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%.
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.