Our Perfect Son

October 3rd, 2009 by Dionna | 35 Comments
Posted in Circumcision/Intactivism, Compassionate Advocacy, Healthy Living, Just for Fun/Miscellaneous, My Family, natural parenting, Pregnancy and Birth

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While Kieran hasn’t reached that stage where he has discovered the real joy that is his penis, he is well aware of its existence. He can also distinguish between “boyyyys” and “guuuuls” and is more than happy (at 21 months) to inform a complete stranger that boys have a penis and girls have a vagina. He’s also entirely too young to care that I’m about to “out” him on the Internet:

Kieran is intact (aka “uncircumcised”).

You might find it amusing to know that one of the main reasons Tom and I decided not to circumcise Kieran was for the benefit of his future sexual pleasure. That’s right. We actually had a discussion (before we even knew whether Kieran was a boyyyy or a guuul) about the fact that someday, our potential son would be saying a silent thank you to us (or maybe out loud, who knows what would happen in the moment) for allowing him the blessing of having the full range of penile sensation. (More on that below)

Another of our main reasons? The fact that circumcision just isn’t necessary under our system of beliefs. And I’ll tell you the secret of what tipped the scales for Tom (I was convinced as soon as I saw pictures/video of what actually happens in a circumcision): it was our last appointment with our midwife. We were sitting around chatting and I broached the subject: “Can we please talk a little bit about circumcision?” My midwife looked up in surprise before responding: “For two people who recognize the benefits of a natural, unmedicated birth, immediate and exclusive breastfeeding, and responding to your baby’s needs, I’m surprised that you’d even consider mutilating your new baby’s penis.” Tom got it.

I’d like to share some of the information I’ve found on circumcision. Too often, American parents are culturally pressured into cutting their sons, but they are not exposed to any of the facts that would likely lead them to make a different decision. 46% of new parents are not even provided circumcision information by a doctor!1 I encourage you to share this post with your pregnant friends and family; the best decisions are informed ones.

There are at least four big arguments expounded by those in favor of circumcision. I’m going to address each one in turn, and I’ll give you several more reasons that support leaving your sons intact. (I implore you to read this, even though it is a bit lengthy. If you are a parent, you should never make a body-altering decision for your child unless you are fully informed. If you are not a parent, you should be aware of the facts of the most widely performed and wholly unnecessary medical procedure that insurance companies (and, consequently, you) pay for. If you have time, you should also check out Penn & Teller’s half hour episode on the subject: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. And one more from Penn here.)

Myth #1: Circumcision prevents disease.

Fact: Circumcision does not protect against getting or giving sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s). Rather, the foreskin and its intact mucous membranes act as a barrier to infection.2 There is also no link between an intact penis and cancer.3

Circumcision does not prevent disease:

Despite an overwhelming lack of evidence, doctors have been claiming for decades that circumcision prevents all kinds of diseases: from AIDS to tuberculosis, cancer to poor eyesight, epilepsy to mental retardation, and many more in varying degrees of incredulity. No other medical procedure has been credited with preventing such a wide variety of diseases.4 In reality, circumcision began in the United States during the Victorian era. Its function? To punish boys for masturbating. Even into the 1970’s, medical textbooks recommended that doctors perform “routine circumcision as a way to prevent masturbation.”5 Following are quotes by two American doctors:

A remedy for masturbation which is almost always successful in small boys is circumcision. The operation should be performed by a surgeon without administering an anesthetic, as the brief pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind, especially if it be connected with the idea of punishment. In females, the author has found the application of pure carbolic acid to the clitoris an excellent means of allaying the abnormal excitement.6

To obtain the best results one must cut away enough skin and mucous membrane to rather put it on the stretch when erections come later. There must be no play in the skin after the wound has thoroughly healed, but it must fit tightly over the penis, for should there be any play the patient will be found to readily resume his practice not begrudging the time and extra energy required to produce the orgasm. . . We may not be sure that we have done away with the possibility of masturbation, but we may feel confident that we have limited it to within the danger lines.7

As Americans grew more liberal in their attitude toward sex, cutting proponents needed more effective arguments than masturbation prevention to encourage circumcision. Hence the panic-inducing reports that intact men are more likely to get cancer and STD’s – specifically, AIDS.

The myth that circumcision prevented cancer is credited to Abraham Ravich, a New York urologist who fought bitterly for compulsory circumcision. One of Ravich’s most incredible lies (completely unsupported by any medical evidence) is that “foreskin caused cancer in whatever body part it came in contact with.” He believed in a fantastical “smegma virus,” which migrated from the foreskin to infect its owner and his sexual partners.8

More recently, several studies (sponsored, incidentally, by circumcision advocates) have been released linking circumcision to lowered HIV rates.9 For purposes of these studies, doctors circumcised a group of African adult males. After a short observation period, the doctors concluded that circumcised males contracted HIV at a lower rate than the intact males. What you did not read in their reports, however, is that the newly circumcised males were required to remain abstinent after their foreskins were cut off; this fact, coupled with the early termination of the studies, lends itself to the conclusion that the studies were skewed in favor of the advocates’ (predetermined) findings. If the studies continued in time, it is likely that there would be little to no difference in HIV rates between the two groups of men. It also went unreported that these same circumcision advocates had previously done observational studies (where they simply kept track of men who were already circ’d; they did not circ the men). The observational studies failed to show any clear protective effect of circumcision.10

The amount of virus present in the body (called the “viral load”) “is the chief predictor of the risk of HIV transmission. . . . Male circumcision would not reduce viral loads[,]” so circumcision is an illogical means of reducing infection. Furthermore, “[t]he United States has the highest rate of HIV infection and the highest rate of male circumcision in the industrialized world. Male circumcision, therefore, cannot reasonably be thought to prevent HIV infection.”11)
]

Remaining intact is medically beneficial:

So if circumcision doesn’t prevent disease, are there any medical benefits to keeping one’s foreskin? Yes, yes, yes!

  • Protection: “Just as the eyelids protect the eyes, the foreskin protects the glans [the “head”] and keeps its surface soft, moist, and sensitive. It also maintains optimal warmth, pH balance, and cleanliness.”
  • Immunological Defense: “Glands in the foreskin produce antibacterial and antiviral proteins . . . . Plasma cells in the foreskin’s mucosal lining secrete immunoglobulins, antibodies that defend against infection.”
  • Proper Circulation: “Circumcision interrupts the normal circulation of blood throughout the penile skin system and glans. . . . The blood flowing into major penile arteries is obstructed by the line of scar tissue at the point of incision, creating backflow instead of feeding the branches and capillary networks beyond the scar.” This backflow may obstruct the flow of urine, which can necessitate corrective surgery.
  • Circumcision harms the developing brain: . . . [C]ircumcision has long-lasting detrimental effects on the developing brain, adversely altering the brain’s perception centers. Circumcised boys have a lower pain threshold than girls or intact boys.” There is also evidence of “deeper and more disturbing levels of neurological damage . . . .”
  • The consequences of circumcision: One in 500 babies will experience surgical complications from circumcision. “These complications include uncontrollable bleeding[,] fatal infections[,]” gangrene, pathogenic bacteria which can lead to infections and death, and the tragic mistake of a completely amputated or cauterized penis.12
  • Circumcised penises are actually more prone to infection: The foreskin acts as a shield to the glans, protecting it from urine, feces, dirt, and bacteria (particularly during the diaper-wearing years). A circumcised male does not have this protection, so he will be more apt to get irritations and infections, including infections of the urinary tract.13

Moral of the disease-prevention myth? Please, please don’t circumcise because you think it will make your child healthier. That simply isn’t true: you would actually be harming him.

Myth #2: Circumcision is more sanitary and easier to take care of.

Fact: A natural penis requires no special care. In fact, a circumcised penis is actually less clean than an intact penis.14

The period immediately following circumcision is a dangerous time for a newborn’s penis. The wound left by the procedure is considerable: “[i]t is not just the circular point of union between the outer and inner layers of the remaining skin. Before a baby is circumcised, his foreskin must be torn from his glans, literally skinning it alive. This creates a large open area of raw, bleeding flesh, covered at best with a layer of undeveloped proto-mucosa. Germs can easily enter the damaged tissue and bloodstream through the raw glans and, even more easily, through the incision itself. Even after the wound has healed, the externalized glans and meatus are still forced into constant unnatural contact with urine, feces, chemically treated diapers, and other contaminants.”15

As mentioned above, an infant’s cut penis is more likely to be infected or irritated, because it does not have the protective foreskin it was born with. An intact penis requires no special care. A quick anatomy lesson: the foreskin and glans (the “head” of the penis) develop as one tissue. They are actually fused together, so the act of circumcision is akin to peeling your fingernail from its nailbed. As the intact child grows, skin cells in the foreskin and glans are sloughed off and replaced; this is the smegma that some parents see as tiny white pearls throughout infancy. But contrary to some advice, parents do not need to do anything to clean an infant’s penis. Do not use q-tips or special wipes, do not take special measures to irrigate the penis, and never never retract the foreskin. Be sure that anyone who changes a diaper knows not to retract the penis. At every doctor’s appointment you go to, remind your doctor not to retract before s/he ever touches your child. Retraction will occur on its own; that might be when the child is 5 years old, it might not be until adolescence. After puberty, intact males will learn to retract the foreskin when bathing.16

Myth #3: My religion directs us to circumcise.

Fact: If you are Christian, you have been freed from the Old Testament covenant of circumcision. If you are Jewish or Muslim, there are several arguments against the practice that are worth your attention.

The Old Testament covenant of circumcision was lifted in the New Testament: Jesus’s crucifixion overturned the old law that required believers to shed the blood of either animals or their sons. 17

In Genesis 17, God requires his believers to follow strict commandments, circumcision among them. Circumcision was a symbolic act of belonging and faith. The act of faith changed in the New Testament: now believers need not mark their bodies and follow strict laws to be obedient. Instead, believers are called sons of God “through faith in Jesus Christ.”18 Paul emphasized faith – not adherence to the old law – as the key to righteousness.19 Paul answered the question of circumcision in Galatians: “the rite of circumcision is not required for salvation, since ‘in Christ’ all are justified by faith.”20

Christians believe that children are fearfully, wonderfully, and perfectly made. If God creates us perfectly and in His image, what right does a Christian parent have to cut part of their perfect son’s body away?

A growing number of Jewish families choose a more peaceful ceremony to fulfill their spiritual obligations rather than subject their newborn son to a traumatic procedure.21

I will not pretend to be an expert in Jewish spiritual matters. Having researched the issue for this post, however, I will list several arguments against circumcision that I have seen repeated on various sites.

Many Jewish parents feel culturally pressured into performing a bris, but they may be unaware that a growing number of Jewish parents forego this custom. And because many Jews are non-traditional, many of the circumcisions performed are for purely cultural reasons (to preserve “identity,” to ensure survival of the Jewish people).22 But there are other considerations Jewish parents may be interested in researching. For example, “‘the Torah prohibits the torture or causing of pain to any living creature.'”23 Further, if you do not keep an Orthodox lifestyle, it makes little sense to cling to the law of circumcision when you don’t adhere to the law that meat may not be eaten with dairy (for example).24 “Even among traditionalists, religious laws and practices have changed because of reconsideration and the evolving social environment.” (According to the Torah, “stubbornly disobeying one’s parents” is punishable by death; that is obviously no longer the case.)25

Perhaps the most interesting fact about circumcision and the Jewish religion is how circumcision has changed from the Old Testament. The procedure expounded by Old Testament law left much of the foreskin intact: in other words, the glans was not exposed. That all changed several hundred years ago because of dissension between Jews and Greeks. Greeks, who considered circumcision a sign of vulgarity, shunned and persecuted Jews. Jews who wanted to assimilate into the Greek culture hid their circumcised penises, prompting rabbis to demand more radical circumcision, or periah. “Periah consists of the complete stripping and shearing of the foreskin . . . .” This is the circumcision practiced in the United States today.26

Jewish parents are exploring their options today to fulfill sacred covenants without mutilating their sons. One such option is the Bris B’lee Milah, which recognizes “the spiritual and communal obligations of Jewish circumcision” in a more gentle ceremony.27

The Qur’an does not mention circumcision.28

While Muslims are the largest group in the world who advocate for circumcision, the procedure is not found in the Qur’an. Instead, it appears that the culture subscribes to the myth of “cleanliness” as the main reason for circumcising their sons. I am even less knowledgeable about the Muslim religion, so I will simply direct you to this site, which has relevant quotations from the Koran.29

Myth #4: My son should look like his father (aka the “Locker Room” argument).

Fact: Circumcision rates in the Unites States have fallen, so your son is just as likely to look like his intact neighbor as he is his circ’d dad.

The reason with arguably the least common sense is the “my kid needs to fit in” argument. Not only is circumcision on the decline in the U.S., but to cut your son’s penis for purely cosmetic reasons is insane. That would be like chopping off his nose to spite his face. Regardless, the numbers of circumcisions are dropping – today only 57% of parents are choosing to circumcise.30

Related to this argument is the “I knew someone who had to be circ’d at age 25 because of [insert rare condition here].” This one is like saying “I had a great-aunt with cataracts who had to have eye surgery, so I just had the doctors remove the lenses in my daughter’s eyes as soon as she was out of the womb. No use in prolonging that agony!” What?!

A few more reasons to keep your sons intact.

In case the foregoing hasn’t convinced you, let me give you just a few more reasons to leave your son in the state he was born.

1) SEX. Oh, sex. Let’s just bullet a few tidbits:

  • Erogenous Sensitivity: The foreskin is as sensitive as the fingertips or the lips of the mouth. It contains a richer variety and greater concentration of specialized nerve receptors than any other part of the penis.
  • Coverage During Erection: As it becomes erect, the penile shaft becomes thicker and longer. The double-layered foreskin provides the skin necessary to accommodate the expanded organ and to allow the penile skin to glide freely, smoothly, and pleasurably over the shaft and glans.
  • Self-Stimulating Sexual Functions: The foreskin’s double-layered sheath enables the penile shaft skin to glide back and forth over the penile shaft. The foreskin can normally be slipped all the way, or almost all the way, back to the base of the penis, and also slipped forward beyond the glans. This wide range of motion is the mechanism by which the penis and the orgasmic triggers in the foreskin, frenulum, and glans are stimulated.
  • Sexual Functions in Intercourse: One of the foreskin’s functions is to facilitate smooth, gentle movement between the mucosal surfaces of the two partners during intercourse. The foreskin enables the penis to slip in and out of the vagina nonabrasively inside its own slick sheath of self-lubricating, movable skin. The female is thus stimulated by moving pressure rather than by friction only, as when the male’s foreskin is missing.
  • The foreskin fosters intimacy between the two partners by enveloping the glans and maintaining it as an internal organ. The sexual experience is enhanced when the foreskin slips back to allow the male’s internal organ, the glans, to meet the female’s internal organ, the cervix-a moment of supreme intimacy and beauty.31

The simple fact is, ask any man who has had sex both ways, and you’ll get a resounding response: sex is overwhelmingly better with an intact penis.32

2) Circumcision is cruel. Remember when I said that I was convinced after seeing pictures and videos? Allow me to share a few with you (I’ll warn you that these are graphic in parts, but if we as a society are willing to impose this procedure on our sons, we should be willing to view the reality of what is happening:)

Compare a healthy, intact penis

to a circumcised one.

A list of circumcision videos

A detailed explanation of circumcision

Some more excellent articles on circumcision

3) It is easier to circumcise after retraction, if necessary.

As explained under Myth #2, the foreskin and glans are fused together at birth. After a period of some years, the foreskin will retract naturally. If there is some medical or personal reason for circumcision, that decision should be made by an informed male (and his parents, if he is a minor). Moreover, there is less chance of injury in an adult circumcision, and an older male can choose various forms of pain relief. Did you know that up to 96% of infants are circumcised with no pain relief? That’s right. The most sensitive part of their bodies is “forcibly ripped from the penis, and then slit, crushed and cut away” without anything to numb the pain.33

(4) It is sexist and degrading to males. The female equivalent of circumcision, female genital mutilation (also known as “female circumcision”), is illegal in the United States and many other countries.34 Enlightened countries have recognized that male circumcision is also genital mutilation, and their medical associations do not recommend or condone the practice.35

(5) Circumcision can interfere with breastfeeding and bonding. Because circumcised males are in such pain for an extended period after this stressful procedure, studies have shown that some babies are simply unable to suckle at their mother’s breast. Mothers who refuse to allow this procedure have a better chance at establishing a healthy breastfeeding relationship.36

(6) Circumcision makes doctors big money. Circumcision is covered by insurance and Medicaid in most states. Studies have shown that doctors charge more for the procedure in states where Medicaid covers it (therefore, doctors are guaranteed payment). And not only do doctors make easy money from the procedure itself, but they may then turn around and sell your newborn son’s foreskin to private companies for a huge profit (several companies use cells from foreskin to create expensive anti-wrinkle creams, among other things).37

(7) Once you’ve chosen to circumcise your son, you can never take it back. If you are unsure, wait. Over 80% of parents regret circ’ing their sons; read some first-hand accounts here.38

If you’ve made it this far, thank you. I am confident you will never regret making an informed decision, nor will you ever regret waiting to circumcise if you are unsure. Your son will thank you someday for leaving him intact and perfect, the way he was made.

  1. Fleiss, Paul, M.D. “What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Circumcision” at xi (2002) (“Fleiss”)
  2. http://www.mothersagainstcirc.org/fleiss.html (“Mothering”)
  3. http://www.cirp.org/library/disease/cancer/ (“CIRP”)
  4. Mothering
  5. Mothering; see also Fleiss at 148.
  6. http://www.cirp.org/pages/whycirc.html (quoting Kellogg, John Harvey, M.D., “Treatment for Self-Abuse and its Effects, Plain Fact for Old and Young” at 295 (1888))
  7. http://www.cirp.org/pages/whycirc.html (quoting Spratling, E.J., M.D., “Masturbation in the Adult,” Medical Record, vol. 48 no. 13 at 442-43 (Sept. 28, 1895))
  8. Fleiss at 131-32.
  9. http://www.doctorsopposingcircumcision.org/info/HIVStatement.html (“HIV Statement”)
  10. HIV Statement
  11. HIV Statement (citing Quinn TC, Wawer MJ, Sewankambo N, al., for the Rakai Project Study Group. Viral load and heterosexual transmission of human immunodefficiency virus type 1. N Engl J Med 2000;1342:921-29. [Abstract
  12. Mothering (citations omitted)
  13. http://www.cirp.org/library/normal/aap/ (“Infant Care”); see also Mothering.
  14. Mothering
  15. Mothering
  16. Infant Care
  17. Galatians 2:15-16: “We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, . . . even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law.”; see also http://www.sentex.net/~tcc/gal.html (“Paul’s Answer”) and http://www.udonet.com/circumcision/christian.html (“What the Bible Says”)
  18. Galatians 3:26-29: “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”; see also http://www.cirp.org/pages/cultural/peron1/ (“Christian Parents”)
  19. Galatians 3:24, 5:5, 22-23; see also Paul’s Answer
  20. Paul’s Answer; see also What the Bible Says and Christian Parents
  21. http://www.cirp.org/pages/cultural/bris_shalom.html (“Bris B’lee Milah”)
  22. http://jewishcircumcision.org/spectator.htm (“Circumcision: A Source of Jewish Pain”) Circumcision to perpetuate the Jewish culture is misguided: not only are 60% of non-Jewish boys in the United States circ’d, but “Muslims are the largest single group in the world who circumcise boys.” http://www.circumstitions.com/Islam.html (“Islam and Circumcision”); see also Bris B’lee Milah
  23. Circumcision: A Source of Jewish Pain (quoting Donin, H., To Be a Jew at 56 (1972))
  24. http://www.mothersagainstcirc.org/religious.htm; see also http://www.jewfaq.org/kashrut.htm
  25. Circumcision: A Source of Jewish Pain (citing Deuteronomy 21:18-21)
  26. http://www.noharmm.org/pollack.htm (citation omitted)
  27. Bris B’lee Milah
  28. Islam and Circumcision
  29. Islam and Circumcision
  30. http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/285540/circumcision_rates_fall_in_the_united.html?cat=25
  31. Mothering
  32. http://www.noharmm.org/separated.htm
  33. http://www.udonet.com/circumcision/ilearned.html; see also http://www.cnn.com/HEALTH/9712/23/circumcision.anesthetic/ and http://www.cirp.org/library/pain/ and http://www.cirp.org/library/complications/EMLA/
  34. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_genital_mutilation#Other_regions (“Female Genital Mutilation”)
  35. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Male_circumcision#Policies_of_various_national_medical_associations; see also http://www.canadiancrc.com/Circumcision_Genital_Mutilation_Male-Female_Children.aspx
  36. http://www.nocirc.org/statements/breastfeeding.php
  37. http://www.circumstitions.com/$$$.html; see also http://www.blogher.com/babies-foreskin-used-make-cosmetics-ethical
  38. Fleiss at xi.

35 Responses to:
"Our Perfect Son"

  1. londonandmommy

    Thank you for posting this! I have never seen a video of a circumcision, just knew we would not be doing it to our boys. That video was so sad and it made me feel so awful for those little babies! Hopefully your blog will help people to make informed decisions!

  2. Dionna

    Having only been blessed with daughters, I never had to make this decision. I am glad that you are making well researched, thoughtful decisions for Kiernan!!!

  3. Dionna

    Well, now logging into blogger doesn't log me in, lol. Go figure. I prefer this method, but it figures that this time I'd REMEMBER to log in before posting!

    You did forget to mention that in Africa, those same arguments are made for female circumcision as are made for male circumcision here. Yet, here, we automatically recoil at the idea of female circumcision and know it's wrong to force that choice on someone–but boys?

    Also, if it prevented HIV, then Africa, which is the most circumcised country in the world, wouldn't have the highest HIV rate. Chew on that.

    And a quick correction–Medicaid ceased to cover circumcision in the early 2000s, as it's a 'cosmetic' procedure, like breast implants, as far as they are concerned. Most insurances then dropped it.

    Awesome post, Dionna, as always!! And I'm trying to convince myself not to watch the damn video. After all, I've never had any intention of doing that to any little boy and I've seen enough penis surgery watching a man pierce and insert an implant into his own >_< Leave it to men to decide how their bodies should be modified, it shouldn't be any one else's decision.

  4. Dionna

    Heather – according to the sites I found (in the footnotes), the U.S. is the most circumcised nation (not Africa), and there are still states where Medicaid covers circumcision. One of the Medicaid sources was a Feb. 2009 article from the Salt Lake City Tribune (but I refuse to cite to it b/c it has misinformation about circ & HIV). The US stat I'm fairly certain can be found that Fleiss Google book preview I linked to. :)

    The video is horrible, but it's definitely not the worst video I could have chosen – there are many more graphic ones available if you really need to convince someone.

  5. Dionna

    Great post Dionna, I will be sharing it! I would like to mention that while it's great that K. knows the difference between girls and boys, as a mother of all daughters (and as a woman!) I always cringe inwardly just a little bit when I see or hear someone say "..and girls have a vagina". Female genitalia is much more than just the vagina. Girls can't even see their vaginas! Without getting into a long rant about how the word "vagina" came from a word meaning "sheath" (like its only function is to surround a penis, bleah) I will just say that I taught all my daughters to refer to their external genitalia as their vulva, and as they became old enough to understand that there are different parts I taught them the words for labia, clitoris, vagina, etc.

  6. Dionna

    Great post, Dionna. This is definitely something I feel strongly about. I don't believe violence against children should be tolerated in any form. If it isn't your body, it isn't your decision to make.

  7. Dionna

    FANTASTIC post!!!! Great information!!! I also chose to keep my son intact, as I feel it would be a violation of his human rights to rip apart his tiny penis!
    People who do this to their sons make me SICK SICK SICK!
    Congrats mama! You are great!

  8. Dionna

    Thank you for speaking out on this topic. It really is important to share the information, because as you said.. SO MANY parents are not getting all the information beforehand!

    The foreskin is healthy, sensitive, functional, erogenous genital tissue.. it is painful and permanent to have it cut off. It is a violation of human rights to do this to an non-consenting infant!

    Please, everyone, speak out more! It is so important!

  9. Dionna

    Awesome post! My son is also intact, for those same reasons. God bless!

  10. Dionna

    OMG!

    I had never even thought about circs, because i don't think it's very common here (Portugal) but to read and see that!

    How can they condone female genitalia mutilation and allow this!?
    !?!?

    It's the same rudy thing! If i didn't like it before i'm dead set against it now. And the silly "reasons" they give to do it!How can anyone believe it?

    And the video…even though it's not everly graphic made me cry… it's so obvious the poor little ones are in pain and wondering way did their loving parents bring them to the evil man thats hurting them!

    I could never do that to any one let alone my own flesh and blood.

    Thank you Dionna, for another eye opening piece!!

    Blessed Be

  11. Dionna

    I feel so sick after watching just part of that video. The heartbroken screams made me tear up. I can't stand it.

  12. Dionna

    Great blog, Dionna! You are to be sooo commended for leaving your little boy's body just the way it is. Thanks so much for talking about this publicly. What a great midwife you had too :).

    I just want to address something Heather said re: Medicaid and circumcision. Medicaid has only stopped paying for it in 16 states. The rest of which are still stubbornly clinging to it, all while Medicaid funds are stretched to the limit. Unthinkable, huh?

    This tri-fold gives the full scoop on the current situation.
    http://www.coloradonocirc.org/files/handouts/Medicaid_and_Circumcision.pdf

    Good news is, Medicaid is a state government program, and it's your state, your Medicaid! If you live in one of these states, there ARE other people who are working on the problem.

    Contact anyone on this list,
    http://www.nocirc.org/centers/centers.php

    or join us on Facebook
    "End Taxpayer Funding of Infant Circumcision- (your state here)"

  13. Dionna

    In nursing school I had to assist in a bunch of circs. It was awful. Not to mention tying them down which the baby's hate too! I calmed the baby in one that they had to stop in the middle due to baby's urethra being off a little. It was awful.

  14. Dionna

    If I knew then what I know now I would not have circumcised either of my boys. When they are grown and have children I hope that I can help them to see that it's not necessary and to not do it.

  15. Dionna

    Thank you for all your hard work in getting the word out. You're awesome Dionna!

  16. Dionna

    Ahh, I guess since it's no longer covered in my state, I thought it was nationwide. That's terrible :(

    I meant to say "one of the highest rates" — that was a typo. Still, the US and Africa still both have very high circ rates and high HIV/AIDS rates, so it's clearly a crock of poop that it's beneficial in any way.

    The pictures were bad enough. Whenever I hear about something terrible happening to someone, I can't stop myself from immediately sitting in their place, what they must feel like and it depresses me, that's why I don't want to watch it. My empathy runs too high.

    That said, I'm probably going to try anyway. Call me a masochist *rolls eyes*

  17. Dionna

    OMG, that last scream from that poor sleeping little boy… :( I've never heard a baby scream like that and I thought Naomi's cries sounded like she thought the world was ending sometimes :( I've heard some heartfelt, upset crying and that was like baby rabbits dying. :(

  18. Dionna

    Thanks so much for posting this information, it is so valuable for parents to read about. Every boy and girl deserves the right to choose what they want to do with their own bodies, and genital body modification surgery should be treated like tattooing, and only done when the person is 18 and chooses what they want to do for themselves. You may be interested in the functions of the foreskin site at http://www.circumstitions.com/Functions.html
    You have a lucky boy!

  19. Dionna

    I think what breaks my heart more than anything is that most parents who decide to circumcise their sons do so on the assumption that it's the only choice. In those circumstances, the real villains are the doctors who circumcise without educating the parents.

  20. Dionna

    Excellent post! This should be required reading for all parents-to-be. :-) I like how it is very factual and backed up with references. No fear-mongering here. :-)

  21. Dionna

    Tell you what, you do what you think is best for your children and I'll do what I feel is best with mine. But don't tell ME what I can or can't do especially with complete nonsense like this post.
    Why don't you go parent your own child and stop worrying about other babies' penises?

  22. Dionna

    Sarah – I'm not certain you read through the whole post, since I don't see any one place where I "told" parents what to do. I asked people to read and consider the information, I asked parents to make an informed decision. If you have made an educated, informed decision about whether to alter your son's penis, at least you haven't done it blindly. But 46% of parents are never even given information on circumcision by their doctor – do you really think many of them are bothering to do research elsewhere?

    I cannot stop worrying about other children. Do you propose that we just leave abusers to their own devices and not worry about the children who are beaten, starved, ignored, and forgotten every day? No. Someone has to speak out for the innocent. And as long as there are parents who are making life and body altering decisions for helpless newborns without sufficient education on the subject, I will not be silent.

  23. Dionna

    Thank you for speaking up, Dionna. Our country as a whole has decided that we must speak out against female genital mutilation. We should be standing up for all children and also speaking out against male genital mutilation. Violence against children is just that, whatever name you put on it.

  24. Dionna

    Sarah—Why do you feel like you have to defend your decision? This is only an informative post. In no way was it offensive. Did it make you question your decision? There was nothing in Dionna's post that was untrue. Most of it was based on fact and not opinion. My "opinion" is that circumcision is violent. It is also my opinion that parents be as informed as possible before making any long term decision for their child. But most of all I believe with everything that I am that every baby, boy or girl, should be given the opportunity to choose how their genitals, among other things, look, feel, and function. The facts just make it a no brainer.

    You can come on to this informative blog and spew your "rights" as a mother to mutilate your son(s) but you are being defensive and not objective. If you really feel that you made the right decision don't just tell us it your baby and you can do it if you want to. Inform.

    Dionna—yet again impressive. I believe Medicaid is still covering circs here in VT but things are in the works.

  25. Dionna

    This is a great post, Dionna. Before my son was born, dh and I were in disagreement on whether to circ. He didn't believe me that almost half of baby boys are left intact now, so we asked an O.B. nurse at OPRMC and she told us that she figured at least 97% of boys at that particular hospital were circ'd. :( We need more people like you out there, spreading the word!

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