Monday, June 20, 2011

Vote Against Infant Circumcision

A truly inspired commercial for a man owning a circumcision clinic in the Philippines
My friend and co-blogger Eddi Haskell has started a vote for or against infant circumcision. Our debate started after a mutual friend and co-blogger Torro Spyker came out against infant circumcision on his blog The Bullring.

My own position on the issue, as I have said before, (so this is partly a  repost) is that mass-circumcision of infant boys is genital mutilation and child abuse. Admittedly there are a few cases when it is warranted by medical reasons, but otherwise I cannot see any valid arguments for this procedure being performed on infants.

In my mind this surgery should only be performed with informed consent on adult men. I for one would hate to have my foreskin removed, just saying.

(And yes, I totally agree that female circumcision is much more invasive and a more important issue to fight against, as it leads to more problems for the women later in life and also deprives them of the possibility to fully enjoy sex.)


As I have said already in a comment on The Bullring: "My position is basically a Human Rights one and can be boiled down to this.

Leave the children's bodies alone, both boys and girls. Teach them healthy routines to clean up their genitals on a daily basis.

...all the rest is religion and culture screwing up with nature."

 Now head on over to Eddi´s blog Eddi Haskell´s Second Life and tell us what your position is on this matter.

For me the only possible vote in this pole is "Yes", actually I would have preferred an option saying "Hell yes!"


  1. Thanks Bock! I am prone to keep circumcision legal with tight restrictions, but as I have said, I personally like foreskins on others even though I don't have one. Too much information, right?

  2. Haha can we ever get enough information?

  3. I would also say leave their minds alone!

    "Given, let´s say, that most people who have been brought up as members of a sect, if they only knew what they were being denied, would have preferred to remain outside it. Given that almost no one who was not brought up this way volunteers to adopt faith later in life. Given, in short,that it is not faith that a free thinker would adopt. Then, likewise, it seems clear that whoever takes advantage of their temporary power over a child´s mind to impose this faith, is equally abusing this power and acting wrongly."

    This is from the chapter "What Shall We Tell the Children?" in Nicholas Humphreys unavoidable book: The Mind Made Flesh - Frontiers of Psychology and Evolution

  4. Of course Apmelito! ;)

    I hope you voted about the pitiful foreskins too though? ;)

  5. I have a question for Europeans and Australians and others who live in places where circumcision is not widespread (except, of course, in those nations with a growing Muslim and large enough population of other groups who practice it.

    In the United States, it is generally assumed that circumcision, even if it were outlawed, would continue because the Supreme Court would overule any ban. Also, many American males (such as myself) who have been circumcised like the way they are. One interesting observation here is that if the majority of circumcised men did not want to be circumcised to begin with, they would probably ban its practice! There does not seem to be much of a groundswell of support for this in San Francisco beyond some fringe groups, but the election in November will tell how well it does.

    It is also assumed that in the Muslim world, and probably in Africa and other places, any move to ban discrimination would not stand much of a chance of being enacted.

    That leaves Europe, Latin America,Oceania, and some other places at "battlegrounds"

    With a rising Muslim population in Europe, so you think any ban would stand much of a chance of passing? Would this not enrage that population let alone the remnant Jewish population of Europe. How realistic is your chance of passing this in places like Sweden, France, and the United Kingdom. BTW in the UK up to 10% of the population now gets routinely circumcised.

    I am just wondering how much of a real factor this is, and if political parties such as the Swedish Social Democrats (forgive me, I am not attuned with politics as I should be) are actively backing a circumcision ban. What about Australia?

  6. Please allow me to make a historical perspective in this discussion. It is based on Swedish history, but should be applicable to most countries in the world.

    It used to be a legal right and a socially acceptable custom in Sweden to own slaves, and the owner had the right to treat his property as he/she saw fit including to mistreat, abuse or even kill them.

    It used to be a legal right and a socially acceptable custom in Sweden for the nobility to rape, pillage and burn as they saw fit and proper on their own lands.

    It used to be a legal right and a socially acceptable custom in Sweden for the family or kinsfolk of any murdered man to kill any another male member of the murderers family or kinsfolk.

    It used to be a legal right and a socially acceptable custom in Sweden for a husband to abuse and rape his wife.

    It used to be a legal right and a socially acceptable custom in Sweden for an employer to abuse the laborers in his employment.

    It used to be a legal right and a socially acceptable custom in Sweden for teachers to abuse pupils in their custody.

    It used to be a legal right and a socially acceptable custom in Sweden for parents to abuse their children as a means of upbringing.

    It used to be a legal right and a socially acceptable custom in Sweden for an owner of animals to treat his animals in any way he saw fit.

    The list can be prolonged, but I think I have made my point.

    Legal attitudes, cultural customs and social traditions can be changed.

    Should we do away with all the restrictions we have put in place through history to save a tax-dollar?

    Society evolves and the laws and social conventions are changed. What was once considered normal practice gets outlawed - usually with some fuss on the breakdown of society and the infringement on the individuals god-given rights to so as he has always been allowed to do before.

  7. Bock - I did find this in wiki about a circumcision ban in Sweden-

    In 2001, the Parliament of Sweden enacted a law allowing only persons certified by the National Board of Health to circumcise infants. It requires a medical doctor or an anesthesia nurse to accompany the circumciser and for anaesthetic to be applied beforehand. After the first two months of life circumcisions can only be performed by a physician. The stated purpose of the law was to increase the safety of the procedure.

    Swedish Jews and Muslims objected to the law, and in 2001, the World Jewish Congress called it "the first legal restriction on Jewish religious practice in Europe since the Nazi era."The requirement for an anaesthetic to be administered by a medical professional is a major issue and the low degree of availability of certified professionals willing to conduct circumcision has also been subject to and 3000 Muslim and 40-50 Jewish boys were circumcised each year.(you can read on).

    Health and Welfare reviewed the law in 2005 and recommended that it be maintained, but found that the law had failed with regard to the intended consequence of increasing the safety of circumcisions. A later report by the Board criticised the low level of availability of legal circumcisions, partly due to reluctance among health professionals. To remedy this, the report suggested a new law obliging all county councils to offer non-therapeutic circumcision in their hospitals, but this was later abandoned in favour of a non-binding recommendation.

    I am just wondering if any of the political parties in Sweden are pushing this forward, a complete circumcision ban in Sweden if not performed by a professional. Are any political parties backing this? The rise of the Muslim vote I imagine complicates it.

  8. You have done excellent research on this matter, Eddi, but I wouldn't have expected less from you!

    As you say we do not have a ban on male circumcision in Sweden - yet! The issue is as you also say complicated further by the religious issues as the politicians do not want to play into the hands of the anti-Semitic and - mainly - the growing anti-Muslim agenda.

    This issue has no clear party policies or lines that I know off as it has not been a widely discussed issue, as it has not been a common practice in Sweden earlier.

  9. Hey take a look at this! This issue and a poll made Joe's blog today:

  10. Pfffffffffffffft babe, I am waaaaaaaaaay ahead of you! ;)

  11. Bock, I just read that the Swedish Democrats are actively trying to ban infant circumcision in Sweden. It also says that many former Social Democrats have votes for them and put them in parliament. I am really not sure who they are.

  12. The Sweden Democratic Party, is the xenophobic option in Swedish politics. To our eternal shame the party got a 5,7 % share of the votes in the 2010 national election, thus they also got 20 seats in the Swedish parliament (the riksdag).

    The party is a neo-fascist and anti-Islamic populist party. They are also opportunistic and totally anti-democratic.

    They did not only get votes from many former Social Democrats but actually picked up a lot of voters from the other big Swedish parties also.

    It would be specious to assume that my position on the issue of circumcision of infant males has anything to do with the fact that they happen to have taken the same position.

    I have reached my stand on this issue for totally different reasons and motives - which I have tried to explain in length earlier - and will not change my mind because they have happened to reach the same position out of anti-Islamic and anti-Semitic reasons.

  13. Bock, one thing, I do not follow politics in Sweden, and have no idea who the Swedish Democrats are. I vaguely remember that the "moderates" are actually conservative, and Ole or Olaf Palme was a Social Democratic Prime Minister who was assassinated once, but I could not tell you who is in power in your country now. Being American is hard enough to follow.

    I actually thought they were the Social Democrats at first. I did not know that they are extreme right wing. I have no idea how you vote, but I am sure you do not vote for a neo-nazi party! You have even said here that you hate racism and xenophobia.

    However, it does complicate the issue a bit in your home country I would think. Don't you?

    So do you think that fact that the Swedish Democrats are for this, and than Sweden came very close to banning religious circumcision a few years ago, helps or hurts this cause? I would think it would hurt it in Sweden! Not many Swedes are racist I imagine, and this group probably nauseates them.

    In San Francisco, the association of the anti-circumcision measure was put on the ballot by the same people who produced a comic book that was seen as extremely anti-semitic has destroyed whatever chance the measure had of passing. Jo'es blog showed that 80% of voters polled were not going to vote for the measure.

    But it is an interesting thought -- to see if any anti-circumcision activists in your country would see the possibility of a "marriage of convenience" over this with the far right.

  14. No worries, Eddi! You are correct, I am nowhere close to the Sweden Democrats in the political landscape, rather on the opposite end of the scale.

    I would never argue a position or for a party or idea to bring about a "marriage of convenience" with the Sweden Democratic party and it´s followers - and I should hope none of the Swedish parties does so either.

    What must be understood is not only the end result - a prohibition against infant circumcision - but also how you reach that goal.

    My motivation comes from a human rights standpoint. I cannot see any rational reason whatsoever for this scarification of an infant male, as little as I can see any viable arguments for the procedure concerning women. The latter practice has been banned in Sweden and many other countries even if it holds some religious, cultural and social connotations.

    Even if the scarification of the boys is a much less radical procedure than the one done to women I believe the same arguments apply and that circumcision of male infants should be banned also.

    However I do not object to grown men choosing this operation should they wish to have it after reaching the age of consent.

    If they choose to do so at a mature age they should by all means get this scarification done for whatever reason they may have, just like they can choose to get a tattoo or any other scarification.

  15. Teaching men better genital hygiene helps cervical cancer too!

    As I have said before, there are lots of statistics out there both pro-snip and con-snip. All of the pro-snip just bypass the hygiene factor in their research.

    I must say I am amazed at the numbers of research the pro-snippers have amassed to defend this barbaric procedure that became widespread in the 1890´s in the West to stop baby boy´s from playing with their little wieners.

  16. I'm an American with a cut penis.. and I'm rather fond of it.. Haven't ever played with an uncut one.. Nor have I really figured out what if anything is really lost with the removal of a foreskin.

    So haven't too many opinions about the matter. Will go have to find one to play with and get back to you on this.

  17. The fact that you have never encountered an uncut penis means you are remiss in your understanding of the world (Does that read correctly?) ROFL


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