Friday, December 13, 2013

Jacob Sweet, a victim of circumcision and medical neglect, passed away September 16th, 2012

Jacob Cole Sweet was a known victim of a circumcision. Born in January 16 of 1986 in Anchorage, Alaska, and circumcised the next day, his parents brought him back to the hospital one week later with signs of infection. During his stay he suffered seizures. Negligence during his hospital stay allowed the infection to progress into a systemic infection or meningitis, resulting in brain damage. He could never walk or talk.

The family spent 13 years in a legal process, complicated by the disappearance of medical records and the expert testimonial of Wiswell (the author of the studies about circumcision and UTIs) who argued that circumcision is not a surgery. The case finally settled in 2000.

I was very sad today when I found that Jacob passed away in September 16 of 2012, at the age of 26 years. May he rest in peace.

His Obituary:

His case:

Three pictures of Jacob during his childhood:

What the AAP says:

The majority of severe or even catastrophic
injuries are so infrequent as
to be reported as case reports (and
were therefore excluded from this
literature review)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Intact Florida protests Dr. Saleem Islam's 'Circumcisions in older boys and related costs skyrocket in Florida' study

In response to Dr. Saleem Islam's study on "Allocation of Healthcare Dollars: Analysis of Nonneonatal Circumcisions in Florida", a group of Intactivists in alliance with Intact Florida decided to visit the University of Florida, Gainesville, on December 4th on 2013. We assembled on Turlington Plaza from 10 AM until 5 PM, to share our message with students and members of the community. We previously informed several representatives of organizations to give them the opportunity to approach us.

There were great reactions to our presence there, many expressions of support, some came with curiosity, some just looked at our signs with concern for the babies strapped on a circumstraint, and some had typical reactions of defensiveness and anger. Our hope is that many of them will question the procedure beyond the normal cultural indoctrination that we have been subjected to for over a century.

Remember: tradition, "cultural customs", religion, parental "preferences" are not medical indications for amputation.

We wish to visit the University again in the future and share our message with more students. We handed out many copies of the following text:


A recent article about circumcision in UF Health which was repeated by other media outlets makes reference to a  study by Dr. Saleem Islam indicating that as newborn circumcision rates decrease in the state of Florida, circumcisions of boys over the age of 1 have increased doubling the costs to the state. Dr. Islam repeats old myths and cultural or religious reasons for circumcision. He also mentions the AAP's citation of African studies on HIV. Dr. Islam is among doctors who believe that the AAP statement may lead states and insurance companies to restore funding to newborn circumcisions.

Dr. Saleem Islam

There are questions that Dr. Islam did not ask. Are those circumcisions necessary and medically justified? Is there a possibility that those kids will grow to wish they had not been circumcised? And what can be done about boys who suffer major complications from an elective surgery that they did not personally elect?

Intact Florida, along with many other national and international organizations, would like to discuss an alternative in alignment with modern medicine and global human rights developments: to skip unnecessary genital surgeries on minors, including boys and intersex children.

It is known that many American medical books do not even represent the normal foreskin in illustrations, and discussion of the foreskin is often limited to its removal. Many health professionals to this day practice and recommend the forced retraction of the foreskin of uncircumcised boys, causing iatrogenic damage, including bleeding, scarring and infection.

Reports of occasional severe botches and deaths are dismissed by the AAP as "case reports", and not taken into consideration when evaluating the benefits vs. risks. Severe complications have been documented in the U.S. and other countries, in the context of medical practice, leading to death, lives of suffering and even suicide. Warnings of potential for injuries from commonly used devices have been archived without an improvement of the devices, and in spite of a manufacturer going out of business due to millionaire lawsuits after injuries, the device remains widely in use.

The grassroots movement opposing the circumcision of minors can be traced to Tallahassee in 1970, and is currently supported by medical professionals, lawyers, ethicists and philosophers, international physicians and even the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The only reason why many Americans still consider circumcision a non-issue is because they have been subjected to over 150 years of cultural indoctrination. Foreigners visiting are often shocked when they learned about this custom. 

Our proposal is simple: leave the genitals of children alone. Let's educate our medical community in the proper care and normal development of the genitals. Let's educate parents in the risks and harm of circumcision and the proper care of the genitals. It's time to recognize the personhood and dignity of children, and the right to grow with their bodies unharmed.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

My response to James McDonald

James McDonald writes in Haaretz that "In a society where most men are circumcised, e.g., the U.S., it's hard to imagine the European attitude that circumcised men are trauma victims."

"There is an obvious reason why circumcision is a hot topic in Europe and not other Western societies like North America or Israel " -- Except that it is, indeed, a hot topic in the United States. Thousands of men harmed by this "well-known norm" are routinely dismissed by the medical establishment, and yet the growing voices opposing circumcision (read about intactivism in the United States) are having an effect, and circumcision rates are steadily decreasing.

"It is not uncommon to dismiss an unknown and alien practice as dangerous or cruel" -- it also happens that is is not uncommon to dismiss the victims, when one is willfully blind to the nature of the abusive practice.

The American Academy of Pediatrics asserts that "the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks." -- The AAP also asserts that "the real incidence of complications is unknown", so how did they do the math?

"I can emphatically state that I have never felt trauma, shame or low self-esteem" -- You haven't, many others have. When a procedure is repeated upon millions, a small percentage of damage is multiplied by millions, causing thousands of deeply harmed.

"it is impossible to arrive at a non-objective conclusion" -- not really. Ethically, it's not permissible to cut off part of another person's penis without permission. Just as this is true for adults, it should be true for children. As a circumcised male, I am entitled to say I'm offended that someone cut off part of my penis after I tried, with my feeble six years, to refuse treatment by all means, including trying to run away naked from the doctor.

"what the effect on circumcised men is of the constant reiteration that they have been "mutilated;"" -- if a society does not want males to hear that they have been mutilated, it should not allow others to mutilate them. Simple as that.

A similar argument to the one you are raising was raised by the AAP in 2010 when they tried to argue for the "ritual genital cutting of female minors", that women who had their genitals altered did not feel mutilated and so to call it female genital mutilation was inflammatory. If this sounds wrong to you, that's exactly how your argument comes across.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Circumcision news, September and October - In Summary

Sep 13. The Social Liberal Party, a left wing Danish political party, is seeking to outlaw ritual circumcision in Denmark.

Sept. 25. Swedish MPs propose circumcision ban. A motion to ban the circumcision of males younger than 18, unless for medical purposes, has been presented to the Swedish parliament.

Sept 28.Children's Ombudsman Calls for Circumcision Ban in Sweden. The Ombudsman for Children in Sweden called Saturday for the country to ban circumcision, a practice he said contravened the basic rights of boys.

Sept. 30. Nordic ombudspersons will seek a ban on non-therapeutic male circumcision. At a meeting today in Oslo, the children's ombudspersons from the five Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland), and the children's spokesperson from Greenland, in addition to representatives of associations of Nordic paediatricians and pediatric surgeons, have agreed to work with their respective national governments to achieve a ban on non-therapeutic circumcision of underage boys.

October 1st. The Parlamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has told its 47 member states (including the UK) that medically unnecessary circumcision is a violation of boys’ human rights.

October 10. Six national members of the Nordic Association for Clinical Sexology supports resolution by Nordic ombudsmen for children and resolution by Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to protect children's bodily integrity with regard to non-therapeutic genital surgery.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

How American medical school books normalize genital mutilation (circumcision)

The book "Biology of Humans: Concepts, Applications and Uses", by Judith Goodenough and Betty A. McGuire, ISBN-10: 0321821718 | ISBN-13: 978-0321821713, used by college students, just like many other medical textbooks, normalizes circumcision.

As mentioned by a fellow activist, all of the drawings of males depict males with exposed glans,  "circumcision" is in the glossary but foreskin is not (labia is though)."

The other day I stopped at a bookstore, and I stopped to take a look at "The illustrated atlas of the human body" by Beverly McMillan. In page 233 it has its only mention of the foreskin. "The tip of the penis is covered with a loosely folding prepuce or foreskin. Circumcision removes the foreskin"

Notice the impersonal form. "Circumcision removes the foreskin". But what is circumcision and how does it get there? How does it manage to remove the foreskin? Do you see the disconnect. Why is there a mention of circumcision? Why is it that the mention of foreskin is even followed by removal and by circumcision? When I looked at the page about the breasts, the second sentence didn't read "mastectomy removes the breast".

What about the anatomy of the foreskin? What about the functions?

Circumcision advocates often call us "foreskin fetishists", but how to understand that a part of the body is intentionally omitted, and when mentioned, no discussion of its value, functions or anatomy is allowed, only the fact that it is removed by a procedure, no mention of who performs the procedure or why or whether it is elective or not...

How can students learn about the normal human body when parts of it are intentionally omitted?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

My response to Jill on "How intactivists are ruining the debate on circumcision"

Jill in declares that intactivists are ruining the debate on circumcision - while acknowledging some important points about the fight for genital integrity of minors.

I appreciate that you admit that there should be a discussion over male circumcision. In fact, my belief is that there should be an integral debate on the issue of genital cutting of minors (males, females, intersex). Genital cutting is not a matter of gender, it's a matter of control, it's a children's issue.

Mark Joseph Stern says in the text you quoted: "None of intactivists’ cornerstone beliefs are based in reality or science". I'll give you facts that he can't deny:

* Circumcision damages or completely removes the frenulum. This is important because circumcised males who still retain their frenulum, and even intact males, consider it to be their "g spot". Those males who had it damaged or removed have lost their "g spot".

* Circumcision removes the ridged band. The ridged band was described by John Taylor, Canadian Pathologist, as a "intensely vascular" and "richly innervated" which "appears to be an important component of the overall sensory mechanism of the human penis".

* Circumcision restricts the skin mobility of the penis. This has been noted by circumcision promoters as well. This is important because the mobility serves a mechanical function, that is to allow the foreskin to glide over the glans during sex.

* Circumcision allows for gradual keratinization of the glans. This has been noted by circumcision promoters and opponents and is documented in encyclopedias. Whether the keratinization (hardening and drying) of the surface of the glans has an effect or not on sexuality is a different matter, but the phenomenon itself is objectively verifiable.

These are facts that are rarely discussed by circumcision promoters and apologists, such as Mark Joseph Stern, who appears to have a personal bias for circumcision. One clear demonstration is that you won't find the words "frenulum", "ridged band", "mobility", "keratinization", "Meissner" and not even the word "condom" in reference to HIV prevention, in the totality of the AAP's Technical Report on Circumcision.

A response to Nancy Ripton's "When to circumcise" in Canadian Family

Nancy Ripton learned that there is a different protocol for newborn circumcision and late circumcision during childhood. One reason Dr. Martin gave her is that "babies tend to bleed less and fuss less during a circumcision".

A problem with newborn circumcisions is the risk of bleeding, because babies have less blood. In fact, this happen to Ryleigh McWillis from the British Columbia in 2002. The parents were told to look for bleeding but they didn't know how much bleeding was too much, and this caused the dead of their dear baby.

Less blood may also mean higher risk for cardiac arrest. A baby died in Israel in May of this year after a Jewish bris. The baby appeared to stop breathing shortly after the procedure, but the media refuses to acknowledge the role of the circumcision, citing instead a possible unknown pre-existing condition.

The use of anesthetic may be debated, but the pain of circumcision is not subject of debate. Listen to the cries, observe the face of a baby, and you won't have any doubt.

You say delaying brings up the question of whether the child should be circumcised at all, and Michael says he is circumcised and he wants his son to be as well. The actual question is why should a baby be circumcised in absence of any disease, condition or abnormality?

Is there a logic to subjecting a baby to amputation of healthy normal tissue that does not represent a threat to the baby's well being?

Isn't it obvious that cutting a part of the penis affects the sexual experience and reduces pleasure? It was obvious for Jewish philosophers and physicians in the 1st century (Philo), and later in the 12th century (Maimonides), and it was obvious for the American and British physicians that advocated circumcision (and clitoridectomy) to punish and discourage masturbation (of boys and girls) in the late 19th century and early 20th (see J.H. Kellogg).

The $200-$2000 cost of circumcision can be incredibly increased if your son happens to be the unlucky one to develop a complication requiring corrective surgery. Penile denudation, buried penis, penile adhesions, skin bridges, lacerations and partial amputation of the glans (specially with the method favored by Dr. Pollock and his disciples, the Mogen clamp). Or the possibility of too much skin removed, resulting in painful erections and sex as an adult.

Phimosis is not an indication for infant circumcision. Most babies are born with physiological phimosis, it's a natural condition for that age, because the foreskin and the glans have not separated completely. Separation takes years, and retraction often becomes possible in the 10-17 years range. Operating for phimosis before adulthood is like giving a baby a denture because he is toothless.

Urinary backflow is not cured by circumcision. Those babies often need surgical correction of the ACTUAL problem.

Penile cancer hardly qualifies as prevention, given the low incidence of the disease. The AAP estimates that 909 to 322,000 circumcisions are needed to prevent a single event, and that comes at the cost of 2 to 909 complications, some of which can be severe and life long. It's in the AAP's Technical Report on Circumcision, the one people don't bother to read before repeating the marketing propaganda.

Circumcision as HIV prevention doesn't measure as well, as has been found out by Zimbabwe and Nyanza in recent days. Safe sex, abstinence, monogamy and low promiscuity are important measures. Circumcision is a distraction.

A group of international physicians, including Canadians, has published an article criticizing the AAP's Policy Statement as culturally biased and scientifically unsound.

What is the price of self-determination and bodily integrity? How many studies are needed to override the empowerment to decide over one's own body? Self-ownership?

Forced infant circumcision (prepucectomy) is an unethical, unnecessary and risky residual of the Victorian era, justified with overinflated health benefits and overlooked risks and harm.

The foreskin has sexual functions. It's removal permanently alters the sexual experience, by damaging the frenulum, removing the ridged band, limiting the skin mobility and subjecting the glans to gradual keratinization. But those interested in promoting the procedure won't discuss the anatomy and functions of the foreskin, or the harms that I just mentioned.

One thing I will give Nancy. The graphic chosen to represent circumcision is quite fitting. English speaking countries practice of circumcision: cutting the edge of the sexual experience of your children for over 150 years.

To circ or not to circ - A response to Dr. Mike Patrick blogging at iTriageHealth

Doctor Mike Patrick, an  emergency medicine physician and Medical Director of InteractiveMedia for Nationwide Children’s Hospital, blogging on, misrepresents the AAP's Policy Statement on circumcision and decrees the intactivist movement as fear-provoking and unscientific.

This is my response to Doctor Mike Patrick, which I submitted as comment on the blog entry - and assume will never pass moderation, as the almost one year article has 0 comments:

 The AAP did not say that the benefits CLEARLY outweigh the risks. In fact they said (copy and paste from their technical report):

"Parents should weigh the health
benefits and risks in light of their
own religious, cultural, and personal
preferences, as the medical
benefits alone may not outweigh
these other considerations for individual

Circumcision rates in Europe did not decline. They have NEVER been high except among Muslims and Jews.

The Johns Hopkins report by Aaron Tobian is a computer simulation applying African data to the U.S. population. One would have to wonder why Tobian did not apply European or Latin American data instead. Perhaps because that would not support the desired conclusion.

The result of his report is to put a price tag of about $400 on a foreskin. That is unethical thing to do. What is the worth of a body part? An eye? A leg? A hand?

Furthermore, the conclusion is not supported in real life. His premise is that healthcare cost would rise if circumcision rates were the same as in Europe; so why isn't healthcare cost as elevated in Europe?

Other international pediatric and medical associations contradict the AAP's position. The Royal Dutch Medical Association indicates that the risks outweigh the benefits. 38 international physicians and heads of medical associations presented an article denouncing the AAP's cultural bias towards circumcision.

The AAP's report makes no mention of prostrate cancer.

Intact penis - something you almost never see in American medical textbooks!

Regarding penile cancer the AAP says (again, copy and paste from technical report):

"The clinical value
of the modest risk reduction from circumcision
for a rare cancer is difficult
to measure against the potential for
complications from the procedure. In
addition, these findings are likely to
decrease with increasing rates of HPV
vaccination in the United States."

And it estimates 909 to 322,000 circumcisions required to prevent a single case of penile cancer, at the cost of 2 to 909 complications suffered by real babies - who will have to carry the consequences for life.

Severe complications of newborn
circumcisions affecting adults
 Common risks that you did not mention include adhesions (which can become skin bridges and cause pain during sex to the adult that the baby will become), too much skin removed (very common in the U.S. and a cause of pain, sore skin and even bleeding during sex - normally not even considered to be a complication!) and even penile denudation. In recent years the rate of circumcision revisions has increased 119% according to the AAP - this means children subjected to additional genital surgeries, at additional expense and emotional cost.

The AAP Policy Statement did not acknowledge the main problem with newborn circumcision, one that the World Health Organization recognizes: the problem of consent.

 A concern about early infant male circumcision is that the child cannot give informed consent for the procedure. Moreover, some of the health benefits, including reducing the risk of HIV infection, will not be realized until many years later when the person becomes sexually active. If circumcision is postponed until an older age the patient can evaluate the risks and benefits and consent to the procedure himself. - World Health Organization

Circumcision is a permanent body modification that the baby will have to live with for the rest of his life, whether he agrees with it or not as an adult.

You don't do your readers any favor by misrepresenting the AAP's position with your personal bias.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

My response to Mark Joseph Stern - How Circumcision Broke the Internet - Slate

Mark Joseph Stern published in Slate an article called "How Circumcision Broke the Internet"

Mark Joseph Stern

This is my response:

Mark, you are wrong in your appreciation of intactivism and its timeline.

Intactivism can be traced at least to 1900 when AP Morgan Vance, M.D. from Louisville, KY, wrote an article on "Surgical Fanaticism".  Joseph Lewis, American freethinker and author, published "In the name of humanity" in 1949. William Keith C. Morgan, MD, wrote an article called "The rape of the phallus" in 1965. Douglas Gairdner, DM, MRCP, published "The fate of the foreskin" in 1949. American Jewish scientist and Nobel Prize award George Wald wrote an essay on circumcision in 1975 (but could not get it published during his life). Jewish author Edward Wallerstein published in 1980 a book called "Circumcision: An American Health Fallacy".

More recently a group of 38 non-U.S. physicians, heads or spokespeople for the paediatric associations of Austria, Britain, Denmark, England, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden, and the Netherlands, and by senior paediatricians in Canada, the Czech Republic, France and Poland, published an article denouncing the Cultural Bias in the AAP's Policy statement on circumcision.

Circumcisions used to be funded in England, Canada and Australia, but England stopped funding it in 1949 due to lack of consensus over its benefits and growing awareness of morbidity and mortality. Canada and Australia also stopped funding infant circumcisions. The only country where infant circumcisions are performed with a pretense of health benefits is the U.S.

Activism from lay people against circumcision in the United States has occurred at least since 1970 with Van and Benjamin Lewis in Florida. Citizens Against Ritual Violence (CARV) in California in 1980. 1986 saw the appearance of NOCIRC, funded by Marilyn Milos. Tim Hammond and Wayne Griffiths funded NORM - National Organization of Restoring Men, in 1989.

Intact America was founded in 2008 and is presently the most well known intactivist organization with a strong presence in the media.

I wouldn't qualify those groups and individuals as being fringe groups. Foreigners coming to the U.S. (as myself) are usually shocked to learn about the practice of infant circumcision, which we find cruel and barbaric.

Circumcision has subsisted in the U.S. due to that veil of secrecy and taboo. People do it and don't speak about it. Males often grow up ignorant to their own circumcision status. Yet, when objectively evaluated, infant circumcision is nothing but a residual of the Victorian era.

The San Francisco initiative to vote on age-restriction of circumcision did not collapse due to its own weirdness, like you said. Reality is even stranger: it collapsed because a judge used a law that was originally created to allow veterinarians to declaw cats without intervention of municipalities! But the threat of this initiative was scary enough for religious groups that an "urgent" bill was presented (without public vote) to protect circumcision from municipal rulings in the state of California by Democrat Mike Gatto (A.B. 768)

Those interested in perpetuating circumcision because of their personal bias or financial greed seem more desperate nowadays to try to find elusive "health benefits" to justify the billion-dollar-year industry which  provides supplies for biomedical research and makeup manufacturing, fresh newborn foreskins used for fibroblasts, collagen and stem cells.

Absent from the debate is the fact that circumcision has verifiable harms which the benefits and risks fail to balance. But the AAP and other promoters do not mention these harms - or even discuss the anatomy and functions of the foreskin. Shouldn't it be a red flag to advocate the excision of normal tissue without discussing its functions?

A person subjected to surgery to remove a finger knows that there is a loss of the functions of that finger, that is an obvious fact and needs no study to prove it. The loss of the foreskin to circumcision also implies the loss of its functions and structures: loss or damage to the frenulum, loss of the ridged band, restriction of the skin mobility and progressive keratinization of the glans.

Regarding HIV, recent news have shown that new infections during 2010-2011 in Zimbabwe were more prevalent among circumcised males, and that the increasing rate of circumcision in Nyanza has failed to curb the new HIV infections, further proving that the presence or absence of foreskin has nothing to do with HIV infection, and behavior and safe sex practices have everything to do with it.

Foreskin restoration can be done for a price like you said - and the price of the common devices is less than the cost of an infant circumcision at the local hospital, and there are no doctors involved in the process. But foreskin restoration can also be done at no cost, through manual tugging or using Do It Yourself methods involving common household items. After all, shouldn't we males be entitled to our own bodies? Isn't it true that many women procure breast reconstruction after mastectomies? So why do we have to agree with a forced prepucectomy that we never wanted in the first place?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The balanopreputial synechiae conspiration - or when medicine reverses 150 years thanks to a committee

Or can the World Health Organization can be hijacked by special interest groups?

The description of the circumcision procedure often includes a step, described as follows in the circumcision advocacy site circinfo:

"The adhesions between glans and foreskin are divided with a hemastat (artery forceps). "

Yet Douglas Gairdner in his 1949 "The Fate of the Foreskin" article, indicated that "It will be seen that preputial "adhesions" is an inapposite term to apply to the incompletely separated prepuce, suggesting as it does that the prepuce and glans were formerly separate structures."

In Intactivist circles, these adhesions are often referred to as "balanopreputial synnechiae", "balanopreputial lamina", "balanopreputial membrane".

"Balanopreputial" means specifically something that is related to the glans ("balano") and the foreskin ("prepuce").

Synechiae is defined as an adhesion between two parts of the body.

Lamina refers to a structure, particularly a flat structure (2D)

In Anatomy, a membrane may refer to a thin film that is primarily a separating structure.

Wikipedia used to have an article on the balanopreputial membrane. This article was marked for deletion in 2007. The argument for deletion is that these words basically are an expression used by "lobbying" groups (in other words, "anticircumcision" or intactivist groups) to refer to "the epithelial layer fusing the foreskin to the glans". There is no equivalent article describing the "epithelial layer fusing the foreskin to the glans".

While this term is difficult to find, I've found references to the process of "balanopreputial separation" as an external sign of puberty in rats! More details here.

A book on Pediatric Drug Development includes the term "balanopreputial separation" again in reference to rats.

What about people?

It is known and reference in literature even as old as 1933, that "the prepuce in the human penis is adherent to the glans at birth, a layer of stratified squamous epithelium being interposed, and shortly after birth these parts become separated so that the prepuce may be retracted.", and the presence of this epithelium is referenced in this article as being described as far back as 1860.

In 2012 a group of Brazilian researchers studied the development of the foreskin in the fetal period and found "the presence of preputial lamella and a large amount of mesenchymal tissue between the foreskin and glans"

The glandulopreputial lamella is defined as "a layer of embryonic epithelial tissue that gives rise to the prepuce."

A lamella is a thin plate-like structure.

The development of the balanopreputial cavity in one humped camels has also been studied, finding references to the same lamella. 

A 2010 paper describes the Development of the Glandopreputial Lamella and Sulcus in Female Fetuses, including the presence of a "stratified squamous epithelium" - the same epithelium mentioned in 1933 and in 1860.

So, this epithelium as a normal part and stage of the development of the foreskin has been known for at least 150 years. Whether we call it epithelium, or membrane, or synechiae, or lamina, we are referring to the same thing. A normal structure that connects the glans and the foreskin during their development.

The same 1933 paper describes that "The separation of the prepuce in the human penis is essentially a process of keratization of the intervening epithelium. It begins anteriorly and posteriorly at about the same time and proceeds toward the center. When confined on all sides the separation manifests itself as an epithelial pearl formation. On the surface, as is possible in the anterior region, it appears as a desquamation."

What's more important is that the paper then indicates that "Separation is not completed at birth, but is accomplished sometime during infancy or early childhood."

The exact age of retraction has been a subject of debate. This old paper indicated that " Unless the prepuce has been retracted, slight adhesions may persist in the posterior regions of the glandar lamella at 5 and 6 months. Separation is sufficient at the 10-day stage to allow mechanical retraction without danger of a tear, apparently an important factor in completing the division."

 Based on more recent observations, the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne posted in 2013 that "The normal foreskin is attached to the glans and is non-retractile in most newborns. Over time the foreskin separates and becomes retractile. The proportion of boys with retractile foreskins is: 40% at 1 year, 90% at 4 years and 99% at 15 years."

By what means are the foreskin and the glans attached? By the presence of a synechiae, or a membrane, or a lamina, or an epithelium.

So basically, it doesn't matter if we call it a synechiae or a membrane or a lamine or an epithelium. There is a normal structure that appears during the normal development of the fetus (male or female), which later starts to dissolve and separate, and the final product, usually years after birth, is the presence of a separate glans and prepuce, either the glans penis and the foreskin on the male, or the clitoris and the clitoral hood on the female.

So there is no need to play thug of war over the use of one word or another. This structure exists, has been described, has been sufficiently observed and it's normal. There is no denying this.

Which is why it can only generate shock that the new 2013 ICD-10 codes of the World Health Organization, scheduled to go into effect in October 2014, include a code (N47.0) for "adherent prepuce, newborn" as part of the disorders of the male genitals.

With this new code, every human male will be born with a medical condition N47.0 - not because it's a medical condition, but because it has been codified as such. A normal stage of the human development has been pathologized by the World Health Organization.

And who can guess what procedure cures this condition?

If this doesn't sound like a conspiracy to circumcise the world, then I don't know what is it. I can only conclude that the World Health Organization has been hijacked by a special interest group.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Is circumcision a valid parental choice?

Parents saying that circumcising their sons is their choice. It really isn't. It's been made your choice by a biased medical establishment pushing surgery for over 160 years. 

If a doctor came to tell you that it's your choice to cut your baby's earlobes, I assume you would be shocked. If circumcision was not common (as is the case of most of the world), and out of the blue a doctor came and told you it was your choice to cut part of the penis of your newborn, you would be shocked. It's only because the American medical establishment has been enabling this behavior for 160 years, that nobody even thinks about this as being strange.

The problem is, when we tell people that they have been fooled, they get angry not at the institution that fooled them, but at those who have the guts to let you know you were fooled. Just like the American government is making criminals out of whistleblowers who tell the crimes of the government.

Have you realized that American doctors push too much medicine? Overtreat? Pushes pain killers that make people addicted and cause a growing black market for pain drugs? Has birthing practices that cause excessive distress, emergency c-sections, need for extended NICU stays, and even brain injuries to babies? And yet you trust them when they tell you it's your choice to cut a piece of your child's sexual organ?

They have fooled you for 160 years. Open the blinders. They are selling you unnecessary surgery, and they are justifying it based on cultural, religious beliefs of personal preferences.

Cultural and religious beliefs are not an indication for surgery. They are not a medical symptom.

Personal preferences are not personal on someone else's body, not even your child.

Parents have a duty to be the guardians of their children. Not a right to shape them as they wish, as if they were bonsai trees.

You have been fooled.

I don't want to shove beliefs down your throat. I want you to examine your beliefs, where they come from, how they got there, and whether they are valid any longer or not.

I'm not trying to make you feel bad about past decisions. But if you learn something, if you change your mind about your beliefs, you may be a part of the change. You may help someone who is on the fence. You may teach something to your children. The question is, are you willing to examine your own beliefs? Are you willing to question the culture you grew up on?

Monday, July 29, 2013

Why most circumcised men seem satisfied?

We've always seen in the heated circumcision debates the guy that starts by announcing "I'm circumcised and I'm fine"...

But yet those of us who have had the "ahaaa" moment, those who have seen what's wrong about circumcision, just can't seem to unsee it, to even stop thinking about it.

Why is there such disconnect? Check this out:

Friday, July 26, 2013

Physicians guide to the uncircumcised penis - treatment, no circumcision

Excellent text by Doctors Opposing Circumcision, this page exposes several of the reasons (or excuses) presented by doctors to circumcise, discusses the normal issues that may be experienced during the development of the foreskin and conservative treatments, and the functions of the foreskin.

Great guide for physicians, nurses, and even parents who want to be well informed and have a critical position on the health care recommended for their children.

Read the Physicians guide to the normal (intact) penis

Friday, July 19, 2013

My responses to the Gentleman Scholar on "The Unkindest Cut"

I appreciate that the author recognizes that the AAP statement relies mostly on foreign data that doesn't apply to the American conditions.

As a disclosure, I don't blame circumcision on every frustration of my life. In fact, I'm not frustrated at all, I've had a quite enjoyable life, and I didn't question circumcision until I was in my early 40s.

As for the AAP Technical Report, I'm most surprised by an interesting sentence:

"Parents should weigh the health
benefits and risks in light of their
own religious, cultural, and personal
preferences, as the medical
benefits alone may not outweigh
these other considerations for individual

This is a statement that requires some thoughtful reading, because it's deceiving. What it really means is that the "health benefits" alone may not outweigh other considerations UNLESS you have a cultural or religious bias towards circumcision.

The AAP remains blind to the sexual effects of circ on the adult male. When 38 non-U.S. physicians questioned this (and pointed the cultural bias), the AAP responded:

"However, the task force
did not move beyond what these
studies actually reveal (the foreskin
has nerve bundles and pain fibers,
the foreskin contains Meissner corpuscles,
the inner surface of the foreskin
resembles a mucous membrane)
to speculate about the effect that circumcision
might have on sexual function
or pleasure."

Cultural Bias and Circumcision: The AAP Task
Force on Circumcision Responds,
doi:10.1542/peds.2013-0081, published April of 2013

Isn't this interesting? Basically they acknowledge that they don't know or understand what sexual role the foreskin has. Isn't this an important question to research by a task force that is going to provide a recommendation about the routine excision of this tissue? If they didn't have an answer to this question, should they have even published a Policy Statement?

Be it also the chance to remember that one of the 8 members of the Task Force, Doug Diekema, was also the Chairperson of another committee that in 2010 presented a policy statement on "Ritual Genital Cutting of Female Minors", advocating for physicians to be able to provide a "ritual nick" which would have been less extensive than male circumcision - and which would have been a federal crime based on the FGM law of 1997. Public outrage (including the WHO and UN) forced the AAP to retire this Policy Statement.

Add to this guy Diekema at least 2 physicians from a cultural group that practices religious circumcision, and 5 other physicians who were likely denied the right to experience their own foreskins, and you have the task force that presented the new Policy Statement. Is it any surprise that there would be some kind of cultural bias?

A reader commented:

This is what makes this such a headache issue.

There are bad things that can happen if you get circumcised, but they're vanishingly rare.
There are bad things that can happen if you don't get circumcised, but they're vanishingly rare.

Whichever decision you make, the vast majority of the time it's going to turn out fine.

But for some reason, to certain people, these vanishingly rare outcomes are the most important thing in the entire world. Even moreso, arguing endlessly about them on the internet is the most important thing in your life.

The people who REALLY care about this stuff are absolutely OBSESSED with it. There is no rational discussion with them; it's all in hysterical, apocalyptic terms

I responded:  

If one of those bad complications occurred to you, you would still only have one body and one life. Once chance. So it wouldn't be a big deal. As it happened to David Reimer, who lost his organ during his circ. and was raised as a girl for a while. He committed suicide at 39.

But even without complications, circ removes erogenous tissue that has functions during intercourse. That's not a small deal.

I recently met a new friend who tells that he always experienced pain during m** since he was a teenager, but he never thought anything about that because it was the only way he head experienced it. Until he became open to the information and realize that it was the result of an otherwise successful circumcision. How many other males experience pain like this, we will never know.

There is a reason to be this obsessed: stop the cultural inertial. If this procedure is not necessary and can cause harm, why continue doing it? But how do you stop the snowball rolling down the hill?

Another person commented:

I love this notion that circumcised men have "inferior" orgasms.  
It may be a slightly different path to orgasm town, but when they get there they're there. 

I responded:

One interesting little known fact is that the foreskin and the glans interact during intercourse, as the foreskin glides over the glans, causing friction between two very innervated areas: the ridge of the corona and the tip of the foreskin.

Without the foreskin, this mechanism is destroyed.

If you only had one eye, would you enjoy 3D movies equally, or less? You wouldn't be able to see the 3D effects, you know. The foreskin has nerve endings that are different from those on the glans: the ones in the glans perceive rough sensation, the ones on the foreskin perceive soft touch. Remove the soft touch, and you are listening to the bass but are missing the guitars in the song

Male genital mutilation in Africa

Can we start calling this Male Genital Mutilation?

BBC reports: When circumcision can mean death in Africa

Please watch video at the BBC page.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

If Your Son Is Not Circumcised... Beware the Well-Baby Check

Imagine this. It's the middle of the night and your baby boy has croup -- you are worried. So you take him to your local emergency room. The ER doc comes in, removes the boy's diaper, and forcibly retracts your child's foreskin, leaving the child screaming in pain and bleeding. Within a couple hours, his penis and foreskin are swollen. And you don't have a clue what to do. This just happened to a couple right here in my home state. And there wasn't a thing the parents could do about it. I want you to know why this is occurring all over the U.S. today, so you can protect your son!

As ludicrous as this might seem for an ER doctor to do this for croup in the first place, pediatricians forcibly retract foreskins for intact (uncircumcised) boys during well-baby checks throughout the U.S. every day because the health care provider doesn't know any better. The injury to the baby is called premature, forcible, foreskin retraction (PFFR), and, ironically, the trauma often requires that the child be circumcised after all, in order for the damage to be repaired.

Circumcision has lost favor in the U.S. in recent years so much so that now roughly 1 million newborn boys are not circumcised (each year). [1] Simultaneously, the American medical professionals appear to have lost the folk knowledge of parents who, for tens of thousands of years, once left their child's foreskin entirely alone, to develop normally by itself, the way Europeans do.

Without this folk knowledge, they refer to the current medical texts or organizations to understand normal penile anatomy and development. Unfortunately, some of these texts and organizations propagate out-of-date or inaccurate information.

Continue reading...

Also: Circumcision at age 5: how your doctor gets to lie and collect a check

Phimosis at 12, another medical fraud. This was shared by an intactivist friend:

Friends, please warn your Intact son that he will always be at risk if he sees the wrong doctor. Krista has shared her son's painful story with us, as follows... "I've never said all of this outloud Brother K...please proof it as typing through blinding tears is tough. I hope it helps someone... anyone... if even only one.

"In 1996 I gave birth to a gorgeous 8 pounds 12.5 oz perfect baby boy. Bald head, chubby cheeks, enormous chocolate tootsie pop brown eyes that sparkled, never not there, lop-sided drooly grin. He and I went against the grain. I loudly and proudly told everyone if I had a boy I would never have him cut. I even went against my husband at the time, his father. This was out of the norm around here... especially in my family. There were whispers behind my back, well intended but often times ill informed and unsolicited "advice". Our Dr. chastised my choice... I always pushed his buttons.

"Things went well and as my son grew we talked about anatomy, bodily functions at age appropriate times. Eventually those talks turned into how some mommies and daddies circumcised their sons, but how I thought he was so perfect that I wouldn't let them. I explained the procedure in ways he could understand and over the years as he grew, on several occasions he said to me "mommy Thank you for not cutting off my wiener" he matured he understood more and grasped that they didn't actually cut it off but a part of it.

"He was friendly, kind-hearted, very secure. soothsayer of sorts.

"When we went for his first sports physical... I left in tears... disgusted with myself, filled with a guilt that threatened to consume me. The Dr tried to retract his skin at 12 years old.... it wouldn't budge. An emergency surgery was scheduled. I was told since I hadn't cut him and had also not properly cared for his penis that his very next erection could and would most likely cause the skin to retract behind the glans (they used the term head) and because I failed to properly retract the foreskin it would stop the blood flow resulting in perhaps permanent damage to the head of his penis. There were no alternatives I was told this was dangerous.

"Now I was forced to explain to my son how I had messed up. So I took my son in for surgery watching the fear and anxiety that someone was going to cut on the most personal parts of his body.

"I told him I love him and he said he loved me as they wheeled him off to surgery but his very the last words prior to them making me let go of his hand were "but mom I thought you said I was perfect"

"He came through surgery fine.... the next two weeks were hell. I know / knew more about my sons 12 year old penis than most.

"He's 17 now, a football player... honor student.... still breathtakingly gorgeous. We've discussed what happened and how I was tricked, lied to and manipulated. I got copies of his them all over and over....the need for surgery was a lie... the phimosis he had was minimal and as I have come to understand over the years... nothing to worry about especially at 12..

"He knows all of this... I have his forgiveness... he knows how tragic and unnecessary his mutilation was.....

"He will however at times say things like "yeah because you made me have a surgery I didn't need". I guess time will tell how he deals with it. He knows about restoration... I will pay if he chooses.

"I want to add he had never ever had any sort of issues with being left whole and intact.

"Now I too live with the guilt and shame of having allowed something so horrific to be done to my child.

"Please think about my Tman before you take perfect parts of your perfect baby away. His body his choice." ~Krista.

And at 18, they will still try to get you with their lies:
Friends, we heard some heartbreaking stories at San Francisco Pride. This man's was possibly the saddest. He grew up in the Northeast, moved to California a few years ago, and found out that some American doctors will take any opportunity to circumcise a grown man. He trusted them and was devastated. It's not enough to teach your son that his penis is normal -- he will be at risk when he moves out and becomes independent, as follows... "Unfortunately, this man was still in shock about his circumcision at age 18 by a doctor who gave him misleading and inaccurate information. He had no problems but during a routine physical at Kaiser, Walnut Creek, (Schoen territory) the doctor said that he had to be circumcised. After the operation he said "it feels like my penis is dead" and "I can't even let my girlfriend touch it" (the head) because it is too irritating. Stories like his tear you up but remind you how important it is to be there and continue our work."
They told him his foreskin was non-retractable. He was an easy target for them unfortunately.

he was having NO problems. That's the sickness of the doctors.

He didn't seem to question them at the time, just accepted it but possibly just the normal naivete of a young man who didn't realize the war over the penis that is raging in America, and he fell victim to it.

My impression was that he's an extremely trusting person who fell into the wrong hands.   

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The purification of Suhail Shahir Sarhan

Really disgusting. At 4:32 the circumcised baby is raised in arms for all family while the mom appears to cry. At 5:37 women point at the discarded foreskin and photograph it laughing. One kid shakes hands with the doctor. This is nothing but a blood sacrifice, a collective disease rotting the minds of generation after generation, a bloody prank on an innocent child.
To put it in perspective, if you held an adult in that way and forcefully removed a part of his body, you would be committing aggravated assault.
In the video, notice that there is no anesthesia. At most he is given some sugar water to suck prior to the procedure. Would you remove a part of anyone's body without anesthesia? Is the baby crying because he doesn't like restrained, or is he crying out of pure physical pain?
Circumcision (whether male or female) of minors is nothing but hazing in the person of those most vulnerable.
What can be impure in a baby? What is it so terrible about a normal part of the penis that it's removal would be called purification? Look at the awkward pointing at the lifeless foreskin. Nothing but contempt for normal humanity.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Circumcision and oral suction (metzitzah b'peh) consent form

Is it a nightmare that a government entity will issue a form entitling a religious practitioner to SUCK the wounded PENIS of an 8 day baby, enshrined as a matter religious freedom? Are we living in an alternative reality?

And is it coincidence that Susan Blank, member of the AAP Task Force on Circumcision 2012, was one of the people from the NYC Department of Health responsible for creating this form?

In what parallel universe is this a holy thing to do?

On April of 2013 two more babies in New York City contracted Herpes after being subjected to this ritual. Several cases have occurred in the last decade, including at least two deaths and two cases of severe brain damage.

Are some New York City hospitals and the city’s Department of Health suppressing disclosure of more cases of Herpes due to Metzitzah b'Peh?

One Mohel involved in 4 cases of herpes, including one death, is Yitzhok Fischer.

Is it a "Blood libel" to denounce this blood ritual performed on innocent babies, endangering their lives and molesting their bodies? Isn't it the ultimate irony to claim your religious right to slice open a baby's penis and then suck the blood out of it?

Rabbies protesting the requirement of a "consent form" before performing Metzitzah b'Peh

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Completely Unregulated Practice of Male Circumcision: Human Rights’ Abuse Enshrined in Law?

John V. Geisheker


We are witnessing a disturbing tend to “enshrine” male circumcision into law, shielding the practice from health and safety regulation of any kind. This trend precedes any honest attempt to assess “morbidity,” the unavoidable complications of any surgery, especially poignant for this unregulated and pre-germ-theory practice. Without a thorough assessment of morbidity, all bioethical discussions are, logically, premature. The author details a “permissive and incautious” milieu, including a lack of qualifications for circumcisers, rudimentary training, septic non-clinical settings, withheld anesthesia and analgesia, sub-optimal surgical protocols, a lack of back-up resources, minimal post-operative observation, minimal legal remedies, and other shortcomings. It is argued that serious inquiry must ethically precede blanket legal protections accommodating atavistic adult urges.
Follow link to read full paper.

The Impact of Neonatal Circumcision:

Implications for Doctors of Men’s Experiences
In Regressive Therapy

By Robert Clover Johnson

Published in Genital Autonomy: Protecting Personal Choice. Denniston, George C.;
Hodges, Frederick M.; Milos, Marilyn Fayre, Eds., (pp. 149-166)
2010 Springer Science and Business Media, ISBN: 978-90-481-9445-2
Website for the book:

Friday, June 28, 2013

Anticircumcision comes from a place of emotion?

Post: "Atheists that claim circumcision for boys is comparable to genital mutilation on girls are not coming from a place of fact, but rather emotion. I can understand the emotion.. but I recommend that atheists also embrace science and rational thought" (followed by a link to a news release of the AAP's policy statement).

My comment:

Let's go back to the original post, saying that the "claim circumcision for boys is comparable to genital mutilation on girls are not coming from a place of fact, but rather emotion"

Consent is a fact. Surgery without consent is battery. Now, parents are entitled to provide consent but they need to keep the child's best interest in their mind at all time. Consenting to non-therapeutic procedures is ethically troublesome, because it is unknown if the procedure is in the child's best interest or not, in other words if the child had the rational capacity to decide, would he/she undergo the procedure or not.

Circumcision is an elective surgery. It does not treat a disease or condition. Its preventive benefits are not that great for the AAP to recommend it, and if you read the technical report you will find out that those benefits come with the price of complications. Copying straight from page 14 of the report:

It is difficult to establish how many male
circumcisions it would take to prevent
a case of penile cancer, and at what
cost economically and physically. One
study with good evidence estimates that
based on having to do 909 circumcisions
to prevent 1 penile cancer event,
2 complications would be expected for
every penile cancer event avoided.121
However, another study with fair
evidence estimates that more than
322 000 newborn circumcisions are required
to prevent 1 penile cancer event
per year.122 This would translate into
644 complications per cancer event, by
using the most favorable rate of complications,
including rare but significant
complications.123 The clinical value
of the modest risk reduction from circumcision
for a rare cancer is difficult
to measure against the potential for
complications from the procedure. In
addition, these findings are likely to
decrease with increasing rates of HPV
vaccination in the United States.

So you see, to prevent ONE case of penile cancer, you are going to have to perform between 909 to 322,000 circumcisions and cause complications to an estimated 2 to 644 boys. That is hardly proportional!

So given the small preventive value of the procedure and the potential for complications, it is problematic to force it upon a child, who in case of complications is the person who will have to carry the consequences.

What's common between male circumcision and female circumcision is that both procedures are non-essential and both are forced upon minors who do not have the capacity to consent or to reject the procedure.

People think that what's bad about female circ. is that it's performed in the bushes, with unsterile equipment. This is true for some cases, but this is not the reason it's bad. In fact, female circumcision of minors used to be performed in the United States by doctors up to the 50s, and it is still performed in clinics in Malaysia and Indonesia. Does that make it right? No. It doesn't.

So what is wrong about it? Is it the removal of the clitoris? Well, that's not how they do it in Malaysia or Indonesia either, where they scrap the surface of the clitoris or pinch the clitoral hood. And yet that's not right to do and would be illegal in the United States.

So what is wrong about female circumcision?

Circumcision (both of males and females) can be done in many ways, on babies or on older children, with sterile equipment or in the bush or in the grandpa's kitchen table (as was the case of the son of Andrew Freedman, one of the members of the AAP task force on circumcision!)

So what is wrong then? The violation of consent. The violation of a right to self-determination. The removal of healthy normal erogenous tissue without the permission of the person.

And that, my friend, is a fact.

Sure there are decisions that parents take, such as vaccinations, religion, etc. Those decisions have one difference: they don't cut part of the body of a child. Trying to make it a parental right is an appeal to emotion and lack of rationality.