The Error of Circumcizing Christian Boys

INTRODUCTION

This web page was created to help Orthodox parents understand the important issue of whether to circumcise their child. During these modern times in the West, this option is only considered because of the propaganda that has started in the last sixty years, that a circumcised male is somehow benefiting health wise.

We will explain first what the Church teaches regarding circumcision of Christians, and then we will present the testimonies and references to health professionals who argue against the unwarranted act of circumcision. The reader will note those against this unnecessary practice have forcefully put forward the argument that this act is against the child’s civil rights. This should be taken very seriously. Therefore, we have added a link which speaks of female circumcision, because female circumcision, generally speaking in the West, is far more abhorrent than male circumcision. We did this with the hopes that if a mother would be abhorred and shocked at the thought of circumcision done on her body when she was a baby, she would also think of the violation done on her male child also. If her child would wish to be circumcised, this is an option which only he should decide, since it is his body.

THE ORTHODOX TEACHING ON CIRCUMCISION

The Orthodox teaching on circumcision is set forth for all the faithful very clearly and concisely by the Holy Scriptures and by the writings of the Holy Fathers. First we will examine what the Holy Scriptures tell us.

In the Acts of the Apostles we read that there was a definite question whether Christians should be circumcised as a requirement for being part of the Church. With this was the question also whether Christians should keep the whole Law. The Apostles were assembled together in the first recorded instance where the Church gathered in Council. It is recorded thus:

But there rose up certain of those from the sect of the Pharisees who believed, saying, it is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. And the apostles and the presbyters were gathered together to see about this matter. [Acts 15:5,6]

Iakovos the First Bishop of Jerusalem and Brother of the Lord presided over this Council, and he and the Apostles heard the arguments from both sides: that Christ has abolished the Law and has established a new covenant, and the contrary view, that the newly converted Gentiles should be circumcised and keep the Law. The decision was rendered and was accepted by all the Apostles, as we read in the Acts.

“Whereas we have heard that certain from among us who went out troubled you with words, upsetting your souls, saying, ‘Be circumcised and keep the law’ - to whom we gave no such command - ...For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no further burden than these necessary things: that ye abstain from sacrifices to idols, and from blood, and from what is strangled, and from fornication; from which, if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Farewell.” [Acts 15:24-29]

This was the first affirmation by the leaders of the Church that circumcision was totally unnecessary. Saint Paul further says in his Epistles:

Behold, I Paul say to you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. [Gal. 5:2]

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision hath any strength, nor uncircumcision, but faith energizing itself through love. [Gal. 5:6]

For we are the circumcision, those who worship God in spirit, and boast in Christ Jesus, and trust not in the flesh, [Phil. 3:3]

For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one in that which is hidden; and circumcision is that of the heart, in spirit, not in letter, whose praise is not of men, but of God. [Rom. 2:28, 29]

Saint John Chrysostom in the First Discourse Against the Judaizers refers to the Jews, those circumcised in the flesh, as “the mutilation”, quoting Saint Paul who said:

To write the same things to you, for me indeed is not troublesome, but it is safe for you. Be wary of the dogs, be wary of the evil workers, be wary of the mutilation; for we are the circumcision, those who worship God in spirit, and boast in Christ Jesus, and trust not in the flesh, [Phil. 3:1-3]

What is interesting in this quote from St. Paul is that circumcision is referred to as mutilation. A baby is born a perfect human being, created in the image and likeness of God, albeit he is not completely developed. To take what God has created perfect and to cut and throw away some part of that perfect body is rightly called mutilation. This is what Saint Maximos the Confessor says:

41. Circumcision, in its mystical sense, is the complete cutting away of the intellect’s impassioned attachment to all [temporal things] that comes into being in a contingent manner. Viewing things on the natural level, we recognize that the removal of an attribute naturally bestowed by God does not produce perfection. For nature does not bring about perfection when it is mutilated by human ingenuity, or when through over-subtlety men deprive it of something conferred on it by God at creation. Otherwise we would be attributing to human ingenuity more power to establish a perfect order of things than to God, and to an ingenious mutilation of nature the ability to make good shortcomings in God’s creation. But if we understand circumcision figuratively, we learn that we are spiritually to circumcise the impassioned disposition of our soul.

42. Uncircumcision is natural. Everything that is natural is the work of divine creation and is excellent: ‘And God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good’ (Gen. 1:3) But, by demanding on the grounds of uncleanness that the foreskin should be cut away by circumcision, one endeavors to amend God’s own work through human skill. This is a most blasphemous way of looking at things.

[Philokalia, Faber & Faber, vol. 2, St. Maximos the Confessor, “Fifth Century on Various Texts”, pgs. 270-271.]

From what we have just described, it is obvious that Orthodox males are not circumcised. This is also obvious from the tradition that has been handed down to us in the Orthodox countries of Russia, Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, etc., that they do NOT circumcise their males or females.

Circumcision has always been associated with a religion and done for religious reasons. The two religions which demand circumcision are Judaism and Islam. Certain African and Australian aboriginal tribes have it as an initiation rite as well. Christianity does not require circumcision; in fact, it looks down upon it as we have said as mutilation, and therefore a sin.

On circumcision as a religious sign or mark, St. John of Damascus writes: “The circumcision was given to Abraham before the law, after the blessings, after the promise, as a sign separating him and his offspring and his household from the Gentiles with whom he lived. And this is evident, for when the Israelites passed forty years alone by themselves in the desert, having no intercourse with any other race, all that were born in the desert were left uncircumcised: but when Jesus (of Nave) led them across Jordan into Palestine, they were circumcised, and a second law of circumcision was instituted...So that the circumcision was a sign, dividing Israel from the Gentiles with whom they dwelt...Circumcision was, moreover, a figure of baptism. For holy Baptism circumcises us spiritually, giving us as a sign the precious Cross upon our brow, not to divide us from the Gentiles, but to distinguish in each nation the faithful from the faithless. Wherefore, when the truth is revealed, circumcision is a senseless figure and shade, and, in fact, the sign of circumcision is now superfluous and contrary to holy baptism.” [St. John of Damascus, “Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith”, Bk. 4, Chapters 23 & 25]

Since our physicians now admit that “there is no medical indication for circumcision” (see below), i.e., no medical reason, the decision to circumcise one’s son is now reduced to the issue of whether or not to place the indelible mark of another, non-Christian religion upon one’s Christian son. As any one can see, this is clearly contrary to right faith and reason.

Circumcision allegedly for medical reasons started in England in the late 19th century when medicine there was still in a fairly primitive state of knowledge and spread to the rest of English speaking world after World War II. However, the rest of the European scientific and medical world never accepted the mistaken medical theories on which circumcision came to be based in Britain, the U.S.A., and Australia, and never widely practiced it, considering it a needless and senseless act of cruelty perpetrated on children. Now, with increased studies and advances in scientific knowledge, both non-English-speaking and English-speaking medical societies have commonly accepted that circumcision is not required for physical health:

“Existing scientific evidence is not sufficient to recommend routine neonatal circumcision...the procedure is not essential to the child’s current well-being” - 1999 American Academy of Pediatrics

“The AMA supports the general principles of the 1999 Circumcision Policy Statement of the American Academy of Pediatrics.” - 2000 American Medical Association (AMA)

“The overall evidence... does not support recommending circumcision as a routine procedure for newborns.” Canadian Pediatric Society, March 16, 1996

“Circumcision of newborns should not be routinely performed.” - 2002 Canadian Pediatric Society (reaffirmed 1996 position)

“The Australasian Association of Pediatric Surgeons has informed the College that ‘neonatal male circumcision has no medical indication. It is a traumatic procedure performed without anesthesia to remove a normal functional and protective prepuce [foreskin].’” - 1996 Australian College of Pediatrics

“We do not support the removal of a normal part of the body, unless there are definite indications to justify the complications and risks which may arise. In particular, we are opposed to male children being subjected to a procedure, which had they been old enough to consider the advantages and disadvantages, may well have opted to reject the operation and retain their prepuce [foreskin].” - 1996 Australasian Association of Pediatric Surgeons

Further, medical studies are showing that circumcised men even seem to be more susceptible to certain diseases and infirmities than uncircumcised ones. On this, there is plentiful material all over the internet from physicians, medical associations, and medical journals. A decision to circumcise, then, will be based not on real medical necessity, but on pseudo-scientific and non-Christian religious reasons.

Lastly, there is a moral question of needlessly torturing your new-born son. That circumcision is an immensely painful trauma to make one’s child suffer, is not only nearly universally confessed by physicians these days, but we may learn this even from the Old Testament. [Gen. 34:24-25]. Thus, as a parent, it would be morally wrong to inflict such a painful and traumatic experience on your child needlessly and, moreover, blasphemously mutilate God’s creation and place upon him a mark of non-Christian faith.

What has been said above is sufficient for Orthodox Christian parents, who are primarily ordering their life according to what the Church teaches, to understand not to circumcise their baby boy. However, there may be some who are not convinced or perhaps need more information from a medical point of view. Therefore, we present the following list of articles from that perspective.

By Dormition Skete, Buena Vista, Colorado.


http://www.eskimo.com/~gburlin/mgm/facts.html

INFANT MALE CIRCUMCISION
IS NOT IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE
HEALTH & RIGHTS OF THE CHILD

FACT SHEET

Scope of the Problem

Early and Current Rationale

Decision Making

Foreskin Function

Penile Development

Immediate Risks and Complications

Long-Term Adverse Outcomes

Effects of Pain

Maternal Bonding / Breastfeeding

Questionable Benefits

Medical Ethics

Obstetrical Involvement

Restoration Movement

Children’s Rights

Why Does It Continue?

  1. Average of state and territory circumcision rates NOCIRC of Australia
  2. Average of provincial circumcision rates compiled from Health & Welfare Canada and Statistics Canada
  3. Average of regional circumcision rates compiled by National Center for Health Statistics
  4. updated from Rockney, R. Newborn Circumcision. American Family Physician, October 1988:151-155
  5. Wallerstein, E. Circumcision: Uniquely American Medical Enigma. Urol. Clinics of N America, February 1985;12:123-132
  6. Milos, M. Circumcision: Male - Effects on Human Sexuality. Human Sexuality: Ency.. NY, Garland 1994:119-121
  7. Paige, K. The Ritual of Circumcision. Human Nature, May 1989:40-48
  8. paraphrased from Report of the Task Force on Circumcision. Pediatrics, August 1989; 84:388-391
  9. Brown. M. Circumcision Decision: Prominence of Social Concerns. Pediatrics, August 1987;80:215- 219
  10. Report of the Task Force on Circumcision. Pediatrics, August 1989;84-388-391
  11. Poland, R. Question of Routine Neonatal Circumcision. New England Journal of Med, May 1990;322:1312-1314
  12. Wallerstein, E. Circumcision: Uniquely American Medical Enigma. Urol Clinics of N Amer, Feb 1985;12:123-132
  13. Gairdner, D. Fate of the Foreskin. British Medical Journal, December 1949:1433-1437
  14. Milos, M. Circumcision: Male - Effects on Human Sexuality. Human Sexuality: An Encyclopedia
  15. Ibid.
  16. Gairdner, D. Fate of the Foreskin. British Medical Journal, December 1949:1433-1437
  17. Milos, M. Circumcision: Male - Effects on Human Sexuality. Human Sexuality: An Encyclopedia
  18. Denniston, G. Unnecessary Circumcision. The Female Patient, July 1992;17:13-14
  19. Marshall, F. Complications: Pediatric Circumcision. Urol. Complic. Med-Surg. NY, Year Bk Med. 1986:387-395
  20. Williams, N. Complications of Circumcision. British Journal of Surgery, October 1993;80:1231-1236
  21. Snyder, J. The Problem of Circumcision in America. Truth Seeker, July 1989:39-42
  22. Ritter, T. Circumcision Removes More Than a little Snip. Say No to Circumcision. Aptos, Hourglass 1992:18-1
  23. Milos, M. Circumcision: Male - Effects on Human Sexuality. Human Sexuality: An Encyclopedia
  24. Hammond, T. Awakenings: Prelim. Poll of Circ. Men. NOHARMM 1992:76-77 [POB 460795, San Franc., 94146]
  25. Ibid.:73-75
  26. Anand, KJS. Pain and its Effects on the Human Neonate and Fetus. New Engl J of Med, 1987;317:1321-1329
  27. Howard, C. Acetaminophen Analgesia in Neonatal Circum.:Effect on Pain. Pediatrics, Apr 1994;93:641-646
  28. Taddio, A. Effect Neonatal Circum. on Pain Responses at Vaccination in Boys. Lancet, Feb. 1995;345:291-292
  29. Marshall, R. Circumcision: Effects on Mother-Infant Interaction. Early Human Development, 1982;7:367-374
  30. Laibow, R. Circ: Relationship Attachment Impairment. NOCIRC Intl Symp. on Circumcision., San Francisco April 1991:14
  31. Piscane, A. Breastfeeding and Urinary Tract Infection. Lancet, July 7, 1990:50
  32. Koch, Y. Hormone in Breast Milk May Help Babies Develop. reported in Wash. Post - Health, May 24, 1994:5
  33. Howard, C. Acetaminophen Analgesia in Neonatal Circum.:Effect on Pain. Pediatrics, Apr 1994;93:641-646
  34. Marshall, R. Circumcision: Effects on Mother-Infant Interaction. Early Human Development, 1982;7:367-374
  35. Krueger, H. Effects of Hygiene Among the Uncircumcised. Journal of Family Practice, 1986;22:353-355
  36. Donovan, B. Male Circumcision & Common STDS in Developed Nation Setting. Genitourin Med, 1994;70:317-320
  37. Thompson, R. Routine Circumcision in the Newborn. Journal of Family Practice, 1990;31:189-196
  38. Altschul, M. Cultural Bias and the UTI Circumcision Controversy. Truth Seeker, July 1989;1:43-45
  39. McCracken, G. Options in Antimicrobial Mgmt. UTI in Infants-Children. Ped Infect Dis J, Aug 1989;8:552-555
  40. Lawler, F. Circumcision: Decision Analysis of its Medical Value. Family Medicine, 1991;23:587- 593
  41. Denniston, G. Unnecessary Circumcision. The Female Patient, July 1992;17:13-14
  42. Snyder, J. The Problem of Circumcision in America. Truth Seeker, July 1989:39-42
  43. Toubia, N. FGM: Responsibility of Reproductive Health Professionals. Intl J of Gyn & Obst, 1994;46:127-135
  44. Shield, JPH. Children’s Consent to Treatment. British Medical Journal, May 1994;308:1182-1183
  45. Garry, T. Circumcision: A Survey of Fees and Practices. OBG Management, October 1994:34-36
  46. Sorger, L. To ACOG: Stop Circumcisions. Ob.Gyn. News, November 1, 1994:8
  47. Warren, J. The Case Against Circumcision. British Journal of Sexual Medicine, September 1994;21:6-8
  48. Bigelow, J. Uncircumcising: Undoing Effects of Ancient Practice in Modern world. Mothering, Sumr, 1994:56-61
  49. Toubia, N. FGM: Responsibility of Reproductive Health Professionals. Intl J of Gyn & Obst, 1994;46:127-135
  50. Phillips, I. Advocacy: Rhetoric or Practice. Nursing BC, August 1994:38
  51. Milos, M. Circumcision: Male - Effects on Human Sexuality. Human Sexuality: An Encyclopedia
  52. Phillips, I. Advocacy: Rhetoric or Practice. Nursing BC, August 1994:38
  53. Sperlich, B. Botched Circumcisions. American Journal of Nursing, June 1994;94:16
  54. Altschul, M. Circumcision Controversy. AFP-American Family Physician, March 1990;41:817-821
  55. Stein, M. Routine Circum.: Gap Between Contemporary Policy and Practice. J of Fam Pract, 1982;15:47-53

“Despite the many shortcomings of its new position statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics has stated that it does not recommend circumcision. The already declining circumcision rate in the U.S. should therefore drop dramatically.” NOCIRC Annual Report, Spring 1999

National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers P.O. Box 2512 San Anselmo, CA 94979-2512 Tel: 415-488-9883 Fax: 415-488-9660

News Release

For Release: March 1, 1999, 5p.m.(ET)

Contact: Marilyn Milos, R.N., 415-488-9883

ROUTINE CIRCUMCISION NOT RECOMMENDED, AAP SAYS After analyzing almost 40 years of medical research on circumcision, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has stated that “the existing scientific evidence [demonstrating] potential medical benefits of newborn male circumcision [is] not sufficient to recommend newborn circumcision.” The AAP’s new policy statement was published in the March issue of the AAP’s journal, Pediatrics.

Since the AAP can find no medical reason to recommend routine circumcision, NOCIRC calls upon the AAP to:

a. educate its members about the erogenous, sexual, protective, and immunological functions of the foreskin;

b. educate its members about the care of the normal intact penis;

c. acknowledge that no amount of analgesia prevents circumcision pain;

d. address the psychological, sexual, and social effects of circumcision;

e. uphold the first maxim of medical practice, “First, do no harm,” by recommending that the foreskins of babies routinely be kept intact. NOCIRC director Marilyn Milos said, “Now that the American Academy of Pediatrics has aligned itself more closely with medical organizations worldwide by not recommending routine male circumcision, the already declining circumcision rate in the U.S. should drop dramatically.”

http://www.nocirc.org.

AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS


Position Statements of Medical Societies in English-Speaking Countries

2003 British Medical Association

“The BMA does not believe that parental preference alone constitutes sufficient grounds for performing a surgical procedure on a child unable to express his own view. . . . Parental preference must be weighed in terms of the child’s interests. . . . The BMA considers that the evidence concerning health benefit from non-therapeutic circumcision is insufficient for this alone to be a justification for doing it. . . . Some doctors may wish to not perform circumcisions for reasons of conscience. Doctors are under no obligation to comply with a request to circumcise a child.”

2002 Royal Australasian College of Physicians

“After extensive review of the literature the RACP reaffirms that there is no medical indication for routine male circumcision. The possibility that routine circumcision may contravene human rights has been raised because circumcision is performed on a minor and is without proven medical benefit. . . . Review of the literature in relation to risks and benefits shows there is no evidence of benefit outweighing harm for circumcision as a routine procedure.”

2002 Canadian Pediatric Society (reaffirmed 1996 position)

“Circumcision of newborns should not be routinely performed.”

2000 American Medical Association

“The AMA supports the general principles of the 1999 Circumcision Policy Statement of the American Academy of Pediatrics.”

1999 American Academy of Pediatrics

“Existing scientific evidence demonstrates potential medical benefits of newborn male circumcision; however, these data are not sufficient to recommend routine neonatal circumcision.”

1996 Australian College of Pediatrics

“The Australasian Association of Pediatric Surgeons has informed the College that ‘neonatal male circumcision has no medical indication. It is a traumatic procedure performed without anesthesia to remove a normal functional and protective prepuce [foreskin].’ ”

1996 Australasian Association of Pediatric Surgeons

“We do not support the removal of a normal part of the body, unless there are definite indications to justify the complications and risks which may arise. In particular, we are opposed to male children being subjected to a procedure, which had they been old enough to consider the advantages and disadvantages, may well have opted to reject the operation and retain their prepuce [foreskin]....The 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states that ‘State parties should take all effective and appropriate measures with a view to abolishing traditional practices prejudicial to the health of children.’ ”


The foreskin has twelve known functions.

They are:

1. to cover and bond with the synechia so as to permit the development of the mucosal surface of the glans and inner foreskin.

2. to protect the infant’s glans from feces and ammonia in diapers.

3. to protect the glans penis from friction and abrasion throughout life.

4. to keep the glans moisturized and soft with emollient oils.

5. to lubricate the glans.

6. to coat the glans with a waxy protective substance.

7. to provide sufficient skin to cover an erection by unfolding.

8. to provide an aid to masturbation and foreplay.

9. to serve as an aid to penetration.

10. to reduce friction and chafing during intercourse.

11. to serve as erogenous tissue because of its rich supply of erogenous receptors.

12. to contact and stimulate the G-spot of the female partner. The above list was compiled from various sources by George Hill.


Frequently Asked Questions about Infant Circumcision

Compiled from various sources by Geoffrey T. Falk

1. What is circumcision?

Circumcision is the surgical removal of the sleeve of skin and mucosal tissue that normally covers the glans (head) of the penis. This double layer, sometimes called the prepuce, is more commonly known as the foreskin.

Parents are encouraged to read as much as possible about circumcision. They should make themselves aware of the complexities of the circumcision procedure itself. Speak to your doctor about the step-by-step procedure. If possible, ask to observe a circumcision at your hospital, so that you will know fully what is involved.

The International Coalition for Genital Integrity has classified circumcision as a type I genital mutilation. Pictures and video of a circumcision are available on the Circumcision Information and Resource Pages (CIRP) website.

2. What is the foreskin there for?

The foreskin serves three functions: protective, sensory, and sexual.

In most cases, the foreskin is still fused to the glans at birth and will separate over a variable period of time over the first few years. During the diaper period, the foreskin protects against abrasion from diapers and feces. Throughout life, the foreskin keeps the glans soft and moist and protects it from trauma and injury.

Parts of the foreskin, such as the mucosa (inner foreskin) and frenulum, are particularly sensitive and contribute to sexual pleasure. Specialized nerve endings enhance sexual pleasure and control.

a. The inner foreskin (mucosa) is the skin directly against the glans. Like the lining of the mouth, this tissue is thinner and of a different texture and color than the remainder of the skin covering the penis (shaft skin).

b. The frenulum is a particularly sensitive narrow membrane that runs down the ventral groove of the glans and attaches to the inner foreskin.

c. The ridged band is the interface between the inner foreskin (mucosa) and the shaft skin. It often “puckers” past the tip of the glans. The band contains whorled smooth muscle fibers, giving it pronounced elastic properties that allow the foreskin to be retracted. The ridged band has a tactile sensitivity equivalent to that of the lips.

The foreskin provides ample loose skin for the penis to occupy when erect. It is a movable skin sheath for the penis during intercourse, reducing chafing and the need for artificial lubricants, and allowing the glans and foreskin to naturally stimulate each other. Warren and Bigelow described some of the physiological functions of the foreskin in sexual activity.

3. What are some reasons that circumcision is performed?

Circumcision is primarily performed for cultural or religious reasons.

Because a large number of men in English-speaking Western countries are circumcised, many think of the foreskin as an unnecessary part of the penis. Many circumcisions are performed because a circumcised father often does not want to feel that he is different from his son.

4. What are some reasons not to have my son circumcised?

Your son’s foreskin is a healthy, natural part of his body. Any part of the body may develop problems. It is possible, though very unlikely, that the foreskin will develop problems. However, most foreskin problems are easily treatable.

When your son becomes an adult, he may choose circumcision for himself. However, there is a good chance he will prefer not to be circumcised. Leaving your baby’s foreskin alone preserves his right to a whole and intact body.

Circumcision will be painful for the baby (see below).

The medical evidence in favor of routine circumcision of healthy babies is not persuasive. If your son has a problem with his foreskin, such as a severe infection (balanitis xerotica obliterans) or gangrene, perhaps related to diabetes, your doctor may recommend partial or complete circumcision or removal of the affected area. Phimosis (non-retractable foreskin, if it persists much longer than normal) can usually be treated by gentle stretching and/or steroid creams. The vast majority of boys will never have any foreskin problems that necessitate surgery.

5. Is circumcision painful?

The often repeated statement that babies can’t feel pain is not true. It is documented in the medical literature that babies are as sensitive to pain as anyone else, and perhaps more so.

Most circumcisions are performed without anesthetic, because there are risks involved with using anesthetics on babies. Sometimes local injections are used, but this does not eliminate pain. Most babies will show signs of pain during the procedure and in the week or ten days following circumcision. Recent studies have shown that the pain is remembered long beyond the time of the procedure itself.

While pain may help parents decide against circumcision, parents should look at the long term effects of their decision first, not only during infanthood, but all the way to adulthood. Your decision will affect your son for the duration of his life.

6. Does infant circumcision have risks?

Circumcision is surgery, and like all surgery it has risks. These include:

a. Excessive bleeding

b. Injury to the glans

c. Infection (raw wound is exposed to feces and urine in diaper)

d. Complications from anesthesia, if used

e. Surgical error, including removal of too much skin

f. In rare cases, complications can be life-threatening.

Up to 20% of circumcised males will suffer from one or more of the following complications, to some degree:

a. Meatal stenosis (narrowing of the urethral opening due to infection and subsequent scarring, that occurs almost exclusively in circumcised boys)

b. extensive scarring of the penile shaft

c. skin tags and skin bridges

d. bleeding of the circumcision scar

e. curvature of the penis

f. tight, painful erections

g. psychological and psychosexual problems [21]

The surface of the glans becomes dry if not protected by the foreskin. It is believed that dryness and abrasion may cause progressive loss of sensation in the glans, especially in later life.

7. When and why was routine neonatal circumcision introduced in English-speaking Western countries?

Doctors in the English-speaking countries started circumcising babies in the mid-1800s to prevent masturbation, which some doctors claimed caused many diseases, including epilepsy, tuberculosis and insanity. Of course, these arguments are not accepted today.


What Happens During Circumcision?

WARNING...This web site contains graphic pictures: http://www.cirp.org/library/procedure/plastibell/


THE CIRCUMCISION REFERENCE LIBRARY

What exactly is circumcision and what is it not? by Francisco Garcia

Infant circumcision is made more acceptable by believing the notion that there is a flap of skin at the end of the penis called the foreskin which hangs over the glans and circumcision simply removes that flap. This is factually incorrect. By thinking that the foreskin is separate or “extra” tissue it is easier to believe that its removal does little to impact or change the rest of the skin of the penis.

There is really no separate anatomical structure called the foreskin. Rather there is one single continuous skin sheath of the penis which is called the skin system. This single, uninterrupted skin sheath may, at any given time, fold to varying degrees over the glans or retract to reveal it. The amount of the skin system that is folded over can be referred to as the forefold of the skin system. Its extent changes often to accommodate degrees of erection, and it is never a separate structure from the skin of the shaft.

What the operation called circumcision actually does then is to interrupt and significantly reduce the skin system of the penis to a fraction of its normal anatomical and functional extent.

The skin system of the penis

The intact penis is covered by one single continuous skin sheath or skin system. The skin sheath is partly folded at different times. This folded part of the skin system is called the foreskin or prepuce.

The fold of skin is often mistaken as a single layer, or a flap of skin. This is wrong. Instead, it is a free, two-layer fold that forms when the skin coming down the penis from the shaft folds underneath itself somewhere near the tip of the penis then travels back to an attachment point behind the glans. The two sides of the fold do not adhere to each other even though they lie flat against each other appearing to form a single flap of skin.

Also, in the adult the skin system does not adhere to the glans so it can unfold back off of the glans, leaving it fully exposed. When we speak of this skin sheath we are not talking about the surface of the glans itself in the same way that we talk about the surface of the shaft, because the glans has no real skin. When we talk about the skin covering of the glans, this can only mean the foreskin. The foreskin is its skin covering.

The fictitious foreskin A significant anatomical error has been made historically and continues today in describing the penis by delineating the “foreskin” as a separate anatomical structure from the shaft skin. People talk about the “foreskin” separately from the shaft skin. This is a mistake. It is not correct.

The foreskin is not a separate anatomical structure from the rest of the skin of the penis. This is actually an artificial separation. When the word foreskin is used, rather than referring to a separate part of the penis, it means the part of the continuous skin system which happens to be folded over the glans at any given time. So there is no real anatomical border to the “foreskin.” Since the proportion of the skin system that is folded over the glans increases and decreases by folding and unfolding to various degrees all the time, we realize that “foreskin” is a poor way of describing the anatomy of the penis. Instead, more accurate terminology might be to describe that part of the skin system which covers the glans as the “forefold of the skin system.”

Unlike the false border between “foreskin” and shaft skin, there is a real anatomical border which exists in the skin system. It is between the mucosal, or non-keratinized, part of the skin system (which consists of the inner lining of the foreskin along with the surface of the glans) and the keratinized part (which is the outer penile skin, including the outer foreskin). That border is at the most distal part, or tip, of the skin system - it is the tip of the forefold.

The mobility of the skin system The entire skin system moves freely. In the intact (uncircumcised) male, the penis has a low friction gliding plane immediately beneath the surface of the skin which is like no other body structure. This means that the skin of the penis does not adhere to the underlying tissue the way that skin adheres to other parts of the body. This unique quality allows the entire skin of the penis to move as a unit back and forth longitudinally or around the shaft circumferentially making it the most mobile skin in the intact male.

The skin system covers the head of the penis to varying degrees depending on moment-to-moment factors such as the state of erection and temperature. The free fold of the skin system which we call “foreskin” unfolds and re-folds constantly to varying degrees, adjusting to the current state of the penis. It is a very dynamic system. The foreskin, among other functions, provides the penis with a reservoir of skin which is needed during erection. The skin of the erect, intact penis is still mobile and loose, allowing the mucosal inner foreskin to roll back and forth over the glans.

Thus, the dividing line between what we call the skin of the shaft and foreskin is regularly crossed by the “shaft skin” or “foreskin.” The delineated “foreskin” may become entirely “shaft skin” when the penis becomes more erect because it is now around the shaft. And if the penis shrinks momentarily beyond its usual flaccid state, perhaps due to a cold swim at the beach, some of the “shaft skin” is now “foreskin” because it covers the glans. The skin system is a dynamic, mobile and flexible skin sheath that moves and adjusts to the momentary needs of the penis. Such a system is not normally observed in the circumcised male.

Another anatomical error is committed in describing the foreskin as a flap of skin protruding from the shaft skin. This notion presumes that the foreskin is a single layer of skin, like the skin of the shaft, which grows from the shaft to cover the glans. In describing the foreskin this way it is easier to see it as redundant or “extra skin” and it is more difficult to see how removing it might impact the rest of the penis. This description of the foreskin is inaccurate. The foreskin is not “extra” skin which protrudes from the shaft. There is no extra skin on the body - this is a silly notion. Instead, it is a free, double-layered fold - an integral part of the skin system. The foreskin extends from a point on the shaft behind the glans to cover the glans then folds back underneath itself to the same attachment point on the shaft, usually near the glans. The eyelid works much the same way. The eye lid is not a single flap of skin, but rather two freely moving layers of a fold of skin, so that both the foreskin and the eyelid have two layers. That’s why it is more appropriate to refer to the “foreskin” as the forefold of the skin system.

In reality then, infant circumcision does not remove the “tip of the penis” or “redundant skin” nor does it remove a separate structure called “the foreskin.” Rather, infant circumcision deletes a significant percentage of the skin system of the penis, rendering the skin system relatively dysfunctional and rendering the penis less dynamic.

The “triple whammy”

The circumcised penis loses sensitivity in three ways:

1. Loss of the foreskin nerves themselves. As has been demonstrated by studies such as the one by Dr. Taylor and by the testimonials of the majority of intact men, the inner foreskin possesses a greater density of nerve endings. It is thought to be more erogenous than even the glans. The is no question that the foreskin is a highly erogenous tissue. This tremendous amount of sensitivity is lost completely when the forefold of the skin system is amputated. In addition to this, the most sensitive part of the penis, the frenulum of the foreskin, is either partially or totally removed in most infant circumcisions. The frenulum is the continuation of the inner foreskin which attaches to the underside (ventral part) of the glans. Thus, a significant percentage, if not the majority, of erogenous nerve supply to the penis is removed in circumcision at birth.

2. Damage to the glans. The erogenous sensitivity that remains after circumcision is primarily in the glans. This is further reduced by removal of the protective foreskin which leaves the glans permanently exposed. Unlike the shaft of the penis, and most of the rest of the body, the head of the penis, does not posses its own attached skin. This structure, like the eye ball and the gums of the mouth, is a somewhat naked structure. Its surface is non-keratinized, like that of the gums, the eye ball, and the clitoris in women. That means that it does not posses a protective thick layer like the keratinized skin of the outer penile skin system. Like the gums and the eye ball, the glans of the intact penis has a retractable skin covering. The skin covering of the glans is the foreskin. The eyelid is very similar in architecture to the foreskin. If the eyelid were removed and the eyeball were to become keratinized, you’d have a much harder time seeing. The same is true of the glans. It becomes artificially keratinized (dry, hard, reddened, discolored, and wrinkled) as a result of permanent exposure, and thus less sensitive. Because most American men are circumcised and have a glans of this nature, it is harder to notice the abnormality. But just compare the glans of an intact man with that of a circumcised man next to each other and you’ll notice a big difference. Thus, in addition to removing lots of erogenous nerve endings in the inner foreskin and frenulum, circumcision further desensitizes the remaining sensitivity of the glans by leaving it exposed.

3. Loss of skin mobility. The nerve endings in the glans are predominantly complex touch receptors also known as mechanoreceptors. This is different from the light touch receptors of the skin which detect surface friction. The mechanorecptors are best stimulated by massage action rather than surface friction. Thus, the glans is best stimulated to feel pleasure by a rolling massage action. With an ample and highly mobile skin system that rolls over the glans with pressure from the opposing surface, this optimal stimulation of the glans is achieved while avoiding direct friction of the delicate glans surface. Direct friction tends to fire off pain receptors causing irritation and also causes further keratinization of the glans. With the skin system of the penis significantly reduced by circumcision, the mobility is essentially gone and now the penis is a static mass with no dynamic self stimulation mechanism. Now, it must be rubbed. Direct friction is now the primary form of stimulation. So then circumcision further reduces erogenous sensitivity in the penis by reducing skin mobility and thus the ability to use the foreskin to massage the glans. The combination of foreskin and glans in concert results in an even higher level of stimulation which is unknown to the circumcised male.

Conclusion Circumcision of an infant male significantly reduces erogenous pleasure potential in his penis when he becomes sexually active and continues to be reduced as he ages until, in many cases, he is left with relatively little sensation.

Adult Circumcision vs. Infant Circumcision

A common misperception is that infant circumcision is preferable to adult circumcision because it spares a man pain and trauma. Many physicians however say the opposite and critics admit that most of their objections to infant circumcision cannot be applied to the adult procedure. Here’s why:

1. More precise with better outcome. Circumcision of an adult can be more precise and less risky than for the infant. This is because the adult penis is fully formed. Many plastic surgeons operate on the penis in the erect state because this way it is clear to what extent the skin is stretched during erection. In the infant, this more precise method cannot be employed. Also, based on the knowledge of his own penis, the adult patient can specify how much tissue to remove, the infant cannot. In terms of how much tissue to remove, there is much more guess work involved in the infant and often too much skin is removed. In adult circumcision precise instruments are used. In the infant, usually more cumbersome and less precise instruments like the Gomco clamp are used. The results of operating on a fully formed penis, in the erect state, with precise instruments by a trained surgeon, benefit the adult and not the infant.

2. Reduced risk of injury. For the same reasons mentioned above, injury to the penis is less likely in adult circumcision than in infant circumcision. It is less likely that too much or too little tissue will be removed and the chances of lacerating the glans itself are also minimized. Scarring is also reduced in the adult.

3. Reduced loss of sensitivity. Because in the adult, the penis has had many years to develop with a foreskin covering, the glans is fully sensitive at the time of the circumcision. The glans has grown with its protective covering and the foreskin has already separated naturally from the glans. This spares the adult some of the sensitivity loss that occurs when circumcision is performed at birth. At birth, the foreskin must be torn away from the glans to which it is normally adhered. Then, the denuded glans of the infant spends much time exposed to caustic urine while in diapers. In adult circumcision this early damage to the glans is avoided.

4. Personal choice. With adult circumcision the patient is making a personal choice to have himself circumcised. He has the option of comparing the pros and cons and has had the opportunity to know what having a foreskin is like. This eliminates the “lack of choice” objection made by critics. With elected adult circumcision, critics see no violation of rights.

5. Reduced potential psychological effects. With adult circumcision potential psychological effects are reduced. This is because the patient understands the experience. He knows why it is happening and that he has chosen this. Anesthesia is used in the adult and is usually omitted or ineffective in the infant. In contrast, the infant has an experience of inexplicable pain and terror which he cannot rationalize as an adult. Some speculate that this intensely painful experience for the infant can lead to problems later on. Although on the surface it may seem that an infant is less sensitive to or unaware of the circumcision experience, he does experience it fully and because of his very formative and psychologically sensitive age, the experience is thought to be potentially more impacting than it is for the adult. Even though the facts do not support the claim that adult circumcision is “worse” than infant circumcision, some pro-circumcision advocates contend that adult circumcision is painful, traumatic and dangerous, and that for this reason most adult men who are intact choose to remain uncircumcised. But when intact men are asked about the idea of being circumcised, most say that they have no desire to give up this part of their body - there is no reason to even consider it. Their foreskin gives them no more trouble than their eyelids, lips or testicles. Instead it affords them pleasure and comfort. Anti-circumcision advocates say that it is ridiculous to presume that the idea would even cross an uncircumcised man’s mind. To them, it is the same as asking why intact women don’t think about having the clitoral foreskin removed.

December 11, 1995

(File revised 5 January 2004)


What is Lost to Circumcision

Gary L. Harryman

When a baby boy’s natural and intact penis is “circumcised,” this is what is lost forever:

1. The frenar band of soft ridges--the single most pleasure producing zone on the male body. Loss of this densely innervated and reactive belt of tissue reduces the sensitivity of the remaining penis to about that of ordinary skin.

2. Approximately half of the temperature reactive smooth muscle sheath called the dartos fascia.

3. Specialized epithelial Langerhans cells, a component of the immune system.

4. An estimated 240 feet of microscopic nerves, including branches of the dorsal nerve.

5. Between 10,000 to 20,000 specialized erotogenic nerve endings of several types, which can discern slight motion, subtle changes in temperature, and fine gradations in texture. This loss includes thousands of coiled fine-touch receptors called the Meissner’s corpuscles - the most important sensory component in the foreskin.

6. Estrogen receptors the purpose and value of which are not yet fully understood.

7. More than 50% of the mobile penile skin, the multi-purpose covering of the glans, that shields all of the specialized penile skin from abrasion, drying, and callusing (by keratin cell layering), and protects it from dirt and other contaminants. The debilitating sexual consequences of keratinizing the glans have never been studied.

8. The immunological defense system of the soft mucosa, which may produce antibacterial and antiviral proteins such as lysozyme, also found in mothers milk, and plasma cells, which secrete immunoglobulin antibodies.

9. Lymphatic vessels, the loss of which interrupts the lymph flow within a part of the body’s immune system.

10. The frenulum, the very sensitive “V” shaped web-like tethering structure on the underside of the glans; usually amputated along with the foreskin, or severed, which destroys its functionality.

11. The apocrine glands of the inner foreskin, which produce pheromones-nature’s powerful, silent, invisible behavioral signals to potential sexual partners. They contribute significantly to sexuality. Their loss is unstudied.

12. Ectopic sebaceous glands, which lubricate and moisturize.

13. The essential “gliding” mechanism. If unfolded and spread out flat, the average adult foreskin measures about 15 square inches, the size of a postcard. This abundance of specialized, self-lubricating mobile skin gives the natural penis its unique hallmark ability to smoothly “glide” in and out within itself-permitting natural non-abrasive masturbation and intercourse, without drying out the vagina or requiring artificial lubricants.

14. The pink to red to dark purple natural coloration of the glans, normally an internal organ, like the tongue.

15. A significant amount of the penis circumference because its double layered wrapping of loose foreskin is now missing making the circumcised penis defectively thinner than a full-sized intact penis.

16. As much as one inch of the erect penis length due to amputation when the connective tissue is torn apart during “circumcision.” This shared membrane tightly fuses the foreskin and the glans together while the penis develops. Ripping it apart wounds the glans, leaving it raw and subject to infection, scarring, and shrinkage.

17. Several feet of blood vessels, including the frenular artery and branches of the dorsal artery. The loss of this dense vascularity interrupts normal blood flow to the shaft and glans of the penis, obviously damaging its natural function and possibly stunting its complete and healthy development.

18. Every year boys lose their penises altogether from botched “circumcisions” and infections accidents happen. They are then “sexually reassigned” by transgender surgery and must live their lives as females.

19. Every year many boys lose their lives from the complications of medically unnecessary circumcisions. The cause of these deaths are a fact the billion dollar per year circumcision industry willfully obscures and conceals.

20. Although not yet proved scientifically, there is considerable new evidence that an incomplete penis loses its capacity for the subtle electromagnetic “cross-communication” that occurs only during contact between two mucous membranes, and which contributes to the perception of sexual ecstasy. In other words, medically unjustified foreskin amputation of boys ultimately diminishes the intensity of orgasms for both men and women!

Gary L. Harryman,

14 February 1999

glharryman@aol.com


Female Circumcision

Genital alteration in the female includes infibulation, clitoridectomy, clitoral circumcision and piercing. The World Health Organization had a conference in February 1979 in Khartoum, Sudan, and unanimously condemned the mutilations as disastrous to women’s health and as indefensible on medical as well as humane grounds.

In the United States, Rep. Pat Schroeder has written a bill to prohibit female genital mutilation (FGM), H.R. 3247.

In addition there is:

Excerpted section 261 of the larger bill...

103d CONGRESS H. R. 3075 As Introduced in the House

Note: This document is the unofficial version of a Bill or Resolution. The printed Bill and Resolution produced by the Government Printing Office is the only official version.

VERSION As Introduced in the House CONGRESS 103d CONGRESS

1st Session BILL H. R. 3075 TITLE To promote greater equity in the delivery of health care services to American women through expanded research on women’s health issues and through improved access to health care services, including preventive health services.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

SEPTEMBER 14, 1993

Mrs. Schroeder (for herself, Ms. Snowe, Ms. Slaughter, Ms. Brown of Florida, Ms. Byrne, Mrs. Clayton, Mrs. Collins of Illinois, Ms. DeLauro, Ms. Eshoo, Mrs. Johnson of Connecticut, Mrs. Lloyd, Mrs. Lowey, Mrs. Kennelly, Ms. McKinney, Mrs. Maloney, Mrs. Meek, Mrs. Mink, Ms. Molinari, Mrs. Morella, Ms. Pelosi, Ms. Roybal-Allard, Ms. Schenk, Mr. Thurman, Mrs. Unsoeld, Ms. Velasquez, Ms. Waters, Ms. Woolsey, Mr. Abercrombie, Mr. Berman, Mr. Brown of California, Mr. Evans, Mr. Frank of Massachusetts, Mr. Hochbrueckner, Mr. Lantos, Mr. Martinez, Mr. McDermott, Mr. Nadler, Mr. Sanders, Mr. Wheat, and Mr. Yates) introduced the following bill; which was referred jointly to the Committees on Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, Armed Services, Education and Labor, Foreign Affairs, the Judiciary, and Veterans’ Affairs

TEXT OF A BILL

To promote greater equity in the delivery of health care services to American women through expanded research on women’s health issues and through improved access to health care services, including preventive health services.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SUBTITLE M - FEDERAL PROHIBITION OF FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION ACT OF 1993

SEC. 261. SHORT TITLE.

This subtitle may be cited as the ‘Federal Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act of 1993’.

SEC. 262. TITLE 18 AMENDMENT.

(a) In General . - Chapter 7 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

‘Sec. 116. Female genital mutilation

‘(a) Except as provided in subsection (b), whoever knowingly circumcises, excises, or infibulates the whole or any part of the labia majora or labia minora or clitoris of another person who has not attained the age of 18 years shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.

‘(b) A surgical operation is not a violation of this section if the operation is -

‘(1) necessary to the health of the person on whom it is performed, and is performed by a person licensed in the place of its performance as a medical practitioner; or

‘(2) performed on a person in labor or who has just given birth and is performed for medical purposes connected with that labor or birth by a person licensed in the place it is performed as a medical practitioner, midwife, or person in training to become such a practitioner or midwife.

‘(c) In applying subsection (b)(1), no account shall be taken of the effect on the person on whom the operation is to be performed of any belief on the part of that or any other person that the operation is required as a matter of custom or ritual.

‘(d) Whoever knowingly denies to any person medical care or services or otherwise discriminates against any person in the provision of medical care or services, because -

‘(1) that person has undergone female circumcision, excision, or infibulation; or

‘(2) that person has requested that female circumcision, excision, or infibuation be performed on any person; shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.’.

(b) Clerical Amendment . - The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 7 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new item:

‘116. Female genital mutilation.’

SEC. 263. EDUCATION AND OUTREACH.

The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall carry our appropriate education, preventive, and outreach activities in communities that traditionally practice female circumcision, excision, or infibulation, to inform people in those communities about the health risks and emotional trauma inflicted by those practices, and to inform them and the medical community about the provisions of section 262.

SEC. 264. EFFECTIVE DATES.

Section 263 shall take effect immediately, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall commence carrying it out not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act. Section 262 shall take effect 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.


Newborn physical examination.

Typically, newborn infants receive an examination from a pediatrician or other physician while still in hospital. Many physicians improperly believe that the foreskin of a intact, non-circumcised male infants must be forcibly retracted and the glans penis examined. Forcible retraction of the newborn prepuce is guaranteed to cause pain and possible injury to your son as the newborn prepuce is usually too narrow to permit retraction, and furthermore, is fused with the underlying glans penis. (See Normal Development for more information on the newborn prepuce.) Premature retraction will cause the foreskin to be ripped from the glans and raw surfaces will be formed which when they heal will cause adhesions. In addition the raw surfaces are more prone to infection. Your son’s bodyguard should be present at this examination. The physician should be advised that no retraction of the foreskin is to be done. Premature retraction of a newborn foreskin is medical malpractice and grounds for legal action.

Coercive Tactics. Many hospitals seem to instruct staff to push circumcision on parents. Hospitals in the United States have fired nurses who dare to tell the truth about circumcision to parents. Be prepared to have nurses and others make you feel like a freak from outer space if you refuse circumcision. They may tell you that “Everybody does it.” This is part of their psychological ploy. Do not fall for it. Circumcision is falling into disfavor. In 1996, 40 percent of boys were preserved intact in the US and that percentage increases every year.

After leaving the hospital. You may also need to protect your son’s intact penis when he visits the pediatrician. Medical Doctors in the US are poorly trained in the care of the complete penis. There are many reports of forcible premature retraction of the foreskin. This is also a tort for which money damages apply. Mothers Against Circumcision has web published an Intact Care Agreement written by Jennifer Gardner that you may consider using to protect your son during his office visits.


Does Male Circumcision Victimize Women?

To Dr. Ruth Westheimer, sex therapist (9/5/86):

The other night on Larry King Live, when a woman called in and said her vagina hurt after intercourse with her husband, you advised her to see a doctor.

Why did you assume something was wrong with her?

Isn’t it possible -- even likely -- that the pain she feels is the result of friction caused by the absence of a slick, sensitive, self-lubricating, movable sheath of skin -- a foreskin -- from the penis of her circumcised husband?


Private communications

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“Why didn’t you tell me? Why didn’t you talk me out of it? Why didn’t someone stop me?”

Mother and health care provider after watching a video about circumcision after her son had been circumcised ("Quotations and Comments by North Dakotans Since 1992 Regarding the Ritual of Routine Infant Circumcision,” compiled with comments by Duane Voskuil, PhD, NOCIRC of North Dakota/ Bismarck)

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“It’s absolutely horrible. I didn’t know how horrific it was going to be. It was the most gruesome thing I have ever seen in my life. I told the doctor as soon as he was done, if I had a gun I would have killed him.”

Melissa Morrison, seven months after watching the circumcision of her baby son “The psychological impact of circumcision,” by R. Goldman BJU [British Journal of Urology] International Volume 83, [Circumcision] Supplement 1, January 1999

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“I’m sobbing. The baby’s screaming. The doctor’s cutting. There’s blood everywhere. And the doctor looked into my face and said, ‘There’s no medical reason for doing this.’”

Marilyn Milos, RN, Executive Director, NOCIRC

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“If I had had my baby circumcised and then seen the video, I think I would have gone crazy.”

Private communication from a woman who divorced her circumcised husband and got custody of their baby son because her husband, after seeing a baby being circumcised on the NOCIRC Circumcision Video, insisted that their baby son be circumcised anyway.

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“Millions of Jews were murdered during the Holocaust because circumcision marked them as Jews! This must never happen again! Everyone should be circumcised!”

Pediatrician’s wife, American Academy of Pediatrics Annual Conference Hyatt-Regency Hotel, Chicago, April 14, 1996

[The pediatrician she spat this out to and a nurse who heard her (both of whom asked to remain anonymous) told me this in two separate conversations. The nurse said there were not enough exclamations points in the universe to convey the ferocity this woman displayed. How common is this woman’s attitude -- especially among obstetricians, pediatricians and urologists?]

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“Why I Stopped Circumcising Babies”

Violating the Golden Rule -- George C. Denniston, MD “I clearly violated, all in one instant, the Golden Rule (I certainly would not have wanted that done to me); the major tenet of medical practice, First, Do No Harm; and all seven Principles of the American Medical Association’s Code of Ethics.”

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Infant Circumcision: The Perfect Crime

“There’s something deranged about anyone who persists in circumcising babies after being confronted with the facts.”

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“Mutilation ... implies the cutting off or removal of a part essential to completeness, not only of a person but also of a thing, and to his or its perfection, beauty, entirety, or fulfillment of function.”

Webster’s Dictionary of Synonyms Springfield, Massachusetts: G. & C. Merriam Company, 1968


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