Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Open letter to pediatricians who circumcise

Dear Doctor, In recent days during the AAP conference in New Orleans, some doctors took offense at Jonathon Conte, member of the Bay Area Intactivists, walking around with a sign but this that read "Sex Criminals for Hire, Inquire Within".


This is the same message that Van Lewis, an intactivist icon carried in Tallahassee, Florida in 1970.



I think that maybe some doctors are appalled to see this message and unaware of the strong emotions that these "intactivists" assign to a simple procedure that is performed 1.2 million times every year in this country. I understand that everyone is in a different place in their personal journey, so let me please share with you some information and perhaps we can learn something along the way.

The AAP as you know just came with a new Policy Statement on Circumcision indicating that "the benefits outweigh the risks" and that "Parents ultimately should decide whether circumcision is in the best interests of their male child".

A pediatrician who took offense at the sign, when asked what she says to expectant parents that request circumcision for their sons, answered "I explain the medical risks & benefits & tell them it is a personal decision".

It seems as a reasonable posture, but it is not. There are omissions which the pediatrician may not be even aware of. Let's see:

* The foreskin has functions. Its removal causes damage (beyond the risks, the damage is something that always occurs as it is part of the nature of the procedure). A pediatrician who knows about the sexual functions of the foreskin could educate the parents about it; most parents wouldn't circumcise if they knew that this procedure is going to have negative lifelong effects on their son's sexuality. A pediatrician could also educate on how easy it is to care for the intact penis. However, the AAP's Policy Statement and Technical Report on Circumcision makes no attempt to explain the anatomy or functions of the foreskin.

* There are alternative ways of reaching most of the benefits without an amputation. But many American health workers often just state that they will get infections and need to get it done later and that its cleaner - which shows lack of understanding of the issue. In fact caring for an uncircumcised penis is so much easier. No need to retract. No open wounds inside the diapers. No pain during urination.

* For contrast, the Royal Dutch Medical Association states that "There is no convincing evidence that circumcision is useful or necessary in terms of prevention or hygiene", that "Contrary to what is often thought, circumcision entails the risk of medical and psychological complications", that "Non-therapeutic circumcision of male minors is contrary to the rule that minors may only be exposed to medical treatments if illness or abnormalities are present" and that "Non-therapeutic circumcision of male minors conflicts with the child’s right to autonomy and physical integrity." Their conclusion is that doctors should discourage parents, indicating that "There are good reasons for a legal prohibition of non-therapeutic circumcision of male minors". 1

* As a doctor, when parents ask you to circumcise their baby for no reason, you are not just required to go along and do whatever they want; you can take the opportunity to educate them.

* Per the AAP's committee on bioethics 1995, "The pediatrician's responsibilities to his or her patient exist independent of parental desires or proxy consent." 2 It only follows that if you understand why circumcision causes damage, you have a responsibility to discourage parents from seeking a circumcision for their child and you have every right to refuse to provide the treatment.

But many American doctors don't know what is the damage that circumcision causes. Circumcision is so embedded in the American culture that we see it as the norm, not as the exception. We see it as an immunization (which it is not) and not as an amputation.

According to the online Encyclopedia of Surgery, "Amputation is the surgical removal of a limb or body part. It is performed to remove diseased tissue or relieve pain." 3 Circumcision is an amputation but it doesn't remove diseased tissue nor relieves pain. Circumcision of infants removes healthy erogenous tissue. Circumcision, in addition to skin, removes:

* Muscle tissue (dartos fascia)

* A high concentration of Meissner corpuscles (responsible for sensitivity to light touch)

* The ridged band, a specific erogenous zone. 4.

* Apocrine glands. These glands produce pheromones, nature’s invisible yet compelling signals to potential sexual partners.

Photo by deviantArt user ~tottus, used with kind permission - illustrates the ridged band

Sorrells et al, 2007, shows that "The transitional region from the external to the internal prepuce [the ridged band] is the most sensitive region of the uncircumcised penis and more sensitive than the most sensitive region of the circumcised penis." and concludes that "Circumcision ablates the most sensitive parts of the penis." 5.

This doesn't mean that a circumcised man cannot feel pleasure or that he cannot make a woman pregnant. However, it means that there is an effect on his sexuality, which is hard to quantify. Dr. Douglas Diekema, member of the Task Force on Circumcision of the AAP, even said: "Circumcised men may experience sex differently than uncircumcised men -- intuitively that makes sense -- but it's simply not the case that we have an epidemic of uncircumcised men that don't get pleasure or can't function sexually." 6 (It's likely that he meant "epidemic of circumcised men", but this is the way it was published)  It is clear and even intuitive that circumcision, the alteration of the male genital organ, causes changes in the sexual experience of the adult man. However Taylor goes further to state "that the real importance of the ridged band to sexual intercourse lies in an ability to trigger a reflex contraction of muscles responsible for ejaculation." 7.

Circumcision also removes the protection of the glans. The AAP states in their technical report on circumcision that "Circumcision reduces the bacteria that accumulate under the prepuce which can cause UTIs and, in the adult male, can be a reservoir for bacteria that cause STIs." 8. However, the removal of the foreskin causes keratinization of the glans over the years: "When the foreskin is removed, the surface of the glans becomes thickened (keratinized). ... Some reports by men circumcised later in life indicate a significant decrease in perceived sensation to touch over the glans after the procedure, compared with the level of sensation to touch perceived before the procedure." 9. In the case of men circumcised as babies, they never get to experience that level of sensation to touch prior to the procedure, and by the time they become sexually active their glans has already become dried and hard, which is why they don't report a decrease of sensation: because they never had the opportunity to experience the same high level of sensation!


Comparison of the glans in an intact penis (above) and a circumcised penis (below) Photo: http://intactipedia.org/index.php?title=Keratinization
Circumcision also removes the gliding function of the skin. The foreskin is the only moving part of the penis. During any sexual activity, the foreskin and glans work in unison; their mutual interaction creates a complete sexual response. In heterosexual intercourse, the non-abrasive gliding of the penis in and out of itself within the vagina facilitates smooth and pleasurable intercourse for both partners. Without this gliding action, the corona of the circumcised penis can function as a one-way valve, dragging vaginal lubricants out into the drying air and making artificial lubricants essential for non-painful intercourse 10.

Photo by deviantArt user ~oTupeiraX, used with kind permission to illustrate the gliding function


Is is then clear that circumcision permanently alters the sexual experience of the male and can have a negative effect on his female partners by drying and chaffing the internal walls of the vagina during intercourse due to the lack of gliding action.

So this routinary procedure performed on approximately 1.2 million babies every year has a permanent effect in the sexuality of those babies as they mature.

If you look back at the history of circumcision in the United States, you will see that it was started by individuals such as John Harvey Kellogg in the XIX Century as a way to "cure masturbation". In 1888, Kellogg wrote: "A remedy which is almost always successful in small boys is circumcision, especially when there is any degree of phimosis. The operation should be performed by a surgeon without administering an anesthetic, as the brief pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind, especially if it be connected with the idea of punishment, as it may well be in some cases. The soreness which continues for several weeks interrupts the practice, and if it had not previously become too firmly fixed, it may be forgotten and not resumed" 11.



In fact, Moses Maimonides, a Jew Philosopher (1135-1204) wrote: "with regard to circumcision, one of the reasons for it is, in my opinion, the wish to bring about a decrease in sexual intercourse and a weakening of the organ in question, so that this activity be diminished and the organ be in as quiet a state as possible." and "The bodily pain caused to that member is the real purpose of circumcision. None of the activities necessary for the preservation of the individual is harmed thereby, nor is procreation rendered impossible, but violent concupiscence and lust that goes beyond what is needed are diminished. The fact that circumcision weakens the faculty of sexual excitement and sometimes perhaps diminishes the pleasure is indubitable." 12

As you can see dear doctor, circumcising a baby has been and still is an act of violence that reduces the pleasure of the sexual organ and of intercourse for both males and females. It was only in the 60s that American doctors started stating that circumcision had no effect on sexuality: the American and British doctors who had been advocating circumcision prior to that time (including the previously quoted J.H. Kellogg) were all aware that circumcision had effects on sexuality. Perhaps the reason the doctors in the 60s did not know about the sexual effects of circumcision was because they were circumcised at birth themselves!

In the United States, circumcision is seen as a decision to be made by the parents. In most of the world this is not the case. In most of the world, the parents won't be asked if they want to circumcise, and won't request a circumcision for their baby. It's not a decision to make. Circumcision is used when needed for strong medical reasons or based on an adult patient's request for his own body.

TLC Tugger - one of several
devices for the purpose of foreskin
restoration
Thousands of adult men are trying to restore their foreskins through non-surgical process of foreskin restoration, as can be evidenced in foreskin restoration forums such as http://www.foreskin-restoration.net . This is a tedious and slow process of tissue expansion that takes years, and its final result is cosmetically a foreskin without critical structures such as the Meissner's corpuscles or the ridged band, which cannot be recreated (nor the frenulum in those cases where it was removed).

Further inspection of these forums shows that many of these men still feel anger towards the doctors that circumcised them and towards their parents for consenting to the operation. Many of these men have suffered physical and psychological effects, such as lower sexual sensitivity and pleasure in the mid-age period, and a sense of loss and betrayal over having being subjected to a medically unnecessary amputation.

Many of these men feel that their bodies were violated when they were most vulnerable. Furthermore, the violation is permanent since they still carry the scar and still miss the body part that was removed. I recently read words by one of these men stating how he was realizing that his penis had been fondled by strangers when he was a baby in order to remove the foreskin, and how just thinking about that made him feel even more sexually violated.

Intactivists protesting across the AAP Convention in New Orleans 2012, photo by James Loewen

This, doctor, is the nature of the procedure that is so often performed in our country, and these are the emotions that the "patients" or "victims" develop overtime. Many of these man have grown and sought the doctors that circumcised them to confront them and ask questions that have no good answers at all.

You may feel that the signed consent form exonerates you from any responsibility in the decision to circumcise; that the child, if unhappy, should go to his parents, not to you. But while legally you may be somewhat protected by the consent form, in the eyes of the adult man you were still the person who raised a scalpel to his penis, just like you were the person who could have saved him from circumcision by just speaking to his parents.

Poster by Intact America, presented during the protest at the AAP Convention 2012

Truth is, many parents are confused and struggling with this decision but they are afraid to ask questions, and when they ask the vague answers just make them think that they are bad parents if they don't circumcise; that they are being irrational and anti-science, when it's quite the opposite. A compassionate doctor or nurse who helps parents through their struggle can release them from much social pressure and give them the freedom to take their child intact home.

And even the courts have shown that a parental consent can be deemed invalid, as they did when William Stowell sued the doctor who circumcised him and the hospital where it took place. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8szj1jFCWM

So when you see Jonathon Conte protesting with his "Sex Criminals for Hire, Inquire Within", please know that this message, offensive as it seems at first sight, comes from a place of introspection and vulnerability and is shared by many circumcised men. This message has existed for more than 40 years, and yet the American medical community refuses to acknowledge it. Many of us, intactivists, are the children that doctors like you circumcised decades ago, and we are here to tell you that it was not okay, that you should not have done it, that you should have educated our parents, that you should have educated yourselves to the functions and value of the foreskin, that you should have refused to hurt our sexual organs in lack of a medical reason to do it.

If carrying signs that read "Sex Criminals for Hire" is what's needed to get doctors to listen, we will carry them. Anything to get you to understand that you are doing to non-consenting babies what would be considered sexual battery and aggravated assault if you were to do it to a non-consenting adult. Because just like we don't like what was done to us, we don't want another generation to have to be in the same situation in 20, 30 or 40 years. We want to protect those children so they don't have to suffer what we suffered, and they don't have to restore what was their right to have, like we are restoring ours right now.

(Please watch videos after the footnotes)


1 Royal Dutch Medical Association. Viewpoint on Non-therapeutic circumcision of male minors. KNMG 2010: p.16

2 American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Bioethics. Informed consent, parental permission, and assent in pediatric practice. Pediatrics 1995;95(2):3 14-7.

3. Encyclopedia of Surgery: Amputation - procedure, test, blood, removal, pain, complications, adults, time, infection, operation, medication, children, rate, Definition, Purpose, Demographics, Description http://www.surgeryencyclopedia.com/A-Ce/Amputation.html#ixzz2AE1b3Gxl

4. Winkelmann RK. The erogenous zones: their nerve supply and significance. Mayo Clin Proc 1959;34(2):39-47.

5. Sorrells et al. 2007. "Fine-touch pressure thresholds in the adult penis."

6. Broward Palm Beach New Times, American Academy of Pediatrics to Come Out More Strongly in Favor of Circumcision, Suggests Dr. Doug Diekema, Member of Task Force, by Deirdra Funcheon, 02/14/2012 http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/pulp/2012/02/american_academy_of_pediatrics_circumcision.php

7. Taylor, John R. (July 2007). "Fine-touch pressure thresholds in the adult penis (letter)". BJU International 100 (1): 218. doi:10.1111/j.1464-410X.2007.07026_4.x. PMID 17552969.

8. Task force on Circumcision. Male Circumcision - Technical Report. Pediatrics, 2012. Volume 130, Number 3. pg. 763

9. Parenthood in America: An Encyclopedia, Volume 1. pag. 126.

10. O'Hara, K. and O'Hara, J., "The effect of male circumcision on the sexual enjoyment of the female partner," British Journal of Urology, 83, Supplement 1, (1999): 79-84.

11. Kellogg, J.H. (1888). "Treatment for Self-Abuse and Its Effects". Plain Facts for Old and Young. Ayer Publishing. pp. 294–296. ISBN 0-405-05808-X, 9780405058080.

12. Maimonides, Moses. The Guide of the Perplexed. Translated by Shlomo Pines. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1963.


















Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Nurse for the Rights of the Child

Highlights from a typical circumcision consent form

http://www.virginia.edu/uvaprint/HSC/pdf/040162.pdf

I understand that other qualified practitioners, including residents (doctors who have finished medical school and are getting more training [AKA inexpert people]) may be chosen to do or help with procedures

I understand my diagnosis/condition to be: UNCIRCUMCISED NEWBORN MALE [Since when being an uncircumcised newborn male is a diagnosis? I would be surprised to see a newborn male being born circumcised - which is actually a birth defect called 'aposthia']

I know that results cannot be guaranteed.

I understand that there are risks for all kinds of surgery. This risk, which can be serious, include bleeding, infection, and damage to nearby tissues, vessels, nerves, or organs. They may result in paralysis, cardiac arrest, brain damage, and/or death. Other risks for this procedure may include: BLEEDING, INFECTION, POSSIBLE DEFORMITY, OR NEED FOR FURTHER SURGERY.

I understand the alternatives to the proposed procedure to be: NOT CIRCUMCISE. I UNDERSTAND THE RISKS RELATED TO THE ALTERNATIVE [which they don't list because it's quite obvious that there aren't risks to leave a non-existent condition untreated]

I understand that any tissues or parts removed during my [?? you mean "my son's" ] procedure may be disposed of by the hospital or used for any lawful purpose including education and research. [and selling to manufacturing companies! not listed but very real]

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Friday, October 12, 2012

Jewish groups sue New York City over circumcision rule

Note: the rule is getting parental consent before performing metzitzah b'peh, AKA oral suction of the blood from the penis of the baby by a Mohel. This ritual has caused at least 11 cases of transmission of genital herpes to babies in the last decade in NYC, including 2 deaths.


NEW YORK - Orthodox Jewish groups sued New York City on Thursday to try to block a new rule requiring parental consent for a circumcision ritual in which the circumciser uses his mouth to draw blood from the baby’s penis.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, says the regulation is unconstitutional and violates religious freedom by targeting a Jewish ritual.

The rule, adopted unanimously by the New York City Board of Health last month, is aimed at reducing the risk that infants will contract herpes from the ancient ritual.

Using oral suction to take blood from the area of the circumcision wound is common in some of New York’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities.

At least 11 boys caught herpes from the practice between 2004 and 2011, according to city health officials. Two of them died from the disease and two others suffered brain damage, they said.

Under the rule, parents must sign a consent form that says the health department advises that “direct oral suction should not be performed” because of the risk of contracting herpes.

The lawsuit says the city’s conclusion that the ritual increases the risk of herpes is based on a flawed analysis and is not statistically sound.

“That opinion is based on limited study, inaccurate assumptions, and deficient data, all of which remain actively debated within medical and scientific communities,” it says.

City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley defended the regulation.

“The city’s highest obligation is to protect its children; therefore, it is important that parents know the risks associated with the practice,” he said in a statement.

The plaintiffs include the Central Rabbinical Congress of the United States and Canada, the International Bris Association and several individual circumcisers, known as mohelim.
They want a judge to issue an injunction suspending the regulation.

The lawsuit says it violates the right to free speech because “the government cannot compel the transmission of messages that the speaker does not want to express.”

http://www.ottawasun.com/2012/10/11/jewish-groups-sue-new-york-city-over-circumcision-rule

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Intact America banned from having a booth in the AAP Conference

Intact America has been banned from having a booth in the American Academy of Pediatricians Conference in New Orleans next week.

Intactivists will still be outside protesting, but this just shows that the AAP fears the message of genital integrity.

And you should fear AAP, because men are speaking. We are the children that you failed to protect.

Cut Podcasts

Man, I'm listening to the Cut Podcasts by Eli Ungar-Sargon (the filmmaker who made the documentary "Cut"), the first file "Genital Autonomy 2012: Circumc..." - which speaks about the circumcisionharm survey. While I'm familiar with the information in the survey, listening to this brings tears to my eyes.

To listen or view the Podcasts go to http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-cut-podcast/id541076854

Why do anti-circumcision freaks always claim that babies suffer emotional damage from circumcision?

From Yahoo Answers:

Why do anti-circumcision freaks always claim that babies suffer emotional damage from circumcision?
Just let parents circumcise their babies if they want to. Our men are way better off than in countries where they don't do it. I also don't tell countries where they circumcise women that they shouldn't circumcise them. It's their choice.
 My Answer (edited to add more details)

While not every child grows to feel that circumcision harmed him, the body is considered to be a repository of physical memories. For example, if you remember an event in which your fingers got jammed by a closing door, your body may bring the same feeling back to your hands as if you were experiencing the pain again.

Now, let me share a few paragraphs by known and knowledgeable intactivists (or anticirc freaks):

George Wald, Biologist, Jew, Nobel prize, wrote back in the 70s:

"Yet nothing about this operation seemed to me horrifying. Clearly the infant was distressed, but seemingly as much by the restraint as anything else. There was no marked response to what I would have judged to be the most painful episodes ― the moments of crushing and cutting of tissues. After the first bout of crying on being fastened down, it seemed to me more as though the infant were trying to withdraw into himself. To my astonishment, at one point right in the middle of the operation he seemed to be falling asleep! Someone later showed me an interview with the psychiatrist Wilhelm Reich, in which he said: “Circumcision is one of the worst treatments of children. And what happens to them? They can’t talk to you. They just cry. What they do is shrink. They contract, get away into the inside, away from that ugly world" (http://www.mendocomplain.com/references/1153-2/)

Van Lewis, one of the first intactivists, wrote about a circumcision that he witnessed:

"With the first probe under the foreskin the baby screams a blood curdling scream and keeps screaming. With the crushing of the center line of the top of the foreskin with the hemostat the baby’s screaming and thrashing ratchet WAY up (he was restrained by tie-downs, put in place in preparation for this human hurricane they already knew from long experience was coming) and when the clamp comes off and the dorsal cut is made the baby begins to vomit—projectile vomiting—the most violent vomiting I have ever witnessed from any human being. Blood from the baby’s penis spurts everywhere. The vomiting interrupts the screaming and the screaming interrupts the vomiting. The mutilator takes out his sewing kit and starts sewing. With every puncture of the needle a new blood-curdling scream comes rushing out, with every pulling of the thread through the foreskin the baby turns bluer and screams louder and harder and finally, when I think the police are going to arrive, or the baby is going to die, or God is going to strike us all dead on the spot—the baby goes totally silent and completely limp. He passes out, knocked cold by the trauma of the mutilating." (http://web.archive.org/web/20080521184624/www.genitalintegrity.net/blouch/2007/04/28/a-circumcisers-question/)

Marilyn Milos is another well known intactivist. As a young nurse, Marilyn witnessed a circumcision and heard screams that will haunt her to her grave.Marilyn set out to tell parents and others the truth about circumcision.(http://intactamerica.org/marilyn2012). In her words: "I had not been prepared, nothing could have prepared me, for this experience. To see a part of this baby's penis being cut off - without an anesthetic - was devastating. But even more shocking was the doctor's comment, barely audible several octaves below the piercing screams of the baby, "There's no medical reason for doing this." I couldn't believe my ears, my knees became weak, and I felt sick to my stomach. I couldn't believe that medical professionals, dedicated to helping and healing, could inflict such pain and anguish on innocent babies unnecessarily." (http://www.nocirc.org/articles/known.php)

Psychologist Ronald Goldman, Jew, writes in "The hidden trauma": "If I forcefully cut off one of your healthy fingers, my reason would make no difference to you, even if I sincerely believed that amputating your finger was for your own good. Your experience of the event would be the same—pain, shock, horror. In the case of circumcision, what we are doing to the infant is cutting off a part of his penis. No explanations can change that fact. Our reasons, whether they involve religious belief, cultural conformity, or pleasing a relative, may make us feel better, but they make no difference to the infant". (http://www.circumcision.org/cht.htm)

Kurt Johmann writes: "I was satisfied with a single confrontation with my father during which I expressed my anger (he pleaded ignorance about the harm that circumcision causes). But with my mother (who also pleaded ignorance), perhaps half-a-dozen times during that year of anger and months afterwards, the same pattern resulted: I bring up the circumcision subject and at first I am calm and rational like I normally am, but before long at some point during the conversation an intense anger suddenly comes over me, directed against my mother, and my calm voice becomes a voice of rage (I then struggle to regain control of myself). These outbursts always surprised me, and I was puzzled as to why my mother was the target of this anger originating from my unconscious mind."

... and continues: "Thus, my infant mind associated my mutilation with my mother, and this association has remained in my mind. It is not hard to see how this association negatively affects the mother-son bond, and how this association can also lead to negative feelings, attitudes, and actions against women in adult life. " (http://www.johmann.net/essays/psychological-harm-of-circumcision.html)

Dan Bollinger describes horrific night terrors that reoccurred throughout his life. he wonders if they may have started in infancy from his experience of circumcision.



Patricia Robinnet, author of "The Rape of Innocence: Female Genital Mutilation and Circumcision in the USA", tells how she realized that many of her patients were suffering a trauma from their childhood circumcision. And how in the process of dealing with this she found that she had been a victim of Female Genital Mutilation when she was a toddler.


A second component of the trauma, the second betrayal, occurs when a child who grew up oblivious to the fact that he was subjected to an amputation at birth, finds out about it. Unfortunately, this often happens outside in the streets and not as part of a family dialog, and some children are horrified and later angry that this was done to them.

Artist SeanMichael Rau tells how he found out he was circumcised:

James Stewart tells: "I was in a child development class and as soon as I had a semi-clear understanding of what circumcision was, I immediately became disgusted at the fact that there were people who would do such things to children. Of course, it only took a couple seconds for it to hit me -- the realization that this was done to me. I didn’t want to believe it. I couldn’t imagine that my parents would ever do something so obviously cruel to me, and right after I entered this world, but there was no denying it.

After that painfully obvious realization my disgust was dwarfed by the most intense anger I have ever felt. I felt violated. As though I had just learned that I was sexually assaulted as a baby. Which literally is what it is, as far as I’m concerned. I’ve never seen circumcision as anything different. I still don’t understand how anyone can.

As I felt all these feelings, I looked around the classroom. To my horror no one else seemed to be bothered by this new information and the teacher was casually explaining the topic as though it were any other lesson. It was like something I would see in The Twilight Zone. I have never been so disappointed in people. How could everyone be so blind, I thought?" (http://www.drmomma.org/2012/07/realization-of-circumcision.html)

Jonathon's story is not very different. He states: "the forced genital cutting of children is not a parental right. The forced genital cutting of children is not a religious right. Amputating healthy body parts from children is not a legitimate medical practice. And if I as a victim and other victims don't speak out against this practice, it will continue and more men will experience the painful emotions that I had to deal with and I don't want that to happen."





David Pinckney writes: "Oh, I was probably about maybe 6 [years old] or something like that—I saw a little boy who was not circumcised, and I asked my parents, you know: "What's going on with this kid? Why does he look different?" They explained that I had been circumcised—that I had undergone an operation; [the explanation] was very brief and I didn't press any more questions. .... So, that made me very indignant—that this is something [about which] people are lied to. People think of it as a "trivial" matter when really it's not; you wouldn't be able to [circumcise the adult] me today, for instance—it would be recognized as illegal, and in violation of my autonomy. Yet, essentially, I am an adult who has been circumcised against his will, and for some reason it's viewed in a different light, and I don't see how it's different at all, actually." (http://infocirc.blogspot.com/2012/09/david-pinckney-wheres-my-foreskin.htm )

Circumcision, it is that bad


The reason circumcision is allowed to continue is that people don't believe that it would ever have started, or that it would have stopped long ago, if it really were "that bad". Our "civilized" society would never condone baby torture, right? If it were needlessly painful, if the benefits did not outweigh the risks, if rights were truly violated, there's no way routine infant circumcision would even exist. There MUST be a good reason for it. But the fact that there isn't is the very thing that perpetuates RIC. It's a horrible, nightmarish paradox.

Know this: IT IS THAT BAD.

http://www.facebook.com/intactpa

Prisioners of war should not be subjected to mutilation, cruel treatment and torture

http://noharmm.org/separated.htm

http://boysdeservebetter.tumblr.com/

“The fact is,” says Goldman, “when it comes to sex, circumcised men don’t know what they’re missing.”
But a few do. Increasingly, men who were circumcised as adults (for various medical reasons) are speaking out against circumcision, providing firsthand accounts of sex before and after.

“I had ample sexual experience, and I was quite happy as an intact male,” says Rick Thomas, who was circumcised on advice of his doctor at age 26. “After my circumcision, that pleasure was utterly gone. On a scale of 10, the uncircumcised penis experiences pleasure of at least 11 or 12; the circumcised penis is lucky to get to 3. If men who were circumcised at birth knew the loss of pleasure they would experience, they would storm the hospitals and not permit their sons to undergo this.”

Douglas MacArthur, a 55-year-old locksmith from Pennsylvania who was also circumcised as an adult, reports similar problems. “Sex before circumcision was like driving a luxury car with automatic transmission,” he explains. “I used to just glide along. Sex now is like driving a tiny, powerless compact with a manual transmission. It takes a lot of work to get anywhere. My penis has lost 90 percent of its sensitivity.

...
Some medical professionals believe that circumcision for other than religious purposes would disappear from America if it weren’t covered by insurance. This is what happened in England, where the circumcision rate prior to World War II was roughly equivalent to that in the United States. After the war, British doctors could find no compelling evidence to continue the surgery, and it was dropped from the list of covered services. Within a decade, the circumcision rate dropped from 50 percent among the working class and 85 percent among the upper class to less than half a percent in both.

“Why is this procedure still covered by HMOs and health-insurance companies? The simple answer is, because parents want it,” says Patricia Wald, M.D., regional coordinating chief of pediatrics for Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in southern California. There, doctors counsel parents so they’re making an informed decision, and don’t perform the operation unless asked. “We cover it as a courtesy. But to me it’s cosmetic surgery, like ear piercing.”
.....


“I didn’t know what circumcision really was when I consented to have my three sons circumcised,” says Marilyn Milos, founder and executive director of the National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers (NOCIRC). “My doctor told me it was necessary, that it didn’t hurt, and that it took only a moment to perform-like cutting the umbilical cord, I thought.”

Ten years after her last son was born, Milos went back to school to become a registered nurse. As a student, she was asked to assist at a circumcision. “To see a part of a baby’s penis being cut off – without an anesthetic – was devastating.” Later, while working as a nurse, she made a videotape of the procedure and called it Informed Consent.

“Parents had no idea what was happening to their baby boys,” she explains. “The point was to show them what circumcision really entailed.” The hospital, Marin General in California, refused to allow expectant parents to view the tape. “They said it was too much for parents to see. I said, ‘Then perhaps it’s too much for babies to experience.’”

In 1985, Milos founded NOCIRC. “It’s all such an unspeakable cover-up. The doctors are in denial, so the hospitals are in denial, so the parents are intentionally, illegally uninformed. Circumcision is the worst fraud in American medical history.”

Sunday, October 7, 2012

To Germany: Before signing the new proposed Circumcision Law


Respected Sabine Leutheusser, German Minister of Justice,

The proposed new circumcision law is illegal as it undermines the right to physical integrity and the religious freedom of male children.

Signing this law will allow any other special group to request any concessions under the umbrella of religious freedom, such as the Muslim groups that practice sunat, female circumcision.

This law also sets male children as an unprotected minority, where the Basic Law guarantees equal protection for all citizens.

In countries such as the United States, where circumcision is culturally tolerated (even with the disguise of medical benefits), many men are physically and psychologically hurt from it. Just visit http://circumcisionharm.org for testimonials and results of a recent survey, including photographic evidence of the damage.

Sorrels et al, in 2007, found that "the glans of the circumcised penis is less sensitive to fine touch than the glans of the uncircumcised penis. The transitional region from the external to the internal prepuce is the most sensitive region of the uncircumcised penis and more sensitive than the most sensitive region of the circumcised penis. Circumcision ablates the most sensitive parts of the penis." (Fine-touch pressure thresholds in the adult penis)

J.R. Taylor, 2003, found that "Skin and mucosa sufficient to cover the penile shaft was frequently missing from the circumcised penis. Missing tissue included a band of ridged mucosa located at the junction of true penile skin with smooth preputial mucosa. This ridged band contains more Meissner's corpuscles than does the smooth mucosa and exhibits features of specialized sensory mucosa" and concluded that "Circumcision also ablates junctional mucosa that appears to be an important component of the overall sensory mechanism of the human penis." (The prepuce: specialized mucosa of the penis and its loss to circumcision)

From this it is very clear that circumcision of neonates ALWAYS causes permanent and irreversible bodily damage that is very difficult to justify under the guise of "potential medical benefits".

The document "Neonatal Male circumcision global review" of UNAIDS states that "some of the serious complications that can occur during the procedure include death from excess bleeding and amputation of the glans penis. Postoperative complications include the formation of skin bridges between the shaft and the glans, infection, urinary retention (this has caused deaths), meatal ulcer, impetigo, fistulas, loss of penile sensitivity, sexual dysfunction and oedema of the glans." They also acknowledge that the frequency of complications is "underestimated because events occuring after the discharge are not captured [in the discharge sheet]" and sometimes are treated at a different hospital.

So besides the bodily damage and loss of functions of the foreskin, circumcision of neonates and children always exposes the children to very real, non-trivial risks which can be as catastrophic as the death of the patient, even in medical settings. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (2007) the current official estimate in the United States is of 1 death in 500,000 circumcisions (Circumcision: Position Paper on Neonatal Circumcision). This means that in the United States we currently lose at least 2 or 3 lives every year due to the practice of cultural circumcision, given the estimate of 1.2 million neonate circumcisions per year.

This is what you are proposing as law. It is damaging and detrimental to the sexual and mental health of males. 

Attachments:

Adult who suffered partial glans amputation during neonate circumcision
Glans necrosis in a neonate
Skin loss during circumcision with plastibell
Necrotising fasciitis in a circumcised neonate
Adult with skin bridge caused by botched circumcision




Imagine if it was your son or your husband who suffered one of those conditions due to an unnecessary surgery.

Please, do not legalize a damaging procedure. It's against the Basic Law and against the Declaration of the Rights of the Child.



Image sources:

Global Survey of circumcision harm 

Circumstitions


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Care of the intact penis and foreskin for parents

Since the AAP evidently does not know how to care for foreskins -or they remain interested in spreading bad information so that parents hurt their children's foreskin and have to have them circumcised... I advice you to look at this page by the Pediatric Society of New Zealand :

http://www.kidshealth.org.nz/foreskin-care


 
VERY IMPORTANT:

What care of the foreskin and penis is needed in infants, children and teenagers?

The foreskin and penis of an infant or child need no special care. A child's foreskin should never be retracted (pulled back) by force.
 
During the first few years of life, the foreskin is stuck to the head of the penis by a membrane (called the synechia). This membrane or connective tissue dissolves naturally – a process that should never be hurried.
 
The foreskin can be retracted when its inside surface separates from the head of the penis and the foreskin’s opening widens. This process happens naturally in childhood or during puberty, and has usually happened by the age of 18. Even if the head of the penis and the foreskin separate naturally in infancy, the foreskin may still not be able to be pulled back because the opening in an infant's foreskin may only be large enough for the passage of wee (urine).
 
When a young boy pulls at his foreskin, he usually pulls it outward. This is normal and natural and no cause for concern; he won't hurt himself.
 
Once the foreskin is ready to be retracted, your son will most probably discover this for himself. He should be the first person to retract his foreskin.
 
Telling your son about retracting his foreskin beforehand will keep him from becoming alarmed the first time it happens.
 
There is no need to clean inside the foreskin in young boys. Just wash the penis the same as any other part of your son’s body and be careful to wash off any soap. When a boy is old enough to bathe himself, he can wash his own penis.
 

How do I teach my son to wash his penis?

 
Once your son can retract (pull back) his foreskin, you can talk to him about retracting his foreskin and washing. A simple explanation of "how to" may be helpful:
  • gently slip your foreskin back
  • rinse the head of your penis and the inside fold of your foreskin with warm water
  • slip your foreskin back in place over the head of the penis
Tell him to make sure he rinses off any soap before pulling the foreskin back over the head of the penis.
 
More information, including phimosis, ballooning, balanitis, circumcision, etc. here: http://www.kidshealth.org.nz/foreskin-care
 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

From the documentary film "They Cut Babies, Don't They?" by Nigel Hunt



http://www.circumcisionvideos.com/cutbabies.htm

Circumcision's complications: what could go wrong?

http://www.examiner.com/article/circumcision-s-complications-what-could-go-wrong

The web is peppered with articles about circumcision. But for parents there is a vital area of information about circumcision that often goes unaddressed: What could go wrong?

Circumcision is a surgical procedure, and as such it does have complications. However, no medical organization tracks complication rates or severity, so it's hard to find a good estimate of either. When making medical decisions on behalf of their children, parents deserve and need complete information about any procedure and its hazards.

Digging deep reveals surprising facts. Complications range in severity from the "mild:" excessive bleeding, infection (including antibiotic resistant Staphylococcus), to the severe: surgically caused genital deformity, accidental amputation, and even death. And complication rates are higher in children circumcised shortly after birth than in older children (and presumably adults also), possibly because surgery on such a small child is more intricate.

Addressing complications

Read more : http://www.examiner.com/article/circumcision-s-complications-what-could-go-wrong

Male Circumcision: What Would Newborns Say?

W. Gifford Jones, M.D.

Source: http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/health/male-circumcision-what-would-newborns-say-299128.html


Why are so many male circumcisions still performed when we all agree that female circumcision is a barbarous act?

Now, the American Academy of Pediatrics says the benefits of male circumcision outweigh the risks. But, if newborns had a say in the matter, they would use the following reasons to shout a big “no” to this mutilating procedure, unless religious or cultural reasons require it.

Read more: http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/health/male-circumcision-what-would-newborns-say-299128.html

Finnish party plans new bill to ban circumcision

October 2, 2012

Finland's third largest party, True Finns, has demanded a ban on ritual circumcision of minors.
In a debate held on Sept. 26 at the Finnish parliament in Helsinki, Vesa-Matti Saarakkala, a lawmaker for True Finns, reiterated his calls in March to outlaw the practice in Finland.

Saarakkala, 28, said he would submit a bill proposing to criminalize ritual circumcision in boys younger than 15 years of age, according to the online edition of Yleisradio, Finland's national public broadcasting company.

"The Finnish constitution guarantees everyone the right to personal integrity," Saarakkala is quoted as saying. Saarakkala - a critic of what he called perceived integration problems among immigrants.- also pointed out that female circumcision "is already considered assault" in Finland. The fact that circumcision in males is legal in Finland, he said, constitutes legal discrimination.


http://www.jta.org/news/article/2012/10/02/3108396/finnish-party-plans-new-bill-to-ban-circumcision

Petition: It is time to stop the circumcision of non-consenting individuals and the trafficking in human infant body parts

http://www.change.org/petitions/it-is-time-to-stop-the-circumcision-of-non-consenting-individuals-and-the-trafficking-in-human-infant-body-parts

We the circumcised males of the United States and Canada firmly believe that our fundamental constitutional rights as citizens of a free, secular, egalitarian and democratic society have been violated by the circumcision industry and we are especially offended that healthy, functional tissues have been forcibly taken from us without consent and sold for commercial products, in violation of numerous international human rights agreements signed in the wake of the holocaust. These agreements, signed by the governments of the US and Canada, banned all commercial trade in human body parts, but especially those taken from non-consenting, captive individuals.

For these and for many others reasons we charge the North American circumcision industry with violation of US and Canadian civil, criminal and constitutional law as well as Crimes Against Humanity under international agreements and we therefore launch this Class Action Lawsuit on behalf of the estimated 100 million men who have been forcibly circumcised without their own, express, informed, adult consent.

Replace circumcision with symbolic ritual, says Norwegian children's watchdog

August 7, 2012

Norway's ombudsman for children's rights has proposed that Jews and Muslims replace male circumcision with a symbolic, nonsurgical ritual.

Dr. Anne Lindboe told the newspaper Vart Land last month that circumcising boys was a violation of their right to decide over their own body.

"Muslim and Jewish children are entitled to the same protection as all other children," Lindboe said, adding that the practice caused unnecessary pain and was medically unbeneficial.

Lindboe, a pediatrician, was appointed ombudsman in June. Her predecessor, Reidar Hjermann, proposed setting 15 as the minimum age for circumcision. According to Jewish religious law, Jewish babies must be circumcised when they are eight days old.

The Ombudsman for Children in Norway is an independent governmental institution entrusted with safeguarding the rights of minors.

Full article: http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-news/replace-circumcision-with-symbolic-ritual-says-norwegian-children-s-watchdog-1.456443

Circumcision and Prostate Cancer

Dr. Gerald Chodak, expert commentator for Medscape, suggests a new study linking circumcision before sexual intercourse to lower rates of prostate cancer may be so flawed that the conclusions are meaningless.

Full article and video http://www.symposier.com/library_detail/13144/Circumcision-Hype

Circumcision News - Because reality is sometimes worse than fiction.

Reality is sometimes worse than fiction. (this blog entry used to be about the "foreskin man" comic that has been perceived by many as anti-Semite, and how the episodes relate  to recent news. I'm removing the references to the comic but I'm leaving the news).
Newborn Male Circumcision 8/27/2012,

T
he American Academy of Pediatrics found the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks, but the benefits are not great enough to recommend universal newborn circumcision.

Intactivists Respond To The 2012 AAP Circumcision Policy Statement [Op Ed].
August 30, 2012

Jeremy (ERIC): The new statement is extremely disappointing and, as expected, neglects the medical ethics of cutting a healthy body part off a non-consenting individual and the human rights aspects of bodily integrity. The AAP Task force on circumcision started with a pro-circumcision bias and cherry picked which studies to use in forming their policy, and their claims fly in the face of many other studies, real world statistics, and medical positions around the world. I hope new parents can see through the smoke screen and realize that there are ulterior motives at work here.

The changes the AAP have made to the circumcision policy, while they do not recommend circumcision, they push benefits over and over again and mention the money incentive.

I believe the AAP made these changes because circumcision rates in the US have plummeted between 2006 and 2012 and the revenue earned by its members are dropping too. Note that the ACOG endorses this policy; this is no surprise as OB-GYNs are the ones performing most circumcisions in the United States, so a drop in rates hits their revenue too.
Circumcision Sucking Gave 11 NYC Boys Herpes In The Last Decade: CDC. NYC, June 7, 2012. According to the CDC, between 2000 and 2011 a total of 11 baby Jewish boys in New York City were infected with herpes after having their bits snipped in an out-of-hospital Orthodox circumcision performed by a mohel. Ten of the 11 boys were hospitalized afterwards and two of them died.
Jews, Muslims stage circumcision march in Germany
September 9, 2012

Around 500 mainly Jewish but some Christian and Muslim protesters gathered in Berlin on Sunday to demand the right to circumcision after a disputed court ruling in Germany outlawing the rite.


SEP 04, 2012

Even after the deaths of two children and the injuries of many more, a group of ultra-Orthodox rabbis say that if a proposed law requiring parental consent for an ancient circumcision ritual is enacted they will defy it. In the ancient "metzitzah b'peh" ritual, a "mohel" or a Jewish person, usually a doctor or rabbi, trained in the practice circumcision removes the foreskin and draws blood from the circumcised penis with his mouth.
Germany poised to legalize male circumcision this fallSEPTEMBER 25, 2012 

In August, Rabbi David Goldberg of Bavaria became the first mohel to see a complaint filed against himself for "unlawful bodily harm" by a non-Jewish physician from Hessen. Goldberg, who has performed over 4,000 circumcisions across Central Europe, calls the charge an "insult" and believes it is "a clear act of anti-Semitism."


Rising death toll from initiations.
JUL 6, 2012.

Already the 2012 winter season has surpassed the death toll during the same period last year when 26 initiates had died. Since Tuesday, the number has increased by 14 from 20 to 34.


In Uganda, a Male Circumcision Campaign Goes Horribly Wrong.
JUN 21, 2012.

Is there anything more terrifying (to a guy, at least) than a pack of determined males trying to cut off part of your penis? In the Ugandan town of Mbale, where a non-coercive circumcision campaign aimed at reducing HIV transmission has metastatized into forced circumcisions, that nightmare scenario is a reality.

Today, international affairs magazine The Africa Report describes the scene of a naked man fleeing 50 men attempting to forcibly circumcise him. "Only identified as Deo, the man sought sanctuary ... as the men and a local scalpel-wielding surgeon gave chase," reports Godfrey Olukya. In the last two days, more than 40 men have been subjected to forced circumcision in the town due to a disturbing mix of cultural and science-based values. 


[Hillary] Clinton determined to push 28 million circumcisions
August 19, 2012

The ministry of health [of Zimbabwe] is deceiving people by announcing to them that once they are circumcised, they become immune to HIV/AIDS effectively encouraging them to engage in promiscuity. Instead of reducing the risk, circumcision has been tested through behavior change to actually be a protagonist of HIV transmission, critics state.
...
“Police in Mbale have fired teargas and deployed heavily to disperse hooligans forcefully circumcising people on the streets including non-Bamasaba.... It is estimated that a total number of about 220 people have been circumcised from the time the exercise began date.


Female Genital Mutilation in Africa
OCTOBER 8, 2011

In Sierra Leone, the women say and sing in their native language:” today the ripe mango will be plucked” this means it’s time to remove the clitoris. They are initiated into the women hood, they believe this makes the women to be unpromiscuous and reduces sexual urge.


Zimbabwe MPs surrender to scalpel in Aids fight
JUN 25, 2012

Forty-four members of Zimbabwe's parliament were circumcised on Friday as part of a national HIV/Aids awareness campaign.


To Sum Up


Human Foreskins are Big Business for Cosmetics.
Feb 16, 2007.

Foreskin fibroblasts are used to grow and cultivate new cells that are then used for a variety of purposes. From the fibroblasts new skin for burn victims can be grown, skin to cover diabetic ulcers, and controversially it is also used to make cosmetic creams and collagens. One foreskin can be used for decades to grow $100,000 worth of fibroblasts.
Debate is growing over the ethics of using human foreskins for cosmetic purposes. One such cosmetic company, SkinMedica is raising a stir over their use of the growth hormone left over from growing artificial skin from foreskin fibroblasts. Dr. Fitzpatrick, who invented SkinMedica, works with a supplier that uses foreskin fibroblast to make injectable collagen. The foreskins that he receives the growth hormone for are used especially for cosmetics rather than for growing new skin for medical patients.

Operation Tuli -
Philippines. December 1, 2010
The Philippines has a long, strange, and confusing history with pagtutuli (circumcision). For years it has been a traditional custom performed at the age of 12 as a rite of manhood to coarsely chop off the foreskin and send the boy jumping into the ocean. In more recent years it has been medicalized and even commercialized with clinics selling circumcisions for adolescent boys during the summer months (so that they have adequate time to recover before school starts).

Indonesia.
July 2007

A young Indonesian boy screams as medical workers circumcise him in Jakarta, 01 July 2007. Some 50 Muslim received the procedure from a local charity group. The Islam religion stresses cleanliness, and circumcision in many nations is considered a form of natural hygiene, with the event being often viewed communally as a joyous occasion and celebrated.


Indonesia June 6, 2010
A boy grimaces as paramedics performs a circumcision on him during a charge-free mass circumcision in Medan Belawan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, Sunday, June 6, 2010. In accordance with Islamic tradition Indonesian Muslim boys are circumcised before they reach puberty. Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim country.


Australia sees rise in female genital mutilation14 September 2012
“The pretext that is often used is that it’s a religious custom, and it wouldn’t be the first time that religion has been used to mutilate or damage women,” [New South Wales state Minister for Family and Community Services Pru Goward] told ABC radio.

[Note: 20% of the Muslims also practice Female Genital Mutilation, often less invasive than Male Circumcision -as expressed by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2010- but often a lot worse, including clitoridectomy and infibulation -cutting the clitoris and sewing the labia together leaving just a small opening for urine and menses-, i.e. Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia. A young Malaysian Muslim mother stated that being circumcised is an "honor" in her religion and that she doesn't believe that it has any effect on her sexuality.]



Brunei: 'Female circumcision is cultural practice'

June 16, 2012

Although female circumcision is often associated with Islam, Dr Riaz said that the practice predates Islam in many countries and that neither the Quran, the primary source for Islamic law, or the Hadith (collections of the sayings and practices of the Prophet) include a direct call for the practice.

Islamic clerics are divided, with some actively supporting the practice and others opposing it.

Female circumcision is most prevalent in central Africa and is also practiced to some extent in Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia, according to Amnesty International. It is extremely rare in most of the Arab world, with the exception of Sudan and Egypt, with the Egyptian Grand Mufti going as far as to say female genital cutting was forbidden by Islam.

The World Health organisation and Amnesty International have condemned any form of female circumcision, claiming it has no health benefits, and have campaigned against extreme forms of circumcision in Africa.

However, practices vary from country to country.In Bruneian custom, female circumcision is performed on baby girls between 40 to 60 days, where small amount of skin tissue is removed from the genitalia.

Dr Riaz said that while female circumcision has taken on an Islamic dimension, it is actually practiced by some Christian, Jewish and animist sects as well.


Muslim Baby Hospitalized After Botched Circumcision. Israel, June 1st 2012. The infant’s Muslim parents brought their child to Rambam Medical Center in Haifa after the ritual circumciser accidentally dismembered the child’s penis. Urologists and surgeons worked to reattach the detached organ and said they expect the procedure to be successful.

Twin Boys Genitals Amputated After Circumcision. Irak, 14 August 2012. Two three-year-old twin brothers have had their genitals amputated after a circumcision operation went horribly wrong in Khanaqin. Khanaqin hospital media official Arian Qader said: "Unfortunately an unwanted incident occurred while circumcising the two boys. After the operation went wrong, their penises were amputated. Now they urinate using plastic tubes".

Father of child who lapsed into coma after circumcision procedure demands probe. Saudi Arabia, August 02, 2012. After investigations, doctors found that the child had a severe lung infection caused by the anesthesia. He was hooked to a mechanical ventilator and given antibiotics. The next day, the ICU doctor called the father and told him that Muhammad’s condition had deteriorated further and he suffered from a collapsed lung. Doctors operated on the child to stabilize his condition.

MGMBill.ORG - A bill to end Male Genital Mutilation in the U.S. "We call on the members of the Congress to pass the MGM Bill into law without delay so that boys may enjoy the same protection from circumcision as girls."