New organisation aims to end circumcision in Australia and New Zealand

It seems that yet another organisation has emerged with the intent of putting circumcising doctors out of business.

This group calls themselves ‘The Australasian Institute of Genital Autonomy‘, and are a little different from the typical anti-circumcision or ‘intactivisit’ groups. Rather than being anti-circumcision, they claim to be pro-choice, and think that when they are old enough, boys should be able to decide if they want to have any part of their bodies removed.

They also suggest that all babies and children should be treated equally when it comes to cutting (or not cutting) their genitals, so that if it is wrong to cut the genitals of our female children, then it is also wrong to cut the genitals of our male and intersex children.

 

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Why do some people think male circumcision is mutilation?

We all know that cutting a baby girl’s genitals is mutilation, but why is it that some are now saying that cutting a baby boy’s genitals is mutilation as well? Can we use gender alone to determine what is ‘mutilation’ and what is ‘circumcision’?

The Practical Ethics blog from Oxford University explores this issue. Read the blog post here.

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Is circumcision better to do as a baby?

Is circumcision a surgery best performed in infancy? If he’s going to get it done, isn’t it better done sooner rather than later? The WHOLE Network answers your questions.

Many parents believe that circumcising their son in infancy is a kindness. They assume getting it done sooner will save him the pain of having to endure the procedure later on in life, but what we’ve found is that the opposite is true.

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How many boys are being circumcised in Australia today?

While the mainstream media, and other special interest groups in Australia, may report that an increasing number of parents are returning to the ritual of infant circumcision, the facts show that actually there has been a dramatic drop since 2009, from more than 13% to 10.82%.

Circumcision rates in Australia.

Male Births for 2013 not available at time of posting. Projection based on 2 year moving average trend.
Sources: Medicare, Australian Bureau of Statistics

This recent drop joined the dramatic decline from the 1970s, when it was estimated that 90% of baby boys were circumcised. Below we put forward some possible reasons for the drop:

  • An increased awareness of the 16+ protective and sexual functions of the foreskin.
  • An understanding that caring for an intact baby requires less effort than for one who is circumcised. No special post-surgery care is required; cleaning involves only wiping the outside – never retract (the boy does this himself when ready).
  • An understanding that even if there were a slightly increased risk of UTIs from an intact penis, leaving your boy intact, in the past this was most likely caused by forced retraction of the foreskin, and, in any case, infections can be treated the same way we treat our girls – with antibiotics.
  • An increase in breastfeeding, and with that, an understanding that circumcision surgery disrupts breastfeeding and bonding.
  • Many Australian men are voicing their resentment at being circumcised as babies.
  • A greater awareness of the immediate risks of the circumcision surgery itself.
  • An appreciation of the concept of autonomy. That is, all humans should have the right to self-determination over their own bodies.
  • A recent groundswell of opinion from around the world from medical authorities, political parties, and other institutions, declaring that infant circumcision is unnecessary, harmful, removes healthy, functional tissue and breaches a child’s human rights.
  • With circumcision rates now at 10.82%, ‘fitting in’ can no longer be used to justify the decision to circumcise.
  • The proliferation of social media, which has provided wide exposure to stories of botched circumcisions, regretful parents, and resentful men.
  • A realisation that the purported benefits are marginal at best, are better achieved by basic hygiene, safe sex practices, and less invasive medical treatment. These “benefits” have been promoted by those with a monetary or other interest in circumcision, and are insignificant when balanced against the above points.

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Complications from circumcision

Has your doctor told you about the 28 identified complications of circumcision? If not, read about them here, and become more informed than the average Australian doctor.

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Circumcision without medical indication is mutilation

simonharris100:

Danish physicians declare that circumcision without medical indication is mutilation.

Originally posted on Just a Snip - against genital mutilation aka circumcision:

Circumcision without medical indication is mutilation. The message from the Danish Society of Family Physicians is unmistakable: electory surgery on non-consenting minors must end.

Skærmbillede 2014-01-18 kl. 14.47.03The statement has been put forward in connection with a hearing by the Danish National Board of Health about guidelines regarding circumcision of minors.

The full wording is: “The National Board of Health has sent Guidelines Regarding Circumcision of Boys into hearing. DSAM (Danish Society of Family Physicians) has debated the issue and agreed that circumcision may only be performed when medical indication is present. Circumcision in the absence of a medical indication is mutilation.”

The stance against circumcision from DSAM is the latest in a series of clear statements from respected Danish and Scandinavian organisations.

Soon the Danish National Parliament will have no option than to ban genital mutilation of healthy boys. Adults who understands the consequences and risks regarding the procedure should of course…

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Are circumcised boys easier to keep clean?

“A lot of people think it’s easier to keep a circumcised penis clean, but it’s actually not. With a circumcised penis, you have a post-surgical circumcision wound in a dirty diaper. You have to worry about keeping that clean, pulling the remaining foreskin back so it won’t readhere, applying vaseline so the raw skin won’t stick to the diaper, watching for infection, watching for adhesions and skin bridges, meatal stenosis…. the list goes on. You don’t have to do any of that with an intact baby. You just wipe and you’re done! No need to pull anything back. Parents who have both intact and circumcised sons in the home report that intact boys are hands down the easier of the two to keep clean.”

~ The Whole Network

Read more about post-circumcision care…

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The Circumcision Decision

During my first pregnancy, I was overwhelmed with joy when I found out that there was a little boy in my belly. Like many ‘mamas-to-be’, I instantly fell in love and spent my days (and nights) dreaming about him. As the months passed by, I began to plan for his arrival: washing and hanging all of his tiny clothes, picking out the softest blankets I could find, figuring out what breast pump would be best. I wanted to be prepared for every little detail. When I began to make plans for the birth itself, I thought about what would happen on the day of his birth, and circumcision crossed my mind.

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Real Stories: I changed my mind about circumcision and left my second son intact.

“After his circumcision, we couldn’t wake him to eat for hours upon hours. It rocked our breastfeeding relationship and we were warned if he didn’t start nursing, we’d have to supplement with formula. When I brought him home and changed his diaper for the first time, I was horrified. My son was screaming: he was in pain. My husband looked worried and said he never screamed like that before his circumcision. He was bloody and raw, and we had to use Vaseline to keep it from sticking to his diaper, though sometimes it still happened, and he’d scream bloody murder as we peeled his sore and painful glans away from the diaper. I think we both knew then what a mistake we had made, but we never discussed it. At the time I do not think either of us was willing or ready to accept that we had made the wrong decision, at least not to own that mistake out loud.”

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Circumcision: The doctor told me he wouldn’t feel a thing

When my obstetrician was trying to convince me to circumcise my son, he told me that he wouldn’t feel a thing.  He told me that they numbed the area and it would be a pain-free experience. I wasn’t there, so I don’t know how pain-free my own son’s circumcision was. Yet, I was there before and after his circumcision. What I hadn’t considered was the pain that he would feel as a result of his circumcision. I hadn’t considered the aftermath.

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