WARNING: Some URLs in this article contain graphic material (educational purposes)
Previously, we spoke about circumcision rhetoric, examining evidence in its favor. Here, we touch on more aspects of this topic, and give final comments.
Genital cutting has grievous effects on doctor-patient relationships, creating conflicts of interest. Enter Circumcision Inc. — doctors as cold businessmen (not ethical practitioners), circumstraints, and cosmetics companies using foreskins.
Do the interests of the child matter? Do religious freedoms, parental rights, and profit take precedence over bodily integrity — children’s freedoms? No harm comes from children growing up to decide for themselves. Many alleged benefits of circumcision are sex-related, and shouldn’t apply to newborns. Even so, it is possible that it lowers sexual enjoyment (though pleasure can be subjective), is unnecessary to cure phimosis, and could cause psychological issues. With all data taken into account, circumcision is merely cruel cosmetic surgery for infants.
Image from Tatiana Vdb via Flickr, signifies the distress and agony that newborns can feel.
In Part 1, I mentioned doublethink regarding circumcision and female genital mutilation (FGM). Calling it cognitive dissonance would be a compliment as this entails an awareness of contradiction. FGM (immoral and illegal) has many different varieties, yet some are prone to make heinous false equivalences, stating that milder forms of FGM are the same as removing the entire penis (like a vaginectomy).
Though once supported, the American Academy of Pediatrics is now in condemnation of perhaps the mildest form of FGM, described as a prick with a needle. Their comparative apathy towards a more invasive and brutal circumcision, just as unnecessary, is disturbing. Is there a disparity in empathy towards male and female children? Are only adult women coerced into circumcision? Are we walking on eggshells to avoid offending parties with a vested interest?
The issue is trivialized and we are told: “it’s just a piece of skin”, “children won’t remember it”, that the risks outweigh the benefits, foreskin has no function, and various other fallacious statements. Productive discussions have been compromised, as those who dare speak for the autonomy of newborns could find themselves ostracized, mocked, and the topic avoided entirely. Not protecting the most vulnerable and voiceless among us makes us unworthy of being named a civilized society. Some say evil is done when good people are quiet; I say good people are not quiet about injustice.
Part 1, Part 2
*Title has a portmanteau (Hippocratic, Hypocritical)