Well, folks, did Banner Health Cardon Children’s Center mail you a catalog this week related to its $1,000,000 Grand Prize Raffle fund-raiser. Other prizes include a Jaguar, Mustang Shelby, Lexus, Silverado and lots of overseas trips thrown in. The newly completed state-of-the art children’s hospital in Mesa needs funds.

I have heard Banner Desert’s appeal for funds for years, and I always tell them my gifts start flowing to them when they stopping cutting foreskins from healthy, nonconsenting baby boys.  It is a shameless practice, this nasty business of circumcision.  Precious health dollars and facilities should not be wasted on cruel cosmetic surgery on defenseless babies.  I didn’t miss a beat writing this letter and sending it  off to the president of the hospital foundation, plus copies to the Cardon’s Center head and the overall Banner Health CEO in Phoenix:

Ms. Andy J. Kramer

President & CEO

Banner Health Foundation

2035 N. 3rd St. Suite 250

Phoenix AZ  85004

Dear Ms. Kramer:

Yesterday, we received your high-quality, 32-page Banner Health Cardon Children’s Medical Center raffle booklet. The fund-raising promotional spells out your “full spectrum of pediatric specialties” and  programs beside the prizes. And your personal letter on page 28.

Through the decades, I have been resolute in informing Desert Samaritan, Banner Desert and Cardon Children’s executives that, despite their noble work for children’s health, they will never gain my trust nor my money until they become humanitarian entities and end the cruel, hideous and medically unethical practice of routine infant circumcision.  No medical society in the world recommends this body-altering sexual assault on a defenseless child.  That a 21st century medical institution, with access to so much wise information, can continue to methodically crush and cut away the foreskins from humans without their consent and permanently alter their bodies, is unconscionable.  You wouldn’t cut on the labia or clitoris of infant girls, as is so common is Africa for cultural reasons.  There is an insidious double standard here that cannot be overlooked.

You know that circumcision is cosmetic surgery, culturally driven with spurious medical benefits. That four in five males worldwide are intact underscores having a foreskin is safe and preferred.  We also know that circumcision is an industry – more than a billion-dollar industry in the U.S. – and Banner reaps good income from perpetuating this repulsive practice promulgated by asinine attitudes of the public like baby boys ought to looked like their clipped fathers, or it looks better, or it’s cleaner or that is what women want.  As a father of an intact son and grandfather to two intact grandsons, my instincts told me before marriage that I would never consent to let the circumcisers strapped them down and take away more than 50 percent of their penile skin. The idea was insane.

Careful anatomical investigations have shown that circumcision cuts off more than 3 feet of veins, arteries, and capillaries, 240 feet of nerves, and more than 20,000 nerve endings. The foreskin’s muscles, glands, mucous membrane, and epithelial tissue are destroyed, as well. Circumcision desensitizes the penis radically. Foreskin amputation means severing the rich nerve network and all the nerve receptors in the foreskin itself. Circumcision almost always damages or destroys the frenulum. The loss of the protective foreskin desensitizes the glans.

All of this is done without the universal human right of allowing a human being to have sovereignty over his/her own body from the intrusive actions of others.   Your “special message,” Ms. Kramer, speaks of children deserving to “grow up healthy and happy.”  I challenge you and your medical institution to respect the bodies of your patients in letting them leave your facilities whole and functioning as God and nature created them.

There is much in the media about the shameless practice of hospitals harvesting the foreskins from baby boys and selling them to an industry that uses them to generate neo-skin for burn victims or even as therapeutic skin creams advertised by Oprah Winfrey. I certainly hope Banner Health is not engaged in that dreadfully unethical practice that smacks of the body-parts practices of Nazi Germany – marketing in stolen body parts for profit.  If you are, please stop it.  It cannot be defended.

In no other aspect of medicine, do parents dictate what surgery must be performed on minor children.  Why should circumcision in America be so allowed?  We are so heartened that European nations are moving to outlaw routine circumcision as a violation of universal human rights. We are pleased Medicaid programs in states like Arizona recognized cutting foreskins was medically unnecessary and mere cosmetic surgery unworthy of taxpayer funding.

Your upbeat spirit of being a force for responsible health care for our fragile children rings hollow when I know you have continued to expand your hospital system, then, like new castles still building torture chambers, you insist in installing a room to perform circumcisions.

Banner Health, be a force for modern medicine with a conscience. Stopping cutting on our precious babies.

“Custom will reconcile people to any atrocity.”  —George Bernard Shaw

“I’m sobbing. The baby’s screaming. The doctor’s cutting. There’s blood everywhere. And the doctor looked into my
face and said, ‘There’s no medical reason for doing this.'” —Marilyn Milos, RN, Executive Director, NOCIRC

“Mutilation … implies the cutting off or removal of a part essential to completeness, not only of a person but also of a thing, and to his or its perfection, beauty, entirety, or fulfillment of function.” Webster’s Dictionary of Synonyms, Springfield, Massachusetts: G. & C. Merriam Company, 1968

“Without nerve endings, one cannot feel — much as without eyes, one cannot see.”  –Fran P. Hosken

Infant Circumcision: The Perfect Crime — “There’s something deranged about anyone who persists in circumcising babies after being confronted with the facts.”

I have always despised being circumcised. Sometimes I can barely function at work. I think about suicide. Words cannot describe the rage I feel toward the pervert who did this to me. There’s something deranged about anyone who persists in circumcising babies after being confronted with the facts. I recently saw the movie Schindler’s List, and it struck me that these are the same butchers who were murdering Jews in Nazi Germany. I think that every society has these “closet sadists” who emerge only when societal constraints are removed. They have now found their niche as contemporary doctors who circumcise. For a brief moment they are God, with total control over another’s sexuality. It’s the perfect crime. Sanctioned by unsuspecting, misinformed parents, the hospital, and an ignorant society, they hide under the guise of a respected medical profession. And the consequences only appear years later when they are long gone and their trail cold. Some doctors really don’t know any better, and when told about the gravity of their actions, stop. But some just keep on cutting. There’s something really frightening about the Finks and Wiswells and Gelbaums of our society. You’re right — it’s not circumcision that needs to be studied; it’s circumcisers. From a letter to John Erickson from a man in Arizona


Lawn Griffiths

Cc: Rhonda Anderson

Peter S. Fine