Forked from here:
Read this, it's brief.
If Mooby happens to catch this... I would be interested in his opinion since he's a medical professional (I think?).
My opinion: it's biased and inaccurate. Here is a point by point analysis with my evaluation of each.Myth – Circumcising baby boys is a safe and harmless procedure.Fact – Surgically removing part of a baby boy's penis causes pain, creates immediate health risks and can lead to serious complications. Risks include infection, hemorrhage, scarring, difficulty urinating, loss of part or all of the penis, and even death. Circumcision complications can and do occur in even the best clinical settings.My Verdict -
Serious complications are rare. The American Academy of Pediatrics
(AAP) cites studies showing significant complications at 0.19-0.22% in US hospitals. The World Health Organization
(WHO) cites studies showing serious complications from 0-2.1% over a broader range of studies worldwide.Myth – Circumcision is just a little snip.Fact – Surgical removal of the foreskin involves immobilizing the baby by strapping him face-up onto a molded plastic board. In one common method, the doctor then inserts a metal instrument under the foreskin to forcibly separate it from the glans, slits the foreskin, and inserts a circumcision device. The foreskin is crushed and then cut off. The amount of skin removed in a typical infant circumcision is the equivalent of 15 square inches in an adult male.My Verdict -
The description of the bell method of circumcision is accurate. The comparison to adult foreskin is misleading as the two are not equivalents. There's a reason that this measurement is given in area rather than width, and that's because of the way it scales with growth: doubling a penis's size (length and width) quadruples the area of the foreskin, giving way scarier numbers. This, in turn, affects the biological properties of the tissues involved (this is the reason we will never have single-celled organisms the size of humans.) The short answer here is that the two are not equivalent, and this is easily seen in the comparison of infant, child, and adult circumcisions. Infant circumcisions are less complicated than child circumcisions, which are in turn less complicated than adult circumcisions, and the reason for this is that the amount of tissue being removed is not equivalent and does not scale in the way the website suggests.Myth – Circumcision is routinely recommended and endorsed by doctors and other health professionals.Fact – No professional medical association in the United States or anywhere else in the world recommends routine circumcision as medically necessary. In fact, leaving boys intact is becoming the norm in the U.S., as parents realize the risks and harms of circumcision.My Verdict -
This answer uses equivocation: it equates "routinely recommended and endorsed" to "medically necessary." In reality, the AAP's stance is that the benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks, but it is not medically necessary.
A more accurate assessment is that circumcision is endorsed by both doctors and professional organizations, but no formal recommendation is given as the evidence does not point towards medical necessity.
The claim that no circumcision is "becoming the norm in the U.S." is based on extrapolating from a slowly falling trend line approaching 50%. But that's still a half-truth as in reality a small majority still do circumcise, and as such non-circumcision is not really "the norm" yet. The reasons given are speculative and even if they are correct, this is more indicative of a misinterpretation of the evidence that focuses more heavily on the potential risks than benefits, when in reality the evidence suggests a slight overall benefit from circumcision.Myth – The baby does not feel any pain during circumcision.Fact – Circumcision is painful. Babies are sensitive to pain, just like older children and adults. The analgesics used for circumcision only decrease pain; they do not eliminate it. Further, the open wound left by the removal of the foreskin will continue to cause the baby pain and discomfort for the 7-10 days it takes to heal.My Verdict -
Both the AAP and WHO recommend analgesia, and strongly favor a penile nerve block. Nerve blocks are easy as hell to do (I know because I've done them) and it's pretty trivial to shoot enough lidocaine in there such that no pain is felt, whether it's a finger or toe or penis or whatever else. Getting numbed hurts, and it's going to be a bit sore while it heals. But we're talking minor pain here, and the site is making it sound worse than it actually is.Myth – If I don't circumcise my son, he will be ridiculed.Fact – Times have changed and so has people's understanding of circumcision. Today, although the popularity of circumcision varies across geographical areas, nearly half of all baby boys born in the U.S. will leave the hospital intact. Most medically advanced nations do not practice child circumcision. Three quarters of the world's men are intact.My Verdict -
"People's understanding of circumcision" does not equate to children's understanding of circumcision. Kids will ridicule each other for anything and everything, and US children are not going to take into account the circumcision statistics in Western Europe when deciding how to judge other kids' penises.The reality is that the prevalence of circumcision in the US varies by region and ethnic group.
An uncircumcised non-Hispanic white male child living in the Midwest US will almost certainly be in the minority among his peers. That being said, overall I think this reason is a rather poor one for making a long-term decision for another person, as the social acceptability of circumcision is apt to change with the popularity of the procedure.Myth – A boy should be circumcised to look like his father.Fact – Children differ from their parents in many ways, including eye and hair color, body type, and (of course) size and sexual development. If a child asks why his penis looks different from that of his circumcised father (or brother), parents can say, "Daddy (or brother) had a part of his penis removed when he was a baby; now we know it’s not necessary and we decided not to let anyone do that to you."My Verdict -
Is this one a straw man argument?
I dunno, this one seems kind of dumb. Anyways, I'll give it the benefit of the doubt and say that I think this would be a dumb reason to make such a decision.Myth – Routine circumcision of baby boys cannot be compared to Female Genital Mutilation.Fact – Rationales offered in cultures that promote female genital cutting – hygiene, disease prevention, improved appearance of the genitalia, and social acceptance – are similar to those offered in cultures that promote male circumcision. Whatever the rationale, forced removal of healthy genital tissue from any child – male or female – is unethical. Boys have the same right as girls to an intact body, and to be spared this inhumane, unnecessary surgery.My Verdict -
No, they're not comparable. Both the AAP
cite several acceptable benefits of male circumcision, including those listed above. However, the reasons given for female circumcision
generally include tradition, sexual suppression, and modesty, not health benefits. WHO does not recognize any health benefits of female circumcision, and classifies it as a human rights violation.Myth – To oppose male circumcision is religious and cultural bigotry.Fact – Many who oppose the permanent alteration of children's genitals do so because they believe in universal human rights. All children – regardless of their ethnicity or culture – have the right to be protected from bodily harm.My Verdict -
The fact is that circumcision (along with many other types of body modification) is clearly tied to religious and cultural beliefs throughout the world. To oppose it is to impose one's own values and beliefs in a way that supersedes those of said religious and cultural backgrounds. Bigots rarely outright admit to bigotry; rather, a justification is used to make the bigot's imposition seem legitimate and fact-based rather than in opposition to a religion or culture. The reality is that with this vague alleged group of "many"
we have no way of knowing how many of "many" actually have this as their primary motivation, rather than using this justification as a smokescreen to promote a Eurocentric, anti-Semitic/Islamic viewpoint. Furthermore, are we conclude from the above that "The Rest" (defined as "All" - "Many") are indeed bigots? Regardless, it is my opinion that in the absence of strong evidence showing the harms are significant and clearly outweigh the benefits (as with female circumcision), there is no basis for those who oppose circumcision to try to impose their values on those whose cultural or religious beliefs permit it.Myth – Circumcising newborn baby boys produces health benefits later in life.Fact – There is NO link between circumcision and better health. In fact, cutting a baby boy's genitals creates immediate health risks. The foreskin is actually an important and functional body part, protecting the head of the penis from injury and providing moisture and lubrication. Circumcision also diminishes sexual pleasure later in life.My Verdict -
FalsePer the AAP,
circumcision is linked to lower rates of several STDs including HIV, as well as decreased rates of UTI, penile cancer, cervical cancer in circumcised men's female partners, and penile problems after age 1 (inflammation, infection, skin conditions, etc.) They found no evidence that circumcision decreases sexual function or pleasure. The WHO
cited decreased incidence of HIV, other STDs, penile cancer, cervical cancer in female partners, and UTI. As noted above, the "immediate health risks" are exaggerated in relative importance and severity.Myth – Male circumcision helps prevent HIV.Fact – Claims that circumcision prevents HIV have repeatedly been proven to be exaggerated or false. Only abstinence or safe sex, including the use of condoms, can prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS.My Verdict -
Both the AAP and WHO cite strong evidence showing decreased HIV transmission in circumcised men. Per the WHO
, "There is compelling evidence
that male circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men by approximately 60%
[. . .]WHO/UNAIDS recommendations emphasize that male circumcision should be considered an efficacious intervention for HIV prevention
in countries and regions with heterosexual epidemics, high HIV and low male circumcision prevalence."My Actual Opinion:
Even though the benefits slightly outweigh the risks, the risk/benefit ratio is not clear enough to make a compelling medical argument one way or another. Thus, the final result is essentially cosmetic, and I have no strong feelings one way or another on it.