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How do we get young people to leave their future children whole? We educate them about the anatomy and function of the foreskin. In all my years of face to face demonstration/education on this issue, I have never failed to get a young person to listen to me talk to them about normal sexual development and function of the sexual organs. Young people do not get this information from their parents, from school, from text books, from porn, from their peers or from pop culture. I cannot tell you how many people (of all ages) have said to me “No one has ever told me this.” (I get this same response from older adults too!)
The fact that the medical community is performing amputative surgery on a baby with no deformity or disease seems important (and wrong). The fact that the American government enacted federal legislation to protect girls from genital cutting but doesn’t protect boys seems important (and wrong).
It’s easy to counter the myths when you believe the foreskin has some importance. All of a sudden hygiene is easy to explain with a shower and “retract, rinse, replace” is easily understood.
All of a sudden infection is easily explained by the fact that girls get genital infections and we medicate them, we do not amputate their genitals. We can do the same for men. (Also, if penile infections were really such an issue, we’d have a section in the drug store for penile infection creams. We certainly have a female genital infection medication section – full of creams and products to “freshen” our nether regions. Ever wondered why we don’t have these products for men? Perhaps these infected penises are truly a myth!)
I know that so many of us are disheartened by the AAP’s new policy statement, but we have to realize that the AAP is a professional trade organization and it exists for the promotion of its members – pediatric doctors. It is not, and never will be, a patient advocacy group. They have a profit line to maintain and a drop in circumcision rates is not beneficial to them.
They will not stop soliciting circumcision until one of two things happens (or both):
1) The financial risk of performing this unethical surgery outweigh the profit to be made: lawsuits for botched circumcisions or bodily integrity violations cost too much.
2) The majority of parents staunchly refuse, forcing them to do an internal evaluation of the procedure. I suspect it would take 75% or so refusing before this happens.
Don’t lose faith. The truth has its own longevity. The human body is genetically programmed to form a foreskin. It will always do this. All we need to do is understand its function to give it value. That which we value, we care for. It’s all about education.