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.
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.
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.
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%.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A meme has been circulating around the internet over the last couple of days containing a quote from celebrity Australian doctor, Dr John D’Arcy. A copy is below:
Many might think that this comment was made recently, perhaps as part of a backlash against the American Academy of Padiatrics much ridiculed revised statement on circumcision. One of these rebuttals written by multiple Pediatric groups across Europe in the scientific journal Pediatrics stated: “only 1 of the arguments put forward by the American Academy of Pediatrics has some theoretical relevance” and that the other claimed health benefits “are questionable, weak, and likely to have little public health relevance in a Western context, and they do not represent compelling reasons for surgery before boys are old enough to decide for themselves.”
Dr John D’Arcy’s statement was actually made on the Channel 7 Sunrise program over three years ago. Well done to Dr D’Arcy for being one of the first personalities in Australia to publicy speak up for our baby boys who can’t speak for themselves.
The newest circumcision clinic to open in Brisbane. Appears to offer Plastibell circumcision services. Currently only website details available:
Brisbane Circumcision Centre
The Plastibell circumcision technique is the most common technique used in Australia. Parents who are considering this for their baby boy should view some videos of the procedure to esure that they are fully informed on exactly what is involved. Click on the link below to view the video:
Plastibell Infant Circumcision by vallridg