I’ve been debating all day whether or not to touch this topic. I honestly can’t think of another one in the parenting jungle, even breast vs bottle or SAHM vs WOHM, that causes such heated, sometimes hateful discussions. I admit, too, that it is a topic that I feel very passionate about. I usually at least try to remain a little bit unbiased when I’m talking here, and I doubt that I will be able to this time. I may know the arguments from the other side, I just don’t find them persuasive at all. That’s probably putting it mildly, too.
However, I’m also trying to create awareness of parenting topics, especially ones in the news, and this one is out there. So, I will attempt to tone down the rhetoric, but I make no promises of success. I’m a big opponent of the Mommy Wars, as I’ve stated numerous times, but it’s quite likely that I’ll lose a reader or two over this one.
That being said, as I write this, I’ve made a decision: I will write this from my point of view, and if a reader disagrees with me, and wants to write a rebuttal, I will post it. Deal?
A group in the US is taking its fight for the banning of infant male circumcision to the Massachusetts legislature. On March 2nd, the group, Bill to End Male Genital Mutilation, will appear at the State House to plead their case.
Personally, I doubt they will get very far. Circumcision is ingrained fairly deeply in US culture: nationally around 60% of baby boys have the procedure done within a few days of their births. Although the American Academy of Pediatrics says that there is no medical reason for routine infant circumcision, they have remained fairly neutral and refrained from actually coming out against the practice. There is still a lot of misinformation about the “benefits” of circumcision, plus the age old “He’ll want to look like Daddy” argument. I actually heard about this issue from someone who referred to it as “ugly peen”, and this was from a 41-year-old man I usually respect.
The other issue is that the leaders of the group may in fact turn people off: especially the one quoted in the article who went so far as to have a “foreskin restoration” in his 20s. Although he has valid points, he will be easy to tear down as a fringe activist.
So while I doubt that the group will get more than a token hearing, I do agree with them. There is no sound medical reason for routine circumcision. (Did I say that already? It bears repeating.) There is no other healthy body part that is routinely removed after birth. Should we remove everyone’s appendix immediately because someday they may get appendicitis? Remove all baby girls’ breast tissue because they may someday get breast cancer? Perhaps if the baby has mom’s nose they should be given a nose job immediately because it’s “ugly”?
“Personal choice” is a phrase I hear tossed around a lot. This I agree with, but the “person” involved differs in my opinion. By performing infant circumcision, you remove the choice of the person involved. The baby cannot argue with you. This is not a parent making a lifesaving medical decision for their child: this is a parent deciding on permanent cosmetic surgery, and I simply don’t think that’s one of our rights as a parent.