Recently, the president/CEO of two hospitals in the Phoenix metropolitan area spoke to my Kiwanis Club.  Nice man. Totally fit for the job.  In the question and answer session, I suggested his hospital close down their circumcision units and asked him how ethical is a hospital in this day and age when it performs circumcisions on helpless infants against their will.  He gave a fairly quick and dismissive answer: Yes, circumcision is controversial. He knew of no hospitals that have quit circumcising and his hospitals would continue to do so.

I subsequently sent him this letter. I am still waiting for a reply:

May 4, 2014

Mr. Tim Bricker

President and CEO

Dignity Health

Chandler Regional/Mercy Gilbert Medical Centers

1955 W. Frye Road

Chandler AZ  85224

Dear Tim,

It was a pleasure to meet you Thursday when you spoke to the Kiwanis Club of Tempe.  You are vastly articulate and a skilled spokesman for your hospitals and the complex medical industry.  You exhibit the energy and form so necessary in such work.

Thanks for taking my question on circumcision. Your response was predictable — so corporate and safe.  The circumcision industry is  hopelessly intertwined in the cultural cabal of public ignorance and medical myths.  Males have had their foreskins since humans first roamed the earth and never became instinct from any of the contrived pretexts for cutting them off.  That this is the 21st century and clean and well-lit places like your hospitals can get away with cutting off healthy, functional tissues from helpless infants so, so, so defies medical ethics.  The medical doctors’ shameful violation of their Hippocratic Oath — ‘First do no harm’ — is nothing short of breathtaking.

I realize you are just one executive in a far-flung matrix of upward-moving authorities not about to rock the boat and question practices.  Corporate America is insidious like that.  No one has the courage to step into the circumcision unit, listen to the desperate cries and see babies so traumatized that they fall into a protective semi-comatose state that apologists for circumcision say is “sleep.”  You and your peers don’t see the bloody results of the sexual assault that is circumcision. If you demanded parents to observe the procedure, watch the slicing, see how a perfect baby is turned into a wounded, panicky, screaming, confused young human, there would be changes.  

It is only because this torturous madness is visited upon helpless, strapped-down, defenseless baby boys that it can be done.   Older boys or young men would never allow it.   There is a profound quote in iconic anthropologist (‘The Naked Ape’ author) Desmond Morris’ book “Man-Watching: A Field Guide to Human Behavior”:  “Circumcision is, in fact, the only really severe form of primitive mutilation to have resisted the modern trend toward abhorrence of body violation.  If, as used to be the case, it was performed at puberty instead of at infancy, that, too, would no doubt have vanished long ago, swept away by the outrage of the initiates. But the protests of babies are more easily ignored and with the false accolade of medical hygiene to help it on its way, the genital deforming of young males continues unabated.” Page 229.

How can such a cultural practice, not endorsed by any medical society in the world, continue in a medical center that takes itself seriously? There is no other “surgery” that a parent can authorize for a child.  Doctors would reject clipping ear lobes or carving of breast buds from girls so they don’t grow up to have breast cancer.

It is so confounding that educated medical professionals, not even trained in medical school about the complexities, functions and features of the foreskin, can so blatantly perpetuate this medical fraud.  It is said the many medical doctors, because they know better, don’t subject their own sons to the cruel indignities of circumcision. Another outrage is the failure of studies to elicit the true neurological impact of circumcision on the young brain. The sudden and vicious attack to his body and the painful contact of urine/feces on his wound have to have fierce impact.  There are theories that cut males carry this shock experience deep in their psyches and may act upon that violation later in their lives in striking back at society.

Tim, you need to know that the Intact Movement is huge and growing fast. What is so heartening is the number of young women, especially, who have gotten on board and who passionately speak out against it and approach expectant parents to debunk the myths people woefully believe.

We were so pleased when AHCCCS in 2002 quit funding Medicaid circumcisions in Arizona because the “cosmetic surgery” procedure was regarded as a waste of taxpayer money.  Tragically some hospitals will “throw in” free circumcisions to low-income families to circumvent what has been human rights victory.

In my 40 years of saving baby boys from circumcision through teaming up with others and speaking out, I have enjoyed seeing the rates fall.  It has been great to see insurance companies move away from reimbursements.   I personally think it will be class-action lawsuits and wrongful death suits (117 recorded deaths last year in the U.S. as a result of circumcisions and more that cannot be directly linked to it) that will cause institutions like yours to lay down the knives and put male genital integrity on par with the rights and protection of females from brutal cutting.

Tim, it is only a matter of time.  Sadly, how many thousands of baby boys more have to lose half of their penile shaft skin, their ridged bands, the mucous membrane, the Meissner corpuscles, the mechanical gliding action of a wholly intact penis, the more than 20,000 nerve endings  because of an entrenched medical procedure?   Look to Europe, South America, Asia, most of Africa and most of Canada.  They reject circumcision. They scoff at some Americans’ obsession with a skinned penis.

If hospital presidents and CEOs cannot see the sheer idiocy, the serial assault, the relentless stream of violations of the sexual integrity of another human being, then where is the compassion so advertised in the your soft commercials? Where is the “dignity” in Dignity Health? My registered nurse mother in 1946 should have known better. I have in my files the hospital statement, her $83 bill for delivering twins at Iowa Methodist Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa.  The bastards charged her a mere $10 for cutting two boys.  I lost my foreskin for $5!  Now charges run $200 to $500 or more. Easy money for fast work on a strapped down victim. I would pay 100 times that fee for my foreskin back.  Now hospitals, like yours, sell foreskins to labs for profit.  How hideous is that?  Trafficking in purloined human body parts.  How perverse.

In July at the University of Colorado at Boulder, I will be joining hundreds of intactivists from around the world — doctors, ethicists, nurses, attorneys, doulas, educators, authors, parents and more — at the 13th International Symposium on Genital Autonomy and Children’s Rights on the theme “Whole Bodies, Whole Selves: Activating Social Change.” I invite you and your Dignity Health colleagues.   We are often portrayed as harpies spitting into the wind. Our mission is working on both the circumcision industry to see the cruelty of their ways and on expectant parents who need to abandon their shallow notions that circumcision is one of the steps of having a baby boy, that the foreskin is expendable and foul body tissue or that boys should look like their fathers.  Then there is the red herring about AIDS. We mourn for what white, western medicine is doing to Africans.

So, Tim, you are part of an industry that needs to re-examine its stake in true care and procedures that don’t hurt and cause permanent loss to structures of the bodies created by God/nature.  I have long declined to support fund-raisers of hospitals that cut baby boys. I’d be a hypocrite if I did.  We’ll go on trying to get to parents first to see reason and show respect for their sons.  I consider our intact son and grandsons fortunate to have been rescued from people like your circumcisers.

Close down that macabre unit.  Health care dollars need to go to real medical needs. Don’t let boys grow up in Chandler, Gilbert and beyond resenting any one of your hospitals that violated their bodies when they could not fight back.  Be a humanitarian, Tim.  After all, civilization is just a slow process of learning to be kind. As I like to say,  “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.”

 Spend some time listening to those cries and then talk to some intact adult males about the joy of being sexually complete.  Start sending the whole babies home from Chandler Regional and Mercy Gilbert. Be liberated from the tyranny of a dark side of medicine. Baby boys are too precious for such crude treatment.


 Lawn Griffiths