"Mutilation ... implies the cutting off or removal
of a part essential to completeness, not only of a
person but also of a thing, and to his or its perfection,
beauty, entirety, or fulfillment of function."
Webster's Dictionary of Synonyms
Springfield, Massachusetts: G. & C. Merriam Company, 1968
The practice of circumcision seems to be older then written history and many accounts were noted before the practice became a religious right of the Hebrew tribes. In all these accounts the act was done as distinct cultural or spiritual ritual. Ancient Egyptians were at one time believed to have practiced religious circumcision later interpretation of hieroglyphics having concluded they did not and what the hieroglyphics depicted was ritual shaving of priest pubic hair. However not every culture has passively accepted religious circumcision and several cultures outlawed it including the Romans who punished physicians performing the operation to death (Paulus p66).
Moving ahead to western practice of circumcision we find the first introduction of popularity in America during the late 1800s where surgeons mistakenly thought circumcision provided children relief from a variety of diseases including epilepsy, paralysis, hernia, and even mental illness. Early the 1900s the common belief prevailed among physicians that even if circumcision did not aid in elimination of disease they believed it did curb masturbation which was erroneously contributed too sexual deviation and mental illness.
As the century progressed male genital mutilation continued however reasons grew more scientific and cleanliness was sited as the important reason for the procedure and it was considered a sanitary procedure however masturbation still was a significant reason for male genital mutilation. One prominent doctor like McGee wrote “whether it is curative or not it is conservative, and removes one source of irritation from an exquisitely sensitive organ. I would favor circumcision, however, independent of existing disease, as a sanitary precaution.... (1.) The exposure of the glans to friction, etc., hardens it, and renders it less liable to abrasion in sexual intercourse, and consequently venereal ulcer. (2.) It is acknowledged to be useful as a preventive of masturbation. (3.) It certainly renders the accident of phymosis and paraphymosis impossible. (4.) It prevents the retention of sebaceous secretion and consequent balanitis. (5.) It probably promotes continence by diminishing the pruriency of the sexual appetite. And its performance surely settles forever the question of reflex trouble as to that particular cause.” (McGee page103)
This revolutionary idea of male genital mutilation however was indigenous for medical reasons only in the United States as the rest of the western world never accepted it as a medical necessity. In Europe it is uncommon and statistics indicate between 80 and 95 percent of men worldwide are uncircumcised.
The largest reason for this is what the rest of the world long ago accepted is there is no medical reason for male genital mutilation.
Followers A survey taken in Denver, CO showed that circumcision is done for purely social reasons. In Korea boys are circumcised in their preteen years, and 61% of them stated in a survey that they were circumcised to avoid ridicule by their peers. In 1965 the circumcision rate in the US was 85%, which was the highest occurrence in the US at any time. In 2006 the rate was 56%, a drastic decline. Western states have consistently had a much lower occurrence than other areas of the country. It is projected that by 2014 the percentage of circumcised males will be in the minority.
The effects of circumcision on an infant are hard to understand. Doctors once claimed that infants couldn’t feel the circumcision because their nervous systems were underdeveloped at birth. It has been shown, however, that this is blatantly false. It is extremely painful, and the APA and the CPS have recommended that the pain should be controlled with pain medication. The long term negative psychological impact of circumcision is also worth considering. Recent studies have found striking connections between birth trauma and adult post traumatic stress and suicide (www.cirp.org/pain). Survey was conducted by NOHARMM between 1993 and 1996 in which 546 American circumcised men participated. The psychological effects that they reported: rage(54%), depression/resentment(59%), drug or substance abuse or addiction(29%).
The American Academy of Pediatrics, in its most recent policy statement, released in 1999, has found insufficient data to recommend circumcision as a routine procedure. No actual benefits have been proven, and the claims of potential benefits have been proven insignificant. The report recognizes the extreme pain and trauma caused by circumcision as evidenced by large increases in heart rate, blood pressure, and stress hormone levels during circumcision. It also estimates the cost of male circumcision annually is between $150 and $270 million dollars a year.
According to the American Cancer Society circumcision doesn’t prevent penile cancer and most research shows it also does little to prevent STDs or infections. “The American Cancer Society “does not consider routine circumcision to be a valid or effective measure to prevent cancers” and finds that “penile cancer rates in countries which do not practice circumcision are lower than those found in the United States.” in other phrasing, the overall rate of penile cancer is so low that the "benefit" is negligible.
“Although some studies indicate that circumcision reduces the spread of STDs and urinary tract infections, the AAP discredited them as flawed in its 1999 policy statement, which it reaffirmed in 2005. The AMA acknowledges that some studies have linked circumcision to a lower rate of UTIs in the first year of life, but that such infections are rare in any case (0.4 to 1 percent).” Obviously even in other countries behavioral factors appear to be far more important risk factors in the acquisition of HIV infection than circumcision status.
The foreskin of an un-mutilated penis acts as a barrier covering that maintains the glans as an internal organ, shielding it and the urinary opening from graze and germs. The foreskin’s inner surface is a mucous membrane similar to the eyelid or inside of the mouth. It produces lubricants, decontaminating secretions, and antimicrobial proteins like lysozyme found in tears and breast milk. It also maintains ideal acid balance and temperature. In infancy, the foreskin lips dilate only enough to allow for the passage of urine, protecting the developing glans from exposure.
The foreskin produces a natural emollient known as smegma, as do female genitals. Pediatrician Paul M. Fleiss describes it as “the most misunderstood most unjustifiably maligned substance in nature.” Once thought by physicians of the 1800s to be a germ-trapping substance that was also unclean itself, this natural secretion helps to keep the glans clean and healthy, just as tears cleanse and lubricate the eyes. Accumulation of smegma can be prevented by simply rinsing it away on a regular basis. (Fleiss page 8)
We now see why male genital mutilation is a useless medical procedure however let’s explore why instead of circumcision many call it male genital mutilation.
The fore skin is full of sensitive nerve ending which greatly enhance male sexual pleasure. Removed foreskin takes with it about 240 feet of nerves and 20,000 nerve endings. Circumcision may also remove the highly erogenous frenulum. And since the foreskin keeps the glans moist, the glans is more sensitive in an intact male.
In conclusion lets accept our bodies are a part of a natural evolution and any body modification is choice .however neonates have no choice therefore circumcision is male genital mutilation.
Paulus, Sententiae 5:22:3–4, in Linder, Jews in Roman Imperial Legislation (n. 64), pp. 117–20.
Rosalind M. Janssen and Jack J.Janssen, Growing Up in Ancient Egypt (London: Rubicon Press, 1990), pp. 90–98.
McGee, "Genital Irritation as a Cause of Nervous Disorders," 103-05.
Gleaned from the internet 3/3/2010http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWyt9jLELsY
Gleaned from the internet 3/4/2010 http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;103/3/686
Gleaned from the internet 3/2/2010 http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/factsheets/PDF/circumcision.pdf
Gleaned from the internet 3/3/2010