Friday, June 24, 2011

Everyone wants to circumcise the world

"Circumcision helps prevent cervical cancer."

Really? This is like telling your friend Jim Bob who lost both hands in a farm accident that at least he'll never have to deal with hangnails again. Or telling your friend, Hank, who lost both feet in a steamroller accident that at least he doesn't have those pesky corns you do.

Statements like this are not even offered as a "reason" to circumcise/cut/mutilate your child. They are instead a pitiful consolation prize for those who have already done so.
E.g.: "Sure I cut Johnny so he'd look like me but hey, I'm also helping lower the cervical cancer rate."

Let's look at it another way: If you could "help prevent" breast cancer by cutting off your child's left ear would you do it? What about helping prevent colon cancer -- big killer by the way-- would you cut off your son's pinkie finger to do that? OF COURSE YOU WOULDN'T! So why should you cut off his foreskin to "help prevent" cervical cancer? See what a bad idea it is? You don't cut off body parts to prevent problems that don't exist. (If we did, doctors would remove the appendix shortly after birth too. After all they don't think it has much of a function and appendicitis can be life threatening.) The truth is people have been circumcising their children for thousands of years for ALL kinds of bizarre reasons. It's only in the last hundred or so years that the American medical profession has decided to try to legitimize it.

If you are circumcised and you somehow find solace in the claim that you are "helping" prevent cervical cancer, more power to you, but please don't tout this as a reason to circumcise. Do you really want to advocate circumcising/mutilating non-consenting children to deal with a public health problem (ie HPV) that is best addressed with condoms and monogamy? Speaking as a partially restored man, it is really quite ludicrous. (For me personally I'd rather have my foreskin and NOT help prevent cervical cancer. After all I'm in a monogamous relationship and thus not at risk of giving HPV to anyone. Sorry, but I've chosen to think highly of my son as well and don't think he will rampantly spread HPV just because he is intact!)

So if you are circumcised and/or have chosen to circumcise your child, STOP throwing out red herrings and face why you did it and/or why it was done to you. Was it a bunch of JAMA articles that made you decide to circumcise Jr. or was it your own fear, your own desire to conform, your own scars?


  1. Here's the way I look at it. My two little toes often get scraped up when I'm hiking or running, especially if I'm wearing inappropriate footwear. All that toe trauma in unsanitary conditions could conceivably cause gangrene, a potentially deadly disease.

    Does that make you want to chop off your baby's little toes? Or does that make you think that when he gets older you're going to teach him about how to take care of his feet?

  2. Amouris, that article has no sources. A poster in my doctor's office stated that 75% of sexually active women under 30 will contract HPV (the virus that can develop into cervical cancer). With the number of circumcised sexually active males in the U.S., one would think the incidence of HPV infections would be quite low. The fact that the U.S. has the highest rate of STDs and HIV of any first world country is proof enough that circumcision doesn't prevent anything, except the man's full sexual pleasure and right to a whole body.

  3. Seeing as there's even a vaccine against HPV it beggars belief that people still think it's a good idea to hack off the most sensitive part of a little boy's body (sixteen years before he's even old enough to be allowed to go out and give women cervical cancer). I despair sometimes...