I have an op-ed in today’s paper about why I’m against circumcising baby boys despite my Jewish heritage.
I only had 700 words so the piece only touches on some of the circumcision debate and the reasons I’m in favor of keeping America’s baby boys intact.
The first few paragraphs read:
This week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are holding a meeting in Atlanta as part of a four-day conference on HIV prevention to discuss how to urge non-circumcising communities in American to circumcise.
At the same time, the American Academy of Pediatrics, which has long remained neutral on the subject, is currently revising its guidelines essentially in favor of circumcision and against keeping baby boys intact.
Growing up Jewish in America, I never questioned circumcision. But now, after having children and seeing how grown men in my life continue to suffer psychologically because of a procedure done to them as infants, I’ve come to believe that circumcision is not only unnecessary, it’s a painful and traumatizing procedure that should not be done in infancy, if at all.
Deciding whether to circumcise is a decision that every American parent of a boy faces, though the majority simply choose to follow the doctor or hospital’s recommendation.
According to an Aug. 24 article in the New York Times, approximately 79 percent of all adult American males are circumcised.
According to Intact America, a nonprofit organization trying to stop routine circumcision in America, circumcision is the most common surgery performed in America and it happens to more than 1 million newborns a year, more than 3,000 times a day, or once every 26 seconds.
A circumcised relative begs the family to keep baby boys intact
Before my brother Zach’s wife gave birth to their third child, I started receiving frantic emails from a 28-year-old relative I’ll call Sam.
“Do you know if they are planning to circumcise?” Sam wrote me. “Could you find out about it? Could you tell them not to? Could you talk to them?”
As the due date approached, the messages become increasingly desperate, as if Sam felt that circumcision were a matter of life and death.
At the same time, Sam seemed ashamed for being so worried.
He asked not to tell anyone that he was inquiring; he said he felt embarrassed and couldn’t talk to my brother directly.
He begged me not to mention to his mother, especially, how worried he felt about Zach’s baby.
Like Sam, this 25-year-old begs parents not to circumcise. He’s had a lifelong struggle with penile adhesions, a common complication of the procedure.
This mom ignored her gut instincts, and continues to regret the fact that she circumcised her son. If she had to do it again, she would rather forfeit her marriage than allow a doctor to cut off a child’s foreskin, she says.
Some Jewish people struggle with the circumcision decision. Research it thoroughly before you decide. And remember, your son can always choose to get circumcised later in life. Once his foreskin is gone, though, he can never get it back.
Published: August 29, 2009
Last update: January 24, 2020