Justin Trottier Circumcision is a barbaric human right violation. Global TV: “16X9 exposes a new side to circumcision this Sunday–www.global16X9.com”
Darren at 7:00pm June 5
Perhaps, but it does reduce the transmission of HIV. See the links and/or the second segment –
http://www.ottawaskeptics.org/the-reality-check/62-episodes/200-the-reality-check-29-the-nocebo-effect-circumcisionaids-chicken-eggs-myth

Justin Trottier at 7:07pm June 5
and should female genital mutilation be shown to impede the spread of HIV (I wonder if we would ever even consider doing such research), would society then be advocating for it, or is a person entitled to bodily autonomy rather than having their penis used as a means to society – or some other individuals’ – end?

Summer
Male circumcision is necessary when done for medical reasons. When its done for religious reasons, than it is barbaric & ignorant. I have never heard of female circumcision done for medical reasons, only for religious/cultural reasons. Therefore, I am against female circumcision until the day science proves that its necessary for medical reasons.

Darren at 7:24pm June 5
Necessity is a tricky one. I’ll just say I don’t equate the two procedures for various reasons and I think most comparisons are false (due to severity, purpose, result, etc)

Bob at 8:47am June 6
I think that what Summer is saying (and I agree) is that you can equate the two if you’re talking about a religious or cultural reason for doing it. When the concept of male circumcision was first introduced, the health benefits were not known therefore it IS a barbaric ritual.

When you take away the ritual part of it, there are still questions as to the morality of doing it to babies however, the reasons for doing so are far more understandable therefore the barbarism simply isn’t there.

I equate the two in the first scenario and think they are completely different in the second…. Read More

There’s my .02 but in these tough times, I’ll charge you a quarter!

Justin at 9:44am June 6
Many parents are performing this act for reasons of aesthetics, religion, cultural norms, etc, and not considering the medical points, so I submit that in a large percentage of cases it is barbaric.

I’m not convinced by the medical arguments (especially their relevance in north america). We don’t prescribe vaccines until they’ve gone through rigorous testing and been shown to be more effective than alternatives that do not have side effects (in this case harming a man’s ability to fully enjoy his sexuality AND the drama to the infant). Until such has been shown to be the case here there should be a moratorium on the practice.

Perhaps in an effort to justify male genital mutilation we’ve funded the sort of research we’d never think to fund in the case of female genital mutilation. The latter we somehow realize is fundamentally immoral and can in no way be legitimized….

As to Darren’s point, I’m not convinced the percentage of the genital brutally removed defeats the comparison.

Darren at 9:47am June 6
I still think there are two separate, but related, issues: (1) The reasons for the action itself; and (2) the act itself.
The reasons for male circumcisions and FGM are nearly always completely different. This does not in itself justify either, but there are differences that should be part of the discussion; (2) The act itself- The severity and … Read Moreresulting of effects of FGM are so different from male circumcision that while they may both be along a continuum, I would not put them near each other.
Contrasting different cultural practices is useful to understand issues and the supposed reasons supplied for continuing such practices, but each of FGM and MC should be evaluated for what they are.

Somewhat relatedly, while replying to this I ended up thinking about other ‘harmful acts’ that parents inflict upon their children such as ear piercings, bad haircuts and forced involvement in numerous activities. I’m not saying any of the above are related to the main topic(I’ve run out of room!

Justin Trottier
Justin Trottier at 9:53am June 6
Darren, there is major difference between the permanent and irrevocable damage of MGM and ear piercings, bad haircuts and other activities, all of which can – in principle – be undone by a child’s decision down the line. Also, can you be more precise about why you wouldn’t put MGM and FGM near each other by specifying in what quantifiable or … Read Morequalifiable sense they are different? And what are the different reasons for MGM and FGM?

You watch a video of a helpless infant being mutilated (and I’ll give you a link if you want) or attend the actual event and then tell me the practice isn’t abominable. Let’s not just philosophize in the dark. We’re talking about something committed against like half of all boys on this continent. The numbers alone – far, far higher than FGM – suggest we should give this matter far more consideration.

Bob at 10:02am June 6
But as someone born and raised a religious jew, I have been to many brit milah’s (brisses) and it is a barbaric ritual where the baby is given wine and then mutilated. It’s much different from having a true medical procedure.

The claims have changed many times as to the health ramifications of removing the foreskin however, to my knowledge, the evidence that it has been proven healthy has been unchanged in many years.

Again, I would appreciate evidence to the contrary if it’s there. I hate to be under a wrong or misinformed impression…. Read More

Thanks again for an interesting topic and healthy debate!

Justin Trottier at 10:07am June 6
Well I think we’re all agreed that the jewish and likely other religious practices are an abomination. Period. The government should remove all funding to any jewish/muslim/etc communities (eg. their heavily publicly funded community centres) where such rituals are being practiced. I might recommend you boycott these brisses. I was raised a jew… Read More too and i would never set foot at one.

When you refer to the evidence that is has been proven healthy, what health benefits are you referring to?

We don’t condone medical practices except when they’ve been shown in repeated tests to be better than a placebo and better than alternatives with less or no side effects with respect to a well defined medical problem we wish to solve, and after years of study. Is that the case here? Or did we go looking for problems we could use circumcision to solve in an effort to justify an unjustifiable cultural practice? The process whereby MGM has been raised up as a health panacea is troubling.

Bob at 10:36am June 6
I haven’t been to a bris since my youngest nephew’s and I would love to boycott them however that would lead to a divorce and loss of contact with my entire family so it’s not a good idea in my case. I simply go when I have to and step into an outer room when the ritual takes place. I was asked to stand by the baby last time and I refused.

As … Read Morefar as the health benefits, I am not talking about the prevention of AIDS because I still can’t see how that is proven.

I have read quite a few reports (and unfortunately, I can’t cite them right now nor do I have time because I’m heading out shortly) on how circumcision prevents infections due to cleanliness and although I’ve never experienced an infection there nor do I know anyone who has, the thought of it is unpleasant to say the least.

Xander at 10:54am June 6
(Tongue in Cheek) There is a continuum of types of female circumcision too. The proceedures range from a mere estetic trimming away of the outer libia – a practice comparable to the removal of the foreskin, to removal of the clitoris – comparable to removing the penis, and the intentional scoring and stitching of the flesh so almost the entire … Read Morevaginal opening is sealed over by scar tissue.
As for the health benefits as a medical proceedure, they are undeniable and the same as completely severing a penis: by making clandestine sex impossible it offers 100% protection against STDs.
(Tongue between teeth) The medical benefits to
sub-saharan african males who routinely use prostitutes is besides the point. We don’t let parents arbitrarily make permanent physical modifications to there children except for this one case that has been culturally grandfathered in. MGM should stop.

Xander at 11:06am June 6
To elaborate on what I mean on permanent physical modifications, I mean having their teeth altered to look like shark teeth or the teeth of a vampire, which would be cool but also grounds for calling children’s aid. Or body tattoos or havign silicon inserted under the skin to creat the appearance of bone ridges or horns. If MGM is either so … Read Morepainless and harmless or has such great health benefits (the arguments seem to go both ways) then why not wait for children to reach an age where they are able to make the rational decision for themselves.
If there is doubt you could rationally convince a young man to cut off the tip of his penis at age 18 then it is immoral for you to inflict that on him as a helpless infant, end of story.

Jonathan at 11:09am June 6
I have a few points to make:
1) The health benefits and risks of male circumcision are analyzed and weighed on a regular basis by major medical bodies. Health Canada’s most recent judgement is that the benefits equal the risks and therefore they instruct doctors to not recommend the procedure, nor recommend against it (I looked this up a while ago).
For more on the health/risks see Harriet Hall’s article on it:

Circumcision: What Does Science Say?


… Read More
2) I don’t think you should refer to male circumcision as genital mutilation. Mutilation is too strong a word to describe an act that apparently does not cause harm. Reports of reduced sexual pleasure is purely anecdotal. My personal anecdote is that I couldn’t imagine enjoying sex more than I already do. (I’m circumcised)

3) Comparing male circumcision to female circumcision is not only inaccurate but it’s damaging to the perception of the true horror that is female circumcision.
Jonathan
I find it odd that you would find the science around the benefits of circumcision to be ‘unconvincing’. Do you know more than doctors with this issue? Without good evidence to back up a ‘going against the scientific consensus’ stance, you’ll end up looking like a crank with an axe to grind.

Here’s reporting (by a doctor) on another recent study showing the STD reducing benefits of male circumcision.
I’m sure you’ll pick up on this:
“they found that men reported decreased erectile function, decreased penile sensitivity”… Read More

But don’t forget to read:
“but increased satisfaction”

The kindest cut?

Justin at 11:24am June 6
Jonathan, your personal experience and anecdotes don’t constitute proof. “Mutilation is too strong a word to describe an act that apparently does not cause harm.” How can you justify such a statement. Male genital mutilation does cause harm. Watch the video: http://www.intact.ca/. The fact that you couldn’t imagine enjoying sex more is also … Read Morebaseless because you’ll never have the experience of having sex with a foreskin. Nor will I. Talk to the men who have trouble getting an erection cause they were mutilated.

Since when does benefits= risks mean we allow a procedure? If benefits=risks in any other medical area we advise against the procedure, don’t we? Again, we are ignoring the usual medical process in order to justify the unjustifiable.

I’m comparing MGM&FGM on the legitimate grounds that they both cause needless pain and should be abolished. I’m not arguing that one is more harmful than the other. Why do some advocates against FGM feel they need to defend MGM?

Jonathan at 12:02pm June 6
I never said my anecdotes constitute proof. you seemed to have conveniently ignored the actual evidence I provided to back up my claims. I suppose it was a mistake to counter anecdotes with an anecdote.

Here’s the study showing that most men were satisfied with being circumcised:
http://bit.ly/IuDZG
… Read More
I find it highly unlikely you could find a similar study about FGM. You are not just equating male circumcision and FGM because “they both cause needless pain”. In that case, you should be talking about ear piercing, it’s far more common in this culture. You bring up FGM as a way to make MGM appear more horrific than it actually is, and I don’t think that helps this debate.

Now I don’t mean to argue that babies should be circumcised (you may have read it that way). I just wanted to make clear that it isn’t the obvious horror you make it out to be. I personally am still undecided whether my “future son” should be circumcised. I have equally heated debates with the other side.

Darren at 12:15pm June 6
Hello all, first off I just wanted to say that it is great that we have having an interesting discussion about important issues and we haven’t descended into name calling or other absurdities (but I do have it on good authority that Xander is a witch; try to drown him, you’ll see!)
In addition to my previous comments, I align with much of what Jon … Read Morehas stated. So, let me reiterate and be more specific.
1) MC without anesthetic and proper medical procedures should definitely be ceased.
2) The negative effects of MC, in my opinion, do not indicate it is clear MC should be prohibited because of the positive effects. In addition to the link Jon posted (http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=269), there is also this from Mayo – http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/circumcision/PR00040/NSECTIONGROUP=2
3) MC and FGM are so different that, again, I don’t think they should be seen as similar and also that the phrase MGM should not be used. Compare the pros and cons of MC with FGM (CONTINUED)

Darren at 12:20pm June 6
CONTINUED from above:
3) Compare MC with FGM – http://www.idebate.org/debatabase/topic_details.php?topicID=610
4) Note that I am not prescribing MC for everyone. I just do not think it is overtly clear that it should be banned (given the aforementioned/linked pros and cons)
5) As we all know the plural of anecdote isn’t data, this is a tricky one … Read Morebecause if we leave out anecdotal info, then all testimonials, from the people who love their circumcision to the people who are trying to reconstruct their foreskin are thrown out. Consequently, we have to go with current studies, which again do not clearly indicate a ban on MC, as well that one could tenable argue that MC and FGM are different.
6) Justin, I do agree that some of this research was likely done with sketchy motivations, but the data stand on their own. (and the samples in the HIV study were mostly older boys/men).

Jonathan at 12:35pm June 6
I would also like to add to Darren’s comments about anecdotes that anecdotes don’t help settle scientific questions (i.e. is MC harmful/helpful?). But anecdotes can help to inform one’s opinion. For example, my personal anecdote is that I don’t ‘feel’ mutilated, therefore it will be very hard to convince me that MC is ‘mutilation’. But I am open to… Read More the argument that it should not be done, because of other reasons (pain to the child, risk of infection etc.)

By labeling it mutilation, MC opponents are trying to bring out an emotional response of disgust, one that I just don’t share.

I’m personally more annoyed with being raised to believe in the lies of religion than with being circumcised.

Justin at 12:46pm June 6
Jon, by that logic we should insist that opponents of FGM not use the term mutilation since it risks invoking emotional arguments of disgust, but I see no one having trouble with that terminology (perhaps because disgust is a valid response!). In fact, it is often those opposing FGM who go out of their way to distinguish it in terminology from … Read Moremale genital mutilation by insisting the latter be termed circumcision, who have created this situation where one is seen as entirely different than the other. As I mentioned, there is this belief that any redirection on our concern onto the wellbeing of boys/men risks trivializing the plight of girls/women, but that is obviously part of a larger debate.

And the fact that you don’t “feel” mutilated is hardly proof that you’re not and by your own admission that feeling will prejudice you against admitting the truth should that be the case.