Friday, July 6, 2012

Circumcision and phallacies

A common intactivist argument against the routine circumcision of infants is that circumcision is an unneeded and risky procedure.

The common strategy of the pro-circ community is to argue to just one of the 2 components of that statement, in order to keep those two words separated: i.e., ignore the "unneeded" word and argue that every surgery is risky, or ignore the "risky" part and argue for the benefits.

If they let the two words stay together they lose the battle.

The problem with the benefits is that at best, they are merely preventive medicine for things that may or may not happen in the long future. However the risks are immediate and may negatively impact the whole life of the infant -and his parents.

Let's take a bad case scenario. Let's assume that the parents are either circumcising because they believe in the preventive benefits of the procedure or because they have never really questioned whether circumcision is necessary or not. Let's say the procedure goes wrong: the baby dies, or suffers a necrosis of the penis (and has to have it removed) or has part of the penis amputated. These things happen. If you were the parents of this hypothetical baby, wouldn't you be crushed? Would the potential benefits justify a lifetime of regret?

The thing is, yes, every surgery has risks. You normally have to weight the risks and the benefits to make your decision. If the worst possible risk is death, then the benefit better be to save you from an immediate danger; if you are not in imminent danger why would you risk your life? Furthermore, if your baby is not in any immediate danger and he relies on you to live, why would you risk his life? But circumcision, in most cases is not about saving a patient from an immediate condition that endangers his life, especially not when done as a routine practice. However the risk is always there.

When someone argues in pro or against something, it's always useful to understand the person's motivation to argue in that sense. Try asking a pro-circ why they personally favor circumcision.


  1. while i agree with you on your insight of non-therapetic circumcision on children, is see that also you together with 99% of the global intactivist movement miss / or dismiss the predominant fallacy which is stated in not only the principal statement of the major intactivist groups and organisations Intact America; NOCIRC; DOC; MGM-Bill. org and its more than 130 affiliated groups, namely the fallacious statement: "Only FGM is already outlawed, but boys are accorded no such law protection".

    You may not have heard of our Global Symposium for an Intact Humanity, its Official Statement and Universal Declaration of Demand for Law Enforcement based on the empiric evidence that MGM is already as outlawed as is FGM and that we therefore do not face a "legislation-problem" but that we do face in fact a >law enforcement problem. and my decades long intactivism on the medical, sociological and juristic evidence to the predominant cause and solution, is base of the German Court Ruling, the ruling which you certainly are aware of.

    So i invite you into our Symposium on facebook; to endorse our universal declaration there and on our website.

    I am now in Germany in order to prevent the Supreme Court from overruling the Köln judgement.

    More endorsements mean mor wind into the wings of this profound and as you see successful global intactivism.

    I am all the way with you. Amen :-)

    1. I believe that you are doing a great job with the Global Symposium for an Intact Humanity.

      The practical side of the issue is that this decision occurs on a daily basis and laws are not providing protection to boys in most places. I applaud Germany's move in this direction, and it would be great to get more countries to afford protection to boys. In the meantime, there are different battlefronts: one for those like you who believe this is a law enforcement problem, a different battlefront is to try to create awareness of the risks and negative consequences among parents so that, even if they should not be allowed to make this decision - and in lieu of laws and law enforcement and common sense- they may find appropriate information that hopefully will motivate them to do the right thing and leave their children intact.

      Greetings to you my friend.