Questioning Circumcision

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December 8, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — intactivist @ 6:39 pm


Can you imagine what it must have been like-what it must have looked like-to be the very first person, the very first parent on the face of the planet to-without any scientific reason whatsoever-use a primitive tool to cut off part of your baby’s genitals without anesceptic, anesthetic, or antibiotics available?  What would possess a sane, loving parent to do such a thing?  A voice?  A vision?  How does something like that become popular…trendy?


Someone on a message board suggested that parents who are informed but still choose to do such a thing are “abusive”.  A religious mother responded and argued: “…except when you have people who believe they are spiritually enlightening and enhancing their child by doing it……”


My response is as follows:


Nope, I’m sorry.  They don’t get a free pass.  Religious parents don’t deserve exception here.  Every parent who circumcises has their reasons, whether they’re cultural, aesthetic, or spiritual in nature the result is the same:  A child is irreparably harmed.  They mean well, but good intentions don’t make the action any less damaging.


Some parents “believe” hitting their child with a belt or locking them in a closet or drugging them with Benedryl to get them to take a nap is perfectly acceptable.  Some parents believe it’s okay to leave your young children in a hotel room while on vacation in a foreign country and go a few blocks away for dinner.  Some parents believe it’s okay to bind a little girl’s feet so they’ll be attractive to a mate.  Some parents believe it’s beneficial to forgo any medical treatment for a seriously ill child-including lifesaving antibiotics and blood transfusions-and instead pray their child, quite literally, to death.   Some parents believe in forcing children to handle poisonous snakes as proof of faith.  The list goes on and on…




Belief, faith, religion, whatever doesn’t justify child abuse.  Every child, regardless of gender or race or country of origin or religious preference of his or her parents has a right-a basic, inalienable human right, in the absence of unavoidable disease/medical indication-to grow up with a healthy, whole, intact body.


I honestly don’t care whether an adult wants to cut off their own right leg, both nipples, or nick their nose for God or as a symbol of faith or because a voice or vision told them to.  That’s fine.  Their body, their belief, their choice.


Children deserve to have their rights and physical well-being protected until they are old enough to make the same decision for themselves.  


“some are told that they are committing child abuse by NOT circing their sons”


And I’m sure some grandparents and communities would say that not circumcising a little girl or not beating sense into your child with a stick is abusive.  Common sense still applies: Belief, faith, voices, and visions will never justify child abuse.  Good intentions do not make the physical act any less damaging.  Circumcision is amputative surgery, ti removes blood vessels and nerves, it strips erogenous tissue, it changes the way the penis functions.  The reasons don’t change that.  




“are you going to take on the entire Jewish community, which has withstood millenia of hardship and suffering, most recently surviving an attempt of genocide in the holocaust?  do you really think they ar naive?  people who survive such batterings are not naive.  If they can withstand a holocaust (at the hands of non-circd men, btw) then I think they can survive the onslaught of the anti-circ mob.”


Not granting Judaism a waiver is not anti-Semitism, in fact, it’s the oposite:  Jewish children are just as deserving of human rights as any other child.  They are the same.  They are equal.  They are just as human, just as valuable and precious and worthy of protection.




See also:

Jews Against Circumcision

Jewish Circumcision Resource Center 

The Kindest Uncut: Feminism, Judaism, and My Son’s Foreskin 



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