking that choice away from the adult he will become.  For every day of my adult life, I have been, and will continue to be, denied the right to choose for myself as a result of what was done to me as an infant.

    Of course what happened to me can’t be undone, but as a society we CAN decide that this won’t happen to anyone else.  That it’s not acceptable to take away someone’s right to choose about THEIR OWN genitals.

    • So true Ben!  Even if it were a 14 year old, most people would agree that the boy should have a say in the matter.  At what age do we grant boys ownership of their penis??????   Why does a 14 year old have more say than a baby?

  • James Mac

    I can barely believe Laurence Baskin’s almost complete lack of understanding of the value or the function of the natural foreskin. It almost sounded like he was saying evolution put the foreskin there so doctors and religious fundamentalists could cut it off!!!  Utterly bizarre.  I wonder how much Dr Baskin supplements his salary by performing unnecessary surgery on the genitals of non-consenting little boys…?

    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” ~Upton Sinclair

  • James Mac

    Many people are shocked to discover only around 1% of INFANT males in the WORLD are subjected to circumcision; with nearly all of these in America.

    The vast majority of circumcisions are ritualistic Islamic circumcisions and are inflicted on much older boys, typically between 4 and 14.

    Statistically speaking, unless you are born into an Islamic or Jewish culture or an American hospital, it’s highly likely you will have and enjoy a complete set of sexual organs and go on to enjoy the complete sexual experience.

  • HI

    As much as this initiative makes me uncomfortable, I have to
    agree that circumcision should ONLY be the decision of the owner of the skin.  I can assure that if most adult males
    could try with or without, they ‘d keep it.  I had it done when I was 25, now I regret it every single
    day.

  • Lonergan John

    I was circumcised at an early age, and it has scarred me for my 61 years.  It has caused me baldness, awkwardness around women, and the heartbreak of psoriasis.
    As for the “hearing from both sides” argument, let’s now hear from both sides about the Holocaust.  Please attribute as much credibility to the Akhmedinizad as you do to everyday Americans.
    Don’t San Franciscans have more interesting things to talk about than circumcision?  What navel-gazers (and below-the-navel-gazers) we are!  We are spoiled trust-fund babies and the syncophants who serve them.

  • We have to examine the integrity of our values here. Girls are protected from a TINY PINPRICK on their genitals. WHY? Because we believe her body belongs to HER. So why don’t we feel the same for boys? 

    It’s socially familiar to think of circumcision as no big deal. But popular opinion isn’t the decider of rights, EQUALITY IS.  Does it matter that guy A thinks circumcision is the best medical invention in the world when it comes to guy B’s penis?  NO. It’s absurd to say that a man should not be able to refuse an amputation of his HEALTHY body part just because someone ELSE has the opinion that that part MIGHT be unhealthy at some point down the road.  Likewise, you can’t decide a person’s religion for them, or force them to sacrifice for YOUR religion. Freedom of religion should protect the individual.

    MY BODY, MY CHOICE
    YOUR BODY, YOUR CHOICE
    HIS BODY, HIS CHOICE
    HER BODY, HER CHOICE

  • Supporters of female genital cutting do so in support of both their religion and assumed medical benefits.  Abby and Laurence are perpetuating the biggest misconceptions about FGM out there and anyone who does a least bit of research will easily debunk that myth. 

    I have to say that the reduced airtime that is given to Lloyd along with the absence of a medical professional who would easily debunk the myths about medical benefits of circumcision that Dr. Laurence speaks of makes this “debate” more of just another lousy perpetuation of the same old mainstream, American discussions about genital cutting.  The discussion has very serious gaps in information.  Information that would have been available if another medical professional who has studied the functions of the foreskin, the harms of circumcision and the flaws among circumcision studies would have been able to provide. 

    Also, I have a real problem with Abby calling this a “hate” motivated.  I am an intactivst 5 years and every single ounce of my time and energy working to educate parents and spare baby boys from this painful, unnecessary cosmetic surgery out of love!  I don’t feel that any parent has a right to change or alter their child’s body short of clear medical indication.  Something as serious as genital surgery is most definitely not the choice of anyone but the owner of the sex organ that will forever be changed by this operation.  If we were talking about ritual pinky toe amputation or parent inflicted nose jobs, no one would be standing around supporting the “parent’s choice”.  The male foreskin seems to be the only exception to a clear documented medical ethics statement which demonstrates that surgeries that alter the bodies of minors must A. be medically indicated and B. must only be done when more conservative treatments have failed. 

    Overall I’m entirely disappointed in this primarily one-sided discussion.  And as far as the campaign that Abby is launching against the bill, I see it as more of a smearing campaign than one that addresses the legitimate concerns of human rights workers such as myself.  Using words like “hate motivated” are testimony to this immature, unprofessional mudslinging campaign.   

    • Joel Smart

      I couldn’t agree with you more Jennifer. Finding a doctor willing to pretend the medical benefits of circumcision are justification does not outweigh the fact that no national medical organization in the world (the organizations that train and inform physicians) recommend it on a medical basis. A REPUTABLE doctor would acknowledge this, and it’s a shame that KQED did not do a better job of setting up a balanced discussion by including a physician who is better informed.

      I imagine if there was another doctor in the room we wouldn’t have heard that despicable joke about “not walking for a year” that has NO place in a discussion about the human rights violation of circumcision. How offensive.

      None more offensive than the repeated use of the term “hate motivated”… intactivists make up some of the kindest people I’ve ever met. They care about the rights of the infant. We RARELY deal with Jewish circumcision, and if Judaism did not exist, we’d still speaking for the rights of the child. It is incredibly selfish to tarnish the reputations of GOOD PEOPLE in order to avoid the real discussion about WHOSE freedom of religion really matters? Do my parents decide my personal religion… or do I?

  • Notice how this Porth woman is totally INCAPABLE of recognizing the idea that this doesn’t come from hate. She just KEEPS saying it’s hate, it’s hate, it’s hate.  No matter how many other approaches are brought she just can’t wrap her head around the fact that this is about protecting equal rights.

  • Grrrrrrr

    Laurence Baskin loses ALL reputability when he decides to make a joke about infant male genital cutting.

    KQED… you are a disgrace to unbiased journalism for broadcasting this garbage.

  • Ian

    I found it telling that circumcision defenders can cite scores of peer-reviewed scientific studies proving its safety and benefits, while critics like Lloyd Schofield cite homemade YouTube videos. This ballot measure and its proponents are completely anti-scientific. The only remaining motivations I can see are either anti-semitism or the further erosion of parental rights in favor of a bigger Nanny State.

    • SteveB954

      Why should we take anything Dr Baskin said seriously? He couldn’t even explain the function of the male foreskin. That is anti-scientific!

    • James Mac

      ipatterson, the issue is that medical benefits of circumcision exist SOLELY in these quasi-scientific studies and NEVER in the real world. Not even the most vociferous defenders of circumcision can point to a single example of real-world health benefit.

      Claims of ‘potential’ health benefits are used in an effort to justify the unjustifiable.

      Even the current claim of ‘definitive’ proof of reduction of HIV/AIDS in Africa is bunkum. Methodological flaws notwithstanding, when researchers looked at 18 African countries recently (including those where studies took place!), in 10 of the 18, you were MORE LIKELY to have HIV/AIDS if you were circumcised. These studies have ZERO credibility, because they directly conflict with the highest form of evidence; EMPRICAL evidence.

      • Ian

        Dr. Baskin of UCSF addressed both of your claims and completely debunked them:

        1) Three separate studies confirmed circumcision prevents the spread of HIV––triple confirmation is akin to bedrock fact in science. These studies concluded early not because of bad methodology but because the early results were immediately conclusive and it would be unethical to extend a study when the life-saving benefits of a treatment are beyond any doubt. That’s ethical science.

        2) Dr. Baskin cited at least one study that asked men about their sexual satisfaction before and after circumcision and found it was identical. And as Dr. Baskin said, there is simply no valid scientific research that suggests male circumcision has any effect on sexual pleasure, positive or negative.Conclusion: the arguments used by male circumcision foes are devoid of evidence, and willfully ignorant of scientific method and the overwhelming body of evidence that shows it’s both safe and beneficial.It is a sad display of this group’s ignorance when circumcision foes throw out confirmed scientific fact in favor of homemade YouTube videos as somehow being better evidence and more “real world.” According to ban advocates, if it’s on YouTube, it must be true!

        Again, the only remaining motivations I can see are either anti-semitism or the further erosion of parental rights in favor of a bigger Nanny State.

        • SteveB954

          Suggesting that it is ethical to off part of my body before I am old enough to give my own consent because you think I might too irresponsible to use a condom is offensive.

          Because Dr. Baskin does not know the function of the foreskin, he is not qualified to say whether or not cutting it off has an effect on sexual pleasure.

          • Ian

            So a veteran medical doctor at the world-renowned UCSF hospital “doesn’t know the function of the foreskin” and “is not qualified” to give an expert opinion based not only on his extensive profesional experience but decades of verified research… but apparently YOU are, SteveB954?
            Excuse me, but who are YOU and what are YOUR medical qualifications? Because I very much doubt you’re anywhere close to being qualified to give a better scientific opinion. Meanwhile you ignore, like other ban advocates, the irrefutable weight of scientific evidence showing male circumcision is both entirely safe and beneficial.

            I dare you to be scientific. I dare you to be rational. I dare you to offer actual evidence. If you can’t you are only doing me a big favor by proving my point about advocates of this highly discriminatory bill being ignorant and anti-scientific.

          • Peter Williams

            Oh this is classic. The ultimate trump card! He has letters after his name, and his colleagues revere him!

            Please spare us from the argument based on academic pedigree. To quote Marcus Aurelius, “the authority of ten thousand men is worthless if none of them knows anything of the subject.” And that is precisely the case in the academic urology community, quite frankly.

            I could go on about, e.g., the hydrodynamics of lubrication (on which, yes, I am actually an expert thank you very much, I can send you my CV if you wish) and how the labia minora and foreskin act as a seal and linear bearing. But you see, urologists don’t know any of that stuff; it’s not on the test.

            There is plenty of rational reasoning on our side, and plenty of objective evidence.

            And what can you say of your profession, by they way, which until recently prescribed phlebotomy for hemorrhoids, and lobotomy for depression? And if you want to fight about credentials, let me suggest that you leave scientific research to those of us trained as scientists, not MDs, who are mere clinicians.

            We are quite capable of reading and evaluating the relevant literature here. You might try it sometime instead of parroting the status quo ante.

          • Ian

            Peter, it’s nice that you have credentials in hydrodynamics, but you continue to totally ignore decades of established scientific research proving male circumcision is safe and beneficial. You made no attempt to explain why all this science should be thrown out, and you present no real evidence to establish the need for a ban of male circumcision. In fact, I think it’s ironic that you argue I should discount all the science standing against you while demanding I respect your own scientific credentials. If science can’t be trusted, why should I trust yours?

            P.S. I’m not a doctor, I’m a graphic designer, and I find it rather sad you assumed I was defending good science only from cronyism. No, I defend good science because it’s right, rational, and the starting basis for any discussion on human health. What alternate basis for reason do you offer when science is tossed out as you demand? Homemade YouTube videos, like Lloyd Schofield? Or perhaps fundamentalist religion? Fail 🙂

          • Peter Williams

            I have absolutely and categorically not suggested that science be thrown out.

            BTW apologies for assuming you were an MD. I thought I might get caught on that one after clicking the submit button :), but there’s no edit post-post, so to speak. And apologies to all the good MDs out there doing good research as well. Still, clinical resch is a niche, and people need to know that.

            The short answer is that the notion that there are decades and decades of studies showing definitively the benefits of circumcision, is a myth. Point to them. They don’t exist. Some studies, yes; arguably problematic. Decades of definitive studies? Nope. Nada.

            I have seen it happen many, many times that a myth gets propagated as established fact in the literature, based on flimsy evidence. I do not know every single paper, but I know enough not to be swayed or intimidated when somebody spouts out “Johnston ’64” or whatever, pointing to the definitive reference.

            And by the way, anybody who has done that sort of research would know that just knowing and understanding the text of Johnston ’64 (say) is just the beginning. The real story is in the subtext and the backstory, that is, what Johnston’s beefs were, and who his friends and enemies were. Sad, but true.

            As I said, I most certainly did not and do not advocate tossing out science. What I do suggest is that we understand that science is a social process, not one of pure ratiocination.

            There is plenty of science to support the arguments of anti-circumcision activists, that:

            1) The historical claims in the literature of the benefits of circumcision are severely inflated, and in some cases even non-existent,

            2) The harmful effects of circumcision have been supressed or at the very least have not been acknowledged,

            3) That it is even possible that FGM may offer some prophylaxis, or at least the methods suggesting such for cicumcision would arrive at the same conclusion re FGM, which prompts us to ask if that is really the right question, given how horrific we view FGM to be.

            These observations are completely consistent with the progress of scientific understanding as I have experienced it first-hand.

            As for the specific literature, I and others here have pointed to some of it, and there is much more online if you search for it. Look on this page itself for starters. See e.g. the comments by Joachim Pedersen re the study that supposedly demonstrated the benefits of circ re HIV transmission (in  short, bogus).

            Remember this:
            “The function of an expert is not to be more right than other people,  but to be wrong for more sophisticated reasons.” (David Butler)

          • Peter Williams

            One last thing…..

            Dr. Baskin’s recent publications can be found here:
            http://urology.ucsf.edu/faculty/facBaskin_pubs.html

            His specialty is hypospadias.

            While my comments might come off as arrogant, I assure you you have not known real arrogance until you have hung around an academic department of medicine.

            Or try reading a few essays in JAMA, “A Piece of My Mind”, re how much MDs love to pat themselves on the back for the gifts they bestow on the rest of us.

            Misplaced arroagance, because if you look at these papers you will typically find more authors than pages, and nothing that ever rocks the boat. All due respect to the eminences grises, of course.

            Meanwhile human foreskins get a real pretty penny on the open market (yes, that is right, after the hospital bills you for the circ, they sell the foreskin for even more $$$ – this is big business people):
            http://ccr.coriell.org/Sections/Search/NHFK.aspx?Ref=NHFK&PgId=202

            http://www.norm-uk.org/where_do_foreskins_go.html

            More re the history here:
            http://www.historyofcircumcision.net/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=61

            And images you will never forget:
            http://www.sexuallymutilatedchild.org/

            And last but not least, more than one of these MD urologists actually has a sexual fetish re circumcision. I’ll spare you the details on that one, but if you search you will find plenty.

            Anybody who wants to vomit at this point, feel free.

            And then stand up and do something about it.

  • Joel Smart

    The foreskin contains thousands of highly specialized fine-touch nerve endings, like those found in the fingertips and lips. To hear a doctor claim this has no effect is a perfect example of willful ignorance.

    It’s one of, if not the MOST sensitive part of the body.. which should be no surprise considering the location it is found. I know the American people don’t want to hear it, but considering it’s performed on non-consenting infants, this is a discussion we NEED to have.

    To say the “potential medical benefits” including the HIV data is questionable is putting it lightly. There is a good reason why no national medical organization in the world recommends the procedure on a medical basis… the risks outweigh the benefits. There were HIV studies showing opposite results, and since the time of the studies, it’s been shown that on a broad scale, circumcised men are MORE likely to have HIV in those very areas, than are men with their foreskins intact. If circumcision is so beneficial, it is certainly not borne out in real life.
    Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the studies only tested female-to-male transmission, a VERY rare form of transmission. Meanwhile a study testing male-to-female transmission, far more common, found that circumcised men actually transmitted HIV to their partners at a HIGHER rate. However, because the researchers were looking for the opposite result (biased) they did not seek wide media coverage for the study.. (not to mention American media also selectively publishes mostly only covers stories about circumcision that can defend the practice).

    Let the INDIVIDUAL decide. The foreskin is normal, healthy, sensitive, functional tissue.. and as such, it SHOULD be protected (just like every other normal, healthy, sensitive part of the body).

  • xray

    Next we will start a movement against ear piercing. Rather ironic for SF where any body part is fair game for a stud or pin.

    • SteveB954

      Try piercing your son’s genitals. You will go to jail. Male circumcision is a more severe form of permanent body modification than genital piercing.

  • ou812

    Dr. Baskin openly admits that circumcision has no preventative effect on the vast majority of males. Call me selfish, but I am not willing to have my genitals sliced in order to save someone else from a UTI or penile cancer. And how exactly do these African AIDS studies apply to monogamous condom-users?

    As for Ms. Porth, I have never understood why religion gets this exalted place in society. Would she be okay with Satanists tattooing “666” on their daughters’ thighs?

    • The days of blindly trusting the opinion of one biased doctor are over. Baskin’s statements fly in the face of what the majority of doctors in the world know to be truth — circumcision is both useless and very harmful. http://www.drmomma.org/2010/02/dr-dean-edell-statement-on-circumcision.html

  • Jack

    If I were Dr. Rachel Seay (pictured above performing a circumcision) I would not be able to sleep at night. How any physician can perform such an act unless medically necessary is beyond me. The nurse who called in on the day to say she would never have allowed her sons to be circumsized if she had seen it performed beforehand, and the doctor who commented on this page that he quit doing them give us some hope for the future.
    It’s an emotive subject, but I’m encouraged that there are so many rational people on this discussion that are quite rightly questioning the need to mutilate a helpless baby. That is what it is. So sad that so many in the medical profession are on the wrong side of this argument  – for cultural myopia or financial self-interest or whatever. It’s actually quite amazing reading the weakness of the pro-circumcision logic (religious requirements aside).
    I was circumsized and resent the fact. I’m glad I refused to have my son circumsized – ‘looking like daddy’ was never enough for me, and the medical arguments are frankly pathetic justification for a ‘first-world’ country.
    Don’t do this to your son, it is just wrong.

  • So much information is left out of this discussion but just part of that that I would like to address is the portion where Dr. Baskin discusses anesthetics used during newborn circumcision.  The nurse who called in is pretty much the voice of all nurses who work in a nursery and see this barbarism day in and day out.  Dr. Baskin completely brushes over her concerns as a “fluke” when, in fact, this is what you will hear from nurses time and time again.  Why?  Well, Dr. Baskin mention several types of anesthetics and zero regulations:  Oral, topical and injection.  What he doesn’t mention is that there are zero legal requirements as to which one(s) must be used and how they must be used. 

    1. Oral.  What he fails to mention is that the oral “anesthetic” generally used is a sugar pacifier.  Yup, that’s right many babies are having the most sensitive portion of their genitals removed with nothing more than a sugary pacifier. 

    2.  Topical.  Then you have the topical ointment.  This is an ELMA cream.  Many doctors will do a circumcision with only the topical ointment.  That would be like drilling a tooth with only orajel as an anesthetic.  Of course some doctors will use the sugary pacifier and the ELMA (as if that will do anything), but since there are no regulations, they can do whatever they want.  Also, it must be noted that ELMA takes about 10 minutes to take any type of numbing effect.  Few doctors wait the correct amount of time, they’re on a schedule folks. 

    3. Injections. Lastly you have two forms of injections a dorsal nerve block and a ring nerve block.  Only one of those has shown to be effective for infant circumcision and that is the ring nerve block that encircles the entire base area.  Few doctors do the ring block (it takes a little more time). 

    If you wanted to make the least painful experience for a baby you would have to give the baby tylenol 30 minutes prior (I won’t even mention the sugar pacifier as it is completely worthless), apply an ELMA 10 minutes PRIOR to cutting to the entire base area, then you would need to perform a ring block encircling the entire base (this involves at least 4-5 punctures).  Finally after allowing the ring block to take effect (45 minutes after the first intervention) the doctor would begin the surgery.  Oral pain relief should be provided for at least 5 days following surgery but unfortunately the types of oral pain relief suitable for thid type of surgery are not available to infants.  Studies show that fewer than 5% of baby boys are given these proper steps prior to the circumcision.  That means 95% of circumcisions in hospitals use some other combination in some other format and there is no regulation as to which anesthetics or combination of anesthetics are legally necessary.  Sounds pretty barbaric, aye? 

    What I still haven’t mentioned is that the “beautiful” ceremony that Ms. Porth speaks of almost always involves ZERO anesthetic.  Boy born to Jewish parents are given a cloth soaked in wine to suck on.  Yup, blood thinning alcohol mixed with genital reduction surgery.  I can guarantee it isn’t “beautiful” for the child. 

    This is just one example of a a long series of information that Americans aren’t being told about infant circumcisions.  Although no infant circumcision is without pain you would think that there would at least be some legal requirements for doctors regarding the proper use of anesthetic.  Most doctors simply just try to work fast and skip the necessary protocol to making it a humane experience. 

    Although I don’t feel that proper pain relief justifies the removal of healthy, non-pathogenic tissue from a non-consenting minor, I do think that it is important for Americans to understand these aspects that no one is talking about.  All of this, however, would be avoided if doctors simply didn’t perform cosmetic surgery on babies. 

       

    • *one correction: the ELMA must be applied 10 minutes prior to the injection anesthetic, then the injection must take effect prior to cutting. 

  • miltonjames

    Deuteronomy 22:20-21Cal. Penal Code §652

    This is not a case of religious freedom or parents’ rights. The former is law from the hebrew bible, that you should stone your daughter to death if she loses her virginity pre-marriage. The latter makes a misdemeanor the tattooing of minors in the state of California – regardless of parental desire. 

    It is a human right to not be mutilated for vanity without your consent. 

  • Greg Hartley

    The physician said it’s “unfair” to characterize male circumcision as mutiliation..?  I think it’s unfair that I was deprived of healthy, functional erogenous tissue for no compelling reason.  He is also factually incorrect re: the intended purpose of non-ritual circumcision.  It began in the late-19th centruy for the specific purpose of curbing “self-abuse.”  It removes over 20,000 specialized sensory sensory receptors and the mobile portion of male genitalia – it is inconceivable that it would have no sexual impact.  Parents do not have the right to authorize cosmetic surgery with no compelling medical justification.  Do I have the right to tattoo a religious symbol on my child?  Whose body, whose rights?    

  • Alegra

    I agree with those who said that this program was not balanced.  The doctor’s views didn’t represent all the views of those in medicine.  I think the show would have been much better if there had been a midwife on it.  I had little understanding of the effects of circumcision, until I got information from midwives I knew. 

  • DB

    Let’s stick to scientifically proven facts: 1) Circumcision dramatically reduces urinary tract infections and renal failure in children (necessitating infant circumcision) and adults. 2) Circumcision completely eliminates phimosis, paraphimosis, and associated sexual dysfunction.  3) Circumcision dramatically reduces genital warts and penile cancer.  4) Circumcision reduces cervical, anal, penile, and throat cancer in one’s partner or spouse.  5) Circumcision does not negatively effect sexual pleasure and function in any way (as proven by studies of men who were circumcised as adults).  My husband and I (both circumcised men) had both of our sons circumcised.  As a public health official, I read the studies and realized that it was the only way to go.

  • Dr. John Taylor penile and heart researcher – Sexual Function of the Dartos Muscle (loosely):Upon erection the Dartos muscle tenses creating a one-piece solid skin tube, where any action on the penile shaft is transferred to act on the erogenous Taylor’s Ridged Band and through its loop to the Frenulum, this action it transferred to act on the erogenous Frenulum, together the male’s sexual nexus. No action on the shaft is wasted on these sexual structures.Circumcision always removes all of the erogenous Taylor’s Ridged Band and part to all of it’s connecting Frenulum. Having this hangman’s noose of the male’s sexual receptors missing no longer keeps the whole of the penile Dartos muscle tense. All action on the erect penile shaft is wasted to act on the Ridged Band and Frenulum. Action must be applied directly to the Frenulum remnant, if any remains.Circumcision cuts off 65%-85% of the male’s sexual receptors (85% when the frenulum is cut or scraped off infant). This leaves 15% sexual receptors located in the glans corona where it’s overpowered by the more populous pain/thermal receptors, ratio 5% to 95%. It is this case that men report “If I felt anymore sensitivity, I think I would die of a heart attack!” (Larry David) Circumcision changes the way, means, and type of sensations felt. Circumcision sexually handicaps.

  • “Research” and “benefits” seem to matter only when it comes to male circumcision; female circumcision would NEVER be endorsed, not even if there were “studies” that said that it reduced HIV risk by 100%. I´m sure of it.Here are some studies that show a correlation between female circumcision and a lowered HIV transmission rate. I somehow doubt that the WHO or UNAIDS would ever take them seriously though.Stallings et al. 2009″Risk of HIV among women who had undergone Female Circumcision is roughly half that of women who had not. Association remained significant after adjusting for region, household, wealth, age, lifetime partners and unionstatus.”Female circumcision and HIV infection in Tanzania:For better or for worse?3rd IAS conference on HIV pathogenesis and treatmentInternational AIDS Society”Women who have undergone Female Circumcision have a significantly decreased risk of HIV-2 infection when compared to those who had not.”Kanki P, M’Boup S, Marlink R, et al.”Prevalence & risk determinants of HIV type 2(HIV-2) and human immunodeficiency virus type 1(HIV1) in west African female prostitutesAm. J. Epidemiol. 136 (7): 895-907. PMIDYou might tell me that female circumcision causes all this damage, that women lose the ability to orgasm. “Studies show” that male circumcision “doesn’t affect satisfaction”, and thus this is why circumcision can be recommended.But did you know, studies ALSO show that women who have been circumcised do not lose their ability to orgasm? In fact, women who have undergone infibulation, which is the worst kind of female genital mutilation in the world, are still able to orgasm.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17970975http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn2837-female-circumcision-does-not-
    reduce-sexual-activity.htmlStill, others claim that having one´s labia removed actually INCREASES”satisfaction.”http://www.labiaplastysurgeon.com/labiaplasty-clinical-study.htmlPlease understand that I am in no way trying to justify female circumcision:The point that I’m trying to make to you is that when something is wrong, when something is a human rights violation, it doesn’t matter how many studies have been written for it. It doesn’t matter if it´s couched in medical terms. It doesn’t matter that it is performed in a clean environment by doctors, with clean utensils and pain killers. Genital mutilation is genital mutilation, whether it is performed on women or men.

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