Thursday, January 07, 2010

Did you know...

... that it is possible that the American Academy of Pediatrics is considering actually recommending routine infant circumcision to - get this - prevent HIV? As if babies are going to be contracting STDs? As if flawed studies conducted in Africa on adult males who were circumcised as adults have anything to do with American babies? As if circumcision were a "cure" to HIV and a "free pass" to have promiscuous sex? As if it is ethically permissible to recommend surgery - even if it were proven to be beneficial to future health, which it has NOT - on infants as a preventative measure against a potential future illness that they would contract based on their lifestyle choices? As if the high percentage of circumcised adults in the USA with its relatively high HIV rate for an industrialized nation compares favorably to the low percentage of European circumcised males and its relatively LOW rate of HIV infection?

This is madness. If the AAP goes forward with this recommendation, it will be the only medical association worldwide to recommend routine male infant circumcision. And the reporting on the topic is largely biased... for example, this brief article from the WSJ website. Where is the depth? Where are the pros and cons examined? Where is the fact that more infants are permanently injured or even die as a result of their "routine" circumcision surgeries than are "saved" down the road as result of their circumcision (nobody has ever died as a result of being left intact!)? When did it become okay to sacrifice some children in the name of potential STD protection for adults? And why is it still abhorrent to us to even consider circumcising our infant daughters? The link above is actually to the comments on the article (because overall they are thought-provoking and contain some very valid points), and at least it appears from the comments that the public isn't buying this recommendation... at least, some of us are not buying it. But what about those whose doctors simply say, "There is medical benefit to this procedure," and they nod and consent with no further thought or research?

So why, then, are there some people pushing for this recommendation? Perhaps they really believe it will help prevent HIV and that providing this procedure will enable males to have sex with whomever they please without consequence? Perhaps, the more likely issue, that they are set in their ways and since the status quo in the USA is circumcision, they don't want that changed. They are afraid of redefining "normal" in their minds in reference to male anatomy. They are grasping at straws to make circumcision a medical issue because they are noticing the fact that Americans are beginning to wise up to the issue, less are choosing cosmetic surgery for their newborn sons, and so they have to turn it into a therapeutic surgery. But since when is preventative surgery on infants considered therapeutic, anyway? Do we amputate baby girls' breasts because they have a 1 in 8 risk of developing breast cancer as adults? NO!

All I ask for is some logic here. Does this get anyone else as fired up as it gets me?? Even if you are Jewish and thus circ for a religious and not medical or cosmetic reason... isn't the recommendation of surgery on a baby for made-up reasons just ethically wrong?

As a side note, I think I read this in the comments of the above link, or else it was another similar article... as far as Jewish/Biblical circumcision goes, if babies in Jesus's time were circumcised the way they are today in a hospital routine circ, they would have all died. they would have bled to death and contracted infections. The circs of Biblical times must have been radically different, removing much less skin. In facts, some Jews in history would, in some cases, pull down the remaining foreskin in attempts to look like and fit in with the Greeks. Since this was considered to be denial of their own faith and roots, circumcisions began to be done more radically, more like the hospital circs in the US today. Interesting.

Oh, and just for fun: The Circumcision Decision-Maker. It belongs in my previous Why Do I post on circumcision, but nobody would see it if I put it there now that I have discovered it. ;)


Anonymous said...

Great article!

You might also be interested in visiting:

Kate said...

yikes! not good. so glad my husband is european and thought that it was ridiculous to circumcise anyways. and i can't believe "prevention of AIDS" is their reason?? i can think of tons of more effective ways to prevent AIDS than that. wish money and research was focused on more important things than justifying a routine, unnecessary custom.

Eoin said...

You also might like

They've got a petition to the AAP you can sign. Over 10,000 signatures last I checked.

Erin said...

Yes, I have seen both sites and signed the petition. Thanks!

mel said...

Yes, I did hear about this. :(
Just total craziness. What a weak reason to justify such a thing.

Joel said...

Thank-you for talking about this topic, Erin.

It bothers me as well! Enormously.

I don't understand how a reputable organization can be seriously considering this!

We simply have to commit to not letting them get away with it.

We have to be willing to protest. To make sure that our voices are not silenced.

We are the only voices these infant males have!

I hope you and anyone reading these comments will consider joining this facebook group called "Stop Routine Infant Circumcision":