SALEM NEWS, January 15, 2008.

Is Circumcision Another Form of Genital Mutilation?

Tim King

Legislation could change the future of American males.

(SAN DIEGO, Calif.) - Circumcision is flying to the front of medical and political arguments as Americans face the idea that we as a society may be gravely in error in our choice to allow doctors to complete circumcisions of young boys, particularly those just born which is the common approach in most cases.

Experts on both sides of the argument are esteemed researchers, but a closer look at what circumcision really brings us; campaigns for Viagra and a lack of sexual satisfaction in men, shows that it may be among our worst and most cruel cultural practices.

Talk about a subject that takes people out of their comfort zone. It is hard to learn that your life is not what it was really meant to be, that everything about our sexual lives is impacted by the fact that part of us was cut off and tossed when we were infants, without a voice to complain.

Now the movement is stepping forward with legislation that would curb or end the practice in our hospitals. The MGM Bill to End Male Genital Mutilation in the U.S. could change the way our society treats its young boys.

"The legislation that we are proposing would give boys the same protection from genital cutting that girls have enjoyed since 1997," said Matthew Hess, the group’s president. "Circumcision removes erogenous tissue in both sexes and results in a measurable loss of sexual feeling. It is a traumatic and disfiguring surgery that should not be performed on children unless there is a clear, compelling, and immediate medical need – period."

Hess says genital cutting of girls has been prohibited in the U.S. since 1997 when the Female Genital Mutilation Act took effect, requiring women to be eighteen years old before consenting to any type of genital surgery. The law has been credited with helping to keep forced female circumcision from spreading to the U.S. from Africa and the Middle East, where it is much more common.

Boys were not included in the law, however, and as a result circumcision is still performed on nearly 60% of U.S. newborn males by physicians, religious practitioners, or family members.

A Frankfurt, Germany, regional appeals court pushed circumcision further into the legal gray area recently when it found that the circumcision of an 11-year-old Muslim boy without his approval was an unlawful personal injury. And in November, the Oregon Supreme Court heard a case filed by the mother of a 12-year-old boy trying to protect him from being circumcised by his father for religious reasons. (Oregon Courts Have No Right to Force Circumcision) The court’s decision on the Oregon case is pending.

Anti-circumcision advocates say the latest blow comes from a Johns Hopkins University report that suggests men who are circumcised are at less risk of contracting the AID's virus. People who have studied the subject for years, like Marylin Milos in San Francisco with the National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers, call the information into question and believe it is a death sentence for many.

"People aren't going to stop getting AID's because they're circumcised. This gives false hope and it isn't responsible information for medical professionals to be putting out there."

It does seem like an overly optimistic thought to suggest that a man could have unprotected sex with a person who has AID's without protection and somehow avoid getting sick because his foreskin is removed.

The conservative press group Voices of America published the article about circumcision and AID's yesterday, this is the opening paragraph:

"Epidemiologist Ronald Gray from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health led the original studies looking at circumcision and HIV risk. In order to convince skeptical men, he says they needed to know if men would be willing to be circumcised and what it would do to sexual performance and satisfaction."

Perhaps the word "convince" says it all. Doctors make money from circumcising young male children.

If you jump past the Biblical origination of the story and flash forward about 1850 years, you learn that Jewish people were actually scorned for their circumcisions in most western societies. But then a belief developed in England that circumcising boys would reduce masturbation. That is all it took, along with the money the practice represents for European and American doctors and hospitals.

Marylin Milos cites other developments over the years including locker room phobia, largely eliminated now as most west coast states are shying away from forcing young students to disrobe in front of one another.

This practice according to Milos, reduces the feeling that men experience during sex. That diminished quality has lifetime implications. She says it is that diminished feeling that leads to men seeking cures for erectile dysfunction.

She says pro-circumcision advocates also released through medical journals decades ago, a connection between uncircumcised men and penile cancer, which was proven to be false information. Instead, she says that in the case of many circumcised men who contract penile cancer, it begins at their circumcision scar.

This is a subject just gaining momentum in this country and it isn't likely to lose steam as parents and others become increasingly aware of a number of problems associated with the practice. The online dictionary Wikipedia clearly defines the practice of circumcision as mutilation.

Wikipedia states, "Mutilation is an act or physical injury that degrades the appearance or function of the (human) body, usually without causing death." Circumcision is listed alongside burning and amputation, as a form of mutilation or maiming.

(File created 15 May 2008)