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The Truth Behind the Myths of Infant Circumcision

By Edited Aug 27, 2016 0 0

The United States and Canada are two of the only countries in the world whose citizens believe the potentially fatal and completely elective circumcision surgery is normal. According to a study done by the International Coalition for Genital Integrity (ICGI), 117 babies die per year in America due to complications during or after the surgery. Of course, this fact goes unheard because people don't want to hear the consequences of an action they consider routine resulted in the death of a baby. In fact, many uneducated parents routinely have their infants circumcised without fully understanding the hidden truths behind infant circumcision.

Most parents don't realize that their bundle of joy is going to be strapped down to a table, wiped with alcohol to cause an erection, given a local anesthetic shot directly into the penis, then, before the anesthetic has a chance to work, a doctor uses a clamp to pull down the skin and begins cutting it off. This would distress an adult male, but it has caused much more than momentary distress in those little boys. Babies have been known to die from anesthesia-related complications, stroke, hemorrhage, infection, and most recently a healthy baby died from a heart attack during a “routine” circumcision.

How awful must it be to know that an unnecessary surgery consciously decided on by new parents resulted in the death of their child. A parent's primary obligation to their child is for their welfare, but they don't stop to consider what cutting off that piece of skin does. Often this is an uneducated decision and done because everyone the new parents know has been circumcised or has circumcised their sons. There are a few myths about circumcision that need to be dispelled.

Myth 1: It doesn't hurt them to be circumcised.

This in itself doesn't make any logical sense. In any type of surgery, there is always some pain that goes with surgery and recovery. A baby is awake during this procedure and terrified because something painful is happening to them that they don't understand. Babies aren't immune to pain, and there is some psychological pain that goes with this, as well. Just because the doctor tells the parents the child is going to be given a local anesthetic, that doesn't mean the doctor actually waits for it to take affect. Usually, a doctor administers the local anesthetic and immediately begins the surgery without waiting. Just to give an idea of what this is like, imagine a dentist giving a root canal before making sure the local anesthetic has taken effect. It would be something close to torture. If that is painful to imagine for an adult, they imagine the pain and terror of an infant strapped down to a table.

Myth 2: Every surgical wound bleeds a little, so a little blood in the diaper is normal.

Most parents aren't told this but due to being cut off from the placenta too early after birth, most babies have less blood volume than they should. All it takes for a baby to experience severe blood loss is for them to lose one ounce, or four tablespoons, of blood. This may not seem like a lot to an adult, but this is the same as an adult losing a quarter of their blood volume. So, when the parents of a circumcised baby look in his diaper and see blood, they should be concerned. Sadly, there are many babies that die each year due to blood loss from circumcision because the parents weren't aware of just how much, or how little, blood really is necessary for an infant's body to support life.

Myth 3: It is medically unsanitary to leave a baby boy uncircumcised.

The truth behind this matter is, even the American Academy of Pediatrics believes there is no “absolute medical indication for routine circumcision.” To reiterate, in plain English, that means there is no medical reason for circumcision. They have found no circumstances in which a baby's intact penis has been ruled unsanitary. Despite old wives' tales and stories from obscure relatives, uncircumcised boys rarely get urinary tract infections. In fact, boys rarely get urinary tract infections because the urethra is too long and the bacteria can't easily navigate through it.

Myth 4: The skin on an intact baby's penis must be retracted to be cleaned.

It's no more difficult to clean an intact infant's penis than it is a circumcised one, it can be wiped off the same way you would wipe off a finger or toe. The skin should not be forcibly retracted to be cleaned because it is attached to the head of the penis. If the skin is retracted, it would be similar to when an adult has a fingernail pulled out; meaning it will hurt, bleed and possibly leave scars. The skin will eventually become detached as the child grows, but while it is attached there is no way that anything can get underneath it, so stories of mold or other growths due to not cleaning under the skin are completely false and more than likely made up to dissuade a parent from leaving their sons intact.

Myth 5: My religious beliefs require me to circumcise my son.

Circumcision is considered a rite of passage in the Jewish religion but there is a way to still be a practicing Jew and have an intact baby. Jewish Law only requires the mother of the baby to be Jewish for the baby to be Jewish, so circumcision is not necessary. A gentler method to introduce a baby to the Jewish faith is the practice of a Bris Shalom. It is similar to a traditional Bris but without the circumcision.

There are many Christians who believe that circumcision was a choice handed down by God. There are many passages in the Bible that discuss circumcision but none of them actually state that God does not accept a child who is not circumcised. In fact, many of those passages state the opposite. God meant circumcision to be a punishment, not a rite of passage.

Galatians 5:2-3: 2Behold, I Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing! 3And I testify again to every male who receives circumcision, that he is in debt to keep the whole Law. You who do so have been severed from Christ...you have fallen from grace.

Galatians 6:5 For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision gives spiritual power, but faith working through love.

Deuteronomy. 23: 1 No one who...has his male genitalia cut off shall enter the assembly of the Lord.

There is something fundamentally wrong with the idea of surgical removal of something when there is nothing wrong with it. There are no excuses for it. A baby boy wouldn't have been born with a foreskin if it was not necessary.



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  1. "American Academy of Pediatrics Policy on Circumcision." AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS. 5/12/2011 <Web >
  2. "Infant Circumcision Causes 100 Deaths Each Year in the US." International Coalition for Genital Integrity. 5/12/2011 <Web >
  3. "Bris B'lee Milah." Circumcision Information and Resource Page. 5/12/2011 <Web >
  4. "What the Bible Really Says About Routine Infant Circumcision." Stop Circumcision. 5/12/2011 <Web >

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