Over a century ago, circumcision was promoted as a way to discourage masturbation, and it was thought of as clean and hygienic. This week, the American Academy of Pediatrics announced updated circumcision guidelines which suggest that its health benefits outweigh the risks. U.S. circumcision rates for newborn boys have fallen to about 55 percent from a high of close to 80 percent in the ’70s.[View the story “Reactions to New Circumcision Guidelines” on Storify]

Reactions to New Circumcision Guidelines

Circumcision is in the news, again. This time its a professional group, specifically The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), who has reignited the debate by changing its policy to one that states the health benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks.

Storified by · Wed, Aug 29 2012 15:23:48

Reactions on Forum and KQED social media was ample and varied. For some, circumcision is a straight forward issue:
No Disease, No Consent, No Injury = NO SURGERY!Greta Wischmann
Circumcision is cruel.Sarah Smith Gumataotao
Condoms are great prevention, but (news flash!) no one uses them. If they did we wouldn’t have STDs in epidemic proportions. This whole thing is nuts. As circumcision has not been proven to harm a man, why not just let the parents decide? And doing it at birth is 100 times better than later. This is all just crazy.Jennifer Akfirat Ringewald
Do unto others as you would have done to you. Would you want someone to strap you down and cut any part of you away with out your consent nor pain meds? I highly doubt it. Leave the choice to the owner of the body. Very simple!!!!Kim Davis
Listeners offered their take on the health benefits many use to make the case for circumcision:
I agree with Monika. Reduces transmission of STIs? So does a condom. Reduces risk of penile cancer? It is rare to begin with, and the last time I checked, no one advocates amputating an infant’s healthy body parts to prevent cancer. Cosmetic reasons? Again, no one supports other cosmetic surgeries on infants. Let the man decide when he is old enough to choose for himself. If it is too painful for a grown man to endure, why on earth would you subject a baby to it–because the baby is smaller and unable to explain how much it hurts?Jen Hall Kubach
@KQEDForum what "health benefits" would merit female genital mutilation? Its a human rights issue, not aHygiene or prophylactic one. #i2Zack Zack
Several users took a follow-the-money approach, suggesting that circumcision is tied to money that surgeons and doctors make from the procedure.
Not what European doctors and medical groups have been saying. They criciticise this report as being too American. I suspect they are right and that it is the medical profession who are afraid of losing a steady source of income on newborns plus the possibility of too many doctors with jewish roots looking for making their traditions appear medically founded.Carol Rogers
In other news, removing all teeth can reduce incidents of tooth decay. Amputating all women’s breasts can prevent breast cancer. Genital mutilation is a barbaric practice that has more basis in superstition than in medicine. As a European I am not circumcised and I have yet to hear one complaint about how my penis looks, not that I would listen to them anyway since it’s my body and my decision. Women have no say in this. None. Zip. Nada. Why is anyone surprised that the only developed country where this is widespread is also the only developed country where health care is considered a business?Eamonn Gormley
Reflecting the recent international news related to circumcision, many listeners brought up practices in other countries and cultures:
Nope, not buying the Academy’s logic … then why in so many other countries is it only done for religious reasons, and not the so-called "health benefits" ?Monika Renate Hege
wondering if there is a connection to the american puritan roots, mothers shying away from telling/showing their little boys how to pull back foreskin to wash themselves to keep cleanAstrid Johannes
In Europe we do not circumcize our children and they are perfectly healthy ! And we have less HIV or problems like this than in USA.Nicolas Maubert
Another listener brought up the possibility of a child being transgendered and the possibility of sexual reassignment surgery.
There may be STD advantages to circumcision, but avoidance of disease does not trump the right of boys to remain intact until age 18, when they should be able to make their own decision. Something else seemingly never mentioned is the fact that should a child turn out to be transgendered, an intact foreskin provides for a better outcome when constructing a neovagina. For this reason alone, circumcision should be banned for children.Kim Stevens
Miss the show? You can listen to the full hour in the Forum audio archives.
Circumcision Benefits Said to Outweigh Risks 29 August,2012forum

Dean Edell, radio host, ophthalmologist and surgeon
Doug Diekema, member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Circumcision Task Force, physician, director of education for the Center for Pediatric Bioethics at Seattle Children's Hospital and professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine

  • Jennifer

    I agree that circumcision is more hygienic, but I passed on doing it when my son was born because I was reluctant to make an irreversible decision for him. Maybe when he is older he’ll opt for it, although I realize it probably involves a harder recovery.  

    • Danial Horton

       WE all agree that you are wrong on the hygene factor.

  • Lisa

    What about the recent evidence suggesting that circumcision decreases the chances of getting and passing along HIV?

    • Rune 87

      it dont justife starping down boys and whit force take away the most sensetiv part of the body, he can never enyoy sex as a intact man can. if this was done to a lady it would be a sex crime. it our penis no one shuld have the right to reduce the sensetivines by doing a extremly painfull surgery ageinst our will.
      equal rights for men!

    • Rune 87

      it dont justify cutting f the most sensetiv part of the humen body, it extremly painfull and it will forever reduce the abelity to feel yoy during sex. and it was done ageints the boys will. it would be a sec crime if it was don e to a lady, it no diffrent whit men. it sexuly mutelation. equal right for men!

  • Donna

    Whoo, guest just said they circumcised a dying baby. Great idea – impose more pain on a suffering child for whatever cultural or religious beliefs. Unbelievable.

    • Sanfordia113

      What a joke. I performed surgery on myself since I was 6 years old. No big deal. Not any different than having a mole removed, and significantly easier than getting a cavity filled.

      • Rune 87

        u have no idea what u missing, u dont know how good it feels t be intact, it the most sensetiv part of the humen body

  • Kalle

    I was circumcised for medical reasons as a 17 year old. I had sexual experiences before with my un mutulated penis and now with the mutulated penis. I know from first hand experience what if FEEL’s like with or without forskin.
    I can assure you that most of the nerves that the body has for pleasure are located in the very skin that is removed during circumcision. that fact alone should make it mandatory to have the person of a legal age where it can make an informed decision.
    those health claims are completely culturally biased. there seems to be no neutral factual science that will come to this conclusion of recommending this proceedure.
    there are probably similar reasons to permanantly remove the teeth, or fingernails or what ever needs cleaning on a regular base. …..

  • katherine from oakland

    i did not want to circumcise our son. i could not imagine hurting my little baby. my husband felt  so strongly to have him circumcised, to have him look like him and most other males around us. because our son was premature, it was done when he was 2 weeks old. it was the first time he cried, it really broke my heart. my husband said it was for the best. years later my son heard the story and profusely thanked his dad for standing up for him.

    • Listerner

      Wanting a son to look like his father does not justify unelected, irreversible surgery on an infant. Would your husband condone performing cosmetic surgery  on infants with different facial features–say because of different race–in order to make them look more like their parents?

      You were just lucky that your son has so far agreed with your husband, but this does not always happen. Many circumcised men now resent the fact that they were not given a choice. An uncircumcised boy who wants to look like his circumcised father, can choose that as an adult, but the reverse is not true. Your fortunate experience should not be the basis of policy.

    •  http://www.circumstitions.com/Images/looklike.gif

  • Adara

    The statement that one of the physicians made about HIV transmission in the US needs to be corrected. HIV is spreading among heterosexual individuals  specifically black women. It is not only a MSM disease and this incorrect statement needs to be retracted. 

    • lolly caust

       dr edell is making a lot of erroneous statements – it’s a great example of truthiness.

      • Nrnjj

        Yes Dr. Dean is a Dr. Dope.

    • nhguy78

      To say this is an MSM disease and that circumcision prevents AIDS or the spread of HIV is completely erroneous completely defiles the memories of those circumcised individuals who have died from AIDS.

      Condoms not circumcisions.

      • SomeGirl72

        ^ you and I were thinking the same thing.

  • lolly caust

    oh ffs.
    cutting off the foreskin is *not* analogous to removing the labia.
    the closest you can get to ‘analogous’ would be the excision of the clitoral hood.
    doc edell needs a basic female anatomy class.

    • nhguy78

      You made the point for him.  Thank you.  Regardless of the name of the body part, performing any surgery on an underage female’s genitalia is illegal in the United States.  Boys?  Keep cutting, right?

  • Rigoberto

    Could you ask your guest to explain/describe how circumcision works to prevent std transmission, especially HIV? Thanks!

    • Sanfordia113

      Two ways: less likely to cause micro tears in the epidermis, since there isn’t the superfluous baggy skin. Also, more importantly, there is no reservoir for the STI bacteria/virus to just hang out. The longer that skin is exposed to an STI pathogen, the more chances there are for it to enter/infect the human through inevitable micro abrasions. Also, there will be dramatically lowered transmission to females/partners, when males have sex with multiple partners without thoroughly washing the foreskin between partners. This risk is significantly lower for circumcised men.

      •  That isn’t actually what the AAP found, if you look at the policy itself: tinyurl.com/aapanno

  • lolly caust

     little girls who have their genitals excised have a much higher incidence of urinary infections than girls who don’t.

    from WHO

    Long-term health risks from Types I, II and III (occurring at any time during life)

    Infections: Dermoid cysts, abscesses and genital ulcers can
    develop, with superficial loss of tissue(14). Chronic pelvic
    infections can cause chronic back and pelvic pain(15). Urinary tract
    infections can ascend to the kidneys, potentially resulting in renal
    failure, septicaemia and death. An increased risk for repeated urinary
    tract infections is well documented in both girls and adult women(16).

  • Kristine

    I’m skeptical of the assertion that most of the deaths associated with circumcision (or as Dr. Diekema is suggesing, none of the deaths) can be linked directly to circumcision. Doesn’t any surgical procedure carry an inherent risk of infection? I’m sure it’s hard to prove a direct link, what with all the factors potentially involved in a child’s death, but it must be possible to at least strongly suggest that a circumcision performed far enough apart from any other surgical procedures (including the cutting of the umbilical cord) could be determined to be a source of infection that could have led to death.
    Also, I agree with many of Dr. Edell’s comments and sentiments, but I wish he would have been less sweeping in his generalization that in the U.S. HIV is a disease of men who have sex with men.

    • whodathunk

       I agree that it’s tough to gather solid data on death rates, but the point he makes is that death from unnecessary surgery (in the cases of non medically indicated circumcision) is 100% avoidable. 

      According to the CDC, homosexual males account for twice as many incidences of HIV in the US compared with heterosexuals.  So that’s true, it’s clearly not a disease limited to homosexuals, but they are statistically more affected.

  • Friarslantern

    Do it to your baby and your baby can never reverse it!  Leave it to them, and *they* can decide, looking at the medical evidence and thinking about their own body – *once they’re of age* – to have it done or not.  SEX and CIRCUMCISION — both activities for CONSENTING ADULTS – not little children.

  • Kristine

    Glad to see now that Adara already made this point about HIV transmission in the U.S. (Thank you, Adara.) The last thing we need is to spread misinformation about AIDS and HIV.

    That in itself could lead to risky sexual behavior.

  • Alex

    I think it would be interesting to look at the circumcision status of those who are completing these studies. It seems that European studies ussually find no/slim gains from circumcision with negative effects, and US based studies more frequently find positive effects with small negative effects. Studies and statistics can frequently be interpreted differently by different individuals. It would be curious to see if people who are circumcised themselves are finding reasons to justify such a procedure, and those who aren’t may look for the benefits of not being circumcised.

    • Vijay Gupta

      Love your point. I think the authors of such studies should be required to disclose their own circumcision status (as a footnote to the published paper) so that the readers can take that into consideration when evaluating the study.  

  • Florriemfunk

    My husband was not circumcised. When our son was born we chose not to circumcise him. But as a toddler he had repeated painful infections. It became medically necessary to circumcise him when he was four.

    • SteveB954

      If a girl has repeated, painful infections, what part of her genitals would a doctor recommend cutting off?

      • Sanfordia113

        Good question. This needs to be studied, and promoted, if the evidence supports it, as it does for male circumcision.

        •  I hope you realise SteveB954 was being satirical?

    •  So your husband did not have repeated, painful infections and it has never been necessary to circumcise him. Does his case – as for billions of men worldwide – not count for more than the unusual cse of your son?

      And I wonder if it would have been “medically necessary to circumcise him” in a culture where circumcision is rare, parents and doctors know not to forcibly retract before it is ready, and more about the foreskin than how to cut it off?

  • Constanza333

    Our two month baby was circumcised at birth, and we know he will still love us throughout his life because he will probably see the world in the same way we do…We trusted our parents and we turned up fine so hopefully he will to!

    • Intactivist

      Thats what YOU hope.. meanwhile, my 7 year old hates his birth mother for what she did to him and is suing the Dr who did it. Dont assume that because YOU like something.. that your child will as well. 

      • NR Los Gatos

         What did you do/say to your seven year old to prompt this?  I seriously doubt he gave it a thought unless you influenced him and the last time I checked, 7 year olds don’t file lawsuits.

        • Anonymous

          I’m 18 and my parents had it done. I hate that it was done and I don’t want it to happen to any other infants. Everyday I wakeup and realize a piece of me is missing that I WANT but can never have. It makes me depressed. Don’t assume what your baby will grow up to think.

        • Korydon1

           Seven year old children don’t have rights?  That’s not what the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children states.  See articles 3, 6, 12, 16, 19, 24, and 34.

    • Intactmichigan

      Hope.  Take away his foreskin and *hope* he’s okay with it.  You must have a lot of faith that your child will share your views on the world.

    • anonymous

      I’m 18 and my parents had it done. I hate that it was done and I don’t want it to happen to any other infants. Everyday I wakeup and realize a piece of me is missing that I WANT but can never have. It makes me depressed. Don’t assume what your baby will grow up to think.

    • Smoseley13

       i have met a number of circ’d men who view it as a human rights violation.  I had never given it too much though until I realized that these men DO exist.  Most men are not comfortable talking to their mother about how angry they are with what allowed done to his penis.  Unfortunately, you’ll probably never know whether he’s happy about it or not…. On one side of the fence, he may think you were watching out for his best interests, on the other, he may think you let someone sexually assault him…. good luck!

    • Rune 87

      hopefully he wount know what been taken from him, it feel very very good to be intackt, u ar robbed of the most sensetiv part of the humen body, the forskin have 20,000 nerves and the feeling of have the forskin when have sex is feel incredebly good something he will never know. not even close to what it could be. imagen how he would feel if he knew this, he wuld feel sexyly molested. i know i would. i thin it should be equal rights for men as for woamens. why is is so bad to cut girls, but it ok to molest boys? it so sick. this is a painfull tramatic experiens ment for greatly reduce he enyoment of mastrubation and sex, 

  • Kristine

    At least, I think that was Dr. Edell’s comment.

  • I appreciate the groundbreaking efforts of Dean Edell and Marilyn Myos* in speaking out against this so-called medical practice.

    Sixteen years ago at the Castro Theatre, during Alice Walker’s promotion of the book she co-authored with Pratibha Parmar on female genital mutilation**, I just happened to sit next to a man who described in detail the damage to his penis due to circumcision.

    The first, but not the last, first-person experience since then.

    Distorted penis, bleeding that would not stop…

    * http://www.marinij.com/lifestyles/ci_12705479

    **Warrior Marks: Female Genital Mutilation and the Sexual Blinding of Women

  • Dehreth88

    Why are we not discussing tonsils, appendix or other clinical surgical procedures? As a supposed “victim”, I could care less about the pain. I care a lot more about the disease related benefits. Can we just get to the point: this is a bizarre sexual discussion.

    • nhguy78

      It is a sexual organ we’re dealing with.  

    •  Tonsils used to be removed as routinely as foreskins. Now we know better. The billions of intact men in the world get on perfectly well without any “disease related benefits” AND enjoy the use of their organs the way millions of years of evolution “intended” they should.

  • NR in LA

    Circumcision is the most BARBARIC thing!!!! “Welcome to the world!!!! Let’s SLASH YOUR MOST SENSITIVE body part!” BARBARIC!!!!! If I could have made the decision myself, I would be happy. But no. My body was violated when I was a newborn. Why do people put up with it?

  • Why was my post deleted?!

  • Guest

    I don’t see circumcision will change anything except for religion
    reason, it’s natural to keep a human body intact as it is other than artificially
    alter a human body, otherwise, some doctors may suggest cutting out a human
    organ may have more benefit than risk… this is getting crazy!!.  Let’s
    keep this issue to individual who preferred the procedure.

    • lolly caust

       like tonsillectomies?

      • nhguy78

        Tonsillectomies are done as a result of a medical issue.  Circumcisions are not.

  • Rod

    So much lack of information – ever since John Harvey Kellogg promoted circumcision as a cure for masturbation, circumcision has been an operation in search of a medical indication. Cancer, UTIs, HIV, and so on. Thank you Dean Edell for a voice of informed sanity. No wonder the AAP didn’t get it as even medical texts in the US don’t show the foreskin on illustrations in medical texts – my best friend – a general practitioner, didn’t even know how a foreskin works. And then so many think the foreskin needs to be retracted which is a primary cause of infections/difficulties in young children. 

    • Sanfordia113

      It doesn’t need to be retracted, if you want to get an infection.

  • EasternSkeptic

    Could someone explain why large populations of the world that do not practice male circumcision – Indians, east Asians (and that is the majority of the world’s population) are not dying of urinary infections and std? Just the fact that these populations are so large makes me think that these health benefits sound a bit over sold.

    • Whodathunk

       Duh, didn’t you hear?  American penises come with ticking time bombs instead of foreskins.

    • Sanfordia113

      Because AIDS is a gay and African disease (historically).

  • Elicking

    To what extent is this decision by the AAP motivated by coverage policies and the fact that Medicaid wasn’t covering circumcision based on prior recommendations?

  • I appreciate the groundbreaking efforts of Dean Edell and Marilyn Myos* against this so-called medical practice.

    Sixteen years ago at the Castro Theatre, during Alice Walker’s book** promotion on female genital mutilation, I just happened to be sitting next to a man who described in detail the effects of this botched operation.

    The first, but not the last, on this matter.

    Distortion, non-stop bleeding….


    **Warrior Marks: Female Genital Mutilation and the Sexual Blinding of Women

    btw: My earlier post was deleted for using the scientific name for the subject of the distortion.

  • Chrisco

    Great show.

  • lolly caust

    michael, why don’t you question dean edell’s assertions re: “female circumcision?”

    • Sanfordia113

      Why doesn’t anyone question the ridiculous dogma that female circumcision of that labia is harmful. Doing so would surely reduce urinary infections, yeast infections, and STIs. Who knows, it might even enhance sexual pleasure – as male circumcision does. I.e., if female circumcision were done a medical prophylaxis rather than sexual control, so leaving the clitoris in-tact, etc. At least it should be studied!

      • Listener

        On the contrary, WHO studies show female genital mutilation increases urinary tract infections, and what’s worse, increases health risks to the mother during childbirth, which is the LAST thing the world needs more of: maternal morbidity & mortality.. 
        If you thought for a minute, you would understand why cutting female genitalia worsens the infection problem. Girls have more urinary tract infections than boys mainly because the urethra is much closer to the anus, so girls inadvertently infect themselves through contamination. (To put it crudely, young girls have to be taught to wipe from front to back to minimize this risk).  Cutting that region, adding lesions, will increase rather decrease that sort of contamination risk, just as any lesion/wounded skin is more at risk for infection than intact skin. 

  • CC

    I have two sons both circumcised.  One was circumcised mainly because he had a hypospadias.  Bottom line, parents should have the the CHOICE and it should be funded.  I’m glad I didn’t have a biased pediatrician who guilted me into not circumcising but gave me the CHOICE.  I don’t think this decision should demonize parents.        

    • SMA

       Ironic how you’re insisting that CHOICE is so important, yet you advocate against it for your own son.

    •  Circumcision of a child with hypospadias (incomplete closure of the urine tube) is to use the foreskin for repair of the hypospadias. To circumcise a child with hypospadias and throw the skin away is malpractice. But surgical techniques (in countries where they value the foreskin) are improving, so that circumcision in the course of hypospadias repair is no longer necessary.

      How about his CHOICE?

    • Rune 87

      it should be iligal same as whit girls, it feels incredebly god to have a forskin and just the reson that it will forever grealy reduce the sensatin they will feel. it will never even compar to a intackt natruel penis. to starp down the boy rigth afeter birth and let there first sexely experiens be is to be starp down and get the penis cut open in a tramatic very painfull peration. and all it realy do is reduce the enyoment of ahving a penis

    • Rune 87

      hes sexely enyoment will forever be reduced, the forskin is the most sensetiv part body of the humen body, i think it shuld be illigal same as it is whit cutting woamens. it causes alt f pain and trauma just t reduce the sensitivines.

  • Nrnjj

    Dr. Dean is an anti Semetic idiot. “Most Jews don’t celebrate Shabbat?” where is the evidence for that? And what relevance? Thanks for reading my email on the air Michael and Dr Dean’s “answer” made him look even more foolish.

  • Rabbi Mike

    Very troubled by the doctor who claimed that Jews want the world to be circumcised. Most Jews I know just want the religious freedom to be permitted to celebrate our religion without punishment or harassment. I wish someone would have challenged his bizarre claim.

    • lolly caust

      he’s a a classic example of  internalized anti-semitism

    • Nrnjj

       Also by Dean Edell’s statement about observance of Shabbat.  He said that as a slap to the notion that religious practice should be respected.

    • voice4skin

      Religious freedom?  Circumcision of an infant is religious bondage. Infant circumcision is a blight on any religion, a bizarre anachronism. May your opinions change, my friend. I am circumcised, and oh how I wish I had my natural foreskin.

  • Intactivist

    I REFUSE to pay for someone to mutilate their child.. BUT.. if they choose to do it.. I will pay to have the parents mutilated

  • Intactivist

    Anyone who mutilates their child because of what THEY prefer sexually is a pedophile 

  • Mary K McDowell

    I wish i could of caught the show before it ended, but what about boys who have been damaged.. Have they made a notice outloud like they did with the last one of the Risks…. death.. mutation.. lack of sex drive.. deforms?  What about my son? Where is his justice?

  • guest

    Yes, I was quite disturbed by how Dean Edell made so many false statements but was not challenged. Other idiotic statements included how it was women who were determining men getting circumcised, and women would never allow men to criticize their genitalia.  What the hell is he talking about! Has he not heard about breast implants, labia reductions, and vaginal rejuvenation?  The benefits of circumcision in Africa were not based on cultural bias but on observed and important data showing the rates of HIV prevalence were much lower in areas, such as West Africa, where almost 90% of men are circumcised. They did conduct randomized trials and they did confirm this benefit. It also seemed that Michael leaned towards his point of view and allowed more anti-circumcision callers than not. Very biased report.  

  • Pixiefunk

    I would like to know if they reviewed the u.s. Navy’s findings on HIV acquisition in both intact and circumcised individuals, which is to say they could not find a difference. It seemingly neither prevented nor caused incidence to waver. So HOW can it possibly be a help to the prevention of this specific STD? Oh yea, that study in Africa, well apparently they don’t actually read these studies just the summary, as anyone can see that the study was flawed. I can’t believe that people really think this is okay. And if anybody were to ask their female friends that have been with both which was preferred it would be an overwhelming call for leaving boys intact. Just a few thoughts there.

  • Glenwoodalum

    Most infections of the foreskin are minor and easily treated with over the counter medicine. They are primarily caused by abrasion. The foreskin is protecting the glans from abrasion. Would you recommend the routine removal of toenails to prevent hangnail?

    As a middle-aged, intact man, I cannot imagine sex without my foreskin, which is easily kept clean. If you don’t wash a circumcised penis, it will be dirty, too. Any inconvenience of my foreskin is far outweighed by the sexual pleasure I derive from it.

  • Intactivist

    Circumcision is Anti- Semitic.. It kills Jews. 117 baby boys die each year because people think THEY should have the choice to remove body parts from some else 

    • Rabbi Mike

      Riiiight.  And pasta is anti-Italian because someone could choke on a meatball.

      • voice4skin

        You know deep down in your heart that to amputate a baby boy’s foreskin forcibly against his will and to expect him to accept that loss for the rest of his life and do it to his sons simply for the sake of tradition is wrongful.

    • Sanfordia113

      Please provide a link to the coroner’s report to these deaths. It does not seem logical that a procedure that is less traumatic than stubbing one’s toe could be so lethal.

      • Listener

        Less traumatic than stubbing one’s toe? Hardly an objective statement, since obviously not everyone agrees with you on this.

      •  Please tell me you’re joking. Less serious than a STUBBED TOE?? We’re talking about strapping a baby down and cutting off part of his genitals. You are seriously deluded if you think stubbing your toe hurts more. http://www.circumstitions.com/death.html Here’s a link to information about deaths caused by circumcision. It’s SURGERY. It involves clamps and knives and open wounds, therefore risks bleeding and infection.

  • Haidassari

    The argument that we don’t have a right as parents to make such a decision for our children is invalid. We are making such decisions every day, and what about immunizations? Most of us make the decision to have our children vaccined because we believe the benefits outweigh the risks. I don’t see many people arguing that we shouldn’t do that. The only relevant question is what are indeed the risks and these should be sufficient to justify a choice of a parent to have the procedure done.

    • Intactivist

      At what point does the risk of death for a baby outweight the rewards? Lets pretend vaccines did work.. At least the thought there is that parents are doing it to keep their babies alive.. to keep them from contracting diseases AS CHILDREN.. but Circumcision does not prevent death.. it causes it. IF the statements of lesser HIV/ STD transmission were true.. these are things that they contract once sexually active.. and if they are old enough to make sexual decisions.. they will be old enough to understand circumcision and decide if they want to choose it. This can NOT be undone and there are THOUSANDS of men who are pissed that it happen to them! There are, at a minimum, 117 mothers every single year who will never get to hold their child again.. all because THEY felt they had the right to cut off a part of their childs body. That blood is on THEIR hands. How many of you want the death of your child on your hands. 

    • SomeGirl72

      Comparing surgery to a pharmaceutical drug is comparing apples to oranges. 
      The argument is only invalid now because a law hasn’t been passed yet.  Hopefully, someday, it will be.  I like the points this young lady makes. http://youtu.be/9MWauip5MPE

    • SMA

       That’s true, we make a multitude of decisions for our children daily.  It our job as parents to be their medical proxy.  But that is only valid in the instances where the decision must be made before they are of a consenting age.  Vaccines are given in infancy and childhood to protect them in infancy and childhood.  Circumcising your son to potentially decrease the risk of STDs in his adulthood is not a valid comparison.  There is no immediacy to the decision.  It’s not ethical to make a decision for a newborn which needs not be made until adulthood, or at all. 

    • SteveB954

      If you were to pierce your son’s genitals, you would spend time in jail! Male circumcision is a form of permanent body modification like genital piercing. Circumcision should be a decision that a male makes for himself when he is old enough to get his genitals pierced.

    • voice4skin

      Vaccines do not sever an important part of a man’s penis from his body. Circumcision is forcible, irreversible, deprives a man of choice, is undignified, and is resented by many of its victims (like me). Currently we do have the legal right to order a foreskin amputation. It is a sickening right that we should not exercise (as I have done and grievously regret).

    •  Vaccination offers PROVED, STRONG protection against DEADLY, CONTAGIOUS diseases of CHILDREN, now rare precisely because of vaccination, and epidemic where vaccination is neglected.

      Circumcision offers disputed, slight reductions in already-rare non-contagious conditions of late onset that can be better prevented by other means or treated as they arise.

      There is no other parental decision to cut a normal, healthy, functional, non-renewable part off a baby.

  • Iris1776

    trying to conceive, and I was leaning toward NOT circumcising my son, based on
    my own sexual experience with circumcised and uncircumcised men, but Dr. Edell’s
    misogynisitic arguments comparing female genital mutilation with male
    circumcision and his fantasies about American women’s sexual preference for
    circumcised penises being a fundamental drive behind circumcision in the U.S. have
    me rethinking my decision.  This guy has
    a thing with women, and the way it is woven into his concerns about
    circumcision is disconcerting to say the least. 
    I need to review the empirical data available regarding health benefits that
    male circumcision imparts on women. 
    Maybe there is something I have overlooked.

    • nhguy78

      Did you know that it is illegal, meaning girls are protected by law, to do any similar surgeries on the genitalia of underage girls?  The most analogous procedure on a girl would be a clitoral unhooding.  This is illegal to do to a girl.  Yet a “clitoral unhooding” of a boy is completely legal.

      Where is the equal protection clause in medical ethics?

      • Iris1776

        I did know that.  I’m not sure that your fantasy of a “clitoral unhooding” has any basis in reality.  “Female circumcision” normally includes scraping out the entire clitoris, gutting it out at the root.  Your fantasies about removing the hood from a woman’s clitoris really have no place in reality or in this discussion.  Dr. Diekema explained that there is no demonstrated health benefit to genitally mutilating girls whereas there is demonstrated health benefit to circumcising penises.  That was the entire reason for the discussion today. 

        • Nerdie

          You are mistaken. There are four different types of female grnital mutilation, the most common being a ritual nick from the clitoral hood. I’d encourage you to research what is actually lost during a male circumcision, including 20,000 nerves.


        • SteveB954

          In 2010 Dr. Diekema proposed allowing American doctors to make a small incision in the genitals of girls if her parents requested it for cultural or religious reasons. That is the type of female genital cutting doctors do in Indonesia. It is less harmful than cutting off a boy’s health foreskin.

          Dr. Diekema has no respect for the rights of children to genital autonomy.

    • SomeGirl72

       I am blessed enough to be pregnant right now with a baby boy.  We tried for 7 years to conceive and after changing almost everything about our lifestyles we are finally about to hold this precious little life in our arms that we created together.  I hope you don’t have the same difficulties but, if you do then you might see that the risk of death or injury, no matter how small, is too large.  I feel it is my job, as his parent, to teach him about proper hygiene and safe sex and let him make surgical decision later in life, unless they are life threatening.  Good luck!  I hope you will get the chance to enjoy this incredible experience.  It truly is a gift. 

    • Crescent Moon

      Let’s see, so you’re going to slice off part of your son’s genitals because you don’t like the comments of one guest on a radio show?


  • Norcalsurfer

    I wonder about the rationale for the study in the first place.   It seems to imply that its makes sense to examine  prophylactic surgery on healthy infants, in anticipation of future medical problem.   Other than the penis, is there another part of the body for which a study has or is being done?   For example, from a purely scientific point of view, it would be interesting to know the benefits and risk of routine prophylactic mastectomy on newborns.
    There are many scientific questions which are interesting to examine.   However, we make choices as to whether to make that effort, based on efficacy and ethics. 
    Personally I feel the rationale for this study is hidden in ancient human practices and attitudes, not from advancing medicine or science.

    • Sanfordia113

      The motivation was AIDS prevention in Africa.

  • Michaelkeith1362

    Please remember that circumcision currently under German law is punishable as child abuse.  So now American doctors promote child abuse/mutilation as medicine?  Greed will commit any crime for a buck!!

  • Libby

    This is a fairly simple ethical question, but it is difficult to recognize that from within a society that condones this form of gental mutilation. So to clarify, it is patently unethical for anyone (child or adult) to be subjected to _elective_ surgery without _electing_ to do so. And this must be recognized as elective surgery as long as the evidence demonstrates that health benefits of the surgery are at best minimal and at worst nearly completely in question.

    Given that, doctors who perform this surgery are breaking the Hippocratic Oath. Parents who demand this unethical practice are starting their relationships with their children with both child abuse and a profound betrayal. If forcefully circumcised adults grow up not recognizing this as abuse and betrayal, more power to them. But, if not today, in the near future, society at large will recognize this procedure for what it is.

    There are certainly religious and ethical conflicts around the topic of male genital mutilation, but, ultimately, as with female genital mutilation; barbarism in the name of religion or cultural heritage must (and will one day) come to be recognized for what it is. 

    This issue is its own straw man in every area, but to help clarify it for those who don’t yet recognize it as the barbaric, unnecessary, and detrimental practice it is, I’ll provide a couple of exaggerated but parallel examples to help shed light on the issue:

    *The argument that this surgery may protect slightly from STDs, infections, etc., consider the much more life-threatening risk that a baby girl could grow up to have cervical cancer. Certainly she needs a hysterectomy at birth. Likewise, a baby will never grow up to have a broken finger or a hangnail if their fingers are removed at birth. Obviously this could go ad nauseum.
    *The argument  the argument that little boys should look like their daddies, should the baby girls of mommies who have elected to have breast augmentation have it at birth so they do look more like mommy? *And, this surgery does affect sexuality. I have discussed this question with a great number of unmutilated and genitally mutilateled men and the unmutilatedmen consistently describe both pleasurable sensitivity and pleasurable sensations that mutilated men never describe. Finally, I have also surveyed many people who have had both genitally mutilated and unmutilated  sexual partners and the majority describe greater pleasure with unmutilated men, although for some, because this archaic practice is so commonin this country some do describe having to become used to an uncircumcisedpenis. My sexual experience is also that uncircumcised penises most oftenprovide me with noticeably more sexual pleasure. Certainly this is only anecdotal and not rigorous research, but my expectation is that rigorous qualitative and quantitative studies on male genital mutilation and sexualitywould come to the same findings.

    • guest

      Thank you for finally bringing up the topic of sexual pleasure.  I only caught the end of this discussion on NPR and this topic may have come up earlier, but I did not hear it.

      As an MD, I was trained to do circumcisions in my training over 30 years ago, but fortunately have not had to do it since.  I now firmly believe it should not be done on infants, but left until the child is of age for himself, unless there is a strong medical reason to do it,

      As a woman, I have experienced both circumcised and an uncircumcised partner (I hesitate to use the word “mutilated” as I find it a bit strong)   My experience is similar to Libby’s – I feel the foreskin is there for a purpose, both to protect the glans penis and to enhance lubrication during sex.  I have read medical literature on this, which is scanty. 

      Hopefully, discussions like this will encourage more studies an enlightenment on the matter.

      • Libby

        Hi Guest,

        Thank you for the kind words. I absolutely agree that the word “mutilated” is strong, as are my argument and the topic of discussion. “Mutilat[ion]” is, however, a technically accurate description of the practice. 

        I’m coming from the time of the AIDS movement where we used strong language as a part of our strategy (a la “We’re Here. We’re Queer. Get Used to It!”). I still believe any social movement tied to such strong feelings needs those who are on the extreme fringe (me) and those who present the case in a more palatable way (you).

        I will say, though, that I think I’m glad you’re the MD and I’m the Doctor of Philosophy in Cultural Studies!

        Cheers, partner.

      • Korydon1

         Why are people afraid to tell the truth?  Why beat about the bush … when Male and Female Genital Mutilation are involved?   If we can’t be accurate in writing about this subject, when else do we dissimulate?   I think your hesitation to speak truth is cowardly.    It’s the mutilation of genitals that is “strong”.

        And it’s not that studies haven’t been done … you just haven’t found them.  For instance you might wish to read Dr. Taylor’s research into the complex anatomy and functions of the intact penis.  See:


    • Crescent Moon

      Your first 3 paragraphs are exceedingly well written, thanks.

      Regarding “hygiene”: cutting off a big toe will ensure you will never have an infected or dirty big toe or nail, but everyone would consider that patently barbaric and anyone medical sadist who did so would be jailed and barred from “practicing” medicine. Washing your feet is the solution, not chopping off body parts.

      • Libby

        Thank you for the kind words. 

        And you have restated precisely my point regarding hygiene. If you are contributing to that part of the case against circumcision, I’m afraid I don’t see the contribution other than adding another example of the straw man argument. If your comment is meant to do something else entirely, I don’t understand what that is. If you are disagreeing with that element of my argument, the point of your disagreement is not clear, and in my view only further supports my argument. 

        As you say: “cutting off a big toe will ensure you will never have an infected or dirty big toe or nail, but everyone would consider that patently barbaric and anyone medical sadist who did so would be jailed and barred from “practicing” medicine. Washing your feet is the solution, not chopping off body parts.”

        In precisely the same vein, washing your penis is the solution to the hygiene issue, not chopping off body parts. 

        Again, as with MD Guest’s change of position and action regarding practicing circumcision, I do expect society to come to recognize, to use your language, “chopping off body parts” in the name of hygiene as “patently barbaric.” It is possible, indeed, that when that time comes, again to use your language, “medical sadist[s] who did so would be jailed and barred from ‘practicing’ medicine.” 

        [As an aside, in only rare instances would I imagine doctors currently practicing circumcision or in the straw man argument, practicing toe amputations to derive the pleasure from inflicting pain usually associated with your reference to sadism.]

      • Libby

        Hi Crescent Moon,

        Thank you for the kind words. I’ve seen some of your other comments and they are very strong.

        I am having trouble understanding your comment here (and apologies that you had to slog through that long paragraph) you seem to be responding to.

        If you’re extending the examples of how ludicrous the practice is, in this case emphasizing it through the example of cutting off body parts [toes] in the name of hygiene, I follow and agree. 

        If you’re disagreeing or making another argument, you’ve lost me. 

        [As an aside, I would only differ from your comment in one area: I would hope that current or future MDs practicing genital mutilation are not doing so as literal sadists, receiving sexual or other similar gratification from cruelty or the infliction of pain.]

    • People may quibble about infant hysterectomy or infant female mastectomy, but it’s undeniable that hemiorchidectomy (removing one testicle) would halve the risk of testicular cancer – a very aggresssive and common cancer of men – with little effect on fertility. It’s a quick and easy operation we do on pets and farm animals all the time, but we wouldn’t dream of doing it to baby boys.

  • TLCTugger

    Instead of studying circumcision, Diekema’s gang should have started with studying what they DON’T know about foreskin.  Nobody on the panel has a foreskin, which must have taken some rigging since most of the world is intact.  

    And how DARE they base their stance about infants on ADULT elective behaviors?  And without regard to how an adult might CHOOSE to enjoy his natural genitals.  

    Diekema is mistaken.  One in three US circumcisions is done by a pediatrician.  

  • Crescent Moon

    Read the very sad and tragic case of Canadian David Reimer whose penis was amputated during forcible and completely unnecessary circumcision and was then put through a lifetime of medical hell (testicles amputated and being fed hormones to be unsuccessfully raised “as a girl” at the suggestion of some quack MD foisting his Frankenstein theories on a child). After a very difficult life, he eventually committed suicide. The video is in several parts, he was also chronicled in a book:


    More babies die from forced unethical circumcision every year (not to mention those who are maimed) than die from drop-down cribs (which were outlawed as a public health menace).

  • CC

     Diekema is so contradictory. He says that the benefits outweigh the risks, but also says the benefits are not great enough to recommend routine circumcision. Why then, was there a massive media frenzy over how circumcision is soooo beneficial that it could save over $4 billion dollars according to the Johns Hopkins cost-utility analysis? I feel like the American population is being jerked around.

    To add, Diekema contradicts his own statements in this interview compared to what he told the Seattle Times: “it concluded the medical benefits outweighed or *at least equaled* the risks.” http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2018999872_circumcision27.htmlWe are getting two different conclusions from the same guy.

    • Sanfordia113

      This benefit is not overwhelming in America, because we have less AIDS cases and higher sexual morality than Africa. If we were more “African” the recommendation would be STRONGLY in favor of circumcision.

  • Crescent Moon

    Why does NPR post 3 out of 4 pro-genital mutilation links? Forcible circumcision is practiced by only a small minority of the humans in the world; there are ample statements from advanced medical groups all over opposing it (Netherlands, UK, Finland, Canada, etc.). Where are those links? A representative ratio would be at least 8 links against, 2 links in favor.If I were a physician photographed mutilating a child, like Ms. Rachel Seay is above in the inset on this page, not only would I be mortified, I might rethink my profession and my ethics, and worry about future prosecution or lawsuits.

    • Sanfordia113

      Yeah, all countries are anti-Semitic, so their motivation is religious, rather than based on scientific analysis of the data. If they were interested in the best interests of the child, they WOULD recommend in favor of circumcision.

      • voice4skin

        Bottom line. Infant circumcision robs a man of a choice, is unnecessary, is resented, has complications, is irreversible, is humiliating. In a religious context, it is bondage, not freedom.

  • black-widow

    I don’t know about you, but I hope the doctor in that picture suffers a mutilation at some point in her life. 

  • Zedman

    This comment comes too late for your guests, but perhaps you can pass it on to them.  My casual observation of the behavior of men in the restroom is that most do not wash their hands before doing their business.  (Many don’t even wash afterwards, but that’s another story.)  These men put the day’s germ and dirt onto their private parts, and then later put those private parts into their girlfriends and wives.  (I know, such an indelicate way of phrasing it.)

    Have their been any studies done to compare the rates of STDs of men who wash their hands before bathroom duties, or the rates of women whose male partners exercise good hygiene.  How about studies of men who wash their private parts before sex, or of women whose male partners wash their private parts before sex.
    Flu germs are passed hand-to-hand.  STDs and other sexual infections can be passed during sex.  How much does cleanliness help, and would that make circumcision unnecessary?

    • Anonymous

       That is creepy. Why are you so interested in what other guys do in the bathroom? And do you really think most women just let guys “put it in” before showering after a hard days work? Jeez…

  • Guest

     The new AAP totally glosses over the ethical issues surrounding this statement from their new policy: “Newborn males who are not circumcised at birth are much less likely to elect circumcision in adolescence or early adulthood.”

    Is it ethical to perform a non-therapeautic, permanent genital surgery on a newborn before he can voice any say over his own adult, mature sex life and his preferences of his own body? It makes me sick to think that this is done to males who would never choose this for themselves if they had the option.

    This pretty much says, “force it on them while their young so they can’t protest.”

    • Crescent Moon

      Yeah, something like 99% happy to leave their bodies intact.

  • Melissa A

    An interesting point to be made is that removing a healthy body part because in the future someone may engage in risky behavior and get an STI is a slippery slope.

    Also Dr Diekema was happy to stress the UTI’s in infant boys, since when are newborn boys immune to Antibiotics for UTIs?  The “benefit” of circumcision to lessen the chance of a UTI is moronic, a UTI can be treated in a boy the exact same way it’s treated in a girl, without surgery but with antibiotics.

    • SteveB954

      There are effective, non-invasive ways to prevent and treat the problems male circumcision is supposed to prevent. Medical ethics requires doctors to use effective, non-invasive methods first, before they use surgery.

    • Sanfordia113

      Antibiotics are 100 times more harmful to humans than circumcision. It is universally recognized medical fact the antibiotics weaken the body and diminish its ability to digest food and leave it susceptible to allowing harmful bacteria to take home in the body after good bacteria is decimated by the antibiotics following a preventable UTI(with circumcision).

  • Melissa A

    The discussion about the American doctors choosing to come up with different conclusions than their European counterparts has an added dimension.  Circumcision is a FOR PROFIT practice in the US and not in the European countries that do not endorse it….

    • SteveB954

      There is also a strong cultural bias in the USA against normal, intact male genitals. People in cultures that cut the genitals of children devalue the parts they cut off. The attitudes of many Americans about normal, intact male genitals are similar to the attitudes of many Africans about normal, intact female genitals.

  • TLCTugger

    Should have asked Diekema how many on the task force HAVE a foreskin. 

  • Geminijanelle

    Why don’t we cut off the breasts of little girls… look at breast cancer rates! this is a terrible gimmick because Drs are losing money because the scales on circumcision are tipping to leaving our babies perfect & intact the way nature intended.

  • To all you commie anti-circumcision commenters — a Jewish friend of mine back in the commie USSR, back in the 70s died from pyelonephritis, resulting from complications of phimosis, because his parents did not circumcise him at birth and his mother refused to circumcise him even after his repeated UTIs because she was afraid that she would be accused of an illegal religious ritual.
    I would give all of your commie foreskin to bring him back.

    • Listener

      This is a very different case, where a circumcision was recommended for a specific, existing MEDICAL condition. It’s not comparable to routinely circumcisinginfants because of some very marginal, possible  correlation with lower in STD or urinary infection rates in the future. Those against routine circumsions do not say that sort of medical circumcision should be prohibited. 

  • voice4skin

    Circumcising infants is wrong.  Bottom line.  No matter what the religion, no matter what the statistics. It is wrong. We need to get the debate out of the weeds and return to simple common sense, to bodies as nature made them. In the future this debate will seem so ridiculous, so unenlightened. Lets just stop amputating infant foreskins now.

  • Amlb1

    I used to assist with circumcisions. I refused and the doc refused to do anymore because the last baby boy couldn’t scream and breathe after sticking a needle in his penis to numb it. The doc had to mouth to mouth on the baby.
    Every single one of these babies that I assisted with, screamed in agony and even after they “numb”, they are screaming and crying during the entire procedure.
    Sexual (organ) + hurting a human being (assault) = Sexual assault
    Would you sexually assault your own baby? Why would we let anyone else do that our own baby?

  • Amanda Windsor

    This is so sad.  I wish we could get past this cultural blind spot.  It’s horrible that we cut off the most sensitive erogenous zone of our sons soon after they are born so he can be ‘cleaner’.   Some babies lose their lives, others live with sexual dysfunction for the rest of their lives, all lose the full experience of their sexuality.  Would we cut off our daughter’s labia for the same ‘benefits’?  Would we remove 50 to 75% of her errogenous tissue and then claim it won’t affect her at all as an adult?  Of course not. 

  • Joe

    It would be interesting to know if there are any studies regarding the percent of men who use condoms and if circumcision has an affect on usage.  Also I wonder if there have been any studies on chronic irritation along the scar line and discomfort of the urethra, especially in the area where the frenulum was removed.

  • Jle481

    I hear let them decide and words like mutlations. Maybe you need to hear it from some one like me who has lived both lives. I decide to get cut when I was in my twenties. Before you going jumping to using words like multination why don’t you think about other surgeries is for one reason or another like tonsil and fixing a child with clef lips. Being a grown adult when I was circumcised I can tell you it was one of the best decisions I made in my life. The process for doing later in life is much more involved and painful then what I witnessed with my son. Cause as adult you have much more blood vessel and nerves. Hygiene was a huge factor. Go one day without a shower was enough. Think about the space between..warm moist perfect for bacteria. I promise you that my son nor any other sons will not complaint to their parents as to why he was cut at birth. So get off you high horses.

    • Jle481

      I hear let them decide and words like mutlations. Maybe you need to hear it from some one like me who has lived both lives. I decide to get cut when I was in my twenties. Before you going jumping to using words like multination why don’t you think about other surgeries is for one reason or another like tonsil and fixing a child with clef lips. Being a grown adult when I was circumcised I can tell you it was one of the best decisions I made in my life. The process for doing later in life is much more involved and painful then what I witnessed with my son. It was a snap. As a baby they have zero or next to nothing in terms of nerves. You have to hold your child down to give them shots or just an ear exam , they cry from the act of being held down. As an adult you have much more blood vessel and nerves. Much more painful and you have to take medicine to keep from getting erection. Imagine what that will do to the stiches. I recommend people who dont know the procedure for circ for baby look it up. before going on about cruelty etc. Hygiene was a huge factor. go one day without a shower was enough. Think about the space between..warm moist perfect for bacteria. I promise you that my son nor any other sons will not complain to their parents as to why he was cut at birth. So get off your high horses people. Btw for me sex is also much better. I feel my partner and not just my skin.. If you don’t care about your partner pleasure then it wouldn’t matter to you either.

      • Listener

        You cannot really know that circumcision was more painful for you than your son. Infants don’t get to express to us exactly what they feel,which is a good argument for not imposing the experience on them without their consent. And your claim that “any other sons will not complain to their parents as to why they were cut” is simply not true. Some men DO resent that they did not have a choice. Some don’t, and you simply cannot know in advance whether they will or not, which is why in the great majority of cases the decision should  left to someone old enough to consent to the pain for whatever they think they will gain.

  • Guest

    First, as a parent, I think that government/other people should have exactly 0% control over these kinds of decisions that I make for my own children, regardless of which way I might choose. Honestly, who do these people think they are?

    Second, since “the American Academy of Pediatrics announced updated circumcision guidelines which suggest that its health benefits outweigh the risks”, that implies that parents should have a good reason NOT to have their child circumcised.

    All complaints should be directed at the American Academy of Pediatrics, not the parents.

  • Fear of Foreskins

    Circumcision is based in fear.  To do it, you need three things: 1. To fear the intact penis (i.e. “circumcision prevents…”) and 2. to justify doing it to others (i.e. doctors or parents) or 3. to justify that it was done to you.  Until these mindsets disappear, we will go round and round on the circumcision debate.  Intact boys and men think circ. is ridiculous!  And if they don’t, they are afraid….  

  • David Jodok Garbacz

    The AAP ruling is a serious breach of medical ethics. It assumes lack of value of an intact penis. It grossly underestimates the importance of having a foreskin. It also ignores the significant trauma to the infants at the time and ongoing attachment jeopardy.  The idea that being cut helps prevent STD is a bogus argument. The policy to remove body parts just in case is very dangerous. I agree with the European view no parent has the right to mutilate a child ever for any reason. I am a mental health professional educated in trauma and I am also a man who can say foreskins are really important coverings for a mucus membrane. It should be banned for under 18 years old. period.

  • Roger Riverson

    I don’t understand how some people say circumcision doesn’t affect sexuality. If we look at pornography, circumcised actors and intact actors handle their genitals very differently. Circumcised actors tend to apply more pressure and focus more on the head. Intact actors tend to be more gentle and stroke the whole penis.

  • Marilyn Milos, RN

    Bravo, Dr. Edell for bringing important issues about the foreskin to the forefront of this issue!

  • Nocirc

    How could 20,000 to 100,000 nerve endings in the foreskin be amputated without a sensory loss?

  • Craig Garrett

     The American Academy of Pediatrics is now a disgrace. They are going to be the laughing stock among the international community; this new statement is way out of line with statements from other modern nations with advanced medical systems. The AAP should withdraw this statement immediately.

    The foreskin is an important part of male anatomy, and circumcision has serious negative consequences for not only the man, but his female partner as well.

    A study in 2007 by Sorrells, et al., measured the fine-touch sensitivity of 17 different places on the male genitalia, both circumcised and intact. This study concluded that “circumcision ablates the most sensitive parts of [male anatomy].”

    Someone was nice enough to create color-coded diagrams using the data from this study to visually show the areas of sensitivity:

    Google functions of the foreskin for more information.

    Intact America has just published an excellent response in which they explain the flaws and bias in this new AAP statement.

    This is a listing of other nations’ medical statements on circumcision which show they do not agree with the AAP:

    For example, in 2010, the Royal Dutch Medical Association said, “there is no convincing evidence that circumcision is useful or necessary in terms of prevention or hygiene” and “non-therapeutic circumcision of male minors conflicts with the child’s right to autonomy and physical integrity.”

    Finally, this video is an excellent educational resource. It is narrated by Dr. Dean Edell:

  • superior2

    No evidence in U.S. or other developed countries supports circumcision as a way to prevent HIV, STD’s, HPV. NONE. Giving people the false idea that circumcision prevents these things will lead to lack of use of condoms, which will drive rates higher, as is happening right now in Uganda and other African countries. Americans have been duped for years into believing it has benefits. What they don’t realize is that the physical and psychological impact of circumcision affects all of society. How would you feel if forcibly held down to remove part of your normal body without your consent? Rage, Anger, Resentment, Detachment, PTSD, are just a few of the long-term effects.

  • DickScalper

    They brand men like a herd of cows. American men are such wimps to let their sons be subjected to this 

    absurd surgery. If it were women tied down & cut, the Feminists would be howling all over the world. 

    The male genitals are a cheap commodity. There is no argument too absurd for the circumcisers. They 

    insult the appearance of the intact penis, claim that circumcision heals everything from body warts to 

    HIV, and draw an illogical distinction between female & male genitals. Circumcision is the mark of a 

    slave, not a free man.

    Top Ten Tortures Less Painful Than Circumcision

    10. Get waterboarded.
    9. Pull out your fingernails.
    8. Eat a pile of steaming bear crap.
    7. Skin yourself alive.
    6. Fall into a vat of molten iron.
    5. Get run over by a train.
    4. Go through a sausage grinder.
    3. Saw off your legs.
    2. Poke out your eyes.
    1. Go To Hell


  • At 12:40 Dr Diekema says “There’s at least, y’know, one of these cases that gets trotted out,
    involved a very sick baby that was likely to die anyway, and his parents
    wanted him circumcised before, ah, his death, and to attribute that to a
    circumcision is silly, um, that kind of a death.”

    This “ethicist” grossly misrepresents the case. The boy was born with a major heart defect (operated on within three days of birth). The mother was assured that he was out of danger when she agreed to have him circumcised, two months later. He haemorraged and died the next day. But she blogged while they were still working on the bleeding, “I almost killed my baby… Why did I have to say yes?” Does that sound like a mother who was expecting her baby to die?

    Intactivists have been roundly criticised for exploiting his death, but nobody says the circumcision killed him, only that it couldn’t have helped. Now Dr Diekema exploits his death in, I think, a far more culpable way.

  •  The policy is heavily loaded towards circumcision, virtually instructing doctors to browbeat parents into doing it:
    “Parents who are considering deferring circumcision should be explicitly informed that circumcision performed later in life has increased risks [FALSE – they give no evidence for this claim] and costs. Furthermore, deferral of the procedure also requires longer healing time than if performed during the newborn period and requires sexual abstinence during healing. [The word “condoms” never appears in the policy.] Those who are already sexually active by the time they have the procedure lose some opportunities for the protective benefit against sexually transmitted infection (STI) acquisition, including HIV; moreover, there is the risk of acquiring an STI if the individual is sexually active [without condoms] during the healing process.”
    (No mention that if it’s not done at all there is no cost, no risk, no healing period and very little greater risk of STDs, if any.)

    The policy fails to consider the structure or functions of the foreskin, a normal healthy body part, only the cutting of it off. The erogenous value of the foreskin has been known for millennia, even to its enemies. (Shakespeare called it “my sweet ounce of man’s flesh.”)
    The policy claims benefits of circumcising outweigh the risks without ever numerically comparing them.
    It exaggerates benefits and minimizes risks and harm.
    It ignores major complications and death from circumcision.
    It discusses one circumcision clamp without mentioning that its maker was driven out of business by lawsuits arising from botches caused by the clamp.

    Bottom line: HIS body, HIS choice, when he is old enough to make one. The AAP admits that he will almost always choose to keep it all.
    The policy is badly flawed and should be withdrawn. For more detail see

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