Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Circumcision Blame Game

In all my years as an intactivist (I've been against circumcision since I was about 16, I'm 31 now), I often come across the dilemma of who is responsible for the circumcision of children in America. Who's fault is it if you are circumcised and not happy with it?

Who should you blame?

Before going on, I'd like to introduce the above image. It was uploaded to Facebook by one Jonathon Conte, who is a pro-active intactivist in the San Francisco area, and belongs to the local group Bay Area Intactivists.

The caption read:

"This is the pattern that I continue to see when doing various intactivist protests and events. Nobody wants to accept responsibility and the blame goes round and round.

"Talk to the parents!" "Talk to the obstetricians!" "We don't do them. Talk to the pediatricians!" "Nobody told me it wasn't necessary!"

On the bright side, they used to all defend the practice, now they pass blame. Blame acknowledges a shameful act. Progress."
And Jonathon is right.

There is something suspicious going on when, instead of owning responsibility, it is being passed around like a hot potato.

Except, I think the above image is wrong. It places undue weight on parents, with them at the top and the doctors at the bottom. It implies parents are entitled to a choice, and physicians are loyal subjects who merely listen and obey.

But since when does medicine work this way?

For what other medical treatment or procedure are parents in a position of entitlement to "decide" at whim, without any kind of clinical indication or medical diagnosis? For what other surgery are surgeons slaves to demanding parents? Do parents actually wield so much power?

Aren't parents usually given the power to choose a method of treatment for their children AFTER a doctor has determined that there is some kind of clinical or medical necessity?

For these reasons and more, I believe Jonathon's image is a false paradigm. This delusion of "parental choice" is a false paradigm invented by doctors, the trade unions they belong to, and it is perpetuated by the media.

The image looks something more like this:

Doctors would like to pretend as if parents had this power over them, and they are nothing but loyal subjects at their beck and call. But let's analyze the balance of power here.

Professional Responsibility
First off, it must be be asked; who holds the professional license?

To earn the title of "doctor," physicians must go to school for a number of years. Additionally, they are also responsible for keeping their information up to date. They hang their certifications proudly on their office wall and constantly remind others that they are not to drop the title of "doctor" when being referred to.

It is a doctor's professional responsibility to know better than his patients. It is his professional responsibility to determine the presence or absence of a pathogen, and to determine whether or not treatment, surgical or non-surgical, is medically or clinically indicated.

It is why he is visited, and it is why he gets a paycheck.

And yet, when it comes to circumcision, they are suddenly clueless.

So clueless, that they must pawn the burden of determining the medical necessity of circumcision on parents, most of whom unfamiliar with medical literature.

The mighty and powerful doctor is suddenly too stupid to do his job, and thus hands it off to naive parents he, in most other circumstances, views as intellectually inferior to himself.

Who Wields the Knife?
Let's analyze the areas of medical expertise. Who performs circumcisions for parents?

Here, we see two types of physicians vying for a piece of the circumcision pie; pediatricians and obstetricians/gynecologists (AKA: OB/GYNs) It makes sense that pediatricians are performing surgery on children; a pediatrician's area of expertise is the health and well-being of children.

But wait, this is weird, OB/GYNs are trained in the health and well-being of WOMEN. Vulvas, vaginas, cervixes and ovaries (and much much more). One wonders why OB/GYNs are even part of the picture in the first place.

And yet, according to national surveys, OB/GYNs perform the bulk of infant circumcisions.

The only relation OB/GYNs seem to have with MALE infant babies is that, as caretakers of pregnant women, they are closest in proximity to intact male newborns, and thus have first dibs at cashing in on the procedure; pediatricians deal with the child once he's already out. As experts in FEMALE healthcare, it would actually make more sense for OB/GYNs to be offering sunat operations to expectant mothers.

Why are physicians, whose primary expertise is the health and well-being of WOMEN, profiting from performing non-medical surgery on healthy MALE children?

"You take care of a woman through her pregnancy, for nearly a year...and you're lucky if you see $1500. But a circumcision is 15 minutes, and it's $300 a pop. It's candy."
~OB writing in 'Parents' Place' on the circumcision turf war between OB/GYNs and pediatricians 

So Who's To Blame?
As medical scholars, as bearers of professional licenses, but most of all, as actual facilitators of the procedure itself, the answer is that it is physicians who bear full responsibility for circumcision.

Before treatment can be administered, it is the responsibility of a physician to perform a diagnosis, to determine the presence or absence of a pathogen or medical condition, and to determine whether or not surgical intervention is necessary to treat said medical condition.

The standard of care for therapeutic surgery in most of the rest of the world requires the medical benefits of the surgery to far outweigh the medical risks and harms, or for the surgery to correct a congenital abnormality. Unnecessarily invasive procedures should not be used where alternative, less invasive techniques, are equally efficient and available. It is unethical and inappropriate to perform surgery for therapeutic reasons where medical research has shown there to be other techniques to be at least as effective and less invasive.

Circumcision seems to be the only instance in medicine where standards of care are overridden in lieu of "parental choice."

How Physicians Absolve Themselves
It is the professional duty of a physician to determine the validity of the treatment they administer, and of the procedures they conduct.

In the special case of circumcision, however, physicians get away with profiting from this non-medical procedure on healthy, non-consenting individuals, by pawning off their responsibility on parents. Doctors push the paradigm of "the great parental decision" forward, and the media helps perpetuate it.

In their latest statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics came very close to, but stopped short of recommending infant circumcision for all infants (contrary to popular belief). Despite touting over and over again that "the benefits out weigh the risks," they must still admit that the "benefits are not enough to recommend the procedure," concluding that "the final decision should be made by parents." (This was their exact position in their last statement in 1999.)

The result is a spineless, non-committal statement that sounds like an endorsement, if not outright recommendation, but is actually nothing more than self-absolution of professional responsibility, and the undue placement of an onus on parents.

Let me run this by readers again; the AAP, a professional medical organization, could not use the latest "benefits" in order to issue a recommendation for circumcision. Yet, parents, most of whom are incapable of discerning medical literature, are expected to take the same information, that medical professionals could not use to recommend circumcision, and somehow come up with a more reasonable conclusion (than medical professionals with professional licenses???).

Parents are being given the duty to make the medical value judgements, that actually belongs to the professionals carrying out the procedure.

The doctor stokes in parents a false sense of entitlement, convinces them to sign a ready-made release form, and thus he is legally (or illegally?) absolved from any responsibility whatsoever.

Thus, doctors profit at the expense of healthy, non-consenting individuals.

Our legal court system seems to be deliberately looking the other way at this practice.

Is This Actually Legal?
Currently having parents sign a consent form for non-therapeutic surgery on healthy, non-consenting individuals seems perfectly legal. But is it?

Without medical or clinical indication, can doctors actually be performing surgery in healthy, non-consenting individuals, much less be eliciting any kind of "decision" from parents?

How is approaching parents of a healthy, non-consenting child, and soliciting a non-therapeutic, permanently altering procedure and eliciting some kind of "decision" NOT charlatanism or medical fraud?

How is it not a criminal act to physicians to place the duty of making a medical value judgement on naive parents, who are trusting them for non-interested medical advice?

What parents WOULDN'T choose circumcision for their children, being told that they would succumb to cancer and AIDS otherwise?

Doesn't it strike people as odd that doctors are asking parents to weigh "benefits and risks" that could not bring medical organizations in or outside the US to endorse infant circumcision?

Why don't doctors inform parents of this fact, instead of stoking in them a false sense if entitlement?

Shouldn't doctors know better than to realize a procedure they know has no therapeutic value in healthy, non-consenting children?

Even if the parents demand circumcision for their children, isn't it the duty of a physician with integrity to refuse to do this? (As he would with any other non-medical procedure a parent would demand?)

Why are physicians able to absolve themselves by pointing to parents and saying "They made me do it?"

Cut Parents Some Slack
On various mediums where the circumcision debate is happening, it seems the prevailing attitude amongst people against circumcision, and even amongst angry circumcised men themselves, is to blame parents. On foreskin restoration forums, on Facebook, on news commentaries, I often read about angry circumcised men who resent their parents, who have had nasty fights with them to the point of breaking off relationships.

It doesn't help that there is also this attitude amongst parents who have circumcised their children, or plan on circumcising their future children, to have a sense of entitlement to having their children circumcised. "I'm the parent, I decide," seems to be the prevailing attitude amongst parents who advocate for infant circumcision. Of course this attitude draws the ire of angry men and angry intactivists, aggravating the situation.

Adding to the situation is that, as already mentioned, medical professionals place the onus of "the great decision" on parents. Angry intactivists, angry sons, and the very medical profession fleeing from professional responsibility. So much weight on parents' shoulders!

But what do parents say when asked as to why they had their sons circumcised?

Most parents have their sons circumcised out of tradition, because it is a religious conviction, or because the father and his father were circumcised. But, almost as if parents knew this weren't enough, these alibis are reinforced with "My doctor told me it was best." Or "My doctor told me it's cleaner and it prevents many diseases."

I say, parents should be cut some slack.

It would be one thing if parents actually ponied up, bought an exacto knife and attempted to perform the procedure themselves. Most just agree to it because they are told not doing so will result in penile cancer or AIDS. I believe that most parents actually have the well-being of their children in mind. I believe that most parents, being given the facts not being disclosed to them by their physicians, would refuse to have this done to their children. I believe that most parents, once they understood what circumcision is, would take it all back if they could.

Parents shouldn't be blamed.

(They also shouldn't be congratulated and/or encouraged to "celebrate" their ignorance, but I already address this on another blog post.)

Maybe some can, but most simply don't know.

Remember who holds the professional license.

Remember whose professional duty it is to know better.

Remember who ultimately holds the knife.

The following pie chart demonstrates how many circumcisions are carried out by parents in this country.

It's physicians in which parents place their trust.

And it's physicians who betray this trust.

This Is Not About Judging Parents
I think it needs to be made clear to both intactivists and parents of circumcised children alike; the point of intactivism is not to be making parents feel guilty.

One of the greatest obstacles for intactivism is that parents who circumcised their chidlren will often get on the defense, accusing those who oppose circumcision of "judging" and trying to make parents feel guilty, when that's not the point at all.

The point of intactivism is to bring attention to the fact that the forced circumcision of healthy, non-consenting minors is a violation of the most basic of human rights, and to educate and enlighten both doctors and parents alike, so that this madness ends.

Parents who honestly wanted the best for their children need not feel judged. If I didn't know what I know now, and a doctor told me that my son would surely develop penile cancer and die of AIDS, I think I would probably choose circumcision too.

Can parents be blamed because they were asked to make choices based on skewed or limited information? If they were even given information at all?


As I express in this blog post, the burden of responsibility rests in physicians who disseminate misinformation, and who profit at the expense of parental naivete, and the fact that children cannot speak for themselves. While parents, at least for the time being, are given the final say, it is doctors who choose what information to give to, and not give to parents. Doctors are either guilty of dispensing misinformation, or failing to update their information databases. (Actually, they're guilty of even bringing the subject up in the absence of medical necessity.)

In avenues where I have expressed this, I have often been berated by angry intactivists and men. They tell me:

"The information is out there. Maybe one day parents could claim ignorance, but now we have the Internet. You've got to be real dumb, or willfully ignorant if you say you don't know better."

This is true to a certain extent. Yes, the information is out there, and people can look if they wanted. Parents, if they took the time, could sift through all the medical gobbledygook, and come to their own conclusions.

But whose job is that?

Isn't it doctors who are paid big bucks to determine the medical validity of a surgical procedure?

Doctors are supposed to have gone to school for many years to learn their trade.

Why would parents, most of whom never went to medical school, be more qualified than a learned doctor to determine the medical necessity of a surgical procedure?

That's what I don't understand, and I've asked this above.

The AAP has concluded, as it did in its last statement, that the "benefits are not enough to recommend circumcision." They still place the onus on parents to weigh the "pros and cons," and make a "decision." "Pros and cons" that could not convince an entire body of qualified medical professionals to endorse circumcision. But suddenly, parents will have better knowledge and the power to discern the medical literature an entire professional medical organization could not?

The bottom line is that parents, and most people, would still rather believe a man in a white lab coat than they would some website on the Internet, or some angry activist who can be easily dismissed as a conspiracy theorist. That people place too much trust in doctors, putting them up on a pedestal and deifying them is a sad state of affairs, but its reality.

It's also why doctors, of all people, are responsible. They are given trust by well meaning parents. And they, taking advantage of their position of power, betray this trust.

So intactivists, go easy parents.

Angry men, don't judge your parents so harshly.

They are not to blame.

Instead, blame physicians who continue to profit at the expense of the basic human rights of healthy, non-consenting individuals and their parents.

Blame the complacent system that allows this kind of charlatanism and medical fraud to continue unchecked.

Challenge institutions of higher education and professional medical organizations that continuously shirk their professional responsibilities and pawning them off on naive parents.

I close with my Mission Statement, which can always be viewed in my About page:

Mission Statement
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 absolutely no business performing surgery in healthy, non-consenting individual, much less be eliciting any kind of "decision" from parents.

Genital integrity, autonomy and self-determination are inalienable human rights. I am against the forced circumcision of healthy, non-consenting minors because it violates these rights.

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.

The views I express in this blog are my own individual opinion, and they do not necessarily reflect the views of all intactivists. I am but an individual with one opinion, and I do not pretend to speak for the intactivist movement as a whole, thank you.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

FORCED MALE CIRCUMCISION: NPO Clitoraid Denounces Germany, Appeals to UN

Clitoraid, a private non-profit organization, which aims to assist FGM victims who want to undo their mutilations, has spoken out to denounce the German decision to legalize the ritual genital mutilation of boys.

“Bodily harm is against the fundamental rights of all children, and we can’t understand when a so-called civilized country such as Germany would allow its male babies to be so readily mutilated legally!" said Nadine Gary, spokesperson for Clitoraid.

In addition to denouncing the German legalization of the ritual genital cutting of boys, the organization is urging a worldwide end to genital mutilation of male children as well, appealing to the UN to forced genital mutilation worldwide for both genders.

“On Nov. 28, the United Nations passed a resolution that condemns all cultural and religious arguments in favor of FGM because the act constitutes a gross violates of children rights, but how can the U.N. ban Female Genital Mutilation and not denounce Male Genital Mutilation as well? Is it exempting certain religions from respecting the fundamental right of baby boys?” Gary asked.

Gary continues, "According to the World Health Organization, 30 percent of males worldwide are circumcised. This means billions of people have been mutilated without their consent."

Brigitte Boisselier, Ph.D., head of Clitoraid, affirmed that mutilation of any baby or child in the name of a god is unacceptable.

“It’s been done for centuries under the pretense that a god requested it, but no religion should be allowed to harm infants or children who can’t give informed consent,” she said. “We’re setting up a hospital in Africa that’s due to open next year, where female victims can go to have genital repair surgery for free. “And, thanks to Clitoraid, thousands more can find relief at several clinics in North America. But we’ve also been getting e-mail from hundreds of circumcised men who want to have their own mutilation undone. They need help too! So, as Rael has repeatedly stated, it’s urgent to have all the old scriptures reviewed by an independent committee on human rights so that all religious group practices are in agreement with the Declaration of Human Rights.”

Rejected Amendments to German Circumcision Law
Amendments to the German law to legalize the genital mutilation of male children were put forth by circumcision opponents in the final Bundestag debates. Among the amendments that were rejected,  was a provision that parents cannot be allowed to circumcise a child if he is able to, and does verbally express his wishes to not be circumcised. (e.g., if the child can and does say "NO," the parents can no longer circumcise him)

The Bundestag majority rejected this amendment, meaning that according to the new law, the parents can physically drag him into the doctor's office, restrain him and circumcise him against his express wishes, and he has no protection.

Another amendment proposed that parents waited until he was 14 to decide whether or not he wanted to be circumcised.

This too was rejected.

 In Muslim traditions, boys are circumcised at later ages against their verbalized express wishes.

Sexist Double-Standards and Special Pleading
The tendency around female and male genital cutting is to sensationalize female genital cutting, while downplaying male genital cutting. While female genital cutting is rejected as "mutilation," and attempts to medicalize it are squarely condemned, the media seems to welcome, perhaps even encourage "research" which tries to find so-called "medical benefits" in male genital cutting.

While male circumcision advocates can get away with reading off a laundry list of the so-called "medical benefits" of male circumcision, advocates of female circumcision who try to clothe their cause in science are immediately stopped in their tracks.

Not so long ago, the AAP tried to approve a "ritual nick" for girls. The procedure wouldn't remove anything, and the AAP admitted that it was much less severe than male circumcision. The logic behind this move was that if they offered a "ritual nick" here in the States, then parents wouldn't take their daughters abroad to have more drastic procedures done. There was a world outcry, and the AAP was forced to retract their endorsement. The message was clear; under no circumstances were medical professionals to come near a girl's vulva with a knife, not even for a "ritual nick."

When AAP fellow Dr. Hatem al-Haj, PhD, MD published a 41-page Arabic-language paper titled “Circumcision of Girls: Jurisprudence and Medicine," where he says female circumcision is recommended and even “an honor” for women, he was fired by the MAYO Clinic. (Interestingly enough, a petition started to revoke this man's certifications states in bold lettering: "Remember: It doesn't matter how "little" you cut a little girl's vulva. It's still felony child abuse.")

Yet Jewish doctors who circumcise boys can get away with both reciting the "circumcision has medical benefits" sutra, and expounding with beaming pride that circumcision is this "time-honored tradition."

I'll have to steal the quote from above and make it part of the intactivist movement:

It doesn't matter how "little" you cut a little boy's penis. It is still child abuse, and a violation of the most basic of human rights.

To continue with my own quotes:
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.

Thank you, Clitoraid, for acknowledging that the genital cutting of BOTH sexes is a gross violation of the most basic of human rights, and for resolving to help victims of BOTH genders regain what was stolen from them.


Related cause:
Help find ways to restore intact organs for men who want to undo their mutilations

Related Blog Posts:
Circumcision is Child Abuse: A Picture Essay

Germany "Protects" the Forced Genital Mutilation of Boys

The Cologne Ruling and the Limitations of Religious Freedom  

So Where's the "Sunat" Party?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

"Religious Freedom" and "Parental Choice" Not Absolute: Yet Another Example

Perhaps the most classic of arguments invoked in favor of male infant circumcision are those of "religious freedom" and "parental choice." In actuality, "religious freedom" and "parental choice" aren't absolute, and I've given examples of this in past blogs.

Often, those who defend the forced circumcision of male children appeal to people's resentment of government intervention. They would like to pretend like being a parent is a carte blanche for parents to do whatever they want with their children, and the government never intervenes.

The blunt fact of the matter is that, if being a parent justified everything one does with their children, there wouldn't be need for child protective services.

Last year, a mother lost custody of her 8yo daughter for injecting Botox into her face for a child beauty pageant. This prompted New Jersey law makers to make it illegal to inject Botox into children, UNLESS it is for actual medical purposes. (Sound familiar?) The year before, a man was given prison time for tattooing his gang's symbol onto his son's abdomen. In Oregon, a law was passed that prohibits parents from denying their children medical care, much to the chagrin of the "Followers of Christ" church, who believes that god alone should cure disease.

And, the classic case that trumps "religious freedom" and "parental choice," in 1996 a ban was instituted, banning female genital cutting of any kind. All female genital cutting, ranging from infibulation, to a "ritual nick" as proposed by the AAP, is illegal in the United States, and punishable by law. No exempt for "religious" cutting of female children's genitals exist.

To add another example where "religious freedom" and "parental choice" fail, a Texan man has been jailed for carving a pentagram on the back of his son. It could be said that this man was merely practicing his "freedom of religion," and exercising his "parental choice." But these arguments just aren't going to fly, aren't they.

Interestingly enough, in another recent case, a Canadian man recently lost a high court appeal to have charges of aggravated assault against him thrown out; he tried to circumcise his own child with a knife. His arguments? "He was practicing his religious beliefs."

"This is a case about child abuse... This is not a case about the applicant's religious freedom or circumcision generally," it was argued.

How the material circumstances of the case bear on the man's religious freedom or circumcision generally is beyond me. Now, it seems, the government is determining what "proper" religious rituals are, and defining what constitutes "child abuse."

Andrew Freedman of the AAP "task force" on circumcision defense circumcised his own son on his parents' kitchen table. Yet, for the Canadian case, the trial judge found the kitchen was not a sanitary place for a surgical procedure.

So when is it "child abuse?" When is it not?

Why was it "child abuse" for one man to cut his child's genitals on the kitchen table, on the grounds of "religious beliefs" and "parental choice," but not the other?

How far are "religious beliefs" and "parental choices" protected until the government is allowed to intervene?

Other "parental choices" that don't fly under "religious freedom."

A father slashes his child's head for the Holy Day of Ashura
Muslim women perform "sunat" (ritual genital cutting) on a girl
Child marriage in India

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Germany "Protects" the Forced Genital Mutilation of Boys

"For the right to circumcise little boys."

Well, it appears that Germany chose to cave to political blackmail and pass a law to "protect" the so-called "religious right" to take a child and mutilate his genitals.

I've already commented on this before, so instead of repeating myself, I'm just going to dissect a Reuters' article reporting this turn of events, since they're not publishing comments.

"The ban - imposed on the grounds that circumcision amounted to "bodily harm" - triggered an emotional debate over the treatment of Jews and other religious minorities, a sensitive subject in a country still haunted by its Nazi past," begins the article.

The Cologne ruling was not mistaken; unless there are medical indications, circumcision DOES amount to bodily harm, and the boy involved in the ruling was one of many cases in point.

What's interesting is that one bodily harm, circumcision, is being defended by alluding to the bodily harm German Nazis imposed on Jews. A bit of an oxymoron. "Shame on Germany for wanting to protect children from bodily harm; remember what they did to Jews sixty years ago." (?)
"The outcry prompted Germany's centre-right government and opposition parties to draw up legislation confirming the practice was legal - overruling the decision by a court in the western city of Cologne."

As if the legality of forced genital mutilation on minors was something to confirm. I'm afraid German Common Law is rather clear on this, as are the laws of many other industrialized nations. Germany's government was faced between upholding its Common Law, and divorcing themselves from Nazi labels.

"The new law passed by an overwhelming majority in Bundestag lower house said the operation could be carried out, as long as parents were informed about the risks."

This may actually be a light at the end of the tunnel for human rights activists; ultra-orthodox rabbis in New York are fighting to keep the City from passing a law that demands precisely this.

Still, Germany would never allow female circumcision "as long as parents were informed about the risks."

"Jewish groups welcomed the move."

In New York, Jewish groups are fighting to keep the city from requiring them to inform parents about the risks, as this is seen as an "infringement of  their religious freedoms."

"This vote and the strong commitment shown ... to protect this most integral practice of the Jewish religion is a strong message to our community for the continuation and flourishing of Jewish life in Germany," said Moshe Kantor, President of the European Jewish Congress.

 Jewish life, yes. Muslim life? Only if your child is male; some Muslims see female circumcision as "an integral practice of the Jewish religion." Take a look at what's happening in South East Asia;
 the Malaysian Health Ministry wants to medicalize female genital cutting.

Germany's Catholic Bishops Conference said it hoped the bill would help safeguard religious freedoms. No comment was immediately available from the country's Central Council of Muslims.

SOME religious freedoms. Actually, only this particular "religious freedom" as it applies to healthy, non-consenting boys.

Does the new law protect these "religious freedoms?"

A father slashes his child's head for the Holy Day of Ashura

Muslim women perform "sunat" (ritual genital cutting) on a girl

Child marriage in India

The May ruling centered on the case of a Muslim boy who bled after the procedure and the ban only applied to the area around Cologne."

But this forced lawmakers to consider a change in the law, as, actually, the Cologne ruling reinforces German Common Law.

"But some doctors in other parts of Germany started refusing to carry out circumcisions, saying it was unclear whether they would face prosecution."

Actually, they stopped because it was rather clear to THEM that they would.

"Under the new law, a doctor or trained expert must conduct the operation and children must endure as little pain as possible, which means an anesthetic should be used. The procedure cannot take place if there is any doubt about the child's health."

No such provisions and exceptions exist for female genital cutting.

Female genital cutting is always wrong, and it doesn't matter if a doctor or a "trained expert" conducts the ceremony, and that the children "endure as little pain as possible."

For most other surgery as performed by doctors and physicians, surgery is performed AS A RESULT of a doubt in the child's health. i.e., there is medical necessity that prompts it. This seems to be the only case where a child must be HEALTHY to undergo surgery.

"Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said no other country in the world country had made the religious circumcision of boys an offence."

Plenty of laws to make religious circumcision of girls an offence though...

"In our modern and secular state, it is not the job of the state to interfere in children's' upbringing," she said.

Except if the child is a girl, I'm sure.

Child welfare group Deutsche Kinderhilfe disagreed, saying the government had "(pushed) through the legalization of the ritual of genital circumcision ... against the advice of child right campaigners and the medical profession."

And they are right.

This is purely a political move, and everybody knows it.

German Common Law is rather clear on this matter, and the Cologne Ruling serves to make it even clearer. German lawmakers are choosing to look the other way because they fear Nazi labels.

All double-standards, self-contradiction and beating around the bush. Let's see how this move plays out, as it flies in the face of Germany's Common Law. Special pleading. What's next? "Protecting" female circumcision? Sharia Law to appease the Muslims?

I've asked before; how far are "parental rights" and "religious freedoms" protected?

As long as doing so doesn't label you Nazi, it seems.

Closing Remarks
Most of what I have to say on this matter I've already done so on past post, but I wanted to copy and paste the closing remarks here.

Intactivists, do not despair; to those of you who do, you should have this coming. We shouldn't despair when politicians with agendas change the laws to appease voters and preserve popularity. Laws don't change anything. They never do. In a social movement, laws are the very last thing to change. What we need to work on is changing people's attitudes. Female circumcision was swimmingly outlawed because our country already viewed the practice with disdain. History shows us that laws reflect social change, not bring it about. And, it looks like, judging by news articles and reports, the fact that more and more people are openly talking about the practice, the very fact that it's being questioned in courts, change is already happening.

Do not despair, and keep educating. More and more people listen every day.

 "Truth suppress'd, whether by courts or crooks, will find an avenue to be told"
~Sheila Steele

 "Do nothing secretly; for Time sees and hears all things, and discloses all"

The views I express in this blog are my own individual opinion, and they do not necessarily reflect the views of all intactivists. I am but an individual with one opinion, and I do not pretend to speak for the intactivist movement as a whole, thank you.

Related Post:
The Cologne Ruling and the Limitations of Religious Freedom

Sunday, December 9, 2012

New University of California Logo: Circumcision Clamp?

When I first saw it I couldn't believe it. I thought it had to be some kind of joke. I first laid eyes on it on my Facebook news feed, when a friend decided to post a funny story about it. Some people think it looks like one of those animated "now loading" computer icons.

I thought, "You've got to be kidding me! Really?"

I decided to Google it, and sure enough, there it was.

What's disconcerting to me is that the logo looks like a circumcision device, the closest one I could think of is the Mogen clamp. (Mogen went out of business because they couldn't afford the million dollar lawsuits as a result of the botched circumcisions it was responsible for.)

It looks like a circumcision clamp with the letter "C" on it, which I know stands for California, but I couldn't help associating it with the word "circumcision."

Which raises a few questions in my head.

Is this seriously for real?

If so, what were the creators thinking?

What was on their minds?

I'd like to know who is responsible for this disgusting imagery.

If this is real, the University of California needs to get rid of this logo at once.

That is, unless it wants to be known as the "University of Circumcision..."