On the "Cutting" Edge
by asquerns on November 1, 2016 - 4:22pm
As Americans, we often regard ourselves as leading the charge against the unethical treatment of individuals with regard to gender. Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that we are stuck in the dark ages when it comes to the mindless and senseless practice of male circumcision. To demonstrate the ugly reality of this unnecessary operation, imagine this: the parents of a newborn take their child to the doctor. They tell the doctor they want their son's nose fixed. The doctor is confused by this request, so she asks the parents to explain the problem with his nose. The parents detail all the issues – it looks nothing like his father's nose, it is a funny shape, his future wife is going to complain that it gets in the way when she tries to kiss him, and so on. The doctor finally explains to the parents that this is an unnecessary cosmetic procedure that insurance will not cover. Additionally, she continues, she can not ethically refer their newborn son for a rhinoplasty.
This may sound like a ridiculous illustration, but the practice of male circumcision is most often performed for similar reasons as the parents in this story cited. Recent reviews of medical research suggest that the possible benefits of circumcision are, in fact, not enough to outweigh the risks. “After reviewing existing medical research, the American Academy of Pediatrics announced in 1999 that circumcision has no medical benefit and shouldn't be recommended for all baby boys,” writes Susan Davis on WebMD.com. Circumcision is more than just a cosmetic issue, though. It is also a complex human rights issue that deals with a man's right to choose what is done to his body, potential lifelong physical and mental harm, and barbaric surgical practices performed on newborns.