Wow!! Making circumcision illegal?

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krazykat's picture
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Wow!! Making circumcision illegal?

While we chose not to circumcise our son, I don't know how I feel about this. What do you ladies think?

Here's the article:

Jewish groups oppose circumcision ban in US city

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Personally, I feel like without solid medical research which shows its necessity/benefit, it should be considered genital mutilation. If we don't allow it for female babies, we shouldn't allow it for male babies, either.

Thus, the argument of it being a religious practice doesn't fly with me. I'd sign his petition. Smile But that's my opinion. I don't necessarily look down on parents who choose to circ, because it IS a culturally accepted practice right now.

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Ditto Manda. I would sign the petition.

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There is medical evidence that it is at least slightly beneficial though. That might not be enough for some parents, but I know many including doctors, who feel that is important to them. The city in which they are doing this is very liberal so I wouldn't be suprised if it passed, I don't see it ever happening nationwide. Personally I don't want the government telling me how to parent my children, that's called socialism.

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"mandi04" wrote:

There is medical evidence that it is at least slightly beneficial though. That might not be enough for some parents, but I know many including doctors, who feel that is important to them. The city in which they are doing this is very liberal so I wouldn't be suprised if it passed, I don't see it ever happening nationwide. Personally I don't want the government telling me how to parent my children, that's called socialism.

These are the two things that I consider the most. While ACOG is on the biased side (and I don't agree with some of their recommendations), they do not make decisions without considering, as well as citing research, and a lot of research at that. Even they say there are risks and benefits to circumcision. Now I didn't have it done with DS because I personally couldn't get past the "mutilation" aspect. It would have caused pain to my baby for no medical reason or immediate benefit, so I couldn't bring myself to do it. BUT on the other hand, I don't want the government controlling things like that. They control more and more as it is and I don't like it.

ETA: Anyone who has taken statistics or knows much about it, knows that research can be interpreted in just about any way that you want it to. You can take the same circ study and twist the outcomes to where it appears beneficial or appears risky. Obviously the more research that you have that points to a particular conclusion, the more "relevant" it is IMO, but it is all based on theory, which we all know can neither be proven or disproven. I do know however that at least a few babies die each year in the US because of complications directly linked to circumcision... and that was enough for me!

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Meh, I'm a "mutilator", I suppose. I used to find that language incredibly offensive, but I have come to realize that peoples interest in my son's penis is their own prerogative. Two circ'd sons and we are "educated" on the topic and aware of the objections Smile I live on the East Coast, where it is overwhelmingly the norm. This won't even come to a vote, I bet, but if it is the will of the people in SF, super! That is the beauty of living in a democracy.

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I'll add, to make this more 'on topic' that I feel like this is the equivalent of making home birth illegal. While I personally won't home birth I wouldn't sign something to take the choice away from women who want to despite the fact that there is a slight risk to it in the fact that if some thing goes wrong you are not in the hospital, which can have life long effects on a baby. I don't see how you can be for making one illegal and against the other, even if it's not something you would do. I probably shouldn't even post that because we're on a board where there aren't going to be anti-home birthers but there are people from the anti-circ side of things...but do remember for everything that people can say against circumcision there are plenty of things others can say against home birth. It's about choice, and the choice to homebirth does not impact the mom alone, we make choices for our kids everyday and we weigh risks vs benefits. To breast or botte feed, to vaccinate, which diapers to use...all of which can have life long effects and I don't expect the government to tell us what to do with any of those despite my own feelings.

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"Potter75" wrote:

Meh, I'm a "mutilator", I suppose. I used to find that language incredibly offensive, but I have come to realize that peoples interest in my son's penis is their own prerogative. Two circ'd sons and we are "educated" on the topic and aware of the objections Smile I live on the East Coast, where it is overwhelmingly the norm. This won't even come to a vote, I bet, but if it is the will of the people in SF, super! That is the beauty of living in a democracy.

I did want to say that ours was a personal choice, like yours. I respect the parent's right to decide. I used the term b/c it was used in the article.

Mandi, I agree it is on the same lines as the home birth debate.

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In my view, the difference between homebirth and circumcision is that homebirth is about MY vagina, circumcision is about my SON'S penis. I don't own his body, anymore than my husband or the government owns mine. If your son want's to cut off his foreskin, that's absolutely his right and shouldn't be denied. It's a simple argument to me. You wouldn't tattoo your child, same thing. *shrug* I don't want the government legislating what I can do with my OWN body, but with someone else's, you're darn right I think there should be limits.

Everything has risks and benefits, and arguing it from that standpoint, I can justify almost anything.

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That is an interesting difference. I think that birth is first and foremost about my BABY, not just my vagina. My baby does not choose where they live, how they are fed, what they wear, what vaccinations they receive, how they are disciplined etc. That is great if you allow your child to make all of those decisions!

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"mandora" wrote:

Personally, I feel like without solid medical research which shows its necessity/benefit, it should be considered genital mutilation. If we don't allow it for female babies, we shouldn't allow it for male babies, either.

Thus, the argument of it being a religious practice doesn't fly with me. I'd sign his petition. Smile But that's my opinion. I don't necessarily look down on parents who choose to circ, because it IS a culturally accepted practice right now.

DITTO!!

His penis, His choice.

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I definitely disagree with the arguement that because it is an accepted cultural practice that makes it okay. Female genital mutilation is considered an accepted and even promoted cultural practice in many African countries, but does that mean it's morally or ethically right? The vast majority of people would say no.

Personally I don't want the government telling me how to parent my children, that's called socialism.

I disagree with this statement. Passing a law to criminalize circumcision is not an example of the government telling you how to parent, it's giving the medical community a new guideline to abide by for health reasons. This happens all the time, it's just usually not as controversial of an issue.

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"MandyMommyto1" wrote:

I disagree with this statement. Passing a law to criminalize circumcision is not an example of the government telling you how to parent, it's giving the medical community a new guideline to abide by for health reasons. This happens all the time, it's just usually not as controversial of an issue.

It's also not socialism, for the record.

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What other elective, cosmetic procedure is done to people without their consent in the developed world?

If given the opportunity, I would vote for it to be illegal.

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We don't circ but I think this is wrong. I get so tired of everyone wanting laws for each & every thing they agree & disagree on. We need to learn to live & let live, to self govern ourselves while allowing others that same right. Big gov't is never a good thing.

When we allow things like this to pass, where does one draw the line?

"mandora" wrote:

In my view, the difference between homebirth and circumcision is that homebirth is about MY vagina, circumcision is about my SON'S penis. I don't own his body, anymore than my husband or the government owns mine. If your son want's to cut off his foreskin, that's absolutely his right and shouldn't be denied. It's a simple argument to me. You wouldn't tattoo your child, same thing. *shrug* I don't want the government legislating what I can do with my OWN body, but with someone else's, you're darn right I think there should be limits.

Everything has risks and benefits, and arguing it from that standpoint, I can justify almost anything.

To play devils advocate here, I don't see it as just your body - your baby is very much involved in the process & can when things go wrong be hurt in that process. I know many people who are against (and extremley so) homebirth & would vote in a heartbeat to have it made illegal. I recently lost two friends due to a homebirth vs hopsital birth argument b/c they were unable to see past their own opinion - I can very much see how the two go hand in hand ~ I don't want homebirth to be illegal anymore than I want cicumcision to be, even though my opinons on the two are polar opposite. What I want is for there to be more education on the subject - we need to educate the public, not law them to death. Your last sentence really seals the deal for me - "Everything has risks and benefits, and arguing it from that standpoint, I can justify almost anything." - which brings me back to, where do we draw the line? It's easy to want something to be made illegal when you disagree with it - it's a whole different story when you agree with it.

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"mandora" wrote:

It's also not socialism, for the record.

Very true! Haha, didn't even catch that.

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"mandora" wrote:

You wouldn't tattoo your child, same thing. *shrug*

Of course I would not tattoo my child as a white american. It would be illegal and extremely socially aberrant. That said, I'm not arrogant enough to believe that if I grew up in a tribe or culture where tattooing ones children was something everyone did that I would not do the same thing to my child. It would be as socially aberrant for me not to tattoo my child in such a culture as it would be for me TO tattoo my child in our culture. I get that people may not think that cultural reasons are important enough to justify circ, and that is your right. I think that our culture influences us a lot, some of us are just more willing to admit it than others.

Chimmy, I agree with what you say re: homebirth and circ and the parallels in between when it comes to legislation. I was glad to have the option to homebirth, and I am glad to have the option to circ Smile

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I absolutely agree that our culture influences what we find acceptable... I'm an anthropology/sociology prof for petes sake!! Wink What I do think, though, is that we all have to draw our line of what is 'ok' and what isn't. There are things that we all, for whatever reason, feel to be ethically or morally wrong. The case of tattooing, I likely wouldn't feel differently about - I would still feel it's wrong to tattoo a child against their will, if that was our culture norm, the same as I feel circ'ing is wrong, with it being a cultural norm in the culture of which I am currently a part.

The question asked wasn't 'am I right in agreeing it should be illegal'... I can't answer that. The question was, would I support it. And my answer is, sure would. Smile That said, aren't ALL laws questions of (someone's) morality? I don't think that just MY opinions should be made into law - if the majority feels one way, that should be the law... sucks for me if I'm on the losing end. I could/would try to educate others, sway them to my views or whatever, but such is a democracy - majority rules. I don't think this is a case of the government telling me what's what (as in a dictatorship), but rather if the MAJORITY felt it should be illegal (as demonstrated by a public vote), it should be mandated in the law. That's how we keep order (or, theoretically it is, anyway) Wink

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Perhaps a societal law, sure, but I strongly disagree with legistlating something like this. It's a slippery slope.

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"Chimmy" wrote:

which brings me back to, where do we draw the line? It's easy to want something to be made illegal when you disagree with it - it's a whole different story when you agree with it.

See my post above, but to speak directly to it... not really. Smile I absolutely believe in the rights of others to fight for their beliefs, and if they feel strongly, to try to get legislation passed to that effect.

For example, every week there are anti-abortion protestors outside the hospital here. Many of my friends get angry at them because they're protesting this and they see it as a woman's right to choose, that these old white men shouldn't be allowed a say, etc. But while I absolutely disagree with the protestors, I vehemently defend their right to be there and express their opinions. If they brought a movement to try to get abortions made illegal, I would support their right to do that, as well. Of course, I wouldn't vote for it, but it's their right to move for it.

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"Chimmy" wrote:

Perhaps a societal law, sure, but I strongly disagree with legistlating something like this. It's a slippery slope.

I'm honestly not being glib here, and genuinely would like to know, what's the difference between this and say, murder or drunk driving, or any other law on the books? What makes this different for you?

There are culturally sanctioned reasons for murder (honour killings, vengence killings), many cultures/countries don't have drunk driving laws... what makes this a different sort of cultural artifact for you?

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Yes, I was just pointing out the inherent logical flaw in the tattoo analogy, as it ignores cultural norms. Where you live, you not circing is culturally normal (yet you still define yourself by your decision to agree with your cultural norm in your signature, which is interesting). Where I live, circing IS culturally the overwhelming norm.

As to the topic as it relates to SF, that is what I stated in my first post. Huzzah for SF if that is what its citizens deem important enough to vote on in a totally bankrupt state, and if they do choose to ban Circ (which won't happen) I would say that that is fair as I support the democratic process, and that I am glad that I am not a Jewish person living in SF.

If intactivists think that it helps their cause to label other mothers, good, loving women, people who love their children, "mutilators" that is on them.

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"mandora" wrote:

every week there are anti-abortion protestors outside the hospital here. Many of my friends get angry at them because they're protesting this and they see it as a woman's right to choose, that these old white men shouldn't be allowed a say, etc. But while I absolutely disagree with the protestors, I vehemently defend their right to be there and express their opinions. If they brought a movement to try to get abortions made illegal, I would support their right to do that, as well. Of course, I wouldn't vote for it, but it's their right to move for it.

Right - I don't disagree with this at all. I fully support all non-violent protests. I've been apart of many myself Wink I am grateful we live in a place where were can so openly vocalize our opinions - I wouldn't ever, ever want to have that right taken away. My opinion that we over legistlate things doesn't mean I want the ability to so taken away - that's a power the people should always have a right to. These are two different issues for me - the ability to do try and legislate something, and the support of such bill. I support this mans right to want it illegal, I do not however support the bill.

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I really think that the parents should have the right to choose on this. Especially when it is a strongly held religious belief for a lot of people. Whether or not you are religious yourself, I think that it's important to respect others' beliefs (religious or otherwise) and that they have the right to do things differently from you if they so choose. If you want to take the religious aspect out of it, I still don't like the idea of making it illegal because I really do feel like this should be the parents' decision, not the government's. Lots of people take their small infants to get their ears pierced... maybe that's not on the same scale as circumcision, but it could be considered mutilation and it doesn't serve any medical purpose... I guess I just feel like when you start turning over decisions on these sorts of things to the government, there's no logical place to stop, and you may end up losing a lot more freedoms than you counted on. I think that if people/doctors/etc. really feel like circumcision is a bad choice, that educating people about it is a better way to go than just outlawing it. But that's just my opinion.

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"mandora" wrote:

I'm honestly not being glib here, and genuinely would like to know, what's the difference between this and say, murder or drunk driving, or any other law on the books? What makes this different for you?

There are culturally sanctioned reasons for murder (honour killings, vengence killings), many cultures/countries don't have drunk driving laws... what makes this a different sort of cultural artifact for you?

For some I'd say there is no difference, perhaps to you there isn't? I don't know. We could easily get into semantics here & justify every action made within human existance & how really there is no wrong, I really don't want to go there Lol However, I believe that murder & circumcision are vastly different by means of importance & therefore I would never support a bill that would make it illegal. Others will feel differently & thus choose differently. I am glad that they have the ability to voice that just much as I. That doesn't take away from the fact that I find it obnoxious that we (general we here) try and legislate every darn thing we agree & disagree on & due to this I take the idea of a new law very seriously. Like Heather said "I guess I just feel like when you start turning over decisions on these sorts of things to the government, there's no logical place to stop, and you may end up losing a lot more freedoms than you counted on."

It is always easier to make a law, not so easy to take one away.

"heatherliz2002" wrote:

I really think that the parents should have the right to choose on this. Especially when it is a strongly held religious belief for a lot of people. Whether or not you are religious yourself, I think that it's important to respect others' beliefs (religious or otherwise) and that they have the right to do things differently from you if they so choose. If you want to take the religious aspect out of it, I still don't like the idea of making it illegal because I really do feel like this should be the parents' decision, not the government's. Lots of people take their small infants to get their ears pierced... maybe that's not on the same scale as circumcision, but it could be considered mutilation and it doesn't serve any medical purpose... I guess I just feel like when you start turning over decisions on these sorts of things to the government, there's no logical place to stop, and you may end up losing a lot more freedoms than you counted on. I think that if people/doctors/etc. really feel like circumcision is a bad choice, that educating people about it is a better way to go than just outlawing it. But that's just my opinion.

:thumbsup: Yep.

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Gotcha. So it's a difference of degrees, then.

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"heatherliz2002" wrote:

Lots of people take their small infants to get their ears pierced... maybe that's not on the same scale as circumcision, but it could be considered mutilation and it doesn't serve any medical purpose... I guess I just feel like when you start turning over decisions on these sorts of things to the government, there's no logical place to stop, and you may end up losing a lot more freedoms than you counted on. I think that if people/doctors/etc. really feel like circumcision is a bad choice, that educating people about it is a better way to go than just outlawing it. But that's just my opinion.

I agree. Imagine if babies had to sign a consent form before they got their vaccinations! Or before their mother chose to home birth them! We choose the risks or the behaviors that are acceptable to us as adult parents. Some parents choose (as adults) to circ their children, or to home birth, or to raise them as vegetarians or leave them in daycare or to formula feed them or to do whatever we feel is best.

I don't think that circumcision in in any way a superior choice. I feel quite sure that were I to live in a place where no one circ'd, I would not circ. But, alas, I don't. I think that this is an argument that gets lost a lot in the whole "medical benefits" thing. They are split, but I feel quite sure that the penis is quite able to survive without being circumcised, as it did for the majority of history. I feel like there is really no real medical benefit to circing ~ it is like giving vitamins to breast fed babies to me ~ my babies nurse and do fine, I'm sure most kids with intact peni do just fine ~ the continuation of our species has relied upon that!

The only thing that people who would call other mothers names fail to realize is that we, as mothers, are adhering to OUR cultural or religious norms. They may not be yours! We (as privileged white people) think it is all nifty and neat when some african has their neck stretched or giant spacers in their ear or tattoos or scarification on their body, yet we, in our weird mommy war stuff, dare use words like mutilator or uneducated or whatnot to our fellow sisters when they follow their own cultural norms. Shame on them, I say.

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This has been an interesting discussion. I would like to weigh in here. I oppose circumcision--my husband and I both come from families that chose not do do it even though it was normal in the culture where they lived at the time (my DH's parents because his mom comes from a different culture and my parents because they watched the circumcision of their oldest and it was a bad experience for them, so they didn't circumcise their two other sons). I think people having the courage to do something different than what their culture supports, and educate others about that choice, are the catalyst for paradigm shifts within culture. I believe that circumcising a child violates his right to bodily autonomy, and feel that such a violation probably should be illegal, as I see the purpose of laws as to protect people's rights. I don't believe that a parent's right to choose supercedes the child's right to bodily autonomy in this case, but I'm sure there are some who disagree. While I AM a big believer in the importance parental rights, I do no agree with those who use parental rights as an argument against making it illegal. I don't think parental rights give parents a right to do something harmful to a child that violates his rights. THAT BEING SAID, I do not think that the U.S. is ready to make circumcision illegal, because it is still culturally accepted, and very strongly so in some areas, as Potter75 made clear in her comments. I think that moving to make it illegal is the wrong way to go about promoting change at this point, and there are other methods that can be much more effective (and calling people "mutilators" is not one of them, either)

ETA: I also want to say, that I do not fault parents who circ for cultural reasons--I realize that not everyone is going to agree with my view of the morality of it--not everyone agrees that it is harmful, and some may not view "bodily autonomy" as a basic human right

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I wasn't going to beat a dead horse but I've seen the term "mutilator" used several times now. Has it been in response to the thread or the article? The first person here to use it as a noun was Potter in her own post calling her own self by the term. Otherwise it has been used as a verb. There is a big difference. Nobody here or in the article called anyone a "mutilator". If you look at the definition of mutilate, "to injure", circumcision can be described in that way. Originally I said, Now I didn't have it done with DS because I personally couldn't get past the "mutilation" aspect. It would have caused pain to my baby for no medical reason or immediate benefit, so I couldn't bring myself to do it. Please read I personally, and I couldn't bring myself... That was in no way calling anyone a "mutilator", and it wasn't used in the article as a noun either. Were y'all speaking in general terms about taking offense to it? Or responding to something said in the thread?

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Well, sure. If you look at the definition of "spontaneous aborter" it would be appropriate to use in reference to a friend who has had multiple miscarriages. I still would not use the term, all dictionary appropriateness aside, as I recognize that it could be hurtful. I've been on these boards for a long time now, and have seen the term used many times (generally on the debate board) in reference to parents who choose to circumcise. Like I said, I used to find it offensive, now I don't bother. If you choose to refer to circumcision as mutilation, you are calling parents who choose it mutilators, whether directly or indirectly. That is your (general your) right. Just like it would be my right to get offended by it or not. I choose not to. Hope that clarifies Smile

mrsMangoBabe, great post!

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Alright I see where you are coming from. I *might* be able to use the term spontaneous abortion, but probably would refrain from calling anyone a spontaneous aborter. Just like I used the term mutilation but would not call anyone a mutilator... it's just very different in my mind. But I also put it in quotes to refer back to the article. I'm not even sure that "mutilation" is the right word for what I was trying to say, I guess I just used it in reference. We didn't circ just b/c I couldn't bring myself to do it honestly. DH was deployed and I had told him before that I wanted him with Justus *if* we were going to have it done, but that I wouldn't go. Ultimately it wasn't that important to him or to me, and we couldn't find enough benefit to outweigh the risk in our own minds. Neither he nor I are religious, and we do come from families that are all circ'd but it didn't matter to us. We didn't even really think of the cultural norms or anything beyond, it would hurt to have it done and possibly for a couple of days after, and there wasn't any particular reason that we felt was important enough to go through with it.

Also, DH suffers from a lack of sensitivity (tmi) and we have always speculated if it might have been from his circ. He liked the idea of his boy having more length and girth ROFL as well (haha, such a guy thing). And it may sound weird but I did think of he and his partner, one day, being able to get the full benefit of being intact. Of course, if he ever wants to have it done once he is older, we will support him in being able to make the most informed decision and ultimately have it done if that's what he chooses.

But that is just us personally. Excuse my ramblings Wink

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I agree very much with Brittany on this and I am very happy that I live in a place where this is no longer considered, except for religious reasons...and even then, it's rare. In a few short decades, its gone from common practice, to almost non-existent.

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My husband and I started talking about this this morning as the book that I am reading (the mango rains one about midwifery in Malia) speaks about female circumcision and how common a practice it is in Africa. It has sparked some interesting discussions between he and I & made us both realize how strong culture and cultural norms are. I am against male circumcision, I think it's such a sad thing to do to a tiny baby boy and yet as I have thought about this thread the idea of making it illegal makes me uneasy b/c I worry about what will be challenged next - and yet I would without thinking vote for female circ to be illegal. I'm such a hypocrite! Not intentionally but as I pondered this it really did make me realize how the 'norm' no matter what it is can become okay or not okay - it's interesting to think about & how it influences our thoughts & feelings.

Not sure where I'm going with this - but thought I would share. And Brittany I agree with you as well - I think right now education is our biggest asset to changing things. My hope is down the road male circ would not be done unless there was a *true* medical need. In the US is has been slowly changing over the last 10+ years & while there are still some social circles that are pro circ over all it is no longer the overwhelming majority & I can see the opposite coming true in another 10 years, where there will be more non circed than circed.

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I'm mostly a lurker here at this point, but have been an active member of this board in the past... I'll probably regret weighing in on this, but I'm gonna do it anyway b/c I always avoid discussions like this - so I'm taking a leap of faith here...

Manda - I have to challenge you. As an anthropology/sociology professor, how can you not value the anthropological significance of a religious ritual that has been in continual practice for 5000 years? How can you look at the most ancient culture in the world that still exists today and not value it's longevity? And more than that - that you would support a bill to make such an ancient cultural practice illegal seems to me a contradiction to the purpose of anthropological study.

Let me be clear. I am not at all supporting medical circumcision. I'm not saying anything about whether it is healthy or not, whether it is beneficial or not. The only thing I am challenging in this post is that you would be so quick to annihilate the right of a particular group of people to choose to practice their rituals - whether you agree with it or not.

And to address the issue of parental rights, in the case of Jewish circumcision there isn't a question of parental right. I am aware that many Jewish people follow the religion without a second thought and - whatever, what can you do. But many - and I would like to say more and more - people who choose an observant Jewish lifestyle do so with full intellectual and analytical choice. They choose to have faith in the Torah and in God's Law. They choose to bring children into the world and to raise them as Jewish children and that precludes parental rights and physical autonomy. Because they believe that God is intimately involved in every aspect of their lives, and that if they merit to conceive a child and that child is born whole and healthy - it is only by the grace of God. Therefore they will also initiate that child into his heritage the way God decreed whether they agree with the practice or not, because God said so.

I don't know the details of the statistics of circ-related deaths, and how many were a result of Jewish ritual circumcision performed by a trained mohel at the appropriated time (meaning not sooner that 8 days after birth - which by the way happens to coincide with when a baby begins to be able to produce his own vit K...) but I would be interested to see those details.

Anyway, I'm aware that some of you might hate me and judge me for expressing my opinions, but I have higher hopes for the women on this board, so that's why I'm putting this out there anyway - because I feel it should be said.

And that's all I have to say about that.

ETA: (apparently I do have more to say!) There are many things in Jewish law that leave a lot of room for interpretation, where one's personal feelings and experiences can dictate how exactly the laws and rituals are observed - even in families of strict observance - but circumcision is one of the rare cases that does not fall into that category. However, there are rare circumstances when a circumcision would be pushed off or not performed at all - mostly relating to medical issues that would compromise the child's ability to heal or to handle the procedure. I thought that was important to add.

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Chimmy, that's what did it for me. I didn't have strong feelings about it before we had kids (would have just said 'meh, to each his own'). But once I started researching/thinking about it, I couldn't help but feel that since I'd be VERY opposed to it if it was a girl, regardless of cultural/religious reasons, then I necessarily had to oppose it for little boys too. If I'd support a law banning one, then I had to support the other. That's what did it for me.

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I wasn't going to chime in on this either but;-) Sort of an aside to what Ayelet said... I'm not a Jew, but I am a bible-believing Christian. So that is the perspective I come from in what I'm going to say. And I know this issue is one Christians don't agree on either.

Anyway... Yes, God does mandate circumcision. Yes, it is in the old testament and we as Christians are no longer under the law. BUT. When you look at the health and hygiene laws in the Torah, how many of them were considered unconventional at the time but were later proven by science? Washing under running water, which animals are healthiest to eat, etc. I believe the creator of the universe knows our bodies and what is best for them, and that there is a health reason for circumcision. That like many other elements of the law, science will someday prove why it is so much better for us.

With that said, I truly was undecided about circumcision during my first pregnancy. I researched both sides of the issue and learned the pros and cons of both. But my belief in the truth of God's word was the tiebreaker.

Just my perspective:-)

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"tanismom" wrote:

Manda - I have to challenge you. As an anthropology/sociology professor, how can you not value the anthropological significance of a religious ritual that has been in continual practice for 5000 years? How can you look at the most ancient culture in the world that still exists today and not value it's longevity? And more than that - that you would support a bill to make such an ancient cultural practice illegal seems to me a contradiction to the purpose of anthropological study.

Let me be clear. I am not at all supporting medical circumcision. I'm not saying anything about whether it is healthy or not, whether it is beneficial or not. The only thing I am challenging in this post is that you would be so quick to annihilate the right of a particular group of people to choose to practice their rituals - whether you agree with it or not.

I'm trying to figure out a polite way to say this, because I'm honestly not trying to be a d*ck, I respect your religious convictions, and certainly don't want to discourage you from posting your views, because that's the point of this discussion. But just because something has been practised for 5000 years, or is religiously sanctioned by one particular religion, does not make it 'right'. Child sacrifice was practiced by many cultures for many millenia - is THAT something that should be protected or legally sactioned? I'm not necessarily saying the two are 'equal', simply providing an example. Just because I don't agree with it, morally speaking, doesn't mean that I can't see it's value, culturally speaking. I can acknowledge the cultural importance of female genital mutilation too, but I also don't condone that. Similarly, arranged marriages, child brides, animal sacrifice, etc etc etc.

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Yes, God does mandate circumcision.

Just wondering... if God is all for circumcision then why did he create man with foreskin?

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"azin_may" wrote:

Just wondering... if God is all for circumcision then why did he create man with foreskin?

That's one for a long list of Why? questions to ask when I see Him;-)

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Manda ~ the entire thing is interesting to think about - the subject is more broad than it first appears to be. Female circ isn't really something that most think about b/c it's not done nor accepted in our part of the world (although still done, yes, the scale is much much smaller & in secret) - when first looking into circ I came across it and was very disturbed by the entire thing but quite honestly did not think about it when first coming upon this discussion & I'm guessing most don't.

Connie ~ I do not believe that circumcision is mandated by God. My aunt used that as her reason to freak out on me when I had my first 12 years ago, after finding out that we choose not to. Shocked by this reaction & thus opinion I looked into it & heavily studied this interpretation & quite firmly believe that it is quite the opposite - His actions made it so it was no longer mandated, thus doing away with it. I'm not going to get into a heavily religious discussion here but am happy to take it to PM.

Ayelet ~ I appeciate you taking the time to share your side of this, I think we have a good group of women here & because of that I enjoy discussions where not everyone is on the same page. A lot can be gained by trying to understand anothers perspective, especially when that perspective is opposite of anothers.

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Ayelet--thank you for sharing your thoughts. I am a woman of faith, so I can empathize with your perspective on wanting to be obedient.

For those who are Christian, if you are interested in looking more specifically at Christianity and Circumcision, there is a great resource list here: http://www.drmomma.org/2009/06/information-on-circumcision-for.html

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Thanks for the list! I've seen arguments from Christians both for and against circumcision...

And just to clarify - When I said God mandated circumcision, I was referring to the Jewish people, not Christians:-)

Chimmy, I need to clear out my PM's LOL Once I do, I'll be interested in what you have to say;-)

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"cmljll" wrote:

Thanks for the list! I've seen arguments from Christians both for and against circumcision...

And just to clarify - When I said God mandated circumcision, I was referring to the Jewish people, not ChristiansSmile

Chimmy, I need to clear out my PM's LOL Once I do, I'll be interested in what you have to say;-)

Well then that changes things lol I misunderstood, feel free to ignore me Lol

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"mandora" wrote:

I'm honestly not being glib here, and genuinely would like to know, what's the difference between this and say, murder or drunk driving, or any other law on the books? What makes this different for you?

There are culturally sanctioned reasons for murder (honour killings, vengence killings), many cultures/countries don't have drunk driving laws... what makes this a different sort of cultural artifact for you?

I think that it is very interesting that you have compared circ to murder, child sacrifice, drunk driving, infanticide, child brides, arranged marriage and tattooing minors. None of those are culturally or religiously allowable practices in our culture, (Lets just say North American culture) nor have they been for....well, mostly forever. It is hard for me to believe that you are actually trying to understand the "cultural or religious norm/mandate" argument when you refute it with such outrageous comparisons.

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Thanks Brittany, Chimmy and Connie, et al! Smile

"mandora" wrote:

I'm trying to figure out a polite way to say this, because I'm honestly not trying to be a d*ck, I respect your religious convictions, and certainly don't want to discourage you from posting your views, because that's the point of this discussion. But just because something has been practised for 5000 years, or is religiously sanctioned by one particular religion, does not make it 'right'. Child sacrifice was practiced by many cultures for many millenia - is THAT something that should be protected or legally sactioned? I'm not necessarily saying the two are 'equal', simply providing an example. Just because I don't agree with it, morally speaking, doesn't mean that I can't see it's value, culturally speaking. I can acknowledge the cultural importance of female genital mutilation too, but I also don't condone that. Similarly, arranged marriages, child brides, animal sacrifice, etc etc etc.

Just because you personally don't condone a behavior does that mean that it should be illegal?

But I want to clarify something important - I wasn't justifying the practice of ritual circumcision, and I wasn't suggesting that it be protected or legally sanctioned. But I also think that it would be a violation of freedom of religion to make it illegal.

That is I think the bottom line. And I agree with Potter75 that there is absolutely no comparison here between drunk driving and murder to circumcision.

Also, Manda, I was specifically wondering how you can study and teach anthropology and be so quick to annihilate such deep roots. I wonder how a discussion about this would go over in your classroom. What is the point of studying ancient culture and the roots of humanity if you would not support it's continuity? And I think that we can agree that there is a marked difference between child sacrifice and circumcision. although if that were up for discussion I still don't think it would be appropriate for a government that presumably separates religion and state to make even that practice illegal.

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"tanismom" wrote:

But I want to clarify something important - I wasn't justifying the practice of ritual circumcision, and I wasn't suggesting that it be protected or legally sanctioned. But I also think that it would be a violation of freedom of religion to make it illegal.

Also, Manda, I was specifically wondering how you can study and teach anthropology and be so quick to annihilate such deep roots. I wonder how a discussion about this would go over in your classroom. What is the point of studying ancient culture and the roots of humanity if you would not support it's continuity? And I think that we can agree that there is a marked difference between child sacrifice and circumcision. although if that were up for discussion I still don't think it would be appropriate for a government that presumably separates religion and state to make even that practice illegal.

I disagree that making it illegal violates freedom of religion. The child has not chosen a religion. What if the child grows up and decides he does not want to be Jewish? If an adult chooses to be Jewish and wants to be circumcized, have at it. But with infant circumcision, the choice is being made for another person. How can that be violating the child's freedom of religion? If anything I see it as the circumcision violating the child's own personal freedom of religion.

Also, I'm not quite sure how you don't get Manda's POV? You can study and teach about a lot of things and not necessarily agree with their continuation. As far as I could tell child sacrifice wasn't used as a comparison to circumcision, as much as an example her argument.

If anything, I think male circumcision should be compared to female circumcision....which, I do believe, is illegal in both Canada and the US. For the sake of making it a fair comparision, I'm talking about type 4, which can be as simple as nicking or piecing the clitoral hood. If baby girls are protected from female circumcision, even if done for religious reasons, why do we not similarly protect baby boys? What is the difference? (not being snide...I truly would like to understand the explanation for this)

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Yes, Amber. What you said.

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"Amber_daisy" wrote:

If anything, I think male circumcision should be compared to female circumcision....which, I do believe, is illegal in both Canada and the US. For the sake of making it a fair comparision, I'm talking about type 4, which can be as simple as nicking or piecing the clitoral hood. If baby girls are protected from female circumcision, even if done for religious reasons, why do we not similarly protect baby boys? What is the difference? (not being snide...I truly would like to understand the explanation for this)

I missed when this was a common cultural or religious practice for those of us in NA? Seeing as how it *never* was, I find it hard to make a fair comparison when you are talking about a cultural or religious practice. I would say that that, in a nutshell, is the difference.

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Potter ~ It wasn't a cultural norm but it is done here in the US and in Canada & because of that it was made illegal. However, the fact that it's not the norm shouldn't be the only role this plays in the decision factor.

"Amber_daisy" wrote:

I disagree that making it illegal violates freedom of religion. The child has not chosen a religion. What if the child grows up and decides he does not want to be Jewish? If an adult chooses to be Jewish and wants to be circumcized, have at it. But with infant circumcision, the choice is being made for another person. How can that be violating the child's freedom of religion? If anything I see it as the circumcision violating the child's own personal freedom of religion.

Also, I'm not quite sure how you don't get Manda's POV? You can study and teach about a lot of things and not necessarily agree with their continuation. As far as I could tell child sacrifice wasn't used as a comparison to circumcision, as much as an example her argument.

If anything, I think male circumcision should be compared to female circumcision....which, I do believe, is illegal in both Canada and the US. For the sake of making it a fair comparision, I'm talking about type 4, which can be as simple as nicking or piecing the clitoral hood. If baby girls are protected from female circumcision, even if done for religious reasons, why do we not similarly protect baby boys? What is the difference? (not being snide...I truly would like to understand the explanation for this)

See - this is where it gets sticky & why I struggle with this subject. Everything we do as parents can in one way or another can be seen as a violation of the child's rights, depending on the paradigm that your living in & seeing. Our children don't choose anything until they are much older, it is our role as a parent to decide these things for them & we are all going to choose differently - I'm against circumcision but this argument doesn't really work for me.

The female vs male circ part I agree with. There isn't a difference. Both are done for ritual, cultural & religious reasons.

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"Potter75" wrote:

I missed when this was a common cultural or religious practice for those of us in NA? Seeing as how it *never* was, I find it hard to make a fair comparison when you are talking about a cultural or religious practice. I would say that that, in a nutshell, is the difference.

Granted there is a difference in historical/cultural practice and acceptance in the US/Canada. But how does that make it unfair when we're talking about human rights and freedom of religion? Why would immigrants to Canada or the US from those areas of the world who practice female circumcision (I'm talking about a "ritual nick" here, not excision and infibulation) for religious reasons not be granted the same religious freedoms as Jewish Americans/Canadians when it comes to infant circumcision? Some of these religious groups have been practicing female circumcision for much longer than Americans have been doing it for cultural reasons. Besides, isn't "freedom of religion" supposed to apply equally to all people?

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"Amber_daisy" wrote:

Granted there is a difference in historical/cultural practice and acceptance in the US/Canada. But how does that make it unfair when we're talking about human rights and freedom of religion? Why would immigrants to Canada or the US from those areas of the world who practice female circumcision (I'm talking about a "ritual nick" here, not excision and infibulation) for religious reasons not be granted the same religious freedoms as Jewish Americans/Canadians when it comes to infant circumcision? Some of these religious groups have been practicing female circumcision for much longer than Americans have been doing it for cultural reasons. Besides, isn't "freedom of religion" supposed to apply equally to all people?

I'm not talking about freedom of religion or human rights, I'm talking about cultural norms. You asked me to compare the two (male and female circ in NA), I explained why I can't. Cultural norms aren't a good enough reason for you, but they are for me, that is the disconnect. Immigrants give up a lot of cultural rights/practices when they choose to live somewhere else. I would suppose if the laws are not respectful of their religious or cultural traditions, they would choose not to move to such a place. That is just common sense. If they find the laws unpalatable or inhospitable to their culture, they certainly should not move there, unless they are okay with adapting their practices to that of the new culture that they choose.

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