Ever hear about genital mutilation? Well it happens every day to babies and children around the world including the USA. According to the 2011 US bill, the Genital Mutilation Prohibition Act submitted to the US Senate and House of Representatives, “genital mutilation” is defined as circumcision, excision, cutting or mutilation of “the whole or any part of the labia majora, labia minora, clitoris, vulva, breasts, nipples, foreskin, glans, testicles, penis, ambiguous genitalia, hermaphroditic genitalia, or genital organs of another person who has not attained the age of 18 years or on any nonconsenting adult.” In line with the 2003 UK Female Genital Mutilation Act that protects girls only, this bill has been written so that all minors may likewise be protected.
Individual communities are also starting to recognize the fact that genital mutilation of children, regardless of sex, is wrong and should be stopped. The Huffington Post, Los Angeles reports that “A proposal to ban the circumcision of male children in San Francisco has been cleared to appear on the November ballot, setting the stage for the nation’s first public vote on what has long been considered a private family matter.” Even a comic book, Foreskin Man, has been created to raise awareness of this long accepted gross violation of the human rights of personal autonomy and self preservation. A pdf of the comic’s first issue can be found here or by clicking on the image above. Unfortunately, the second issue is considered by many to be anti-Semitic, which I do NOT endorse nor desire to be associated with, so I have not provided any other links.
Removing body parts without medical indication and without the consent of the person receiving it is tragic and should be criminalized. This is especially true of the sex organs given that at best, surgery permanently alters cosmetic appearance, sensitivity and sexual function. At worst, surgery can result in horrific disfiguration and/or death. Given these risks I strongly believe that non-medically indicated circumcision should be banned for all minors. Adults who choose to be circumcised for religious or other reasons, such as Jews and Muslims, can surgically alter their bodies after they have reached the age of consent.
David Reimer is one such infant victim whose penis was destroyed by circumcision in 1966. Following the medical advise of Dr John Money, a prominent psychologist and sexologist of the time, David’s parents elected for him to undergo sex reassignment surgery to raise him as a girl. Unfortunately, David never accepted his forced female gender role and began living as a male at the age of 15. He continued to suffer years of severe depression, financial instability, a dissolving marriage and eventually committed suicide in 2005. His tragic story is catalogued in the bestseller biography: “As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl” by John Colapinto.
Horrific medical complications of male circumcision are NOT a thing of the past. Review of peer reviewed medical journals reveals that present day complications continue to include poor cosmetic outcomes; excessive bleeding; necrosis of the penis and/or surrounding structures; lymphedema; keloid scar formation; skin bridges; buried penis; urethral stenosis, obstruction or fistula; penis shortening; decreased sensation; partial or complete destruction of the penis, amputation and death.
Doctors too should be wary of offering this “service”. Not only are surgical “mishaps” a legal liability but even culturally acceptable outcomes incur an ever increasing risk of malpractice accusation and lawsuit.
In conclusion, it is high time that we recognize infant male circumcision for what it is: a far-too-long accepted tradition of male genital mutilation. All infants and children deserve better than this. Click on one of the banners below to learn more and to find out how you too can help protect children and end genital mutilation now.
- 10/19/11 – Georganne Chapin – End the barbaric cutting of baby boys
- 9/3/11 – Newborn male infant circumcision declining in U.S. says CDC
- 6/24/11 – The professional imperative for obstetrician-gynecologists to discontinue newborn male circumcision.
- 11/26/10 – Doctor and hospital sued for circumcision
- 9/26/10 – Are you REALLY SURE you want your OB/GYN to cut your little boy?
- 3/24/10 – Say NO to infant male circumcision!
- 1/11/10 – Throwing wrenches at the gears