Are you already convinced that circumcision is the way to go?
by Mary G. Ray, ©1998
Last Update: 10/19/00

Some people, for whatever reason, are extremely unwilling to take a good, hard look at this issue. They become annoyed and criticize efforts encouraging them to learn all there is to know about it. Maybe they feel threatened.
These attitudes stop parents from becoming fully informed.
“It's a personal choice”, they argue.
Without a doubt, discussing genitals is extremely personal.
It’s not a comfortable topic.
It is obvious by the name alone, Mothers Against Circumcision, that the information presented here will be unbalanced. It cannot be relied upon. "Actually, the facts about circumcision are unbalanced because the facts are totally against circumcision. The facts do not support the practice. Only myths support the practice. And myths cannot stand against factual information". --George Hill
“Why should you care? It’s my baby!
You’re just forcing your opinion on us.
Don’t you have anything better to do than run other people's lives?!  I’ll trust my own doctor, thank you very much.”
That’s the point.
It’s your baby, not his.
Research it.

Those who choose circumcision do it with good intentions. Most parents agree to it automatically without much thought, assuming it is the best thing for their child. Although there is a wealth of information out there, many people don't realize that leaving their sons intact is completely safe and totally healthy. What you don’t know can hurt your baby.

Everyone you’ve discussed it with tells you to do it. Parents who had it done, and many doctors who recommend it vehemently insist that circumcision is the only option. To staunchly defend the routine makes total sense. By accepting the idea that it should stop, a well meaning doctor who has performed the procedure countless times is forced to acknowledge that what he did was not necessary after all. It is more comfortable to remain uneducated about the foreskin, its purpose and its care.

Parents naturally defend the results of a decision that cannot be undone. Most parents do things they think will protect their children. They do not realize that serious harm can come from circumcision. Some harm usually does occur, although it may not be fully realized until years later. This fact is agonizing to think about. Many people avoid this discomfort by minimizing the procedure. Few would ever want to face that something of value was taken away which can't be replaced.

Continuing the practice may very well serve as an unconscious protection device for parents and medical professionals. By supporting its perpetuation, they can remain in denial that harm may have been caused and that the circumcisions they encouraged or performed were unnecessary.
“The foreskin is difficult to clean.” This point is based on myth. The facts contradict this opinion.
Maybe you’ve read a few articles, or seen a T.V. show about it.
You consider yourself “informed.”
Articles are usually slanted one way or the other as are TV reports, magazine shows and websites, including MAC. An unbiased presentation from a single source is difficult to find. There is no inbetween on this issue. People are on one side or the other.  You have to read bias material from both sides to get a full view.
They say the foreskin causes problems, infections, cancer and STDs -- even HIV. Do you know the counterpoints on the medical issues?  Scare tactics have effectively convinced Americans to circumcise their sons for a very long time.
“The circumcised penis is problem free. In fact, in many cases, it is the very thing that initiates numerous problems.
Most important of all,
“boys should look like their fathers and like other boys.”
This concern can be very easily resolved.
“And it doesn’t hurt because they use anesthesia.” It is not clear as to how many doctors actually use anesthesia. When it is used, it isn't always effective and injecting the needle is very painful itself. It’s a good idea to observe a circumcision before having one done on your baby.
“It's a simple procedure and complications are rare.” Compared to other procedures, it's probably described as simple because it takes about 20 minutes to complete. Complications are under-reported and much more common than people realize. All surgery has risks.
Every parent you know has had it done to their boys. There was a time when every parent had tonsillectomies performed on their children without any medical indication. Circumcision is not medically necessary.
In your small circle of people, every male you know is circumcised and satisfied. Throughout this country’s entire population, there are many men who are very unhappy about their circumcisions.  85% of the World's Men are intact. Why hasn't it been adopted by all other medically advanced nations if it's so beneficial?
“Well, he’s going to need it eventually. I’d rather that he get it over with now.” Again, this opinion is unsupported when you look at all the facts.
“It’s just a little piece of useless skin.” No, the foreskin actually has value and many functions.
Some insist that this is strictly between doctor and parent. Your doctor said to have it done. “That clinches it. It must be the right thing to do!” But many doctors are totally bias against the natural foreskin. If a doctor simply assumes that circumcision will be done, that automatic conclusion has a strong influence on many parents. Even when people do attempt to learn the other side from their doctor, if he’s FOR circumcision, the information he gives is likely to be colored or inaccurate.
“Sex is better for both parties with a circumcised penis. It also looks better.” Do you know about the sexual functions and how it can enhance sex for both partners? Maybe you've never seen an adult male intact or just aren't used to seeing the foreskin. We prefer what's familiar. That doesn't make it better.
“My religion requires it.” This is being questioned and opted against by more and more people who would have done it for religious reasons.
Remaining intact is natural. Surgery immediately upon birth is not.

There are many doctors opposed to circumcision. Sadly, those medical professionals who do attempt to provide the cons of circumcision are frequently chastised or intimidated by employers. Journal of Nurse-Midwifery, March/April 1992.

There are parents who will just go with the flow. It's immediate and easy. It takes time and effort to investigate whether this should be done to your child. The American Academy of Pediatrics standing is that circumcision has built-in risks and only provides potential benefits. That means there may be no benefits whatsoever to circumcision. Do you know what the risks are? What about the recent Cleveland death of a 3 week old boy during an operation to correct a botched circumcision? Could that have been avoided? What about the religious aspect? Did you realize England introduced us to the idea of routine infant circumcision to prevent maturbation and then abolished the procedure themselves in the 1950s?  All of your questions are addressed here.

Parents who do manage to learn about it later are often very regretful. They realize all their reasons for circumcising their baby were wrong. Each time circumcision is performed without fully educating parents, both they and their babies are violated.

For your baby, open your mind. See what could happen to him and why. Learn why it doesn’t have to be done. Devote this time to your baby. Don’t let anything be taken away from him without first knowing all there is to know. You have the power to let him keep something that naturally and rightfully belongs to him. Read up on both sides. When you’re all done, who should you listen to? Sort through it all . . . and then decide.

You may begin learning why more and more parents and medical professionals are against circumcision by reading:

Additionally, from time to time we will hold an informational chat on the circumcision decision. Now you can talk directly to others who are happy with their decision and with parents who regret having circumcised their sons. See how expectant parents’ questions are answered. These chats are often attended by medical professionals, midwives, childbirth educators and members with sons who've experienced circumcision complications. For information on the next scheduled chat, click here. If you cannot attend, keep in mind that this site and its many links to other sites give complete information.

Mothers Against Circumcision was not formed to tell you what to do. It was formed to help expectant parents -- to supply them with information and give them a choice on something that shouldn't be a foregone conclusion. MAC is dedicated to providing the point of view not typically revealed to expectant parents. Many parents receive little or no information about the many drawbacks of circumcision. If any cons are mentioned, even that presentation can be slanted against the option of remaining intact. This is intolerable to MAC and unfair to children and their parents. MAC wants to provide people with all the reasons why circumcision is unnecessary so that they can make a fully informed decision. Until you learn all there is to know, you will never understand why this work is so very important and an extremely worthwhile cause.

Originally written 1/97
Completely re-written 12/3/98
Last Revision:  10/19/00