August 30, 2005

Circumcision: 'It's the American Way."

Ah, good. Because what the circumcision discussion has been lacking is good old-fashioned, nationalist class rhetoric. The ContraCosta Times takes a look at some of the issues and advocates for and against circumcision.

In the covered corner: some peoplel talking about human rights, social convention, and some European parents who are shocked at the widespread practice.

And in the exposed corner: mostly it's "America's #1 [self-designated] Expert On Circumcision," pediatrician Dr. Edgar Schoen, who's got a book-length argument out called On Circumcision. So Dr. Schoen, can you boil down your reasons for supporting a controversial decision, while framing it in a simple, straightforward defense of the white race against the poor, dark-skinned savages who threaten our Godly land?

"It's the American way," he says. "Eighty percent of men in America are circumcised, and parents want their sons to look like their fathers." He says that most of the men and boys who aren't circumcised are immigrants, children of immigrants, or from poor families who are not insured for the procedure.
Wow, I guess you can.

Parents, Doctors, Debate Circumcision
Buy Dr. Schoen's book, On Circumcision today; America's white future may depend on it. [amazon]


IMO, Dr Schoen's is a stupid premise, kinda like the one about men not being in the delivery room... (sorry, I can't let go of that yet) I guess we're un-American, and hubby's a freak for not needing to have his son "look" like him.

What's the reason for not getting circumsized again? I understand that it is not necessary but I hear that the occasional infection does happen.

Having a choice between my shmeckie getting a haircut when I'm not really sure what the hell is happening when I'm a baby (hey it's traumatic enough getting out of the womb, what the addl cost of this snip) or suffering a few of these infections during my lifetime. I go with the circumcision.

I'm not circumcised and Ive never had an infection. Maybe your son or future son will be traumatized in ways you can't even fathom. And anyway, would you cut off the tip of your sons nose because he might get the sniffles? I like my extra inch, to put it bluntly.

Well let's see who's traumatized when little jr. screams bloody murder for days and days on end and it turns out to be an infection on the little pecker vs. just snipping it off in the first place (last I checked, the majority of American males don't seem to be traumatized as a whole/population). Besides, uncirc'd just looks so ugly. I'd do it just for cosmetic reasons, and hey why not is'ts just like the boob jobs lifts face nose lip eyelid lipo botox etc. that the females do.

This is just a fad anyway. Why trust medical establishment with their wishy washy opinions. Get enough of the people to not do it and they will find reasons to do it.

[soon, circumcision'll be back, just like Pabst Blue Ribbon. -ed.]

The incidence of infection amoung the uncircumcised has not been found to be significantly higher than the circumcised population. Also, our pediatrician said that the circumcision rate in urban areas is actually down to about 50% these days so either way, the kid isn't going to be different than everybody else. The "being like Daddy" reason seems lame to me, there are lots of ways in which sons will not be just like Daddy, why is this one special? So unless you feel it necessary for religious or cosmetic reasons, why put the child through an unnecessary medical procedure? All that being said, since I am a Mommytype and thus not of the penis bearing variety, so I left the decision up to the Daddytype in the family.

We did get our son circ'd, but this guy is still a moron. To 'look like dad.' Um, how much naked time is the boy going to be spending with his father? Talk about European! We Americans are prudes, remember? Clothing on at all times!


"The incidence of infection amoung the uncircumcised has not been found to be significantly higher than the circumcised population."

This is not true. In fact, even the American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement, the one that recommends against routine newborn circs, states: "all studies that have examined the association between UTI and circumcision status show an increased risk of UTI in uncircumcised males."

This policy statement is the one often championed by circumcision opponents, but by doing this they expose their fundamental misunderstanding of clinical guidelines. The text of this statement is filled with studies that demonstrate statistically significant benefits of circumcision in regard to infant UTIs (which are more serious than adult UTIs), infection and transmission of HPV (which causes cervical cancer) and anatomical problems like adhesions and phimosis. The largest study was of 58,000 infant boys-a pretty good sample size-and it was in Canada, so no suspicion of "American bias."

Moreover, it has been shown that even uncircumcised boys with very good hygiene have higher rates of such problems than circumcised boys.

The key to understanding the AAP statement is to look at it not from a parent-by-parent perspective, but from a public health perspective. Even though circumcision has convincing statistical evidence of benefit, the cumulative risks of the aforementioned problems are relatively small. From an evidence-based medicine standpoint, they determined that routine circumcision does not have a favorable cost-benefit ratio. See, if they recommended routine circumcision as standard of care, then a doctor could be negligent if they did not offer circumcision.

Sorry about all the rumination on routine, it's just that our birth class instructor harped about how the AAP statement recommends that noone circumcise their baby and I was a little worked up feeling that the class was misled about what the statement actually says.

I'm Dutch and my husband American, our boy got born in Amsterdam, my husband wanted the circ. but in Holland they do not do that after birth, if you want to you have to wait half a year or so. For Dutch standards there is no medical reason for it. So for the Dutch a circ p. looks funny/'ugly'. It is just what you are used to. Also the boys/men in the Netherlands do not have "regular infections", it's a matter of being hygienic.

Mostly circ. happens for religious reasons. My husband is still afraid that our boy will be teased later.

Here is the truth about circumcision. Im not going to pretend whether I know if the benefits of circumcision (reduced risk of infection) out weigh the negative aspects but I will expand upon my own experience. I am a 17 year old male and up to this point I always beleived my penis was normal. I was circumcised at birth and had no choice in the matter. Right now I feel extreme rage that I have no way to vent. This rage is mostly directed at my parents and the doctor that permanently mutilated my penis. Im not saying that I have a horrifying looking penis but am extremely enraged at the fact that i have scarring and dried skin as a result of curcumcision. At the same time, the doctor removed so much skin that the skin at the base of my penis is lifted somewhat resulting in hair on the lower shaft of my penis. I would have what one would say is a large penis but because of the circumcision it appears smaller then it should. You have no idea the pain and rage i feel now. I have no way of changing this and must live with it for the rest of my life. The lack of confidence i now have and the rage i feel have left me in an emotional slump. After comming to this conclusion i hope that you will re-consider cicumsizing your children at birth and letting them choose when they are old enough. Because honestly right now i could bash that doctors face in. The rage i feel is indesrcibable and the only thing that stops me from wakign up my parents and completely blowing up at them is venting on this site. Please seriously consider what i have said here. In writing this I hope to spare as many people as i can from circumcision. There is no point to it, it has become so standard that people forget why they do it in the first place. pardon me for the poor typing but im extremely angry right now.

[without trying to belittle or mock your anger, Anonymous, I should probably tell you that a 17-yo guy obsessing about his penis, being angry at his parents, and lacking confidence in himself is probably one of the most typical situations in the world. Chill, find someone you can talk to, and ride it out. -ed.]

Here are some reasons NOT to circumcise:
1) My husband is intact (uncircumcised). He clearly enjoys intercourse more than any circumcised partner I have had. Why? There are lots of nerve endings in the foreskin, they are all cut off in the procedure.

2) Circumcision in the hospital can interfere with the establishment of the breastfeeding relationship. It is a big trauma to a tiny newborn baby. If you are really going to do it, atleast wait until the 2-week appointment. And please insist they use anesthesia... not all doctors do!

3) Complications can include infection, adhesions, and worse. I know more than one toddler who has had to be evaluated for additional surgical procedures, because of circ. Some otherwise healthy baby boys have died because of complications.

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