Friday, March 11, 2011

Circumcision Ban in San Francisco!

This picture pretty much defines how I few about neonatal circumcision :)
This is probably one of the hottest topics to be posted on a blog, RACHEL made a post about circumcision last year and it became the center of a heated discussion.
Just as a side note, I completely understood why Rachel and her husband decided to allow the doctors to go ahead with the procedure once it was medically justifiable.
The core of the discussion in this post is not really about doing it or not doing it, but rather, one individual's right to make the decision for themselves, not by their parents when they are a new born.



Young parents are easily persuaded by eager for a quick profit doctors and it is sad to see, once it is an atrocious irreversible procedure.
I had no idea it even existed until I first came to the US when a teenager in high school.
I was intrigued to say the least when I noticed all boys in the locker room were circumcised, they couldn't ALL have had phimosis, which is a justifiable medical reason to have it done.
In Brazil, when growing up, I never ever even saw a circumcised penis, I knew about a neighbor who had phimosis but never saw how the post surgical penis looked like until much later in life.
I found an interesting article on circumcision and sexual numbness HERE is the link to the article.

If it is so wrong with girls, why so accepted for boys?

I knew something was seriously wrong but had no idea what or why all boys were circumcised.
There was only one guy who was not circumcised at my entire high school in Oklahoma, we became friends because we played football and we were in the same graduating class.
He used to tell me many kids had always made fun of him, he always felt extremely humiliated because his family didn't have the money to pay for the surgery when he was born.
He was the school's stud, had lot's of girl friends, lot's of sex, maybe girls were curious with his peculiar intact status. I have to confess, I benefited from the same situation at the time, I can't complain at all.
However, later in life, his wife ended up convincing him to do it. I spoke to him just a few years ago and he described the extremely decrease in sexual sensation, the numbness during intercourse, the increased thickness of the skin around his gland, he was devasted.
He regretted the procedure more than anything in his life. Their sexual life went down hill quickly and they ended up getting a divorce. He says he feels like he is half the man he used to be.
He says he was never the same again.
This is a very sad story and makes me wonder how many man has decreased sexual pleasure because of neonatal circumcision but don't know the difference of being intact to begin with...the numbness in circumcised men is said to intensify after 40 years of age, creating difficulty to reach orgasm.
Later in life I came to find out that widespread circumcision in the US started around the 1920's by the initiative of the Baptist church and a very powerful pastor from New York city who believed widespread circumcision would curb masturbation and put some control on the wide spread prostitution and spread of venereal diseases around the city, because he thougth masturbation increased lust and promiscuous sexual behavior. He was able to influence powerful people in Washington DC and turn the practice common around the country.
Doctors gladly embraced the practice as an interesting new source of income was introduced.
Today, one should be expected to pay between 1000 and 3000 dollars for a neonatal circumcision, it is a very simple procedure and doctors usually perform around 3 to 10 per week, that means anything between 3,000 to 30,000 extra dollars a week, Health Insurance companies no longer cover such procedure.
Considering the significant injection of easy CASH into the medical community's pockets daily, HOW WOULD YOU EXPECT ME TO TRUST THEIR OPINION ON THIS MATTER? I DON'T.
If you have the freakish justification that you want your baby boy to look like his father, I just don't understand that at all, I can't even begin to understand that defense.
Intact  penises are perfectly fine with it's foreskin, they are clean, if you bath in fresh water at least twice a week, you should be fine. If you think your baby boy won't have access to fresh water to take a shower at least twice a week, go right ahead. I understand why people who live in deserts have done it for thousands of years.
Not justifiable in the Western world, where all of us have running water and shower frequently.
The newest absurd justification you will hear on the matter is that circumcised people in Africa are less prone to infections and STD's.
They conveniently omit to tell you that hygiene standards in Africa are significant lower than the rest of the world. Access to clean water is very limited and sexual habits are very different from the ones in the US and most of the Western World. You can't even begin to compare Africa to the US when you are talking about STD's and circumcision.
Circumcision rates in Europe are extremely low, around 1% in Scandinavia, 2% in Southern Europe, under 6% in Asia and around 7% in Brazil and most other countries in the America's with the exception of the US.
Circumcision rates in the US have consistently dropped since the 1970's, around 60% in the present time.

Circumcision rates around the world
Canada also started a strong trend to reduce neonatal circumcision rates and they were more successful than the US because they have Universal Health Care, so you don't have greedy doctors recommending the practice for an easy CASH flow.
I was curious to find out about Canada, once they have Universal health care and the wild for profit mentality in the medical field is bound to be less wild than down here, the link below might help you understand the difference of opinions between Canadians and the US on the subject.

Circumcision in CANADA

But what really brings this post to the center of the discussion is the controversial San Francisco BAN on neonatal circumcision, yes, you heard me right, BAN, the initiative is aiming to make it illegal to perform  circumcision in newborns in the city of San Francisco, even when it is performed for religious reasons.
In other words, whatever it is your reason to do it, you can do it when you are an adult, if you still want to do it, period.
Jews are up in arms in the Bay area, threatening to sue the city if they move forward and approved the initiative, I understand their anger but I had to ask myself, how does infant Jew babies circumcision differ from the Africans who practice mutilation of girl's genitalia for religious reasons? My answer, no difference.
The only difference is that we are so used to hear about the Jewish practice that for some strange crazy reason, we grew accustomed with it, but it doesn't make it any less aggressive and invasive on an individual's integrity.
I was glad to read there is a growing trend of Jews who are against circumcision and there is a list of Rabis who perform a symbolic religious ceremony that doesn't involve circumcising the child.


Pro Sharia Law ad in Great Britain!

The discussion is around the individual's choice over such an important part of a person's body.
Someone called the folks in San Francisco hypocrites because they are in favor of abortion but against circumcision, well, good point. I have to agree that argument, it is contradictory to be for Abortion and against circumcision, in other words, you would be ready to protect one's penis integrity, but not his own life.
I am a liberal and I admire and agree with almost everything I hear out of San Francisco, however, before you call me a hypocrite bastard, I will say, I am 100% against abortion, but I still believe in the right for legal abortions in Hospitals.
As much as I am against it, I think it is important to make that procedure available at Hospitals, for a simple reason of public health, people will do it anyway, let them do it safely, in my opinion, still wrong beyond comprehension.



So, should parents be allowed to make such a life altering decision for their children?
In my opinion, they shouldn't.
I think it is wrong if medically not necessary.
Widespread senseless circumcision should become a crime anywhere, not just in San Francisco.
If folks in San Francisco get their way, you could get 5 years in jail if caught trying to perform neonatal circumcision.
More on the controversial San Francisco initiative on the link below:

HERE

19 comments:

Rachel said...

Thanks for the support Ray! We haven't done it yet but as he grows the problem becomes more and more apparent.

Anyway, I strongly disagree with the automatic circumcision of children post birth. They literally tape these little baby boys to boards and then cut the skin off with no an anesthesia! It's cruel! If a parent feels so damn strongly about it, wait and do it the right way.

That being said, I won't get into the whole right or wrong of the procedure. I've gotten into enough hot water over it. I will say though that the US has a tendency to go overboard with everything. Cut everyone's foreskin off? Seriously people?

And I'm not surprised this ban came from San Fran ;)

Btw, don't worry too much about the overdone circumcision. The moment the health insurance companies take wind of this (which is happening now), they'll call it elective and stop coving it. Bam and boom we have foreskin once again!

Gil and Ray said...

Rachel,

I forgot to mention, HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANIES in the US are no longer covering the procedure.
My neighbors across the street came ask us about six months ago about not doing circumcision on their baby boy. We told them in Brazil nobody does it and it's not a big deal at all, they didn't do it and are happy about it. They said there was strong pressure from the doctors, midwife and nurses but they were suspicious when the Health Insurance company refused to pay and said it was an elective surgery.
I think this move from the Health Care companies will make a lot of people think.
I am so glad to hear you guys were able to avoid the surgery on your boy.
I also read that Rio has 13% rate of circumcision versus 6% on the rest of Brazil. So, maybe you should be extra suspicious of doctors trying to put pressure on the issue, there is something going on in Rio that causes the rates of circumcision be double the rest of Brazil.
Gils nephil had phimosis, he is only 4 years old, his doctors said they no longer remove the entire foreskin, no even in cases of phimosis, they just cut a little and make the foreskin more loose to make it easy to open and wash it in every shower and avoid problems. So they did it and the boy still has his foreskin and no more phimosis.

Rachel said...

That's exactly what I tried, but didn't seem to manage, to explain in the comment section of my post. My youngest will not have the entire foreskin cut off. Basically just the tip to create a sufficient opening.

He hasn't had it done but he'll have to eventually...

Gil and Ray said...

That's great, it sounds like what Gil's nephil had done...
Good for him for Brazilian doctors and smart parents ;)

SN said...

Although we are having a girl when we have a boy he will be circ'd. I left the decision to my husband. Having seen the proceedure done to 100's of infants I would allow my son to go through the procedure. Lidocane is given to the numb the area, most infants don't even cry and the parents can be in the room comforting while the nurse gives sweet-ease for any discomfort.

I completely respect parents decisions to parent.

As for female circ that cannot even be compared to male circ. (From what I have researched)

The ban is rediculous as would a ban on abortion. The right to chose should be availible.

Sara

Gil and Ray said...

Dear Sara,

I totally respect your position.
I agree with you that the right to choose should remain available and what is being discussed in San Francisco right now is the rights of the parents over the rights of an individual.
Abortion is more of a personal choice in my opinion, and neonatal circumcision is you making a life altering decision on someone else's life.
You, being the parent, so the questions comes down to parents making the decision over an individual.
Thanks for sharing your thougths. :)

bornagainbrazilian said...

Not to get too personal here, but if anyone is wondering, it doesn't make a darn bit of difference from the woman's perspective. My Brazilian husband's was the first uncircumcised one I every saw (of course, he was the first foreigner this midwestern girl had ever...), and sure it was a bit odd to me, but ten years later and I've yet to complain :)

Gil and Ray said...

Dear BornagainBrazilian,

Thanks for sharing your perspective.
The most eye opening medical report I read recently was that many circumcise man has a hard time reach orgasm after 40 years of age, not erectile dysfunction, but the actual orgasm. I am sure it differs from man to man, but this medical report was most definitely an eye opening piece of information.

SN said...

Ray you have it so right :)and that's why I love reading and posting on your blog. I feel that I try to convey the same respect that you do for others views despite not feeling the same way.
Thanks for being able to respectfully disagree!!

I just hope that despite insurance not covering circs that parents make their own educated decision. I would hate for it to turn into a matter of wealth... it's a stretch but you have already seen it happen.

Great post as always!
Sara

Gil and Ray said...

Dear Sara,

Thanks, I wouldn't be any other way. I think the core of living in a democratic and fair society is learning to respect each other points of view, principally when we disagree.
There is abuse happening all over the place. I read about young mothers being threaten to be turned in to DHS when they refused to perform cirmcuncision in the infant boys. It is too sad when we see it turned into a money making situation.
Some doctos and Hospitals are furious over the loss of income from the increasing reduction in circumcisions around the US.
I think circumcision will be very rare in the US in about 20 or 30 years from now, so the folks who don't have money to do it, will be ok, they will be made fun of like I was when I went to High School in Oklahoma, once circumcision is rare.
We definitely agree on more subjects than we disagree.
I am glad you enjoy reading and posting on our blog :)
Thanks again for your nice comments.


Ray

Anonymous said...

Sara, you obviously didn't do your research well enough. The idea that female circumcision is worse than male circumcision is false. The most common type of female circumcision involves amputation of the clitoris. The foreskin has 20,000 specialized nerve end organs and the glans clitoris 8,000. Can you do the math? Men circumcised as adults complain of a 50% reuction in sensation or more.

ojeitobrasileiro said...

I hate when people post anonymous comments like the above. Female circumcision isn't just about removing pleasure, and there are various forms of it, and a large number of health issues that follow.

As for San Fran.. they are San Fran, they over do everything and put their fingers where they don't need them to be. But then they wouldn't be San Fran... personally San Fran isn't that large, it's not like they are banning you from bringing your circumcised baby over the bridge or checking all new borns entering their foggy city.

Gil and Ray said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gil and Ray said...

Dear OjeitoBrasileiro,



I don't know much about female circumcision, to me, it sounds as horrible and as unnecessary and barbaric as male circumcision.
Off course I am not talking about birth defects such as phymosis, but generalized, blind, across the board male circumcision is an absurd in my opinion.
I am glad to see that male circumcision rates in the US are dropping fast. It means parents are waking up to the $$$ industry that makes a quick couple of thousand bucks on the backs of young parents who get a limited amount of information on the subject and many times are pressured into doing it.
At least circumcised boys can do a restoration surgery when they grow up and realize their parents went against what they would personally choose for their own intact organ.
I agree with you, San Francisco is very small, someone can drive 20 minutes in any direction and have the procedure done in any another city, but the point here is that they are trying to raise awareness for young parents and folks who allow for the procedure without thinking it well.

Some Jews on the other hand are up in arms because it goes against one of their religious practice and it opens an important precedent against it.
I read that there is a large group of Jews who are no longer performing circumcision on their baby boys, they are having a symbolic ritual to represent the act without the mutilation of the infant's penis, which is very smart if you ask me.
My opinion is simple, parents shouldn't decide about something so personal for the individual, the man can do it when he is 18 years old if he decides to do it, period.
At least I am glad it is changing for the better and it looks like this horrible procedure is going to fade away in history.



Ray

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Larry said...

Phimosis isn't a justifiable reason for circumcision. Men at different ages become able to retract their foreskin, everyone is different. All that needs to be done is stretching exercises and, if needed, application of steroid cream.

Phimosis is a myth. I was circumcised at 13 because of it and now I cannot feel sex. It's never justified.

Larry said...

Phimosis isn't a justifiable reason for circumcision. Men at different ages become able to retract their foreskin, everyone is different. All that needs to be done is stretching exercises and, if needed, application of steroid cream.

Phimosis is a myth. I was circumcised at 13 because of it and now I cannot feel sex. It's never justified.

American Heart Brazilian Soul said...

Larry,

I am so sorry to hear about how circumcision has affected you. I have heard and read about some horrible stories, and I think many men are afraid to speak out about it. It involves a lot of grief and negative sentiments that a person might have against their parents, doctors and the society in general that practically failed them in such a HUGE way!
I have read there are options to get your foreskin back, streching and some other methods, I hope you can find a way to restore your foreskin.
And yes, you are correct, not even phymosis is a reason to have it removed, my nephew in Brazil had a small corrective surgery that opened up the skin a little but did not remove it, at all, and he is fine now.
Thank you for sharing your important insight.

Ray

Anonymous said...

I am sorry. I have read all the posts, both for and against, and respect them all.....so please respect mine! UNCIRCUMSZED penises are gross, ugly, sticky, and just icky! again, my opinion! I have found that they make it hard to keep a condom on like it should stay on. (it keeps rolling down the shaft). this has happened on many more than once or twice. as for looks, :( ugh, I just don't like them. oral sex is never gonna happen, and even for intercourse, well, even tho my b-friend was very clean, I still ALWAYS had apprehension before getting down to it. honestly if we had made it permanent I wiouyld have pushed for circumsizion. (sp. check)anywho, just one woman's honest opinion! my name is michele