Circumcision is unique among medical procedures because it's frequently performed by people with no formal medical training — primarily by Jewish leaders called mohels. Missionaries have also been known to carry out the procedure — including, most famously, Tim Tebow, the Denver Broncos quarterback who performed them during a trip to the Philippines in 2008.

In the gentile world, circumcision grew in popularity during the Victorian era, when supporters claimed it could tame a man's sex drive and stop boys from masturbating. As modern medicine evolved, circumcisions were routinely performed in hospitals on newborns.

But the procedure has always had its opponents. Ancient Greeks and Romans found it barbaric. It never caught on in Latin America and went out of fashion in much of Europe as countries with national health care sought to save money and stopped funding them after World War II. The practice has been banned in some public hospitals in Australia, and last year the main medical association in the Netherlands declared it a "painful and harmful ritual" that violates children's rights.

In America, exact numbers are difficult to calculate because data is collected only on the number of circumcisions performed on newborns in hospitals, while many more babies have the procedure done in doctors' offices or religious ceremonies. Still, experts generally agree the total rate peaked in the '60s and '70s at about 85 percent. According to the National Hospital Discharge Survey, the rate of in-hospital circumcisions was 65 percent in 1980 and dropped to 56.1 in 2006.

In the United States, the anti-circumcision movement can be traced to a Florida man named Van Lewis. While in college — he attended Harvard for a year and played the conch shell in the band — he began to find circumcision absurd and cruel. He decided to "spend the rest of [his] life figuring out where this insanity came from." On December 17, 1970, police arrested him for protesting outside Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. Though Lewis went on to run a seafood business and a clam farm, his claim to fame was inspiring others to talk about what had previously been a nonissue. He died in 2010, but in a video uploaded to the Internet, he chastises the concept of "doctors chopping ends off of babies' penises."

Then in 1979, California nurse Marilyn Milos witnessed her first circumcision and found the procedure inhumane and the baby's cry unnatural and chilling. In 1985, she started NoCirc, the National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers. But it wasn't until the Internet age that anti-circumcision activists could easily find one another. Other groups sprang up, and an actual movement coalesced.

Foremost, the anti-circumcision crowd believes boys should be able to decide what happens to their bodies — especially in the case of a medically unnecessary amputation. They have likened circumcision to female genital mutilation — the cutting of a girl's genitals to kill her libido or make her "clean" — which is practiced in parts of Africa and the Middle East but condemned by most developed nations.

Circumcision critics charge that most arguments for the procedure are based on flawed logic. The idea that a child should look like his father? Well, who goes around comparing penises with his dad? The notion that the child will be called an "anteater" in the locker room? They liken it to shame that used to be applied to other once-taboo customs such as interracial marriage. An online "intactivism shop" — where "only the prices are rounded off" — sells T-shirts and bumper stickers declaring "hooded warrior" and "anteater pride."

Not all intactivists have such a cute sense of humor. Some accuse doctors of having a financial motivation for performing circumcisions. There are websites that "out" celebrities as intact and villainize researchers who have publicly promoted circumcision. Some even go so far as to accuse individuals of circum-fetish — being sexually aroused by circumcision.

Last summer, intactivists in San Francisco scored a win when they collected enough petition signatures to get a measure on the ballot that would ask voters to ban infant circumcision. The victory backfired, however; the ballot measure was stricken by a judge. After a huge outcry — especially by Jews, who found the notion anti-Semitic — the state legislature came down forcefully, passing a law that prevents local municipalities from attempting to ban circumcision.

The legal smackdown blunted many anti-circumcision activists' hope for having the procedure banned. But the episode, and the national attention it received, invigorated local movements around the country. Now, activists say, their focus is on education and outreach.

Today there are numerous national and international anti-circumcision groups. In Florida, the Tampa Bay Area Intactivists demonstrated January 15 at All Children's Hospital. This March, for the 19th year, Cocoa Beach resident David Wilson will lead a national gathering at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., with his organization, the Stop Infant Circumcision Society. There is Internet chatter about activists traveling to Orlando February 26 to protest Tebow, who is scheduled to appear at a golf tournament that weekend.

Rebecca Wald, a South Florida mother of two who is also a writer and has a law degree, was profiled in newspapers around the world after she launched a website, beyondthebris.com, that questions the wisdom of circumcision, particularly as it relates to Judaism. "When I found out that I was pregnant with a son," she says, "circumcision was one of the parenting issues that I researched. And the more that I learned about the effects of circumcision, the more I disliked it."

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186 comments
etherealcrows
etherealcrows

Male 'circumcision' is more sexually damaging than type 2 FGM.  It destroys sexual pleasure.  I know because it was done to me without my informed consent as a teenager.  


There are no medical benefits to genital mutilation; it is a human rights abuse.  Anyone who supports this supports rape.  And is quite possible a paedophile. 

glharryman
glharryman

The specialized nerve endings in the Ridged Band at the tip of the male foreskin contain 50% of the sensory capacity of the penis.  Only a sick pervert would destroy that sensory capacity.  People who sexually mutilate babies belong in prison.

benself
benself

Cutting the genitals of children should be punishable by death.

Nigel
Nigel

The photo you include with your article is obviously an attempt at being clever. It isn't because it is an erroneous perception of male genitalia, which often attracts skewed humour. If you were writing about female genital cutting would you depict it a steak of salmon and a knife? Also, scissors aren't used in the very backward procedure. You have also skewed this to infer age old tradition. Theft, rape, murder, and assault have been around longer, does that make them okay? In fact these are exactly the descriptions that can be applied to "circumcision," the euphemism for genital mutilation. Anyone who performs them is not a doctor or mohel, but a quack, and they deserve every bad thing they have coming their way. Helen Salsbury is especially a quack because she is also a woman who is under the impression that boys are objects to be manipulated for profit. Jews who perform it aren't following the Torah which asks that we do no harm to any living thing, which is exactly what genital mutilation does. Eighty five percent of men internationally are intact and living proof that "circumcision" is a lie. Any reference to disease prevention is also dissipated as the human race would have died out long ago if the HIV/cancer scares were true. "Circumcision" is the cycle of male sexual abuse, and those who want to repeat the cycle for profit are in denial, otherwise they wouldn't get so angry or defensive every time they are questioned.

Laura Prowicz
Laura Prowicz

what kind of a normal person has gone out of his way to "see a lot of circumcisions"? hidden agenda much? wow. scary.

J
J

No one that is at all credible claims there are no functions to the parts cut off. However, the sexual function and pleasure are ignored or downplayed by the penis parts removal pushers. The long term harm to the man the baby becomes is huge, with nerve damage and harm to the sensory system. A whole range of sensation and sexual and protective function are lost. The lips, nipples and fingertips have similar touch sense. To take this away from another person without their consent is heinous. To remove these parts from a baby is way creepy.

Troy
Troy

The best type of circumcision to perform on a boy is the one using the Mogen which can snip the foreskin in only 30 seconds. I have seen a lot of circumcisions, and I think the best ones are those done in the Jewish style with the Mogen or similar instrument. Mohels circumcise thousands of boys and if I have my boys circumcised, although I am not Jewish, I would have them done by a mohel.

andrea
andrea

I'm relatively certain that the 'intactivists' are asking that the common place/automatic circumcision route taken be revisited: No one is arguing religious rite

Bradley
Bradley

Anti-circumcision idiots need to get a life and stop interferring with everyone else's. I was circumcized as a baby, am not jewish and dont remember it or any pain...it left no scar on my penis or my ego. Circumcisions serve a purpose especially cleanliness...my wife is a urologist and you dont want to hear the stories she has regarding uncircumcized patients.

Dom2please
Dom2please

ANYTHING that has a religious significance is automatically condemned by the socialist politically correct idiots. What is it that scares them to death? Could it be their lifestyle?

Christie
Christie

So cool you wrote this article!! Thank you Deirdra Funcheon, I appreciate you taking the time to bring this to your audience. I am not for male or female circumcision and look forward to the day that it is common place to have intact boys and men.

Marc
Marc

Lewis is another genius! A mohel is the best at what he does and many do more than doctors. They do not prey on baby boys but called upon to do the ritual that is a necessity for a Jewish boy. You don't like it, tough! To a believing Jew or Muslim, it must be done and complications are extremely rare if done by an experienced mohel. My neighbor, a non-Jewish pediatrician had his son done because he claims that is in fact healthier. Go argue with him.

Craig
Craig

Is Emilio a Latino boy? Seems like more Latino boys are getting their foreskins snipped these days.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

Forced Genital Mutilation of Babies and Infants = Child Abuse !

Period.

Oscar
Oscar

I was circumcised when I was 10 because my foreskin had closed and I count not put it back and clean the gland.It would have been a place for infection.If my parents were against the procedure I would have died from and infection in the penis that would probably have moved to the lower abdomen.I am the most happy person and my libido is fine,thank you.

lmrg78
lmrg78

ultimately is the parent's decision. activists have no say in this...go back to work or study!

;)
;)

uncut = more to play with ;)

Joy
Joy

Haven't found in the heart of NO. 1?Let you in here,stdster.,.c0mfind the one with you for life to love each other.

Troy
Troy

If Dr. Salsbury is only doing five circumcisions a month, that is not enough to be a proficient practitioner of circumcision. If you are going to circumcise boys, you cannot simply do it as a part-time job - you need to be doing it every day. This is why the best practitioners to circumcise boys are mohels (or doctors) who do them daily. Mohels circumcise thousands of boys over the course of a career and they are chosen not just by Jews but by non-Jews, British Royalty and celebrities because they have the most expertise. This is why Sandra Bullock, had her boy circumcised by a mohel. I would not choose someone who does so few circumcisions a month as the best person to have my boys circumcised. I would choose someone who does them daily.

Marc
Marc

Van Lewis did admit, I am told, that he did like the way it tasted after it was circumcised. People get a life! There are so many other more urgent issues to deal with in our world. People are still sold into slavery! Our water and air are polluted, our meats are loaded with hormones. Little girls are developing breasts and they are having their periods at age 10!We have a president who is destroying our country and you are tackling a 2400 year old practice that is an integral part of two of the world's major religions? Wake up and rid yourself of the hate you have for these religions and do something constructive.

myoleman
myoleman

"For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love." Gal. 5:6

runrandrand
runrandrand

I WISH MINE HAD BEEN CARVED WITH A ROADRUNNER'S HEAD AND BEAK---"BEEP-BEEP"!!!!pshhhhhhhuuuuuuuuuuuu!!!!

Bebep
Bebep

Parents get to decide what they want to do with their children. Get over it.

Go crusade for a useful cause instead of wasting your time over fucking foreskin.

Hmghosthost
Hmghosthost

"Circumcision is a brutal surgery. If you treated an animal the way we treat babies, you would be arrested for animal cruelty."

Doctor Salsbury, you couldn't have described your crimes against children any clearer!

To those who quote the law given to Abraham as an excuse for sexual assault on children, perhaps you should read what the Apostles wrote in the book of Acts - saying that circumcision IS NOT NECESSARY before God; and the Apostle Paul himself warns against those who continue this vulgar and heinous act, calling them "the Concision" - a Greek term meaning "THE MUTILATORS".

Children are sexually abused all the time and the nation goes up in arms against it, branding the perpetrators for life - but the nation falls silent to child sexual assault when it comes to slicing off part of the child's genitals!! THIS NATION IS SICK AND DUPLICIOUS.

I would NEVER knowingly allow someone near my child who supports such sick child abuse.

I highly recommend severe criminal penalties to such evil people as Dr. Salsbury. Culture or religion is not a valid reason to allow ANYONE to be maimed and mutilated. Those who promote child genital mutilation ought to be locked!!! away.

Hmghosthost
Hmghosthost

"Circumcision is a brutal surgery. If you treated an animal the way we treat babies, you would be arrested for animal cruelty."

Doctor Salsbury, you couldn't have described your crimes against children any clearer!To those who quote the law given to Abraham as an excuse for sexual assault on children, perhaps you should read what the Apostles wrote in the book of Acts - saying that circumcision IS NOT NECESSARY before God; and the Apostle Paul himself warns against those who continue this vulgar and heinous act, calling them "the Concision" - a Grek term meaning "THE MUTILATORS".

Child are sexually abused all the time and the nation goes up in arms against them, branding the perpetrators for life - but the nation falls silent to child sexual assault when it comes to slicing off part of the child's genitals!! THIS NATION IS SICK AND DUPLICIOUS.

I would NEVER knowing allow someone near my child who supports such sick child abuse. I highly recommend severe criminal penalties to such evil people as Dr. Salsbury. Culture is not a valid reason to allow ANYONE to be maimed and mutilated. Those who promote child genital mutilation ought to be lock away.

HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST
HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST

JOKES AND SCRIPTURE. DEEP

IF YOU BELIEVE IN ANY KIND OF HUMAN RIGHTS.YOU WOULD LET THE CHILD MAKE THEIR OWN DECISIONWHEN THEY ARE OLD ENOUGH TO GRASP THE TOPIC FULLY.

Nigel
Nigel

You speak about boys as though they are objects. Could it be that someone objectified your existence and ignored your rights as a child by placing a scar on you and subjecting you to a minority group of men from which you can never be removed? By enabling this, it would be the repetition of abuse that was perpetrated on you, and any boys you have are counting on you to be smarter than that.

Barefoot Intactivist
Barefoot Intactivist

Mogen clamp went bankrupt due to the large number of horrific botch jobs, including severing the head, caused by the (torture) device. They lost an $11 million judgement in 2010.

Why would you allow anybody to amputate major parts of your son's penis. Seriously?!?!

Nigel
Nigel

Oh yes we are my dear. Religion is no excuse to abuse children as it is the cycle of sexual abuse. The only ones who are desiring to keep male genital mutilation legal are the ones with the scars, which can include quacks, mohels, and misguided muslims who think it is a part of their religions. In fact, the koran mentions nothing about it, and it isn't exclusively jewish, therefore it doesn't make a muslim also a jew and visa versa. Moses, leader of the jews, didn't practice this ritual. If the mythical Abraham had done to himself what is done to boys today, he'd have bled to death before he could show anyone what he had supposedly done. Genital mutilation is rooted in superstitious myth and is only a viscous, abusive cycle.

Elena Karplus
Elena Karplus

I don't need to argue with your pediatrian. The American Academy of Pediatrics can do that quite well when they state that it is a not a necessary medical procedure.

watersisland
watersisland

Oscar you seem to have a mental disconnect to the issue here. Your situation is akin to presenting evidence for ALL children having their tonsils removed at birth as a profilactic measure.....because YOU had inflamed tonsils and had to have them removed. Although it may not have affected your libido (bear in mind that no-one is arguing a libido effect)....you have no way of knowing it's affect on yours or your lovers sexual pleasure----you've never had a foreskin to compare. I'm thinking it MAY have affected your mentality though as your response is so far out in left field that either you're a poser.....or terribly mentally deficient.

Joseph Lewis
Joseph Lewis

Oscar, I'm afraid you were circumcised for no good reason. WERE you suffering an infection?

What if there were a better solution to your (iffy) problem? Wouldn't you have wanted that instead?

Read up; unfortunately, doctors don't understand the foreskin, when it retracts etc. You most likely would have been fine. Check it.

watersisland
watersisland

Uhm....you also seemed to have missed the whole point of the issue. It SHOULDN'T be the parents decision.....except in cases of medical necessity. It shouldn't be the parents decision to do an unnecessary surgical procedure on a males penis any more than it should be a parents decision to have their little girls circumsized. Its a shame that people who believe as you do are permitted to have children in this country. I hear Afghanistan and many countries in that region are filled with people of your mentality and you may just fit right in there.

Joseph Lewis
Joseph Lewis

Without medical or clinical indication, how can any doctor be performing surgery on a healthy child? Much less be giving parents any kind of a "choice?"

What other operation can a parent simply command a doctor to do without clinical indication?

DESURRECTION
DESURRECTION

Why is it the parent's decision? Why must a child be scarred for the rest of his life for an archaic, barbaric practice that the parents forced onto their child?

One could argue that you have no say in this as well so you should go back to work or study ;)

Joseph Lewis
Joseph Lewis

And mohels screw up too. Are you aware of the recent million dollar lawsuits against mohels that cut off the glans?

More to the point, shouldn't there actually be a medical necessity for a surgery before it's performed?

Without medical or clinical indication, how is it any doctor can be performing surgery on a healthy, non-consenting child? Much less be giving his parents any kind of a "choice?"

And what are mohels doing circumcising goyim? Sounds to me like they're trying to forcibly and permanently evangelize others...

Joseph Lewis
Joseph Lewis

Marc, if you are worried about said things, why are you here?

If you think there are better things to worry about, you'd be off worrying about said things.

Apprehension always, always betrays apathy.

Circumcision concerns you more than you'd like others to believe.

TellitLikeitIs
TellitLikeitIs

Bebep You are obviously a MORON!! I suppose if a parent wants to Rape his/ child it's alright by you then, you friggen imbicile!!! This is what the debate is about dipsh-t!!! Whether or not parents should have the right to abuse & perform genital mutilation on their children. If you don't know already, this practice has been outlawed for little girls in most countries, however it is still widely practiced in many countries today. Therefore similar to female circumcision, it is an issue that deserves to be argued on the basis of it's medical benifit or not, rather than archaic superstitious cultures & their ancient beliefs.

Hmghosthost
Hmghosthost

Really, you sick f*ck?! How about if your parents cut off ALL of your genitals?You don't think the protection of sexually assaulted children is a useful cause. YOU DO NOT DESERVE TO LIVE.

Bebep
Bebep

You strike me as the type of person that owns a bunker for the apocalypse.

TheTruth
TheTruth

I think the cheesy smegma underneath your foreskin has overflowed into your smart ass lil brain and affected your manners.

watersisland
watersisland

Yeah,one's small toe has less of an overall affect on a childs ability to function as a whole....but child welfare advocates would have parents put in jail if they arbitrairily had that surgically removed on their infants for any reason other than absolute medical necessity.

Bebep
Bebep

Wow you people really reach for an argument here...

I like that you insult with 'MORON' after writing such incredibly stupid shit.

I'm talking about circumcision not raping your child you freaking lunatic.

Female circumcision was outlawed because they removed the whole clitoris not just the hood, and in some cases even the labia. It actually brought health risks and problems AFTER it was performed. It is not similar to male circumcision in one bit.

So back to my point, if a parent wishes to circumcise THEIR child - then they will. So deal with it.

Oh yeah... MORON! <--- This means I win right?

Marc
Marc

You obviously are a genius! What a stupid response.

Bebep
Bebep

Yes, lets compare removing foreskin to castrating someone. Great argument genius.

Circumcision is not sexual assault, what the hell are you even talking about?

YOU DO NOT DESERVE TO POST ON THE INTERNET.

Bebep
Bebep

People like you should not be allowed on the internet posting random stupid things.

I clearly state how terrible female circumcision is, yet in your blinded rage from the foreskin in your face you can't make that out.

Keep up the good work.

watersisland
watersisland

So sounds to me that "Bebep" is in favor or removing the clitoral HOOD of females at birth. Bebep.....people like you belong in 1.Jail 2. Mental institutions. or 3.Afghanistan. Either way, you're not fit to live among a civilized society.

Ontell Babbitt
Ontell Babbitt

wth is wrong with you ....total nutjob ...no pun intended LOL

matchrestore
matchrestore

Murder is certainly worse than assault. By your reasoning assault should be legal.

 
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