When we go out into the marketplace for a service or product, we expect quality and integrity.  For a number of weeks, I have been shopping for a new doctor — one that will take Medicare. Yeah, a bunch of docs don’t want us old-timers, what with the paperwork and the lower reimbursements associated with Medicare.

My doctor, whom I had for four years and visited exactly twice, has retired. The doctors I had before that broke up their practice and scattered.  My doctor before that retired and moved to Iowa.  I’m really not fussy, except I want a doctor with the good sense to oppose, and not practice, circumcision. Performing, or even supporting, the repulsive, cruel and medically unethically torture to the non-consenting, is fully inconsistent with what a medical practice is all about.

I called a couple Arizona medical societies in quest of names of physicians, who as far as it is known, don’t carry out that practice. I twice put a notice on Craigslist.  Then I went to Medicare for a list of names of doctors in the area who take Medicare patients and I have started writing letters to them.  So far, all my strategies are coming up dry. Maybe I am putting some doctors on the spot — or they have done circumcision and would plead guilty.  At least, I am putting them on notice that one more person finds reducing the penile system of another, especially a minor, to be repugnant. 

Here is the text of my letter:

RE: Seeking a physician who takes Medicare

 Dear Dr. X, 

My physician,  XXX, inGilbert, retired in May, and I have chosen not to continue to drive  from Tempe and back for another doctor in his practice.  I am 66, on Medicare, and am in the market for another family physician, who will take Medicare coverage.

 With that in mind, I seek a physician with the scruples and medical ethics to reject routine infant circumcision.  Given a choice, I do not want to pay a doctor who has carried out that repulsive procedure on the defenseless and non-consenting or who recommends it.  In the past, I have had success being served by physicians who recognized that circumcision is an unacceptable medical practice in a civilized society that, for example, protects females from genital mutilation but fails to see the double standard by routinely lopping off males’ foreskins.  Many of us regard circumcision as de facto sexual assault, which is permitted only because of its historic momentum like so many other thoughtless, cruel customs. How heartening that doctors have the wisdom to decline to perform circumcisions when requested by parents and courageous nurses who have balked at participating in the procedure.

 As an “intactivist” for more than 40 years  (father and grandfather of males who are intact), I have worked extensively against, and written prolifically in newspaper columns and blogs about, circumcision. I have been pleased to see the rate of circumcision continue to fall in the U.S., even with the bogus apologetics that cutting foreskins is a protection against A to Z diseases.

 So if you are foreskin friendly, I would like to be your patient.  I have had near flawless good health – I worked nearly 25 years as an editor/writer with the East Valley Tribune without taking a sick day.  I missed two days to the flu in 1978, otherwise marring a 37-year perfect work attendance mark. (Never missed a day of high school either).

 Although this letter may be unconventional, I take human rights and the issue of self-determination seriously. I was the 1995 Tempe Don Carlos Humanitarian Award winner, and I regard protecting children from needless, intrusive harm to be paramount.    And I like to remind physicians of the Hippocratic Oath to “first, do not harm.”  Baby boys deserve more: They deserve to be whole, and they deserve the right to decide for themselves whether to cut healthy structures from their bodies.

 Sincerely, Lawn Griffiths