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Pros And Cons Of Circumcision Essay

The Debate on Circumcision When it comes to the topic of circumcision, most of us will readily agree that we have been told that it is normal and the thought of an uncircumcised penis is “strange”. Where this agreement usually ends, however, is on the question of why were we taught uncircumcised penises are not normal? Whereas some are convinced that men are supposed to be circumcised, others maintain that it is not necessary and/or harmful.

Circumcision is technically defined as the surgical removal of the foreskin, the tissue covering the head (glans) of the penis (“Circumcision Basics”). This procedure once accepted s a norm has become quite controversial (Macris and Milos). At the end of the nineteenth century, Britain, followed by its white colonies and the USA, took it up as a health measure for infants and young boys (“Introduction”). Prevention of masturbation was a principal reason for the introduction of male circumcision in Victorian Britain and America (“Circumcision and “moral hygiene. ).

Britain lost faith in the procedure in the 1940s and dropped it in the 1950s, followed by the British dominions (Australia, Canada and New Zealand) at a generation’s delay, the incidence of circumcision in the USA ontinued to rise until the 1970s, when it affected as many of 90 percent of males (“Introduction”). Many Americans assume the act of male circumcision as a normal and widely practiced procedure. Contrary to this belief, 85 percent of the world’s male population is intact (Macris and Milos).

Circumcised males are actually a minority in the world; it’s only popular in the United States and a few other places where FGC (female genital cutting) is popular such as, but not limited to, parts in the Middle East and Asia (Bodenner and “Female genital cutting”). There is no single history of circumcision. There are two sorts of circumcision, ritual and medical. It was part of a religious ritual within Judaism and Islam along with others (Macris and Milos). On one hand, defenders of ritual circumcision look at the health benefits claimed by those who perform it for medical reasons.

On the other hand, those who perform it for medical reasons try to argue it as an ancient operation, performed by many different cultures (“Introduction”). The US is the only country in the world where the majority of baby boys have part of their penises cut off for non-religious reasons (“Circumcision in the USA”). In recent discussions of male circumcision, a controversial issue has been whether infant males should be circumcised when they are born or left intact until they come of age to determine the decision themselves.

On the one hand, some argue that circumcision reaps health benefits and holds religious values. From this perspective, pro-circumcision advocates hold to the belief that an uncircumcised penis leads to unsanitary health conditions and disrespects ancient values. On the other hand, however, others argue that it is harmful to both mother parent and baby. If circumcision is a choice, then it hould be up to the male himself to determine. In the words of James, one of the view’s main proponents, “It’s appalling.

If I’d had the choice, I would have left my body as evolution left it, with functioning parts. ” According to this view, he painfully admits his disappointment in the horrible fact that his decision for the snip was not his and had he been granted the chance to decide for himself, he would have left himself alone, how nature intended (Margulis). In sum, then, the issue is whether male circumcision should be performed when the baby is born or should it be a matter left up to the male to decide? My own view is that the decision should be left for the male to decide.

Though I concede that there are those that have no negative repercussions towards circumcision, I still maintain that because it is a permanent alteration to a male’s genitalia, it should be left for the male to decide. For example, my boyfriend wished he had a choice, so no harm can be done unless the owner approves. Although some might object that it is the norm, I would reply that ideas are not born to be a norm, but usually are made a norm, so why should someone else other than the owner make the risky decision of circumcision?

The issue is important because many parents today are regretting their decision on circumcising their baby boy without researching beforehand and men are now wishing they had a say or were given a say. To admit blatantly, there is no medical society in the world that recommends circumcision (“THE FACTS BEHIND CIRCUMCISION”). Though the American Academy of Pediatrics found that the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks, the benefits are not great enough to recommend universal newborn circumcision (“Circumcision Basics”).

The decline of the practice has come along very slowly, ropping between 50 and 60 percent despite repeated advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics that there is no significant medical benefit to be gained (“Introduction”). Tontonoz states, “To many critics, what is most galling about the CDC and AAP guidelines is that they completely ignore the value of having an intact foreskin. ” Advocates’ claim that circumcision is not a big deal rests upon the questionable assumption that circumcision just removes “some extra skin” (“8 Reasons Why You Should Reconsider Circumcision”).

I disagree with this point of view because research has shown that the foreskin is highly ensitive with 20,000 nerve endings, protects the glans of the penis from chafing or chapping, provides natural lubrication during sex, protects the opening of the penis from infection, self-cleaning, and provides coverage during erection (“8 Reasons Why You Should Reconsider Circumcision. “). The foreskin is not just a flap of skin, but a complex web of mucous membrane, muscle fibers, blood vessels and nerves: it supports one of the densest concentrations of nerves in the whole body.

The penis is meant to function with a foreskin (“Introduction”). Circumcision may make it easier to keep the end of the penis clean, but good ygiene in general can help prevent certain problems with the penis, including infections and swelling, even if they penis is not circumcised (“Circumcision Basics”). Though proven that a circumcised penis reduced the risk of some sexually transmitted diseases in men, the usage of a condom during sex will help prevent STDS and other infections in general for both circumcised and uncircumcised penises (“Circumcision Basics”).

Circumcision advocates can only make the obscure claim that an unlikely or rare condition will be less likely to occur in the circumcised male. In addition to this, the medical community tself has admitted that it has not maintained very high standards in its published work. As a matter of fact, Charles Maurer and Daphne Maurer explain that experimental design and statistical analysis are not typically taught in medical school and medical schools discourage questioning of authorities (“Explaining Claims of Medical Benefits”).

Sadly, the focal reasoning for circumcision in the USA is based on conformity. Social pressure, peer pressure, and pressure from circumcised father and grandparents delivering the reasoning that “A boy should look like his father”, all have mixed to make circumcised” an integral part of the concept of a USAmerican man (“Circumcision in the USA”). By focusing on looking like daddy, advocates overlook the deeper problem of not realizing that boys simply do not just compare their penis to their father’s. An adult’s penis and a child’s penis do not look the same anyway!

Circumcision truly reflects a cultural value, and a principal method for preserving cultural values it to disguise them as truths that are based on scientific research. It is not a necessary surgery. Advocates for this surgery must show that it is both safe and effective. Neither has been demonstrated (“Explaining Claims of Medical Benefits”). Furthermore, men that were circumcised are now coming out feeling similar to James. An economist sent an email to Jennifer Margulis that reads, “Many say the anger only comes from botched surgeries, mine wasn’t.

I’m hurt and upset about what happened to me as a baby boy and I have nightmares about it a few times a year. To be strapped to a board and violated like this is one of the most upsetting things that has happened to me in my life… and I’m a cancer survivor as well. ” Other objections include that they feel like half a man. Some think of themselves and other circumcised men as amputees. One man recalled to have resented his circumcision ever since he saw his first intact friend when he was five or six (“Men who resent being circumcised. “). Circumcision is often mistaken as being safe and harmless procedure.

Surgically, removing part of a baby boy’s penis causes pain; creates immediate health risks and can lead to serious complications. The risks include infection, hemorrhage, scarring, difficulty urinating, loss of part of all of the penis, and even death (“THE FACTS BEHIND CIRCUMCISION”). In fact, a friend of mine had her son ircumcised despite being told that she should wait. The outcome of her decision was absolutely terrifying. Her son ended up hemorrhaging profusely for a couple days and declared deceased after a few hours within the hospital.

Circumcision complications can and do occur in even the best clinical settings. It is not just a little snip. In order to perform, the baby becomes immobilized by strapping him face-up onto a molded plastic board. In one common method, the doctor then inserts a metal instrument under the foreskin to forcibly separate it from the glans, slits the foreskin, and inserts a ircumcision device. The foreskin is crushed and then cut off. The amount of skin removed in a typical infant circumcision is the equivalent of fifteen square inches in an adult male (“THE FACTS BEHIND CIRCUMCISION”)!

Astonishingly, anesthesia was not used to alleviate infant suffering until recently because it was believed that babies do not feel pain (Macris and Milos). Due to the awakening of parents doing more research, leaving boys intact is becoming prevalent (“THE FACTS BEHIND CIRCUMCISION”). I remember back when I took sexual education in high school and we discussed about circumcision. I could remember the disgusted sounds of disapproval when the instructor admitted that many people outside of the USA are intact. Guys laughed at this fact and called those uncircumcised men “freaks”.

Times have changed and so have people’s understanding of circumcision, but there are still many that are ignorant about the topic. Like stated, three quarters of the world’s men are intact (“THE FACTS BEHIND CIRCUMCISION”). In short, the circumcision rate in the United States is down from 81 percent in 1981 to about 55 percent today (and much lower in some regions). This means that nearly half of all baby boys leave the hospital intact as more and more parents realize that circumcision ins unnecessary Many say it is not a choice they should be making for their son (“QUESTIONING CIRCUMCISION? ).

For instance, my brother is an intact male. I have asked my mother why she chose to not circumcise him and actually, our pediatrician told her that it was unnecessary and she herself felt that if he grew up wanting to get circumcised, then he can get it done based on his decision. Though the misconception that an intact penis can be dirty and unsanitary, caring for and cleaning the foreskin is easy. An intact, natural penis does not require special care beyond gentle washing. The foreskin should never be forcibly retracted in babies. Just clean what is seen.

Once natural retraction has occurred, a male just needs to simply pull back his foreskin to wash his penis (“QUESTIONING CIRCUMCISION? “). Circumcision is not mentioned in the Koran and the prophet Mohammed did not name it as a pillar of the faith. Muslims inherited the custom from the tribal ritual of the desert Arabs. The traditional age for this procedure among boys born to Muslim parents is eight, but can occur any time between the ages of a few days and twelve years. Islam places no obligation on parents to circumcise their children (“Introduction”).

Among Jewish population, it is performed on the eighth day. In the United States, it is usually performed on the first or second day after birth (“Circumcision Basics”). To oppose male circumcision is religious and cultural bigotry is a myth and has been countered with the fact that many who are against the permanent modification of children’s genitals do so because they believe in universal human rights. All children-regardless of their ethnicity or culture—have the right to be protected from bodily harm (“THE FACTS BEHIND CIRCUMCISION”).

Summarily, my point is not to discourage people from circumcision, but to state points people should consider before deciding to circumcise their baby or deciding to become circumcised. Firmly stated by the American Academy of Pediatrics, “There are no valid medical indications for circumcision in the neonatal period (Tontonoz). A circumcised penis does not prevent urinary tract infections and there is no evidence that circumcision reduces risk of HIV transmission in this population.

Advocating circumcision as a way to curb HIV transmission when the U. S. s both the highest rates of circumcision and the highest rates of HIV infection in the industrialized world strikes many critics as misguided (Tontonoz). This is not to say that a circumcised penis has no beneficiaries at all whatsoever, but rather, that an uncircumcised penis does not attract any disease more often than an uncircumcised penis. Although some readers may object that there are plenty of men that are perfectly fine with being circumcised, I would answer that that is fine, but that it is better to be safe than sorry and give the male the opportunity to do as he pleases with his own body.

Because the procedure of circumcision has been declining recently, an uncircumcised penis may eventually become a norm here in the USA. My position on the subject matter is not that I am against circumcision, but believe circumcision should be left for the male to decide. Essentially, I am arguing not that we should give up this procedure entirely, but that we should monitor effects far more closely.

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