I recall talking once with an Intact America rep at a midwifery conference and he was very happy to hear that I was interested in getting some literature to hand out to my clients. He told me that many of the midwives he had talked to at the conference said that, while they supported his orgainzation's aim, they didn't feel it was their place to bring up the topic of circumcistion with their pregnant clients; that is wasn't their place to discuss it.
In my experience, education is of the utmost importance on this topic. I have seen countless families who originally planned, without question, to circumcise their baby boy, but then once they learned more and because informed, they instead kept their boy intact. Indeed, more and more families in the United States are keeping their boys intact. In my region of the country, around 70% of baby boys are now left intact. Even still, 30% of boys being cut is too high.
I bring up the topic prenatally with my clients, if they know they are having a boy and if they don't know the sex of their baby. It is sometimes an anxiety-filled conversation, but its an important one. I myself am the mother of 2 intact boys and married to an intact man (as are the majority of men in South America, where my husband was born).
Quoted directly from the National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Center website, here are the basics on male circumcision:
No national or international medical association recommends routine circumcision.
Only the USA circumcises the majority of newborn boys without medical or religious reason.
Medicalized circumcision began during the 1800s to prevent masturbation, which was believed to cause disease. Today's parents are learning that the foreskin is a normal, protective, functioning organ. Today's parents realize circumcision harms and has unnecessary risks.
Circumcision denies a male's right to genital integrity and choice for his own body.
This brings me to the recent news that the American Academy of Pediatrics revised their policy on female genital mutilation (now called 'cutting'). I believe that this move is likely related to the fact that they (along with the CDC) are currently reviewing their policy on infant male genital mutilation (aka circumcision), exploring whether or not they are going to continue to NOT endorse circumcision. If I am correct in my connecting the two, I am fully expecting the policy of infant male genital mutilation to be reversed. (I hope I am wrong.)
When I originally heard the news of the AAP and CDC reconsidering recommending circumcision and now backtracking on their original opposition to all female mutilation, I felt such shock and disgust. How about we just stop cutting our babies? No, really! Sharp objects belong nowhere near genitals of babies and children, in my opinion.
Marilyn Milos, director of NOCIRC, recently sent the AAP this letter in reply to their policy revision on female genital mutilation, which ElementalMom so wisely blogged about.
CNN recently published a good article on the topic of female genital mutilation. A Somali film director and activist, Soraya Mire, counsels genital mutilation survivors and families who want to have their daughters cut:
She sleeps with her cell phone tucked under her pillow, so she can answer at all hours.Fatima Mohamed, a Somali immigrant and activist, was herself cut and says of her own daughter:
"You don't have a right to do this to your children," Mire tells the immigrant community. "You are continuing the abuse."
Really, this applies to both sexes.
Her 11-year-old daughter is too young to comprehend genital cutting, Mohamed says. Instead, they discuss her daughter's dreams to become a pediatrician. Perhaps in a few years, Mohamed will tell her the truth.
"I would never do it to my daughter," she said. "I don't want it. This has nothing to do with religion or culture. I believe nobody should control my child."
On the topic of Jewish male circumcision, have you seen the documentary CUT? It's worth a watch!
This is something that affects all of us. Our babies are born perfect, whether they have labia and a clitoris, or a penis and scrotum between their legs. How about we just don't cut our babies?