There are disturbing reports that a task force of the American Academy of Pediatrics could be caving in to the powerful circumcision industry in America and using highly discredited African HIV/AIDS experiments to apply them to the U.S. and suggest to parents that cutting Johnny foreskins is now OK.   Never mind human right, body integrity or Johnny’s future thoughts on being sexually altered.  The APP’s last report in 1999 stated, “Existing scientific evidence demonstrates potential medical benefits of newborn male circumcision; however, these data are not sufficient to recommend routine neonatal circumcision.”    The sharp drop in circumcisions as parents awake to the madness of circumcision has the foreskin-cutting industry reaching for new pretexts.   A Cologne, Germany,  regional judge recently ruled that circumcising young boys for religious reasons amounts to bodily harm, even if parents agree to it. It not only has re-ignited the debate over infants’ rights but it is fueling movements across the world to come to the defense of males who never would choose circumcision for themselves because such a tiny number of men ask for it in adulthood.

Here is my latest letter to the chairman of the APP task force:

Susan Blank, M.D.
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
125 Worth St. Box 73
New York, NY 10013

RE: Task Force on Circumcision  for American Academy of Pediatrics

Dear Dr. Blank:

Woefully, there are growing reports that your long-standing Task Force to revisit circumcision is about to issue a new statement that would lean toward recommending circumcision for minors.

That would be disastrous and a setback in the growing quest to be a more civilized society.  Medical ethics and justice dictate that the medical community must first do no harm.  Treatment comes when there is a problem, not before.  Surgery of healthy structures and tissue only follows a diagnoses of disease or injury.  Please, please don’t  soil the reputation of the American Academy of Pediatrics by turning to the perverse procedure to advise parents to submit their vulnerable, innocent baby boys to a lifetime of altered, reduced genitalia based on what might happen.

How dare the medical community build its business on the presumption that males will be irresponsible about keeping themselves clean, will be irresponsible sexually, will not use condoms, ad nauseam.  It is the same lame argument that male Jewish babies should be circumcised to be part of a tribe when they may well reject Judaism altogether later, which happens widely.  We can no more give Judaism a pass on circumcision than we can for non-Jews.

Dr. Blank, this comes down to sovereignty over one’s one body. It comes down to self-determination. It comes down to wholeness.  It comes down to being all that God/nature made us.  It is wrong to purloin body structures to subscribe to some adults’ notions, folkways or family traditions.  Religious rights end where someone  else’s body begins.

It is so troubling that your Task Force might take a new stand under the cover of discredited research studies done in Africa where lifestyles, health conditions, environment and social practices are sharply different.  Why don’t you instead look at Europe, which more models the United States and where circumcision is extremely low and the entire practice of circumcision is frowned on as bizarre.

Your task force has been appropriately criticized because of its make-up of members with an inordinate proportion ties to Judaism and members with circumcision in their families.   The APP’s reversal last year of its ill-advised statement to allow for females to be “nicked” in the genitals as a way of assuaging families with a tradition of female circumcision really hurts your organization.  Should you now come out with a statement saying circumcision benefits more than it harms, you can expect to get a massive pushback far greater than for the nicking controversy.

Think of the males who grow up resenting being circumcised.  Think of the males who wonder what it would have been like to have  full, nerve-filled, mobile foreskins that help in the maximum experience of sex.  Realize that as a culture we are past the tipping point of letting circumcision just happen.  The rates of circumcision have plunged in America for a reason. Parents finally are aware that their sons have human rights and that body integrity comes with it — and they reject the flimsy rationales that foreskins are non-essential.  We know that the circumcision industry is strong and powerful in the U.S. and that you have pressure from them to perpetuate this dirty little practice.

But think human rights.  Reject highly contoverted African tests.  This is America where reason and justice and fairness prevail.    Please don’t condemn another generation of American baby boys to the insanity of circumcision.

Lawn Griffiths