Confession: I didn’t know male circumcision was such a hot-button issue in the U.S. until I got pregnant.
“If it’s a boy, are you going to circumcise him?” my friends wanted to know. “Um, I assume so, why?” I asked cluelessly.
Of course, once it became relevant to me, I started paying more attention to the growing debate: some parents flatly refuse to circumcise their sons, believing it is “barbaric”; some parents rush to circumcise their sons; and yet others are utterly conflicted over what they should do.
I still believe I would. But if I had given birth to a boy, who knows what we would have done once confronted with the reality of the situation?
Further fueling the debate is the group Intact America, an organization formed to change how Americans think about neonatal male circumcision, which has asked Massachusetts lawmakers to outlaw infant male circumcision.
Supporters of the proposed ban describe the procedure as “unnecessary, painful and risky.” Georganne Chapin, executive director of the group, said the procedure is also unethical because the infant cannot give his consent.
Naturally, religious groups oppose the bill because it has no religious exemption.
Although studies have linked circumcision to a reduction in the transmission of AIDS in Africa, backers of the bill say that’s not a good enough reason to block a ban.
How about the other health benefits, such as protection from urinary tract infections, smegma, oncogenic types of human papillomavirus, genital herpes, syphilis and chancroid, penile cancer, and possibly prostate cancer, phimosis, paraphimosis, thrush, and inflammatory skin conditions such as balanitis and balanoposthitis? Or how it benefits men’s female sex partners by providing substantial protection from cervical cancer, genital herpes, bacterial vaginosis and possibly Chlamydia (that can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and ectopic pregnancy)?
To name a few.
So far, no Massachusetts lawmakers have signed on to support the measure. Hmmmm. I’m no strategy expert, but perhaps Intact America should have targeted a state that DOESN’T have one of the largest Jewish populations in the country.