Sunday, March 06, 2011

The Great Circumcision Debate

Recently, on Rockin' Mama, there was a blog post titled I'm going to  give my newborn a tattoo in which she drew a comparison to the legal practice of circumcision a baby and the illegal notion of tattooing a newborn.  Of course, the comments degenerated into name calling, rehashing the old arguments, and anonymous posters justifying their decisions and how in that case it was totally okay.  One of the arguments which irritated me the most was that it might "prevent STDs" so I've decided to share with you my response.

"Safer sex practices, like condoms prevent STDs.
Circumcision on a minor without specific medical indications with less invasive solutions is reprehensible. The 14th Amendment provides equal protection of the law for all citizens, yet girls still benefit from the fact that it is illegal to circumcise them, yet perfectly legal to remove healthy genital tissue from their brothers.
Religious cutting of children IS WRONG.
If my religion required I cut someone I've only known for 8 days without their consent, I could be thrown in jail for it, regardless of the fact that my religion stipulated it.
Freedom of religion is not freedom to practice one's religion on the body of another.
Children are our responsibility to protect, care for, and nurture. They are not property. They can not be legally bought nor sold, they can not be traded in at the flea market, and they have fundamental human rights just as surely as anyone reading this blog post.

Thank you for this brilliant analogy, as ultimately, infant circumcision is an elective cosmetic disfigurement performed on nonconsenting children.

I actually have similar feelings about the piercing of baby girls' ears, though I console myself that at least if the girl doesn't want those holes later, she can let them grow shut (in theory) whereas men are not starfish, and their foreskin will not grow back."

You're not required to agree with me, but that's how I feel about it.

2 reflections:

LA Mama said...

Interestingly, the 8th day practice among traditional Jewish mohels is nothing like the medical practice in the US. It's fascinating, in fact, how comparatively safe and calm the procedure is (and not as much of the foreskin is cut--look around online with regards to this, because it's fascinating).

I am not Jewish, and we didn't have our son circ'ed, but I find all of this stuff interesting.

Slee said...

Yay for less cutting, calmer procedures, safer outcomes (though not without risks) but still, it's cutting, and again, legally proscribed against for girls.
I also recognize that there are other groups who circ for "religious" reasons who do not care if it is the 8th day, but I referenced that because it is well known.

I do find it interesting, as I enjoy learning about different cultures and religious practices, but in a nation which prohibits the ritual mutilation of children, with that one exception, I still maintain that it is a reprehensible breach of th 14th Amendment and a trespass against the human rights of the child.