Breaking: American Academy of Pediatrics withdraws Female Genital Mutilation policy that endorsed 'nicking' girls' genitalia

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for breaking.jpgUPDATE, 5/28, 1:15p: From Business Daily, today:

Experts have identified Female Genital Mutilation as one of the harmful health practices that cause complications for mothers during child delivery in developing countries....

Rising from a 3-day Training Information Communication workshop... participants were unanimous that such complications often accounted for the high maternal mortality rate on the continent.

In a communiqué issued at the end of the workshop, they urged health workers to abstain from female genital mutilation practices, while calling on governments at all levels to eradicate the habit through the media and establishment of Female Genital Mutilation Monitor Clubs in all secondary schools.

5/27, 2:40p: Great news just out by Equality Now, which first brought attention to this scandal I wrote about in my May 11 column. American pediatric sanity again rules on this heinous practice...

International human rights organization Equality Now welcomes the AAP's decision to withdraw its ill-conceived revised policy statement on female genital mutilation issued on April 26, 2010.

The new policy statement essentially promoted Type IV FGM, as categorized by the World Health Organization, and suggested that federal and state laws might be more effective if they "enabled pediatricians to reach out to families by offering a 'ritual nick.'" In a release issued today, the AAP stated that it has "retired" its 2010 revised statement on FGM, is opposed to "all forms of female genital cutting" and "does not endorse the practice of offering a 'clitoral nick.'"

Immediately following the announcement about AAP's new policy statement on April 26, 2010, Equality Now launched a global campaign, which called on its membership of over 35,000 individuals and organizations from 160 countries to put pressure on the AAP to revoke its statement.

The outpouring of deep concern demonstrated by several women's rights advocates, human rights organizations, health care providers, and individual members around the world in response to this campaign has been inspiring and overwhelming.

A significant outcome of Equality Now's campaign was also a statement jointly signed by WHO and United Nations agencies, UNICEF, UNFPA, and UNIFEM, that challenged the AAP's contentions about FGM and the harm any of its forms, including 'nicking', cause girls and women. The WHO/UN statement also confirmed the importance of looking at all forms of FGM as a form of violence and discrimination against women and girls.

"This is a crucial step forward in the movement to continue raising awareness about FGM, especially in the U.S., where it is practiced by some immigrant communities. This campaign has brought to light the importance of identifying FGM as a harmful cultural practice that together we must and can end. The work of the African anti-FGM grassroots movement has finally reached our shores and we hope to move forward and ensure the protection of girls in the U.S. and elsewhere from the practice," says Taina Bien-Aime, Equality Now's Executive Director.

Ironically, news reports today indicate that the AAP is not isolated in its misunderstandings about FGM and the Royal Australian New Zealand College of Obstetricians is now planning to discuss backing "ritual nicks", a modified form of genital mutilation, next month.

Taina Bien-Aime further warned, "Before heading in the wrong direction on this issue, the Royal Australian New Zealand College of Obstetricians must learn from the experience of the international campaign against AAP, and from the resounding clarification provided in the WHO/UN joint statement."

Equality Now hopes that the momentum built around discussions about FGM continues in the US with the swift passage of The Girls Protection Act (H.R. 5137), a new bipartisan legislation introduced by Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-NY) and Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (R-CA) that would close the loophole in the federal law prohibiting FGM by making it illegal to transport a minor girl living in the U.S. out of the country for the purpose of FGM. The bill will hopefully also call for the launch of culturally sensitive outreach programs in FGM-practicing immigrant communities in the U.S. to educate parents about the lifelong harms of FGM.

[HT: Leslie of The Passionate Pro-Lifer]


Glad to hear they came to their senses.

Posted by: Lauren at May 27, 2010 3:12 PM

They remain neutral on male genital mutilation. This isn't so shocking.

Both boys and girls deserve to have their bodily integrity respected IMO.

Posted by: Nicole at May 27, 2010 4:01 PM

Thank God! We should never cater to cultures that abuse children!

Posted by: Sydney M. at May 27, 2010 4:39 PM

This is good news. But no one should have the illusion that the AAP truly respects the life of children.

In August of 2009, the AAP published a policy position that effectively recommends when it is acceptable for health care providers to kill children (they don't use that term, of course) by withholding food and water until the child dies. Yes, they specify conditions in which, according to them, it is morally permissible to end the life of children who are not dying (but suffer from some form of serious mental incapacity) by not giving them food or water.

For info on this, and relevant links, see my blog post here:

We have been doing this with the elderly (killing them by withholding food and water) for a while now. It is accepted by many in the health care profession as normal. Now, we are going to kill our children in the same way, with the official encouragement of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

God, help us. Jesus, have mercy on us.

Posted by: Scott Johnston at May 27, 2010 6:15 PM

Scott, I was not aware of this. Thank you for posting about it!

Posted by: Lauren at May 27, 2010 6:32 PM

Thank God. Just the phrase "clitoral nick" makes me instinctively cross my legs.

Scott: Wow, that's creepy.

Posted by: Marauder at May 27, 2010 6:41 PM

From my board review series textbooks:

Male circumcision protects males against:
Phimosis, balanitis, Bowen disease (a carcinoma), Erythroplasia of Queyrat (a carcinoma), Squamous cell carcinoma, and lowers the risk of venereal diseases in general.

Not to mention it improves hygiene. I also have never met a man who complained that their circumcision hindered their ability to enjoy sex or caused them any later discomfort whatsoever.

Female "circumcision" aka mutilation does not have health benefits, hinders the female's ability to enjoy sex, and can cause some serious health risks down the road (especially the most severe forms). There really is no comparison.

Posted by: Scott at May 27, 2010 7:35 PM

Penile cancers are virtually non-existent in the US and Europe(where circumcision is rarely done). STD rates are lower over there and already preventable. The rest of the world is proof of the needlessness of circumcision.

The foreskin plays an important role in the pleasue of both men and women(I speak from experience). It is the most erogenous zone of the male body and is important for lubrication. If men want to part with it that is there decision, but innocent babies do not have a voice to stand up for their genitalia to remain intact.

A man in Australia successfully sued the doctor who circumcised him at birth. Not everyone is ok with being forever altered.

Posted by: Nicole at May 27, 2010 7:48 PM

Notice the word "Islam" isn't anywhere in that post?

I wonder what the wahabbis in Saudi are thinking now...

Posted by: carder at May 27, 2010 8:20 PM

Nicole, I'm sorry but to compare circumcision with FGM does a terrible disservice to women.
Women who undergo FGM have their bodies destroyed by this "procedure".
Men who are circumcised do not suffer the same fate.
And there are excellent reasons for circumcising.

I'm very glad the AAP withdrew it's position.

Posted by: angel at May 27, 2010 8:37 PM

Nicole, I'm with you. Male circumcision may not be comparable to FGM, but it is elective, cosmetic surgery on infants. Its history in this country is linked to the desire to curb masturbation, not hygiene or penile cancer. Ears are slightly challenging to keep clean, too, but we don't routinely remove them. Body modification is something adults can delve into but shouldn't be forced on infants.

Posted by: shirley at May 27, 2010 9:15 PM

Female genital alteration is nasty business, but we have to be realistic here. In many cultures, parents are simply going to have this operation performed on their daughters, and it's often going to be in extremely unsafe conditions. Allowing competent doctors to perform "nicking" procedures could potentially save girls from being seriously injured when their parents inevitably pursue the alternative. The AAP should have stood its ground.

Posted by: Marissa at May 27, 2010 10:09 PM

Marissa, how do you know that pursuing more radical procedures would be "inevitable"? I don't see why. I think this is overstating the situation.

Why can't we simply trust the integrity of every medical professional in America to say, if asked to mutilate a girl, "I don't do that, and no doctor in America does that," Period.

Once the medical community debases itself by agreeing to do a less radical form of mutilation, it will be much easier in the future to convince them to do more radical forms of mutilation. They must draw a line in the sand, and simply have a tiny bit of spine, and say "no, we don't mutilate girls here."

And on the subject of comparing it to circumcision (and female genital mutilation should not be called circumcision; it is not, it is mutilation), here is an item for consideration for those of us who are Jewish or Christian and accept that the Scriptures truly contain revelation from God.

1. God would not command anyone to do anything that is inherently evil. (this would violate His very divine nature as the source of all good and of infinite love)

2. At a certain point in the history of the nation of Israel, Sacred Scripture commands every Israelite male to be circumcised. Jesus Himself was circumcised as a baby.

3. Since God is the primary author of Scripture, it was God's will that Israelite males be circumcised.

4. Therefore, circumcision of males cannot be inherently evil. (lest God be found to be commanding an evil act)

I don't expect this argument to be effective for non-Jews and non-Christians, or, not even for Jews or Christians who don't practice the faith and don't take it seriously. But for people of the Book who take revelation seriously, we can't claim that circumcision (and I mean here men only) in and of itself is an evil thing.

Arguments can be made that circumcision is unnecessary or doesn't have a significant enough medical justification to do it, but for me at least, as a person of faith, I can't accept an argument that circumcision is evil in itself.

But, on the contrary, I do believe that any form of female genital mutilation is immoral and evil, and should never be accepted under any circumstances. There are some cultural practices that are simply evil, and should be rejected outright by any decent, civilized society. The mere fact that it is a custom in a particular culture is no reason to do something that is inherently evil, in this case, an assault against the dignity of all girls and women as female.

Posted by: Scott Johnston at May 27, 2010 11:33 PM

This thread calls to mind a great quote by Yogi Bera:

"It's deja vu all over again."

Posted by: Gerard Nadal at May 28, 2010 1:38 AM

Thanks for the added info, Scotty. We should start out by distrusting most mainline medical organizations, I think. AMA, ACOG, AAP... all pro-death.

Posted by: Jill Stanek Author Profile Page at May 28, 2010 4:14 AM


... I also have never met a man who complained that their circumcision hindered their ability to enjoy sex or caused them any later discomfort whatsoever.

Allow me to introduce myself. I despise being circumcised. It has hindered my ability to enjoy sex and causes me discomfort (and pain).

Does that change anything for you?

Posted by: Tony at May 28, 2010 5:58 AM

Scott Johnson:
While I agree with all of your points, another factor is necessary to take into account: are we defining circumcision in the same way as the Bible does?

If I claim that Christians are supposed to take communion together--well and good. The Bible commands it. But if I claim that involves drinking an entire bottle of wine and eating an entire loaf of unleavened bread, I am outside of the intention of the Bible and may in fact be indulging in and encouraging gluttony and drunkenness.

Likewise, I believe that the Bible intended circumcision to be the cutting off of a small piece of skin, not the entire covering of the head of the penis. To strip the entire head of skin is similarly a gross misinterpretation of the meaning of circumcision, and it is cruel to infants, and some die each year from complications of circumcision--a similar number to those who die of SIDS.

Sorry to derail the conversation, but I just wanted to point out how a committed Christian (or Jew) could disagree with the modern practice of circumcision.

I totally agree that there are no redeeming qualities that justify female genital mutilation and that it is a good thing the AAP is not recommending its doctors accomodate evil. And I do recognize that circumcision is a more complex issue.

Posted by: ycw at May 28, 2010 6:47 AM

I have to agree that there is no real comparison between FGM and male circumcision. FGM is done with the intent to control and destroy the woman's sexual enjoyment, thus to control her. It's done cruelly, with malicious intent. It is truly disfiguring. It leaves a woman with numerous physical problems that lead to infections and constant pain. There is no redeeming purpose in FGM whatsoever.

The same cannot be said of male circumcision. You can argue that circumcision isn't necessary, is outdated, or whatever, but to compare the two truly mocks the horror of FGM.

Posted by: Jennifer at May 28, 2010 7:11 AM

@Tony: It's a pleasure to meet you. Oh, wait. We're not actually meeting, and for all I know, you're a 12-year-old girl. So no, your post changes nothing for me. Do you have anything that looks like, say, a link to a research study -- preferably one that includes data on both positives and negatives of circumcision...or are you expecting me to simply take your word for it?

Posted by: DA at May 28, 2010 10:42 AM

Well Marissa, some dads are gonna rape their daughters anyway so we should provide condoms and roofies to knock the girls out so that they don't have trauma and don't get pregnant by their shouldn't actually try to STOP incest ya know. Otherwise the dads will just do it in secret and the girls will be traumatized and get pregnant...

FGM is WRONG. It is ABUSE. It is CRUEL and INHUMANE! You don't tolerate it for fear of something worse. You put your foot down and let people know we don't do that in our country and it will NOT be tolerated.

Or heres an idea. Maybe all the people supporting this "nick" of the clitoris can donate their own genitalia as sort of a sacrificial lamb scenario. In place of the baby girl's getting cut these grown women, who have the ability to speak out and have done so, could donate their clitoris for the ceremony thus saving a baby girl who can't speak out, from the needless pain of the ritual. I mean, come on Marissa, you'd do that right? Its only a nick.

Posted by: Sydney M. at May 28, 2010 11:08 AM

"I also have never met a man who complained that their circumcision hindered their ability to enjoy sex"

Well, yeah, because they don't know how good sex could be if they weren't circumcised.

"Male circumcision may not be comparable to FGM, but it is elective, cosmetic surgery on infants...Body modification is something adults can delve into but shouldn't be forced on infants."

Yeah, I agree with this. And all the "Jewish ritual" arguments become totally irrelevent when it comes to baby boys who aren't Jewish.

There's really no legitimate health reason to cut off a baby boy's foreskin. You might as well cut off the labia minora so the vulva will be "easier to clean."

Posted by: Marauder at May 28, 2010 12:09 PM

A few points...

If you are Christian, and not Jewish, circumcision is set out in the New Testament as unnecessary. "No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man's praise is not from men, but from God." Romans 2:29

Circumcision of Jews prior to the Victorian era was a far less invasive procedure than is currently practiced. It was not a removal of the body part, but a cut into the foreskin that reminded a man every time he had to urinate or made love that he was marked as set apart to the living God.

Circumcision in the Victorian era spread to non-Jewish people as a way to destroy the enjoyment that a man feels from the foreskin, which is highly ennervated, and thereby reduce the supposedly "filthy" habit of masturbation.

The idea that we should remove every male child's foreskin because a very small number may have problems in the future is ridiculous. The rate of breast cancer is far higher... should we remove baby girls' breast tissue so as to remove the risk? After all, if we do it so soon after birth, she'll never know what she's missing!

As for hygiene, it is far easier to keep a uncircumcised baby boy clean. The foreskin is not designed to be retracted in any way until somewhere between the ages of 2 and 5, when a boy will find it retracts naturally. Until that time, it is cleaned merely by wiping it off as if it were a finger. Every baby boy I have ever dealt with in the hospital with a UTI was either circumcised or was uncircumcised but someone who did not know how to care for it retracted the foreskin, opening the area to contamination.

Teaching basic hygiene is no more difficult with an uncircumcised boy than with any other. It is a simple matter to retract, clean, and replace the foreskin.

I am the wife of an uncircumcised man, a daughter of an uncircumcised man, the mother of uncircumcised boys.... the sister of a circumcised man, and aunt to his circumcised son.

Most insurances will no longer pay for circumcision because it is considered a "cosmetic" procedure... the health benefits vs. the risks are pretty much a wash these days.

Worldwide, the percentage of circumcised males is estimated to be between 30 to 50%. In the U.S. in most places it is roughly 50%. In the Southwest, where we used to live, it was less than 30%... it is not a part of Hispanic or Native American tradition to circumcise.

Now, there are medical conditions (such as hypospadias) in which routine circumcision MUST be avoided so that the foreskin can later be removed and used to repair the condition.

In addition, removing the foreskin alters the length to which the erect penis can extend. I have heard estimates of 8 to 10 percent or more. The pediatricians I worked with often recommended against the procedure for boys who were less, endowed shall we say, than their nursery compatriots.

The thing about circumcision is... you can't take it back once it has been done. I think men should have the right to choose for themselves whether to rid themselves of something.... not have their parents decide, usually based upon the false idea that a boy needs to look like his dad or their mother's idea that an uncircumsized penis is ugly.

As to the first, at what time in life will a man's penis look like his father's? As a child, his will be smaller and hairless. Once he is a mature adult, father will be aging... never will they look the same.

As to a child's body being surgically altered to meet its mother's sexual preferences... sorry, that one makes my stomach turn.

And as for the concept that one would be teased in the locker room, every male I have ever asked about the idea has said that the guy caught looking at another guy's "junk" would get far more grief than the one he was looking at! (Also, since it's about 50/50 these days, it no longer even makes sense to worry about that).

I have nothing against Jewish circumcision done as a bris. Most mohels remove far less tissue than pediatricians (who seem to think they need to be extremely "thorough"). In addition, in a bris, a child is held by someone who loves him, is given a sponge with wine to their lips and a mohel specializes in the procedure (very quick, much less invasive).

I have had to bear witness to medical circumcisions, however. The child is strapped naked to a plastic board that holds his legs apart. Many times no anesthetic is used, or they may use what is called EMLA cream... having had to use that as a part of IV insertion procedures I can tell you, it is a very ineffective substance. The foreskin is ripped away from the prepuce and glans, and is then cut away by a scalpel.

Almost NEVER does a parent choose to go into the room with their child. My mother did when my brother (against my father's wishes) was circumcised. She said that if she had known what they were going to do she would never have agreed to it.

For those parents who the child is returned sleeping, I would like to point out that for babies and small children, one of their natural protective responses against pain and trauma is to resort to sleep. As a breastfeeding counselor, I found that hospital circumcision often disrupted breastfeeding for several days because the baby would go into such a deep protective sleep that it was difficult to get them to suckle adequately at the breast for up to 24 hours... which can impact breastfeeding success for days or even weeks afterwards.

I'm glad the stance against FGM has been made. Now it is time to protect baby boys the way we try to protect baby girls.

Posted by: Elisabeth at May 28, 2010 1:20 PM

Elisabeth, I have seen a video of a boy's circumcision and it was awful. If I had known what I know now I would never have circumcised my son. Its something that breaks my heart and will be a regret forever.

Posted by: Sydney M. at May 28, 2010 1:33 PM

I am glad that the AAP reversed its absurd position on FGM. Thank God. I am also glad that there is more discussion about male circumcision. However, there are many of us who made the decision to circumcise our boys without being made aware of the the negatives of the procedure. Honestly, it was presented as a normative event chosen by most parents. No one ever mentioned to me that I should consider NOT having my sons circumcised. Plus, there is some evidence for the benefits of circumcision so those who condemn the practice (and indirectly parents who chose it for their children) come off as judgmental, "better than you," know-it-alls.

Knowing what I know today about circumcision, I would probably not choose it. But people weren't talking about it even 15 years ago when my first son was born.

So, Elisabeth, while I appreciate your perspective (and thanks for that vivid description - nothing like adding more guilt), you and other militant anti-circs might want to consider your tone when posting about this issue. I understand that you are passionate and that's a good thing. But please remember that some of us didn't know. Just like some women didn't know what they were really doing with an abortion. We can show them compassion, maybe you can spare some for those of us who authorized circumcision.

P.S. I was in the room with my boys. They used a local anesthetic (not EMLA). It was much worse to have my child go through a PVR catheterization at 6 weeks for a kidney malformation than to witness his circ.

Posted by: Nerina at May 28, 2010 1:39 PM

Nerina, believe me, I could have been much more vivid. And yes, there are other medical procedures that are very invasive and traumatizing.

However, as you stated above:
" No one ever mentioned to me that I should consider NOT having my sons circumcised."

"Knowing what I know today about circumcision, I would probably not choose it. But people weren't talking about it even 15 years ago when my first son was born."


"But please remember that some of us didn't know."

So, the appropriate response to the fact that people don't have the information is to... not give them the information?

Personally, as I was about to say to Sydney, I don't think there is any benefit to feeling guilty over something that has already been done. Parents have to go with the best information they have at the time. Sydney, I think you can easily say to your son, "You know what, I didn't know. If I had known, I could have chosen differently."

However... as you have connected this to how we deal with post-abortive mothers... while we certainly love the mothers and understand that most of the time they did not know what they were doing... that the information was kept from them, we do not help them by continuing to keep them from the truth. We give them the truth and then love them through their new understanding of the consequences of their actions.

As to the health benefits, again, they are minimal at best and with today's understanding of hygiene and improved medical standards, it's pretty much a wash.

Posted by: Elisabeth at May 28, 2010 1:50 PM

Nerina...Elisabeth isn't coming off as a "know it all". I am really glad women like her are speaking out. I am glad a friend told me about the dangers. Even though I feel guilt over my son's circumcision I am glad someone like Elisabeth cared enough to tell me the truth so that I don't subject a second son to it. Since I am just starting my family I very well could have more sons. Now I know the truth. Information is power, Nerina.

Do you get mad at those of us who educate about the truth of abortion too? Does that make us "know it alls" or "adding guilt"? We are trying to educate others to things that can cause harm. Abortion causes harm. And many many many now see circumcision does too. You may not agree but please don't shush us into silence. I am glad there were more people like Elisabeth than people like you who would choose to keep me in the dark so I don't feel "guilt".

Posted by: Sydney M. at May 28, 2010 1:50 PM

Oh, and my oldest son is 14.... and had my almost 18 year old daughter been a boy, she would not have been circ'd. But, like I said, the U.S. Southwest has much lower circ rates than the rest of the country.

And my mom had my brother circ'd... and that was back 42 years ago when doctors didn't think babies were even capable of feeling pain, so I'm sure there was no consideration given to any pain he might suffer. But because of that I was aware of the issue before I had children. Doesn't make me better or smarter... just more informed at the time.

Posted by: Elisabeth at May 28, 2010 1:59 PM

Having researched circumcision quite a bit before choosing not to have my boys altered, I'd like to just point out that ycw is completely right in comparing modern-day circumcision practices with the Jewish custom of cutting the tip of the foreskin.

Furthermore, the research supporting circumcision for medical reasons has been brought into question time and time again. The reality is, if in fact circumcision prevents any form of infection, or lowers the frequency of it, it's unproven at this point.

"There are no American studies of the incidence of penile cancer and its association with circumcision status. Penile cancer is rare, and the estimated American incidence is about 1 per 100,000. In other developed countries where circumcision is rare, such as Denmark and Norway, the incidence of penile cancer is lower than the estimated American rate. Penile cancer occurs generally in elderly men. Therefore, a male may make a decision to be circumcised when he is older without losing this claimed benefit."

"In a more recent survey, women with longer dual experience preferred anatomically complete men overwhelmingly to circumcised men. Without the foreskin to provide a movable sleeve of skin, intercourse with a circumcised penis resulted in decreased vaginal secretions, more vaginal discomfort, harder and deeper thrusting of the partner, less chance of having an orgasm, less frequent orgasms, less frequent multiple orgasms, and shorter duration of coitus.

Circumcision results in a significant loss. The foreskin is an integral, normal part of the penis. It protects the head of the penis and is comprised of unique zones with several kinds of specialized nerves that are important to optimum sexual sensitivity. Investigators found that circumcision removes about one-half of the erogenous tissue on the penile shaft. The foreskin on the average adult male is about 12 square inches of highly erogenous tissue. Men circumcised as adults reported a significant loss of sensitivity."(

Come on, people. It isn't rocket science. Fewer nerves + more scar tissue = lessened sensitivity.

Posted by: MaryRose at May 28, 2010 4:46 PM


Whether you believe I am who I say I am or not, I expect you to think. Most male children are born normal and healthy, just like females, and will stay healthy, just like females, so they don't need surgery shortly after birth. And every surgery imposes risk of complications. Why should I need to provide a study for those easily understood facts? Would you expect me to show a study that prophylactic appendectomies on infants are a bad idea before you could be skeptical of such a proposal?

However, I can provide links that prove anything you want me to prove about circumcision, for or against. That misses the point, of course. The burden is on those who believe in imposing unnecessary surgery on healthy children, particularly when they insist on creating separate rules and rights based on the child's gender.

It's also a bit pointless because the bulk of what's available is intended to show why circumcision is so fantastic.

Still, if you're honestly asking, I'll cooperate. I'd need some guidance on what you want me to show, since it's a wide-ranging topic. But I'll spoil the conclusion now. I'll accept any pro-circumcision claim you can name, no matter how absurd and/or irrelevant. (And it will be absurd and/or irrelevant when applied to healthy children rather than adult volunteers.) My rebuttal will always be based on logic and facts. Any claim in favor of circumcising healthy children can be refuted by some combination of human rights, the individual male's preferences, easier prevention methods and less invasive treatment.

But I welcome the challenge. So, what will it be?

Posted by: Tony at May 28, 2010 9:55 PM

Tony, you said you had pain from your circumcision. My husband does too. He gets cysts on his penis from time to time which the urologist said is from the poor job they did circumcising him. He never shared how much they hurt him till I told him I never wanted to cut another son.

I wish he had just communicated that with me when we were expecting our son.

Posted by: Sydney M. at May 28, 2010 10:08 PM

DA: "We're not actually meeting, and for all I know, you're a 12-year-old girl. So no, your post changes nothing for me. Do you have anything that looks like, say, a link to a research study -- preferably one that includes data on both positives and negatives of circumcision...or are you expecting me to simply take your word for it?"

Take his word for what? Someone had never before met someone who resented being circumcised, and Tony changed that.

Posted by: bmmg39 at May 28, 2010 11:04 PM

Well, Sydney, she did come off as a "know it all" to me. Maybe she doesn't to other people. And I will admit that I am sensitive about this and other issues. Because, let's face it, according to the conventional wisdom of may of the commenters here, I have committed many "sins:"

1. Pitocin-induced births (4/5 of my kids for post-term pregnancies).

2. Epidurals

3. Forcep/vacuum extraction.

4. Episiotomies.

5. Circumcision for the boys.

6. Reluctant breast feeding.

7. Vaccinations - on schedule.

8. Post-partum depression.

Now to listen to some (and I'm sure many on this board would have similar thoughts), I could have avoided most of these events. But the point is, I did the best I could at the time. I tried like crazy to have "natural births." FOR ME, delivering babies was just plain hard. And the post-partum periods were some of the darkest times in my life. Yet, I still brought 5 children into this world - even though it was HARD. Really hard.

So Elisabeth and Sydney, keep on disseminating information. I will refrain from further comment on this issue and others that I know to be controversial or sensitive for me. For those women who might find mothering a more daunting task than our culture acknowledges, know that you are not alone.

P.S. Elisabeth, no need to be more graphic in your description of the circ, I am an RN.

P.P.S. Syndney, your response to me demonstrates beautifully my point. It was simply nasty. Really. You should reread it and imagine saying that to my face. I know tone is difficult (if not impossible) to convey over the internet, but you failed miserably (and I've noticed it on other posts, too). You can disagree and be charitable. You haven't figured out how to do it yet. Why do you have a problem with me asking for a little less condemnation in tone? Show me where I asked for "silence." I believe I said I was glad for increased discussion. We're talking about approach and tone. That's all. And no, I don't get "mad" when people talk about abortion and what it really is. But then again, there is a world of difference between circumcision and killing a baby.

Posted by: Nerina at May 29, 2010 10:50 AM do you know what my "tone" is? You are far too sensitive. Obviously you have a lot of issues in your life that you made a list of 8 things to feel guilty about. Who is bringing up any of that? I ALSO circumcised my son, okay? I'm right there in the boat with ya! I regret it. I am simply saying you called Elisabeth out wagging your finger at her and I am defending Elisabeth saying you shouldn't do so because she is educating others. You called her a know it all and I am saying she wasn't being one. You're TOO SENSITIVE.

Posted by: Sydney M. at May 29, 2010 12:14 PM

If your Catholic and want to know more how the church (Popes, priests, counsels, ect) has said about circumcision, go check out There is a TON of documentation!

Blessings! Thanks for the article.

Posted by: Stacy at May 29, 2010 4:04 PM

Huh, I didn't know that Jewish boys who get circumcised at their bris get less cut than baby boys in the hospital do. Learn something new everyday.

Posted by: Marauder at May 29, 2010 7:05 PM

As a male, I am so proud of all of the women posting on this board against male genital mutilation. Thank you so much.

The only way to stop the horror of both FGM and MGM is to include them in the larger picture: We must stop all unprovoked violence against all human beings, born or unborn.

Posted by: CJ at May 30, 2010 9:39 AM

I had both of my boys circumcised as well, not knowing any better. It sounded terrible to me, but I was assured by everyone I knew that it's best just to have it done as an infant so that there are no "complications" later.

Had I known then what I know now, I never would have done it.
It was terrible, the recovery was awful, and because they were so traumatized I couldn't nurse them for several days and had to give them formula. It took a long time to work back up to a normal schedual.

I also had NO idea that jewish baby boys had less skin removed.
As a christian, I've always wondered why God would demand such a painful thing be done to baby boys, if it weren't truly neccessary. I assumed that removal of the forskin really WAS neccessary to keep good hygene.

I did not know though that biblical circumcision was different than what little boys experience now. I'm a little relieved, even though I feel terrible guilt to this day.

I've learned to question the norm, and have become what some would call a crunchy mom now. I question everything I put into my body, and that of my children. I'm really glad that I do, I just wish I had the guts (or knew that I had the rights) to do so when my boys were tiny.

Posted by: Corra at June 1, 2010 5:19 PM

Corra, I am also a crunchy mom :-) Doctors tend to get annoyed with me because I question so much. But in these days you have to.

Posted by: Sydney M. at June 1, 2010 8:22 PM

Well, you kind of always had to, it's just no one knew you could! The days of doctor worship are not over, but they are definitely not like they used to be. I've worked with phenomenal docs and horrible ones. Ones that were up to date on everything and ones that hadn't updated their knowledge in years... docs who used their knowledge and minds to question and were willing to admit they didn't know everything... and docs with closed minds who thought they knew it all.

When it comes to medical decisions made in good faith, really, you just have to go with what your best information is at the time. If you learn later that another way might be preferable for whatever reason, you look back and say, "Okay, I learned something there." But if you made the best decision that you could make based upon the best information you had available to you.... then I honestly believe guilt has no room in the equation.

Posted by: Elisabeth at June 2, 2010 3:06 AM

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