The Child Abuse Prevention Council defines child abuse as “Any act of omission or commission that endangers a child’s physical or emotional health and development.”1 Child abuse is a felony. Yet thousands of parents each year commit an act that does endanger their child’s health and development, all without consequence. The majority of the United States actually condones it. Even doctors, who  are supposed to protect the health of their patients. Thousands of parents do something that can cause their baby extreme amounts of pain and to potentially face lifelong suffering, disfiguring injuries, body image issues, or even death. One in 77 male neonatal (under 28 days old) deaths is caused by something completely preventable, unnecessary, and generally done because of its popularity. That’s over 100 babies a year in the United States alone, or about the same number as who die from SIDS.  Given these facts, would you allow this? Any responsible parent would say no. ‘Of course not! Why would I do that to my child?’

All you have to do is tell your doctor you don’t want your son circumcised.

I know this is a hotly debated topic, so let me present you with some facts.

Nobody really knows how many little boys are killed due to circumcision. After all, many of these deaths are reported as ‘natural causes,’ ‘hemorrhage,’ ‘meningitis,’ ‘staphylococcus,’ etc.2 Of course, it’s not only death one needs to worry about. Some boys develop necrotizing fasciitis (galloping gangrene). Their skin dies—sometimes just on the penis, and sometimes on the testicles, thighs, and abdomen. Imagine your little boy having to have a third of the skin on his body removed and grafted, being horribly scarred for the rest of his life. Many boys end up with staph infections due to the open wound on his penis being near fecal matter in his diaper. A friend of mine contracted meningitis and nearly died. And imagine, if you would, how much a cut that size can bleed. A baby only needs to lose a tablespoon of blood before he is in danger of hypovolemic shock and needs a blood transfusion. What if your son has hemophilia and you don’t know it? After all, most circumcisions are performed when a baby is only a few days old. Slap a diaper on him, thinking you’re good to go, and he may bleed to death before you even realize what’s happening.

Many circumcisions are performed by placing some sort of clamping device around the foreskin. Sometimes these can slip down onto the shaft of the penis and cause degloving. The skin of the penis will slide down toward the base. This can cause many complications. Degloving can also happen if the outside of the foreskin is cut but the inside isn’t.  Still other boys end up having the head of their penises completely cut off—by accident, of course—and end up horribly disfigured. Sometimes the entire penis is, or needs to be amputated. There have been cases where these little boys are surgically turned into little girls following a botched circumcision. To hear a particularly tragic case, look up David Reimer.

Sometimes, the glans is severed, or the meatus (urethral opening) develops ulcers. Sometimes the skin is twisted. Sometimes veins are severed and re-route themselves or get knotted. During circumcision procedures, the foreskin has to be physically scraped off the glans; this can cause scarring and other disfigurations.

A big argument for circumcisions is that it ‘looks nicer’ or ‘most boys are circumcised; I don’t want Junior to feel embarrassed because he is different.’ Do you really feel comfortable putting your son at risk of injury and death just because it ‘looks nicer’? Just so he won’t be made fun of in the locker room? What if your son would look nicer with differently-colored eyes? And kids get made fun of all the time, for every reason you can think of. It’s not a rational excuse.

The negative effects of circumcision aren’t always seen immediately, either. Frequently, they’re not present until puberty or adulthood; no doctor can predict how much a boy’s penis will grow once he hits puberty. If the person performing the procedure (often a nurse or inexperienced intern performing his first surgery, not a doctor) removes too little skin, there can be adhesions (the healing skin will stick together, forming unsightly ‘skin bridges’ between the glans and shaft) and overhang. If too much skin is removed, when the penis becomes erect, scrotal tissue will be pulled up the shaft, resulting in a ‘hairy shaft,’ skin that is too tight and often painful during intercourse, unnatural curvature, and an unpleasant aesthetic. In adulthood, serious complications occur in 18% of men due to circumcision, and 6% of men end up with erectile dysfunction3 (some studies have reported substantially increased instances of erectile dysfunction in circumcised men; other studies reported negligible difference).4

There is, supposedly, scientific evidence suggesting that circumcision helps to prevent HIV. This is not proven to be the case (the studies were all ended prematurely)5. But even if it was true, it is far from 100% effective; condoms and other safer sex practices are far more effective at preventing HIV. And there may be evidence to suggest that a circumcised male is more likely to pass on HIV to another person than is an uncircumcised male.6

In 1975, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) stated in no uncertain terms that “there is no absolute medical indication for routine circumcision of the newborn.”7

Some folks claim that a circumcised penis is ‘cleaner’ and more hygienic. In reality, the penis is just like any other part of the body; it just needs to be washed properly.

Another claim is that penile cancer is more likely in an uncircumcised penis; this is true in a tiny percentage of cases: those few males whose foreskin will not retract by adulthood. This is because remnants of HPV and carcinogens caused by tobacco released in urine use cannot be rinsed away. These men should consider having their foreskin made retractable, or simply rinsing underneath with a bulb syringe. This does not require a circumcision, and is only a problem in smokers and sexually active men.8

Given all of this, one begins to wonder why this atrocious, unnecessary, and archaic practice is still legal.

Footnotes:

1 http://www.capcsac.org/abuse

2 http://www.cirp.org/library/death/

3 http://tessera2009.blogspot.com/2009/05/circumcision-and-hivaids.html

4 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_effects_of_circumcision

5http://www.futuremedicine.com/doi/full/10.2217/17469600.2.3.193

6 http://www.avert.org/circumcision-hiv.htm

7http://www.medicinenet.com/circumcision_the_medical_pros_and_cons/article.htm

8 http://www.cirp.org/library/hygiene/

And for more information about the intact penis, visit http://www.circumstitions.com