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The Pursuit of Male Genital Integrity

Posted by Anthony on February 3, 2009

By Anthony J. Aschettino

Imagine a scenario where the parents of a newborn male child eagerly gather around with family and friends in the hours after the birth of their son. Amidst all of the cheering and congratulations being bandied about, the proud parents are approached by the obstetrician who asks if they have decided on whether or not to have their child de-digitized.

“Of course,” the father replies. “It’s a family tradition that we’ve had for generations in our culture.”

“Indeed,” his brother chimes in, “it’s not like he needs it anyways, and I’ve heard that it might actually improve health because he won’t have the chance of cancer developing there. It’s just a remnant of evolution anyways.”

The doctor nods in approval and takes the small child from his mother, placing him on a table while nurses gather round. After applying a topical anesthetic, the doctor proceeds to slice off the boys left pinkie-toe while his assistants move in to stem the slight bleeding and calm the baby down who by now is sobbing hysterically. “Congratulations!” says the doctor with a smile, “he’ll be sore for a few days but then it will be as if he never knew any different.”

This story is, of course, fictional. If ever there were parents who desired such a procedure, or a doctor willing to perform it, they would be branded as criminal and most likely the child would be removed from the custody of his parents. Yet every day in America, and all over the world, male children are subjected to a procedure not very much different than this one. Male circumcision is the procedure by which a significant portion of the foreskin is sliced off, usually performed on infants but occasionally also done to adults by their own volition, a not insignificant point considering that the infant has no real say and is at the mercy of his parents in this issue.

Proponents of circumcision claim that it removes the possibility of certain medical conditions arising such as infection (under the foreskin) and phimosis. Judaism highly stresses circumcision and Islam, while not making it compulsory, also has a high regard for the procedure which explains why the highest rates of circumcision are found in the Muslim world. In both of these cases, the act is justified religiously rather than by any medical claims.

It is true that parents are often forced to make decisions for their children that are difficult, and certainly in the case of such acts as vaccination a parent would be neglectful for taking a stance of “I’ll let my child decide if he wants them when he gets older.” Yet circumcision has never been proven to have any major medical benefit for the child and in fact, besides the trauma caused to the child by having part of his penis sliced off at such an early age, the act may lead to significant psychological damage as well as desensitization later in life during sexual acts.

It is time that humanity stepped in to stop this vile act being performed on infants. If a grown man wishes to have his foreskin removed, that is of course his own decision. Infants must be protected from this violation of their genital integrity and a civilized society must act to ban such ridiculous procedures. Doctors are commanded to “do no harm” as one of the highest maxims in the profession. It is time they start living up to their oaths.

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One Response to “The Pursuit of Male Genital Integrity”

  1. […] By Anthony J. Aschettino […]

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