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JULY 21, 2014 by APRIL McCARTHY
Why The Benefits of Circumcision Are Based On False Assumptions, Erroneous Conclusions and Misleading Medical Information


The current generation of infant males will have the lowest routine circumcision rates in 40 years. Recent surveys suggest that parents who say yes to circumcision end up regretting their decision. Courts in Europe have recently deemed the procedure equivalent to grievous bodily harm. The claimed health benefits are also being exposed for lacking any scientific evidence and are commonly based on myths and folklore.



Like most medical interventions at a very early age, an infant is not given a choice to consent to specific drugs and procedures. Circumcision is just one of them.

Dr. Laura Robertson from the Institute of Family Medicine in Los Angeles and her colleagues report that of 298 families interviewed one year after deciding on circumcising for their child, 206 families or almost 70% had at least one parent who expressed regrets about the decision. More than 58% of the time, the mother showed the most negative emotions about the decision and 67% of the families were pressured by their spouse or another family member to circumcise.

Although close to 80 percent of U.S. boys born in the 1970s and 1980s were circumcised, that number decreased to 62.5 percent in 1999, and 54.7 percent in 2010 and is now well below 50%. The drop is mostly due to informed parents and not decreases in insurance coverage for circumcision.

Officials estimate that up to 40 percent fewer U.S. boys will have been circumcised in 2013 compared to just a few decades ago. "In the long-term clinics we have interviewed, some Physicians are claiming reductions over 50 percent compared to the 1980's," stated Dr. Robertson.

Myths Not Facts

Part of the reduction is due to informed parents learning the truth about the actual risks of the surgery in contrast to the myths propagated by mainstream medicine.


From the 1980s through today, as the tide has been turning against male circumcision, misleading medical information has begun to surface (yet again) in support of circumcision. This information supports the belief that men with foreskins are more likely to get viral or bacterial infections and pass them on; that the foreskin is tender and thin, and therefore more prone to tiny cuts through which germs can be transmitted. New justifications, such as circumcision to prevent penile and cervical cancer, too often receive the blessing of the medical establishment. But these are justifications that science has been unable to support. Nor is there any scientific proof that circumcision prevents sexually transmitted diseases.

The risks of not circumcising as claimed by the medical establishment are based on false assumptions and erroneous conclusions. For example, in recent studies done in Kenya, South Africa, and Uganda by Ronald H. Gray, a professor at Johns Hopkins University recently reported that men who were circumcised were less likely by half to contract HIV virus and less likely by one-third to become infected with HPV and herpes.

While this sounds promising, George Denniston, M.D., stated, "the United States has high rates of HIV and the highest rate of circumcision in the West. The "experiment" of using circumcision to stem HIV infection has been running here for decades. It has failed miserably. Why do countries such as New Zealand, where they abandoned infant circumcision 50 years ago, or European countries, where circumcision is rare, have such low rates of HIV?"

Researchers and statisticians have conjured all sorts of studies attempting to validate myths about circumcision that have never been proven. In one study, Dr. Aaron Tobian of Johns Hopkins University created a computer program that assumed 10 percent of males born in a given year were circumcised. Despite no scientific evidence related to causation between circumcised and uncircumcised males and HIV, the study erroneously concluded HIV infections would increase by an estimated 12.2 percent, compared with the current number of cases among sexually active men. The study also found that HPV infections would increase by an estimated 29.1 percent, and genital herpes infections would increase by 19.8 percent. Additionally, 26,800 more boys would develop urinary tract infections during infancy than currently do, the researchers found. All statistics and finding were based on assumptions and unscientific correlations.

The American Medical Association and American Academy of Family Physicians have neutral policies similar to the pediatrics academy’s previous position.

One of the main reasons people choose to have their child circumcised is they believe that it's nearly impossible to keep an uncircumcised penis clean. This also isn't true. And people make the mistake of thinking that they have to retract the foreskin to keep it clean. They don't. In fact, retracting the foreskin before it's meant to be retracted creates adhesions and infections. It sometimes doesn't retract on its own until a boy is older. Often, there isn't an opening between the glans penis and the foreskin. So you gently retract it every year on the child's birthday until it's fully retractable. Only then does it need to be cleaned, and you can teach a boy exactly how to do this.

Many Circumcised Men Emotionally Affected


Emotions run very high around the subject of circumcision, a perfect example of the strength and influence of our cultural programming on our beliefs and emotions. This programming is so ingrained that many people cannot even discuss the subject of circumcision without guilt, denial, or other strong emotions. Even addressing the subject of the baby boy's bodily integrity, choices, and pain isn't enough to change a belief that's been ingrained in the child's parents from their own birth.

"It is as barbaric a ritual as female circumcision," said midwife and pediatric specialist Miasha Sandhu. "Think about the damage you are infliciting on this brand new baby who has never experienced sensory pain of this kind ever--emotionally it affects the child for life," she stated.

A small but vociferous community of circumcised men is gathering online to discuss methods of 'foreskin restoration'. These men reportedly feel angry and resentful about the surgery and are looking to find methods of reversing it. They are congregating on forums where they can vent their anger and discuss their options, The Kernel reports.

Typically, they are using websites such as foreskin-restoration.net and circumstitions.com

The Kernel reports that one man wrote: ‘I have been looking into what was stolen from me for a couple months now.

‘It’s always on my mind, I just revolve between being crushed emotionally and being soooo f**king mad I start twitching.

‘I just want to curl up into a ball and disappear. This is the most shameful/angry/sad/hateful/depressing feeling I’ve ever had.’

The Kernel reports that most men who visit these sites do so because they are feeling either angry or shameful.

Court Rules Religious Circumcision a Crime


The telegraph reported on a court decision in the city of Cologne which said circumcision violated a child's "fundamental right to bodily integrity" and that this right outweighed the rights of the parents. The ruling was inspired by a groundbreaking case, where a doctor circumcised a four-year-old Muslim boy at the request of the boy’s parents. When the boy was hospitalized for hemorrhaging four days after the procedure, prosecutors were notified and the doctor was charged with grievous bodily harm, or Korperverletztung, in German.

"The religious freedom of the parents and their right to educate their child would not be unacceptably compromised, if they were obliged to wait until the child could himself decide to be circumcised," the court added.

"The body of the child is irreparably and permanently changed by a circumcision. This change contravenes the interests of the child to decide later on his religious beliefs."

The court case revolved around a four-year-old Muslim boy who was circumcised at the request of his parents but was later admitted to hospital with bleeding.

The doctor was charged and tried for grievous bodily harm but was acquitted on the grounds he had parental consent.

By “self determination,” the court means letting the child choose for himself if and when he wants to be circumcised.

Circumcision Virtually Nonexistent Before 1900

The vast majority of the world's men, including most Europeans and Scandinavians, are uncircumcised. And before 1900, circumcision was virtually nonexistent in the United States as well--except for Jewish and Muslim people, who've been performing circumcisions for thousands of years for religious reasons. Believe it or not, circumcision was introduced in English-speaking countries in the late 1800s to control or prevent masturbation, similar to the way that female circumcision--the removal of the clitoris and labia--was promoted and continues to be advocated in some Muslim and African countries to control women's sexuality.

According to the AAP, their old stance said potential medical benefits were not sufficient to warrant recommending routinely circumcising newborn boys. The new one says, "The benefits of newborn male circumcision justify access to this procedure for those families who choose it."

The other push is one health care costs. According to one study, the hypothetical drop in circumcision rates would increase lifetime health care costs by $407 per man and $43 dollars per woman in the U.S., all which are calculated based on the theoretical spreading of sexually transmitted infections that accompanies being uncircumcised. Again, conclusions are based on hypothetical scenarios and not one scientifically formulated study has validated these findings in any part of the world.

Researchers and statisticians have conjured all sorts of studies attempting to validate myths about circumcision that have never been proven. In one study, Dr. Aaron Tobian of Johns Hopkins University created a computer program that assumed 10 percent of males born in a given year were circumcised. Despite no scientific evidence related to causation between circumcised and uncircumcised males and HIV, the study erroneously concluded HIV infections would increase by an estimated 12.2 percent, compared with the current number of cases among sexually active men. The study also found that HPV infections would increase by an estimated 29.1 percent, and genital herpes infections would increase by 19.8 percent. Additionally, 26,800 more boys would develop urinary tract infections during infancy than currently do, the researchers found. All statistics and finding were based on assumptions and unscientific correlations.

Please help support two organizations that are working to protect infant boys from unnecessary surgery. The first is Doctors Opposing Circumcision in Seattle, WA; the second is Intact America, a grass roots organization in Tarrytown, NY. The time has come for us to look at this common practice with fresh eyes and do what we can to stop this dangerous and unnecessary medical intervention.

Sources:
medscape.com
ftd.de
huffingtonpost.com
telegraph.co.uk

April McCarthy is a community journalist playing an active role reporting and analyzing world events to advance our health and eco-friendly initiatives.

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