Seven Ways to Reduce Unwanted and Unnecessary Circumcisions
You have probably heard about Baby Mario Viera, who was circumcised against his parent’s wishes in a Miami Hospital. The Vieras’ attorney, Spencer Aronfeld, recently published a short response to the many inquiries he’s gotten from concerned parents, all of whom are asking “how can I prevent this from happening to my own son?”
What happened to Baby Mario was a tragedy. The larger tragedy is that Aronfeld’s list is necessary. That a parent would ever have to consider writing on her newborn son’s stomach with a Sharpie to tell persistent doctors
DO NOT CIRCUMCISE
is horrifying. But such is the case in our country where only forty short years ago, over 80% of our newborn sons were routinely circumcised.1
To this day, many parents agree to circumcise their sons when it is not medically necessary - but they are not making fully informed decisions. Instead, their decisions are based on cultural pressures, family or religious traditions, or misinformation about the supposed “benefits” of circumcision.
Fortunately, circumcision rates are falling as more parents are realizing the many benefits of leaving their sons intact.2 But our work is not done.
If you believe that every person, male and female, has the right to genital integrity, if you believe that every person should be able to make a fully informed choice about whether he or she wants to amputate part of his or her normal, healthy, fully-functioning genitalia, if you are willing to speak out for what you believe in, please help with at least one of the things listed below. It may take a few minutes of your time, but you could make a tremendous difference in the life of many.
1) Share Information: Set a monthly reminder on your calendar to share a resource on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, etc. You don’t have to be in-your-face, threatening, or antagonistic, just share a link and say “Hey! Here’s some information you might not know about routine infant circumcision.” Many people circumcise because they aren’t aware that there is a healthier alternative. Here are some links to get you started:
Researching Circumcision, Part 1: What Is the Foreskin?
Researching Circumcision, Part 2: What is Circumcision?
Researching Circumcision, Part 3: Common Concerns
10 Reasons Not to Circumcise Your Baby Boy
Are You Fully Informed?
Babies Do Feel Pain
The Case Against Circumcision
Cut versus Intact Outcome Statistics
New Meta-Analysis Study Concludes Circumcision Does Much Harm, No Good
2) Electronically Sign the Ashley Montagu Resolution and Petition: The Ashley Montagu Resolution and Petition requests three things:
that all national governments petition THE WORLD COURT, THE HAGUE, to have THE WORLD COURT declare that the genital mutilations of children are in violation of [certain] Articles of the UNITED NATIONS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS and the U.N. CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD; and
that all national governments pass legislation prohibiting the practice of torture, cruelty, inhuman and degrading treatment of children which is inherent in the genital mutilations of children that are conducted as a matter of socio-cultural and religious customs and are de facto violations of the UNITED NATIONS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS and the U.N. CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD; and
that all national governments and their associated agencies educate health professionals, parents and the people on these issues, specifically, the medical, psychological, sexual and mental health hazards inherent in the genital mutilations of children, and to dispel the myths and superstitions which encourage the genital mutilations of children.
You can sign the petition electronically to add your support to the resolution.
3) Send a Letter (Electronically!) to the AAP Task Force on Circumcision: Intact America, an organization dedicated to ending medically unnecessary genital alteration, has created a way for you to send a letter to the AAP. From Intact America’s site:
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Task Force on Circumcision has been meeting to finalize its policy on routine male circumcision. Having recently retracted its policy statement calling for a lift of the Federal ban on female genital cutting, the AAP must now stand up and protect the rights of ALL children to an intact body.
While the AAP prepares to go public with its statement, it’s critical that it hear directly from people who oppose circumcision. Remind the AAP that it’s wrong – morally, medically, and ethically – and that doctors took an oath to “do no harm.”
So click over to Intact America, personalize the available form letter, and send it electronically.
4) Urge Your Local Hospitals to Require Fully Informed Consent: Many doctors do not fully inform parents of the host of risks associated with circumcision (both immediate and long-term risks). This should not be acceptable in any hospital. NOCIRC, an organization committed to securing the right of all children to keep their sex organs intact, has a model consent form available.
Write a short letter to your local hospitals asking that they require all doctors to fully inform parents of the risks of circumcision. Include a copy of the Model Consent Form, and please be sure to credit Dr. Van Howe and NOCIRC.
Please stop by Code Name: Mama tomorrow for a sample letter you can modify and send to your local hospitals.
5) Display a FREE Pro-Intact Window/Bumper Sticker: You can request up to two free window/bumper stickers from TLC Tugger with sayings like
A foreskin is NOT a birth defect.
Bring home your WHOLE baby, say no to circumcision.
Circumcision? HIS body, HIS decision.
Of course, you can also support TLC Tugger’s efforts by making a donation to NOCIRC!
6) Sign up for Newsletters, Make a Donation, and/or Volunteer: There are several organizations that are working to reduce the rate of routine, medically unnecessary circumcisions. Please sign up to receive newsletters – they will often give you ideas for how to show your support by writing letters, sharing information with friends, etc. If you are in a financial situation to donate a few dollars, please support these organizations financially as well. Even small donations help – just think of how we could support their advocacy efforts if everyone donated just $5! Other organizations are looking for people to volunteer in various capacities.
Here are a few organizations you may consider supporting:
7) Write to Your Elected Officials: A group has developed a Male Genital Mutilation Bill, which has been submitted to Congress and 14 different state legislatures. The bill is modeled in part after the U.S. Female Genital Mutilation Act of 1996. You can help advocate for the passage of this bill at the state and national level by writing to your elected officials. There are several different sample letters available on mgmbill.org. Here are some links to get you started:
National Level: Write your local House and Senate congressional members along with President Obama and ask them to sponsor the MGM Bill proposal (you can use one of the sample letters to help get you started). Be sure to enclose a printed copy of the MGM Bill proposal with each letter for reference (or copy and paste the bill text if you are writing via email).
State Level: Write similar letters of support to your local state legislators and governor, (again, feel free to use one of the sample letters, and enclose a printed copy or link to your state’s MGM Bill proposal with each letter).
Once you receive a response to your letters, let the people at mgmbill.org know: Scan and forward the reply letters from your elected leaders to mgmbill.org so they can post them to the Government Responses page (if you don’t have access to a scanner, contact them to send a copy to their postal mailing address). For government response letters in email format, just forward the entire message to firstname.lastname@example.org as an attachment. It is important that we hold our government leaders publicly accountable for the actions they take while in office, and you can help do that by letting the world know what your elected officials are telling you.
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"Seven Ways to Reduce Unwanted and Unnecessary Circumcisions"
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