Why you should care
Because one of the world’s most common surgeries is also among the most controversial.
Last week, we asked: Is Male Circumcision Child Abuse? You answered, and here are your thoughts, edited for clarity.
James L. Katona, Lakeland, Florida
1977: Foreskin ripped apart during sex at age 17. Getting circumcised at birth would have been much better, if only for the lack of memory of the procedure. While perhaps not the same for kids these days, this was after years of attending schools where physical education was compulsory. Being the only boy not circumcised did not go unnoticed, which made life uncomfortable. Sex after circumcision has been much better, confirmed by women at that time who experienced it before and after the procedure.
Kristine Everett, Redding, California
Eighteen years ago when my son was born, his circumcised father and I agreed we would not circumcise our boy. Our decision was mutual and based on the belief that it just seemed wrong and totally unnecessary. We did worry that being in the minority in this regard may cause problems for our son, but those worries never came to fruition. I’m happy to report that he is a happy, confident and well-adjusted young man whose intact foreskin has never been a problem or an issue.
It’s a religious ritual that’s been around for about 6,000 years. A great many generations of Jewish men are testimony to the fact that it is not harmful. What IS harmful is anti-Semitism, which is on the rise in Europe.
James Edward French, Frederick, Maryland
This horrendous ancient practice should be banned in any civilized country. It is known to stigmatize adult males. My belief is based on the fact that boys learn to clean their rectums after defecation and their mouths after eating. Cleaning your penis after urination or sex is in the same category.
Dr. H. G. Goussous, Albany, New York
I am an 85-year-old surgeon, uncircumcised (thank you, Mom and Dad!). I believe if you keep the prepuce and the head of the penis clean you can avoid urinary tract infections. I never had any infection, and I enjoy a happy sexual life even at my age.
Regan Farr Gonzalez, Gig Harbor, Washington
I don’t think it should go so far as to be called abuse; it’s a religious and cultural tradition for Jewish families, after all. But it should be a choice, and how it became a tradition for everybody else is questionable.
Paul Roy Gardener, Amersham, U.K.
Circumcision of neonates is an elective procedure. By elective, we mean that there is a choice, as opposed to an emergency procedure that has to be done to prevent the patient’s condition from deteriorating. Irreversible elective procedures require valid consent from the patient. Valid consent cannot be given by proxy. If consent cannot be obtained from the patient, by the very nature of the procedure being elective, the procedure can and must be delayed until valid consent can be obtained. To proceed without valid consent from the patient, the doctor commits: surgical assault of the patient, actual bodily assault, sexual assault (pedophilia in the case of a minor!), violation of the patient’s human rights and violation of his right to bodily autonomy. Circumcised men should be allowed to sue for damages and seek criminal sentences for the perpetrators.
Jeffrey Young, Los Angeles, California
If God says circumcision is OK, then that’s good enough for me. Remember, God affirmed his covenant between himself and the Hebrew men with circumcision.
I have three boys, and they remain as nature created them. I have taught them that hygiene is very important, and even at 3 and 5 years old, they know how to clean themselves right. It’s a choice, and I feel I made the right one for my kids.
When I see as much action against abortion as I see directed against circumcision, then I might listen. Meanwhile, I will name you hypocrites. You cry over a minor procedure that may or may not be of benefit to the child, but you celebrate a woman’s right to kill that child before it’s born! If you can have that attitude, then you are seriously deluded! So to paraphrase a well-known statement … my kid, my choice.
Beth Schatz Rogers, Phoenix, Arizona
I am Jewish, and I had three sons. A bris, the religious ceremony for circumcision, is performed at home, by a religious man. I wasn’t having any of that. Instead, my pediatrician, who was a family friend and also Jewish, performed the procedure, while the rabbi said the prayers. My mother, a registered nurse, held all three babies and talked to them during the procedure. All of the family gathered around. The procedure took only a few minutes.
All three are men now, and happy with the decision. Please remember that being a parent means making hundreds of little medical decisions for your child before he can make them for himself. If circumcision has a chance to prevent cancer, UTIs or STDs, that is good enough for me.
Mariann Horlein, Mount Laurel, New Jersey
The only people qualified to speak on this issue are males who have been circumcised. For everyone else, it’s plain hearsay. Personally, I think getting babies’ or little girls’ ears pierced is child abuse. I never had mine done, nor did I allow my daughters to have theirs done until they were adults.