When a baby with a penis is born in this country, the majority of doctors automatically assume the parents will want their child to have a circumcision, regardless of whether the parents’ religious beliefs require the practice or not. The doctor walks into the room and straps down the newborn’s arms and legs, fully prepared to cut off part of a baby’s body.
Circumcision is a topic that is too often avoided, especially in America. The practice of non-religiously motivated circumcision is so pervasive in our society that we often forget it is not practiced as widely in any other country. Any time it is brought up, the responses are “isn’t it cleaner,” “isn’t it healthier,” “well, I want my child to look like me,” “would you rather them feel it when they are older,” or “won’t it look weird if you don’t?” All of these excuses are utterly ridiculous.
Circumcision is not cleaner unless you aren’t practicing good hygiene, which everyone should be doing. In the case of cleaning your baby, you should be making sure to clean them thoroughly whether they have a foreskin or not. Throughout childhood, your child should be learning good hygiene practices.
Many recent studies indicate that the supposed health benefits of circumcision may not be as beneficial as had been previously believed. Proponents claim that urinary tract infections (UTIs) are more prevalent in uncircumcised boys. While this is true, the rate of UTIs in uncircumcised boys younger than one year is only 2.15 percent, while it is 0.22 percent in their circumcised counterparts, according to a study published in 2000 by the American Academy of Pediatrics. This means the risk of a UTI is very low whether they are circumcised or not. Newborns should be cleaned properly anyways to prevent UTIs.
Another study claims it helps prevent HIV. While there are studies that dispute this, even if circumcision helps prevent HIV, young adults should be using condoms anyway. Plus, condoms are a much more effective way to prevent STIs without having to chop off part of a baby’s penis. Rather than enduring a procedure without consent, this child can eventually have consensual, safe sex to prevent STIs.
Fathers of babies claim they want their children to “look” like them, as if an uncircumcised penis looks completely alien compared to a circumcised one. However, the reason babies started looking like this was because circumcision became popular in America in the early 1900s around the time that John Harvey Kellogg, of cereal fame, was telling people that circumcision for both sexes was necessary to keep children from masturbating. As many of us know, circumcised men still masturbate, so that obviously wasn’t effective.
When bringing up how circumcision may not be as good of an idea as many believe, supporters often say, “would you rather them feel it when they’re older,” as if it is necessary. As if many people cannot imagine an America where people aren’t cutting off parts of people’s genitals.
Many men are concerned that a penis will look weird if it is not circumcised, as if they are worried what their female partners will think of it. Our society has this ridiculous obsession with genitals which we need to get over. I have shocking news. All genitals look weird, including penises, whether they are circumcised or not.
Circumcision is a procedure that is incredibly painful, unnecessary in most cases, and performed without pain medication on newborn babies. It is performed without consent from the person experiencing the procedure, and the foreskin is something that person can never get back. These babies endure this procedure before they can ever give consent or even say no. They have no choice in what happens to their bodies.
Nature created the foreskin for a purpose. It protects the glans of the penis. It provides lubrication to the penis during sex. It contains approximately 10,000 to 70,000 nerve endings according to the extreme results of various studies. By removing the foreskin, you take away a significant portion of a person’s ability to experience sexual pleasure, which they may have decided to keep had they been asked. In America, it is time we stop cutting pieces off of the bodies of babies without their consent. It is time we challenge this pervasive social norm for the sake of our children.