The billion-dollar U.S. circumcision industry is fighting hard to keep the misinformed, glib public continuing to volunteer up their baby boys to cosmetic surgery — the shameless practice of  cutting off live flesh from defenseless young males.   Those foreskin butchers, who would be tarred and feathered in Europe, work overtime to come up with whatever pretexts they can to maintain traction in an America now finally coming awake to their brazen crudeness in the great ripoff.

The  doctors, hospitals and clinics, obstetricians, mohels and makers of ever-more sophisticated foreskin slicers have a lot at stake in perpetuating circumcision.  With big money, apologists, web sites and lame lies, they continue to try to justify their repulsive work in the face of the strongest groundswell of opposition to circumcision ever.  They desperately offer yet more reasons why foreskins have to go. Like a cornered critter, they fight back.  Their favorite tactic is spreading fear. You know, the old line of being teased in the shower,  the cleanliness nonsense, the idea that women might be spooked, that the kid has to look like his old man.

That the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data last year that the American rate of routine infant circumcision has dropped from 56 percent in 2006 to 32.5 percent in 2009 is a death knell to this uncivilized practice, whether argued for so-called health, cultural or religious reasons.  The advent of Facebook and the explosion of blogs and websites by committed men and women exposing the insanity of circumsion have served to advance the cause of penile wholeness and human rights for minors.  The Internet teems with many whose consciousness was somehow raised and they discovered how self-evident it is that circumcision is medically unethical, cruel and violates the rights to genital integrity.  YouTube especially is rich with gutsy, articulate folks — mostly young men and women — infuriated that some Americans are too blind to protect their sons from the macabre tools of the circumcisers.

The premier pioneer on the front lines of the quest to end circumcision — Marilyn Milos — has just released the annual online NOCIRC newsletter at http://www.nocirc.org/publish/. Packed into the 10 pages is a rich summary in nuggets of the amazing work going on worldwide to expose the medical scam of circumcision — especially the flawed “findings” in Africa where the foreskin-amputation industry believes they can fight AIDS by eliminating the skins covering males’ members.  For well over a century, quack doctors have duped the public by attributing countless diseases and conditions to foreskins.  It led to easy money, especially in America in tandem with a  pervasive squeaky clean mentality and a notion that less is better and that surgery (removing a tonsil, appendix or foreskin) is an advance attack on whatever might happen.  With that logic, of course, the deterrent to breast cancer could be early mastectomies or removing little girls’ breast buds.

The campaign to put circumcision on history’s dung heap is wonderfully fierce.  Here are some items from the NOCIRC newsletter:

— “Circumcision always causes disfigurement, Christopher Fletcher, M.D., told attendees of the 11th International Symposium on Circumcision, Genital Integrity and Human Rights. “By any cosmetic or surgical outcomes critera, their penises are harmed — twisted, bent or scarred, smaller and skinnier that those of intact men. ” Most men, he said, are unaware of their disfigurement and think their penises are completely normal.

–A Brooklyn federal judge awarded $10.8 million to a boy whose glans penis was amputated by a circumcision clamp. Judge Jack Weinstein ordered Mogen Circumcision Instruments to pay compensatory and punitive damages. The clamp caused other partial penile amputations,  driving the company out of business…”

— Regional directors from a children’s rights group — MGMbill.org — submitted proposed bills to 2,800 plus state and federal legislators on Jan. 10, urging them to extend the ban on female genital mutilation to male genital mutilation.  Matthew Hess, the group’s president, said circumcision is medically unnecessary and robs men of their right to an intact body.

There is a spate of reports of botched circumcisions, some done without even parental consent, and successful lawsuits against the circumcision industry.  Much has been made about Lloyd Schofield’s work in San Francisco to get a measure on the ballot in November to amend the police code “making it a misdemeanor to circumcise, excise, cut or mutilate the foreskin, testicals or penis of a person under 18.”   Expect a lot of media on this. Expect conservative parent groups to scream almost as loud as a chorus of baby boys being cut.  Expect  Jewish and Muslim groups to complain. Human rights should always trump religious practices, otherwise the Mayans should still be allowed to sacrifice people to the gods.   As we have said often, Jews have abandoned countless harsh, gruesome practices as they and the rest of humankind became more civilized.  Christians had to give up drowning witches and Mormons having multiple wives. And their religions move on.

If you don’t get it, just try to understand this:  Each of us was born with what God or nature gave us.  Our body structures have purposes. The foreskin can be found on  virtually all males and females among mammals. It violates the sovereignty of another person to destroy, remove or obliterate a healthy body part of another.  Cultural folkways and customs do not take priority.  Finally, if you personally loathe foreskins, for whatever reason, you have no right to force anyone else to be rid some of the genitalia of another person.  Unlike hair, it does not grow back. Even foreskin restoration does not restore the 10,000 to 20,000 specialized erotogenic nerve endings, the ridge bands and the sheath of skin that rolls and glides in normal intercourse.  Far better to leave the foreskin on the male to decide at adulthood of its merits than to presuppose that he would not want that structure.   The statistics show that a scarce small percentage opt for circumcision as adults, and, if they do, it is because of peer pressure (perhaps a lover unfamiliar with the beauty and action of an intact penis or it is because of a fetish or self-hate or related obsession.)

All of us in this human rights movement have real concerns that the circumcision industry will get a second wind in consort with the American Academy of Pediatrics, whose task force  has been intimating for years that it might end its “neutral stand” on circumcision and come out endorsing it, reputedly using the African AIDS trials on which to base its decision. Surely reckless sexual behavior, poor sanitation in Third World countries and an sparing use of condoms are key factors in AIDS.   Why, in America, would we punish our baby boys and presume they’ll be sexually reckless? Why widespread circumcision predicated on practices on another continent?

Follow the money.  Circumcision means money extruded from a docile, uninformed, myth-filled, fearful population.

Marilyn Milos of NOCIRC asks, “Will it honestly and adequately address foreskin functions and the risks, harms and lifelong consequences of circumcision?  Will it acknowledge children’s rights? Are the personal beliefs and practices of the task force members monitored, i.e., are they circumcised or married to circumcised men? Have they performed circumcisions or arranged circumcisions for their children? Will such conflicts of interest be declared?”

To its credit, the AAP had the compassion last year to declare it unacceptable for  even a ceremonial “nick”  for a drop of blood from the genitals of a female to satisfy African immigrants’ cultural traditions. Now, many of us believe  it would be utmost hypocrisy for the academy to  endorse excising foreskins.  Foreskins that would become 15 square inches of flesh on an adult male.   There is something called double standards. There is something called equal treatment under the law.   There is something called medical ethics, self-determination and children’s rights.

It may take class action lawsuits to get the circumcisers to find another vocation.  It might take lawmakers to recognized basic rights.  It might take shaming doctors as low-lifes for performing such torture on babies.  It might take more people like me who boycott and don’t contribute to hospitals’ fund-raisers if they still perform cirumcisions.  It might take expectant mothers and fathers to at last recognize their children are born beautiful and whole, and they cannot and should not let the cosmetic surgeons deprive their offspring  any part of their anatomy.  Intactamerica.org has emerged as a powerful voice to confront the powerful health industry that gets away with what it does because of the public’s ignorance and a trivial disregard for foreskins.

Civilization is just a slow process of learning to be kind, it’s been said.  C’mon, folks. Let’s put the circumcision junta out of business, for crying out loud.

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