Sunday, November 14, 2010
What's YOUR Take On Circumcision?
An initiative has been proposed to make it illegal to circumcise any boy under the age of 18. In the unlikely event that the measure will be passed, excising or cutting any part of the male foreskin will be punishable as a misdemeanor that may include jail time and a lofty fine.
Circumcision is a fairly common practice, with about half of Americans undergoing the procedure prior to their first birthday. It is mandated by some religions and prohibited by others, the practice going back at least 4000 years in written history. Whether for religious, cleanliness, or aesthetic reasons, a large number of parents opt to make the decision to remove part or all of their sons' foreskins when they are infants. But does the commonality of the cut make it right?
CDC reports have claimed that unclipped males do have higher incidences of STIs, HPV, and HIV. whether this is due to inherent cleanliness or random selection is not known. It is known that uncircumcised boys do have higher numbers of youthful urinary tract infections (12 times higher according to the Canadian Paediatric Society) and that some of those can be fatal. On the other hand, there have been cases of scarring and other complications in hospital circumcisions. There is no such thing as a perfect surgery, no matter how minor it may appear to be.
The San Francisco initiative makes no exceptions for religion or any other reason. As such, I'm left to wonder whether or not boys who have excessively tight foreskins that can result in pain or Peyronies Disease or persistent UTIs (one of my cousins was circumcised for this reason at 3) will be prohibited from remedy or will they be required to suffer because one man was angry that his parents snipped him 50 years ago.
I can see reasonable arguments for and against circumcision as a practice. I know several guys who have had it done as adults and reported that it wasn't too horrific so I would probably leave it to my kid to choose at an age where he can consent. However, I think an age of 18 is arbitrary and that governmental intervention could backfire in this case. To begin with, you will have countless lawsuits from religious practitioners that will clog the courts ad infinitum. Also, the government already interferes with parenting far too much and I'm wondering where the next decision will lead- will people who wish they'd never been born be able to sue for Wrongful Birth?
I think that the government needs to stay out of this, at least for the time being. Anti-circumcision activists have done far more in reducing the practice through education than regulation. I personally find piercing infants' ears at least as objectionable, but I'm not going to try to make it illegal because it is your decision. If you do not want to circumcise your sons, don't.
Posted by Michel-Exildas Galipeau at 09:54