(i did not write this…. i copied excerpts and the link to the full article is below)
To cut or not to cut?
The debate over circumcision gets snippy
By Pamela White
When Russell Crowe apologized for tweeting that “circumcision is barbaric and stupid,” a lot of us were left wondering not only why his opinion on this issue constituted news, but also why he felt the need to apologize. Certainly, he expressed himself without tact, but that’s just Crowe, right?
The plain fact is that circumcision is an elective procedure that offers a handful of possible benefits, while causing newborn boys proven pain and exposing them to a host of unnecessary risks. Part of Jewish and Muslim tradition, circumcision was uncommon in the United States until health care practitioners of the Victorian era, infected with the anti-sexual fervor of their time, began to advocate male and female circumcision as a way to cure both boys and girls of the evil and dangerous habit of “onanism,” i.e., masturbation…………
What do the medical experts say? “Existing scientific evidence demonstrates potential medical benefits of newborn male circumcision; however, these data are not sufficient to recommend routine neonatal circumcision,” writes the American Academy of Pediatrics. “In the case of circumcision, in which there are potential benefits and risks, yet the procedure is not essential to the child’s current well-being, parents should determine what is in the best interest of the child. To make an informed choice, parents of all male infants should be given accurate and unbiased information and be provided the opportunity to discuss this decision.”
The American Medical Association refers to circumcision as “non-therapeutic,” i.e., not medically necessary.
And that’s the bottom line: circumcision is not necessary and comes with risks that might not outweigh possible benefits.
Armed with this information, a coalition of nurses (some of them neonatal nurses traumatized by years of observing circumcisions), doctors, midwives, parents and men who were harmed by circumcision are working nationwide as part of the National Organization of Circumcision Resource Centers (NoCirc) to eliminate the practice of newborn circumcision. In San Francisco, “intactivists” are pushing for a referendum that would make it illegal to circumcise boys under the age of 18. The referendum does not make exceptions for religion, pointing to the widespread opposition toward FGM in the United States, a practice often justified by religion. (FGM is illegal in Colorado.)……..
Where real gain can be measured is in education. Sometimes, practices are nothing more than cultural habits. The purpose has been forgotten, but the practice persists. Most parents aren’t thinking of the evils of “onanism” when they hand their newborn sons over to be cut. When asked their reasons for choosing circumcision, many parents say that a penis is easier to keep clean if it’s circumcised. Others said that they want their sons to look like Daddy.
But if a penis is tough to keep clean, what about a vulva? And exactly how many daddy-son penis comparison sessions happen in American households each week?
There are simple solutions to both issues, of course, and neither involve making a newborn baby bleed. One involves soap and water, the other simple conversation and truth. As parents learn more about circumcision, they increasingly choose to leave their sons intact. In that respect, Crowe’s tactless tweets were helpful. Together with the San Francisco referendum, they’ve launched a nationwide discussion on a practice that is deeply ingrained in American culture, yet which has little value and, in fact, may cause lasting harm.
For more information, go to http://www.nocirc.org; jewishcircumcision.org; and cutthefilm.com.