Why are so many male circumcisions still performed when we all agree female circumcision is a barbarous act? Now the American Academy of Pediatrics says the benefits of male circumcision outweigh the risks. But if newborns had a say in the matter, they would shout "NO" to this mutilating procedure, unless religion or culture require it, for the following reasons:
One: Circumcision doesn't just snip off a small piece of skin. It removes 71/2 to 121/2 centimetres of foreskin, about half of the total skin of the penis! Also, inside the foreskin there's a band of tissue that acts like an accordion. Its gliding motion is needed to trigger sexual reflexes and pleasure.
Two: The foreskin is not just skin. Dr. John Taylor, a Winnipeg pathologist, reported in the British Journal of Urology in 1996 a new anatomical finding. Taylor and his colleagues discovered a "ridged band" that runs around the inside of the foreskin. Microscopic examination shows this skin is loaded with blood vessels and nerves. So what is being amputated is a large part of the sexual function of the penis.
Three: Never forget nature created the foreskin for a reason. It's a sound rule not to mess around with nature.
Four: Circumcision decreases urinary infections, but they primarily occur in the first year of life and can be avoided by improved hygiene.
Five: Circumcision decreases the risk of penile cancer, but this is an extremely rare malignancy. No one recommends all female breasts be removed for fear of cancer.
Six: Studies show circumcision decreases by 15 per cent the risk of contacting HIV and genital herpes. This may matter to those wandering from one bed to another, but not those who practice responsible sex.
Seven: Circumcision rarely presents complications, but if one occurs, it's nevertheless a 100 per cent hit. Moreover, medical journals are full of reports of surgical mishaps that are not an "act of God" but due to human error.
Eight: How many men today would need an erectile dysfunction drug (ED) if a circumcision had not been done? It's my bet this procedure has had an effect on the sale of ED drugs.
Nine: In 1996, the Canadian Paediatric Society recommended circumcision not be routinely performed. It plans to reconsider this advice in the next year. Let's hope it reads the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and decides it's a needless procedure that violates newborn rights.
10: Circumcision is not a life-and-death situation, so unless it's required for religious or cultural reasons, an adult should decide whether he wishes it done. I believe many newborns would say Amen to that.
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