Wednesday, May 2, 2012

COLORADO: Jewish Circumcision Protection Bill Moves Forward

It sounds very noble to proclaim that you are acting in the interests of "equality" and "public health." As a politician seeking to secure support, you can't go wrong with rambling on and on about "helping the poor."

It's dishonest and self-serving, however, to be claiming to be "helping the poor," when, in fact, you are actually only helping yourself.

Last year, Colorado became the 18th state to drop Medicaid coverage for routine infant circumcision. In response to this, Senator Joyce Foster introduced a bill to reinstate Medicaid coverage on the platforms of "disease prevention," "fairness," "social justice" and "parental choice."

These sound like noble causes, however they fall apart upon closer inspection. 

An Unfounded Position Against the Best Medical Authorities in the West
It certainly makes you appear to have a moral high ground to claim to want to provide society with something as basic as medicine and public health. Contrary-wise, it makes you a villain to want to deny the public, especially the poor, such a basic need. The dubious premise that sneaks past observers unnoticed is the assumption that having a foreskin is some sort of disease, circumcision is the one and only "cure," and cutting funding for it is a public disservice.

The question is, is circumcision an absolute medical necessity in healthy children, and should the taxpayer have to pay for it?

In reality, the trend of opinion on routine male circumcision is so overwhelmingly negative in industrialized nations that it would be quite surprising were male circumcision to be recommended in the United States. No respected medical organization in or outside the United States recommends circumcision for infants, not even in the name of HIV prevention. They must all point to the risks, and they must all state that there is no convincing evidence that the benefits outweigh these risks. To do otherwise would be to take an unfounded position against the best medical authorities of the West.

Medical bodies that agree that there is not enough evidence to recommend infant circumcision include the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia, the Canadian Paediatric Society, the British Medical Association, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, the Australasian Academy of Paediatric Surgeons, and the Royal Dutch Medical Association.

Senator Foster's platform appears to defy the whole of Western medicine.

The arguments of "fairness," "social justice" and "parental choice" collapse upon making this realization.

The purpose of Medicaid is to help pay for medically necessary procedures, not helping families that want non-medical procedures for their children keep up with the Joneses.

Joyce Foster's Arguments Fail to Mask her True Intentions
Despite trying to argue from a "social justice" platform, Foster can't seem to be able to keep her ulterior motives from spilling out. In the preliminary hearing for the bill, after getting served by her opposition, Foster feels the need to explain her conflict of interests:

"Let me clarify... I had my sons circumcised because it was a health issue and a religious issue."

In a recent article, she says:

"This bill will have absolutely nothing to do with the Jewish community of Colorado... [I am] most persuaded by the medical evidence." ("Evidence" that couldn't persuade respected medical organizations in and outside the US to endorse the practice?)

 The Jewish Daily Forward betrays her true motives for the Colorado bill, however:

Foster, the main backer of the Colorado bill, said she believes that cutting Medicaid coverage for circumcision sent a message of support to anti-circumcision activists who want see the procedure outlawed nationwide. She is determined to push back against that effort. 

"Ultimately, I think when the anti-circumcision people begin to see so many states denying benefits... it will be easier for them now to make their case that circumcision should be banned altogether."

So there you have it. This measure has nothing to do with "public health," nor a genuine interest in "helping the poor." This is nothing more than a self-serving bill aimed at safeguarding a historically controversial religious ritual that has come ever under scrutiny. It is a law aimed to cater to a particular religious establishment, and Joyce Foster a self-serving politician with a religious agenda.

All things considered, the bill ought not to pass. If it does, it will be a waste of taxpayer dollars with no actual basis in medicine.

The Bottom Line
The foreskin is not a birth defect. Neither is it a congenital deformity or genetic anomaly akin to a 6th finger or a cleft. Neither is it a medical condition like a ruptured appendix or diseased gall bladder. Neither is it a dead part of the body, like the umbilical cord, hair, or fingernails.

The foreskin is not "extra skin." The foreskin is normal, natural, healthy, functioning tissue, with which all boys are born; it is as intrinsic to male genitalia as labia are to female genitalia.

Unless there is a medical or clinical indication, the circumcision of a healthy, non-consenting individual is a deliberate wound; it is the destruction of normal, healthy tissue, the permanent disfigurement of normal, healthy organs, and by very definition, infant genital mutilation, and a violation of the most basic of human rights.

Without medical or clinical indication, doctors have no business performing non-medical surgery on healthy, non-consenting individuals, let alone be giving parents any kind of a "choice," let alone be expected to be reimbursed by the public's coffers.

Genital mutilation, whether it be wrapped in culture, religion or “research” is still genital mutilation.

It is mistaken, the belief that the right amount of “science” can be used to legitimize the deliberate violation of basic human rights.

Where the bill stands now
The Colorado Senate Health and Human Services Committee held a hearing for Senate Bill 90 (AKA SB 12-090), where the bill passed 6-3. Senate Appropriations Committee voted to move the bill forward onto the full Colorado Senate, where it was approved by a vote of 21 to 14 without debate.

The House Health and Environment Committee holds a hearing on the bill today (May 3) at 1:30pm.

The bill passed at the House Health and Environment Committee hearing 7 to 6. It's unfortunate that Coloradans dare defy Western medicine, but at the very least the margin was slimmer than before; the bill can still be defeated at the house.

Intactivists need to remember that laws are nothing, and they change with time. Remember that up until 1996, female circumcision was perfectly legal in this country, and insurance companies like Blue Shield paid for it. A human rights violation is a human rights violation, whether or not it is recognized by law. The day will come when the forced circumcision of minors will be seen for the human rights violation that it is, and those who advocated it will be too embarrassed to ever admit it.

Truth suppressed, whether by crooks or courts, will find an avenue to be told.
~Sheila Steele (1943-2006)

Earlier posts:
COLORADO: Conflicts of Interest Plague Medicaid Circumcision Coverage Bill 

COLORADO: Senator Aguilar Circumvents Circumcision Debate


  1. CO Senate 21-14 all cowards to not let its citizens know their reasoned stance. What concessions to each other have they made over the slashings of males' genitals. Shame on them all!

  2. Brilliant post again Joseph! You just keep getting better.

    This is an excellent summation and commentary on the recent Colorado events.

    Your line is worth quoting again and again:

    "it (the foreskin) is as intrinsic to male genitalia as labia are to female genitalia"

    Indeed I haven't heard it put like this before and it really paints a vivid comparison.

    If the male foreskin is removed reducing the penis to a simple pole, the comparison you've drawn shows that if the labia where similarly displaced the vagina would become a simple hole.

    Perhaps a very good way to explain mutilated vs intact genitals.

  3. My religion requires human sacrifice. ¿Where is the bill protecting religious human sacrifice? If it is okay to violate human rights to sexually assault babies, for religion, ¿why is it not legal to violate human rights for human sacrifice, for religion?