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Routine Infant Circumcision

Circumcision removes vital skin structure and function. The foreskin is not just unnecessary skin. It is an important, complex structure that contains an elaborate network of nerve endings, making up about half of the erogenous tissue of the penis. The foreskins purpose during infancy is to protect the glans (the part of the penis inside the foreskin) from infections from urine and feces. In adulthood, it enhances sexual pleasure due to the intact erogenous tissue and provides lubrication for the mans sexual partner.

Circumcision violates infants rights. Before deciding on circumcision you may want to consider your sons rights. An article published in Humane Health Care International explains that circumcision of infants is a violation of the seven principles of medical ethics. Following the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989, the AAP Committee on Bioethics stated that parents have the right to grant permission for diagnosis and treatment, but they do not have the right to decide on elective procedures for their children. These should be postponed until the child is able to choose them for himself. The committee also mentions that parents rights to force religious practices that could be harmful to the child should be limited. In contrast, the AAP official policy statement allows the parents to make the decision.

In western countries, it goes without saying that female genital mutilation (FGM), a practice common in Islamic nations and Africa, is unethical, cruel and illegal. Any comparison to circumcision of males seems preposterous — or does it? Actually, the two procedures stem from similar cultural practices. In its milder forms, FGM is no more dangerous than the circumcision of males.

Circumcision is expensive. The International Coalition for Genital Integrity claims that each state could save around $1 million a year by not funding circumcision of infants. The 16 states no longer funding the essentially cosmetic procedure are Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah and Washington. Many private insurance companies have also ceased to fund the procedure.