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.