Some Quotations



- Hippocrates of Cos (c.430 B.C.E.)


... a cup is not mutilated if it is bored through; but only if the handle or a projecting part is removed. And a man is mutilated not if the flesh or the spleen is removed, but if an extremity is, and that not every extremity but one which when completely removed cannot grow again. Therefore baldness is not a mutilation. [Aristotle was reputedly bald.]

Aristotle (384-322 BCE) Metaphysics 5 (Delta) 27 1024a11-28
(trans. Barnes, Complete Works)

And therefore, according to Aristotle's definition, circumcision is mutilation.


MAGNA EST VERITAS ET PRAEVALET : Great is the truth and it will prevail

Ezdras 4:4 (Apocrypha)


Human subtlety ... will never devise an invention
more beautiful, more simple, or more direct than does nature,
because in her inventions, nothing is lacking,
and nothing is superfluous.

- Leonardo Da Vinci (1452 – 1519)


We all have strength enough
to endure the misfortune
of others.

- Francois De La Rochefoucauld


Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully
as when they do it from religious conviction.

- Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)


To cut off the uppermost skin of the secret parts is directly against the honesty of nature, and an injurious insufferable trick put upon her.

Moreover, that part which hangeth over the end of the foreskin, is moved up and down in coition, that in this attrition it might gather more heat, and increase the pleasure of the other sexe; a contentation of which they are defrauded by this injurious invention. For, the shortnesse of the prepuce is reckoned among the organical defects of the yard, whether it be original or [induced ?] by an artificial procision of it. And although neither of these kinds of brevity doth incommode the action of the yard, which is extension and ejaculation of the seed; yet circumcision detracts somewhat from the delight of women, by lessening their titillation. Hence she in the epigram found herself aggrieved at this invention, thinking it had been more reasonable to have added than to have detracted from that organ.

- Dr John Bulwer Anthropometamorphosis,
man transform¹d,
or the artificial changeling

(London 1650), p. 213


Every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has a right to, but himself

- John Locke (1632-1704)


The skin of the Yard is long and loose that it may swell or slack as the Yard doth, and the foreskin of that skin sometimes covers the head of the Yard, and sometimes goes so far back that it will not come forward again. This skin in time of the Venerious action keeps the mouth of the womb close that no [c]old air can get in, yet some think the action might be better performed without it; the Jews were commanded to be Circumcised, but now Circumcision avails not and is forbidden by the Apostle [Paul]. I hope no man will be so void of reason and Religion, as to be Circumcised to make trial which of these two opinions is the best; but the world was never without some mad men, who will do anything to be singular: were the foreskin any hindrance to procreation or pleasure, nature had never made it, who made all things for these very ends and purposes.

- Jane Sharp, The midwives book. Or the whole art of midwifery discovered
(London 1671; facsimile reprint, New York: Garland, 1985), pp. 31-2


Falsehood flies and the truth comes limping after,
so that when men come to be undeceived,
it is too late: the jest is over,
and the tale has had its effect.

- Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)


- ILUS, continued my father, circumcised his whole army one morning. - Not without a court-martial?   cried my uncle Toby. ... I know not by what article of war he could justify it.
   The controversialists, answered my father, assign two-and-twenty different reasons for it: - others, indeed, who have drawn their pens on the opposite side of the question, have shewn the world the futility of the greatest part of them.

- Laurence Stern
The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman,
book V ch. 28


If we believe absurdities,
we shall commit atrocities.

There is nothing so venerable
as an ancient abuse.

- Voltaire (1694-1778)


Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not yet sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favor; a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defence of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason.

- Thomas Paine, 1776
Thanks to Project NoSpank


Doctor Bell fell down the well
and broke his collar bone;
Doctors should attend the sick
and leave the well alone.

- Anonymous

Custom reconciles us to everything.

- Edmund Burke (1729-1797)



Never cut what you can untie.

- Joseph Joubert (1754-1824)


The apotheosis of familiar abuses is the vilest of superstitions.

- Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772 - 1834)


Laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind[;] as that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat that fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.

- Thomas Jefferson


[D]uring the 1830s...the common practice of bloodletting [was] used to treat almost every known ailment. Bleeding...did patients no good at best: at worst, it weakened and killed them.

- "Science Astray" by the editors of Time-Life books (p74)


Men, it has been well said, think in herds. It will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.

- Charles Mackay
Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds


Be it enacted by General Assembly that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of Religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities.

Thomas Jefferson, the Virginia Statute for Religious Tolerance (1776)


Is it progress if a cannibal uses knife and fork?

- Alexander von Humboldt


If anything is sacred, the human body is sacred.

- Walt Whitman, "I Sing the Body Electric" l 124
Leaves of Grass, 1855


Natural selection will never produce in a being anything injurious to itself, for natural selection acts solely by and for the good of each. No organ will be formed, as Paley has remarked, for the purpose of causing pain or for doing an injury to its possessor. If a fair balance be struck between the good and evil caused by each part, each will be found on the whole advantageous. After the lapse of time, under changing conditions of life, if any part comes to be injurious, it will be modified; or if it be not so, the being will become extinct, as myriads have become extinct.

- Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species, 1859


It is in the case of children, that misapplied notions of liberty are a real obstacle to the fulfilment by the State of its duties. One would almost think that a man's children were supposed to be literally, and not metaphorically, a part of himself, so jealous is opinion of the smallest interference of law with his absolute and exclusive control over them; more jealous than of almost any interference with his own freedom of action: so much less do the generality of mankind value liberty than power.

- John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (1859)


"Many folks would have ridden by and said 'twas not their business to interfere. Now I say that with cruelty and oppression it is everybody's business to interfere when they see it".

- Anna Sewell, Black Beauty (1877)


Hardly any part of the body which can be unnaturally modified has escaped. ... The motives are various; ... certain mutilations are connected with religious rites, or they mark the age of puberty, or the rank of the man, or they serve to distinguish the tribes. Amongst savages the same fashions prevail for long periods, and thus mutilations, from whatever cause first made, soon come to be valued as distinctive marks.

- Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex (1879)
ed. James Moore and Adrian Desmond
(Penguin Classics edn, 2004)


If 50 million people say a foolish thing,
it is still a foolish thing.

- Anatole France (1844-1924)


In civilized society most educated people
are not even aware of the extent to which
savage ignorance survives at their doors.

- Sir James Frazer The Golden Bough 1911-1915


It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

- Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986)


A lie will be halfway around the world before the truth has got its pants on.

- Mark Twain?

So long as little children are allowed to suffer,
there is no true love in this world.

- Isadora Duncan



On Children
Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

- 1923


It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.

- Upton Sinclair
"I, Candidate for Governor: And How I Got Licked"
(1935), ISBN 0-520-08198-6


It is extraordinary that in our day this rather barbaric rite should be practised almost as a routine with infants. From the psychological point of view it is dangerous with or without an anaesthetic. In the rare case where a child cannot urinate it may be done, but is otherwise unjustifiable. Apparently the practice is based on a morbid fear of masturbation, and it is unconsciously propitiatory. When performed at the age of two or three, it is frequently the basis of severe castration fears.

- Maurice Bevan-Brown
"The Sources of Love and Fear"
(Christchurch, NZ, 1948)


"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home - so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world."

- Eleanor Roosevelt

Pardon him Theodotus: he is a barbarian,
and thinks that the customs of his tribe and island
are the laws of nature.

- George Bernard Shaw
Caesar and Cleopatra, Act II


It is a curious and painful fact that
almost all the completely futile treatments
that have been believed in
during the long history of medical folly
have been such as caused acute suffering to the patient.

- Bertrand Russell, "Unpopular Essays", 1950


The smallest minority on earth is the individual.
Those who deny individual rights
cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.

- Ayn Rand

If there is anything that we wish to change in the child,
we should first examine it and see
whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves.

- C.G. Jung

No aspect of human life seethes
with so many unexorcised demons as does sex.
No human activity is so hexed by superstition,
so haunted by residual tribal lore,
and so harassed by socially induced fear.

- Harvey Cox, "Sex and Secularization", 1965


Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.

- Richard Feynman, "What is Science", 1966

What is done to children,
they will do to society.

- Karl Menninger


It is fortunate
that each generation
does not comprehend
its own ignorance.
We are thus enabled
to call our ancestors

- Charles Dudley Warner


When you think of the long and gloomy history of man,
you will find more hideous crimes
have been committed in the name of obedience
than have ever been committed in the name of rebellion.

- C. P. Snow, 1905 - 1980

I still say that
some of the biggest criminals
are those that turn their heads away
when they see wrong
and know it's wrong.

- Bob Dylan, 1963, cover of "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan"


Nature is a possessive mistress, and whatever mistakes she makes about the structure of the less essential organs such as the brain and stomach, in which she is not much interested, you can be sure that she knows best of the genital organs.

- Sir James Spence, 1964

Poetic, but hardly accurate. The genital organs, like the rest of the body, evolved on an ad hoc basis and embody numerous flaws. There is, however, no reason to suppose that the foreskin is in any way a mistake (except, perhaps, in being so easily removed).


My faith in doctors
   is immense,
Just one thing spoils it:
   their pretence
of authorised

- Piet Hein
"Grooks", 1966


Why is the operation of circumcision practiced?
One might as well attempt to explain the rites of voodoo!

- William Keith C. Morgan, MD
The Rape of the Phallus, 1967


I continue to be shocked at the arbitrariness of the thoughtless mutilation of so many boys. The sensory pleasure induced by tactile stimulation of the foreskin is almost totally lost after its surgical removal. Consequently, the fundamental biological sexual act becomes, for the circumcised male, simply a satisfaction of an urge and not the refined sensory experience that it was meant to be.

- C.J. Falliers, 1970 (quoted in Marked in your Flesh)



But there is one feature I notice that is generally missing in cargo cult science. ... It's a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty--a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you're doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid - not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you've eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked - to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated.

Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them. You must do the best you can - if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong - to explain it. If you make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as those that agree with it.

- Richard Feynman, Caltech commencement address, 1974


"Greed plays a role in causing unnecessary surgery, although I don't think the economic motive alone is enough to explain it. There's no doubt that if you eliminated all unnecessary surgery, most surgeons would go out of business. They'd have to look for honest work, because the surgeon gets paid when he performs surgery on you, not when you're treated some other way. In pre-paid group practices where surgeons are paid a steady salary not tied to how many operations they perform, hysterectomies and tonsillectomies occur only about one-third as often as in fee-for-service situations."

- Robert S. Mendelsohn, MD. "Confessions of a Medical Heretic" (1979)
Chapter 3 ("Ritual Mutilations"), pp. 58-59.


Circumcision is a solution
looking for a problem.

The medical profession bears responsibility
for the introduction of prophylactic circumcision
without scientific basis in the past
and for its continued use and rationalization
without scientific basis in the present.

- Dr Edward Wallerstein
Circumcision: An American Health Fallacy, 1980


Take that poor penis. Take a knife - right? And start cutting. And everybody says, "It doesn't hurt." Everybody says, "No, it doesn't hurt." Get it? That's an excuse, of course, a subterfuge. They say that the sheaths of the nerve are not yet developed. Therefore, the sensation in the nerves is not yet developed. Therefore, the child doesn't feel a thing. Now, that's murder! Circumcision is one of the worst treatments of children. And what happens to them? You just look at them. They can't talk to you. They just cry.

- Wilhelm Reich (1987-1957)
Children Of The Future (pub. 1983) p. 3


When slavery was a custom,every right minded person supported it. Nothing is as powerful a legitimizer as social custom,even more powerful than law.

I believe the time has come to acknowledge that the practice of routine neonatal circumcision rests on the absurd premise that the only mammal in creation born in a condition that requires immediate surgical correction is the human male. If the penile foreskin is not merely non functional but a biological disadvantage so severe as to justify its immediate surgical ablation, then surely, it must have atrophied by now.

- Thomas Szasz


Whatever is done to stop the terrible practice of circumcision will be of tremendous importance.
There is no rational medical reason to support it.

- Dr. Frederick Leboyer, author of Birth Without Violence


I think circumcision is a good idea.... However, it is not absolutely necessary.
- 1946-68

I think circumcision is a good idea.... However, it is not necessary.
- 1968-74

I strongly recommend leaving the foreskin alone.
- 1985

Dr Benjamin Spock
Baby and Child Care

My own preference,
if I had the good fortune to have another son,
would be to leave his little penis alone.

- Redbook, April 1989


"I have some good friends who are obstetricians outside the military, and they look at a foreskin and almost see a $125 price tag on it. Each one is that much money. Heck, if you do 10 a week, that's over $1,000 a week, and they don't take that much time."

- Dr.Thomas Wiswell,
quoted in "The Age-Old Question of Circumcision"
by Betsy A. Lehman, Boston Globe, June 22, 1987, p. 43


It may well be that a society´s greatest madness seems normal to itself.

- Allan Bloom, 1987


The glans is wasted on the circumcised penis.

- "Foreskin" by Bud Berkeley


All of the Western world raises its children uncircumcised and it seems logical that, with the extent of health knowledge in those countries, such a practice must be safe.

- Former US Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, M.D.
Saturday Evening Post July-August 1982


The body is not like a suit of clothes,
to be hemmed and stitched
to the style of the times.

- Dr. Paul McHugh
Johns Hopkins University


If God had wanted us to be uncircumcised,
we'd all be born with foreskins.

- J. D. Ahmanson


Any invasion of the body is an invasion of the particular person.
Indeed, it is the ultimate invasion of personal dignity and privacy.

- Justice Cory of the Canadian Supreme Court
R. v. Stillman, [1997] 1 S.C.R. 607


We believe that children have rights, too.

- Professor Spencer Beasley
President of the New Zealand Society of Paediatric Surgeons
on circumcision


If non-therapeutic child circumcision were a new drug,
the FDA* would never approve it.
If it were a proposed new surgical procedure,
it would never be approved.

*US Food and Drug Administration

- David Gollaher
National Public Radio 1999


The minute that a surgeon cuts the skin...harm is done. The benefit of a treatment will have to exceed that harm before the doctor is doing good. Unfortunately, many treatments have no benefit or only marginal benefit.

- Anon. Knowing when not to operate (Editor's choice).
Br Med J. 1999; 318(7180):0


We have an unfortunate tendency to underestimate and devalue parts of the body for which we have not yet discovered a useful purpose. The appendix, the tonsils and the adenoids have all suffered from this rush to get rid of everything surplus to requirements, and each has been the focus of fashionable and often unnecessary surgery.

- "Jacobson's Organ and the remarkable nature of smell"
by Lyall Watson, 1999, p 200)

There are still those who deny the existence of human pheromones. But many of the same people go to extraordinary lengths to suppress their production and distribution. Many religions forbid dancing altogether, or limit it to same-sex couples. Some require women to cover their hair with a chador or hajib, effectively isolating odours produced by the scalp. ... The lifting of the bridal veil in Christian marriage ceremonies repeats the same concernts, celebrating the union, giving permission for the oral exchange of phermones in a ritual kiss.

But everywhere else, olfactory intimacy is frowned upon and severely curtailed by shaving off underarm hair and the thorough deodorizing of all fragent sources. Why else would puritans insist on high collars, buttoned-up formality, long sleeves and tight wrist-cuffs? And why, even in our most liberated societies, do we still fuss about keeping nipples covered? It wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that female aureolas are rich in apocrine glands and sex attractants, would it?

And is it just coincidental that male and female circumcision targets two of the most productive pheromonal areas of the body? There is nothing in the Bible or the Koran which calls for such surgery. [Correct except for the Bible and male circumcision] And there is a nice irony in the fact that circumcision ceremonies, almost everywhere they occur, are accompanied by the pheromonal odours of carefully selected plants. Once again, our actions reveal the existence and potency of the very things we seek to deny.

(ibid. pp 208-9)


With or without religion, good people can behave well
and bad people can do evil;
but for good people to do evil—that takes religion.

- Steven Weinberg, speech in Washington, DC, 1999


"... as the history of female circumcision suggests, if male circumcision were confined to developing nations, it would by now have emerged as an international cause célèbre, stirring passionate opposition from feminists, physicians, politicians, and the global human rights community. If routine medical circumcision didn't exist today, no one would dare to invent it."

- David Gollaher
Circumcision: a history of the world's most controversial surgery



The majority of babies are now circumcised only in the US and Israel,
of boys only in the Islamic world, South Korea and the Philippines -
but only in the armed forces has anyone routinely circumcised
sexually active men: nowhere else would they stand for it.

- H. Y.


Future generations will find it inconceivable
that millions of Americans mutilated their babies
owing to the influence of a man
who ... was obviously a sadistic lunatic.

- Arthur C. Clarke
New Scientist
January 15, 2000


When people are mutilated,
it is criminal, not cultural.

- Madeleine Albright, then US Secretary of State


The horror of my New Guinea friends when I described circumcision, U.S. treatment of the elderly, and U.S. funeral customs matched Westerners' horror at cannibalism.

- UCLA Anthropologist Jared Diamond
quoted by Maggie Fox, Reuters
Sept 6 2000


After the drama of birth and baptism, a child's ordeals are far from over. In many cultures the children must face the ritual genital mutilation we call circumcision. This extraordinary procedure which, were it not hallowed by ancient tradition, would be prosecuted as child abuse, occurs in several forms in different parts of the world, sometimes applied to young males and sometimes to young females. In all cases, parts of the external genitals are removed - the foreskin in males and the clitoris and/or labia in females. Male children are usually mutilated by older males and female children by older females.

Literally millions of cases of these genital assaults occur annually and a whole range of preposterous excuses and explanations have been given as to why this savaging of young humans is necessary. In earlier days most of the explanations had to do with religious dictates, sacred demands that could not be queried rationally. With the fading of religious beliefs in some countries in later years, new excuses had to be found and a set of spurious medical reasons were invented.

...No other species behaves in this bizarre way towards its young, but where religious customs take a hold on a culture it is usually difficult to shift them. No matter how cruel or pointless they may be, they become stubbornly resistant to common sense or objective medical opinion.

- Desmond Morris,
"The Human Sexes:
a Natural History
of Man and Woman"
pp 134-6


I want first-time offenders to think of their first appearance in my coutroom as the second-worst experience of their lives, circumcision being the first.

- Judge Judy Sheindlin



I asked Halperin whether his being Jewish factors into his work on circumcision.

“No”, he says, “at least it didn’t during the first couple of years I was doing this research. I didn’t think about the Jewish part at all. … But in recent years the Judaism aspect has crept in now and then. Some doctors – for example, an oncologist in north-eastern Brazil who has to amputate cancerous penises every week – would tell me, not knowing that I was Jewish, ‘Those Jews were so smart; thousands of years ago they figured out this way to precent health problems.’ That was one of the things that began to spin my head around from of thinking of this as a savage ritual from the dark past to thinking of it as maybe a kind of health/cultural innovation ahead of its time. … So I guess it has made me appreciate my own heritage more. And who knows, maybe finding out to my surprise that my own granddad was an occasional mohel was a weird kind of confirmation that I’m maybe in some small way destined to help pass along this health benefit to people in parts of the world where it could really make a difference and perhaps save many lives.”

- Gordy Slack, “The case for circumcision” East Bay Express (San Francisco), Vol. 22 No. 32, 19 May 2000, p. 15

As a surgeon, my instinct is to treat the patient by doing something. It's a remarkably hard instinct to fight.

- Prof. Robert Winston
"Superhuman" Nov 2000


I get a lot of personal satisfaction out of circumcising so many boys...

- Queensland doctor Terry Russell
"Dr Circumcision"
on "60 Minutes" Oct 9, 2000


In the American context I think it's part of the insane fear of looking ugly, of smelling bad, of having a bald head, of not having perfectly regular and perfectly white teeth, of growing old, of dying.

- John Willcocks
Nov 3, 2000


"You see, the religious people - most of them - really think this planet is an experiment. That's what their beliefs come down to. Some god or other is always fixing and poking, messing around with tradesmen's wives, giving tablets on mountains, commanding you to mutilate your children, telling people what words they can say and what words they can't say, making people feel guilty about enjoying themselves, and like that. Why can't the gods leave well enough alone? All this intervention speaks of incompetence."

- Carl Sagan, Contact (New York: Pocket Books, 1985), p. 285.


One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We're no longer interested in finding out the truth…It is simply too painful to acknowledge — even to ourselves — that we've been so credulous. So the old bamboozles tend to persist as the new bamboozles rise.

- Carl Sagan, Demon-Haunted world (1995)

- Carl Sagan, Demon-Haunted World


We should show greater respect for the genius of Nature's designs, rigorously tested and refined over millions of years.

- Charles, Prince of Wales


The road to modern medicine is littered with the bones of medical treatments that millions of people once swore by - and are now known to be worthless or even harmful.

- Robert Park, Voodoo Science,
Oxford University Press, 2000
  Read reviews and order Voodoo Science from Amazon.com
Voodoo Science cover


If mobile skin at the end of the penis is not sexually important,
what was God/evolution thinking of?

- H. Y.
April 3, 2001

If I was to cut off any other part of a baby for no good cause and without an anaesthetic, I'd be struck off the medical register and the parents would most likely lose custody of the child.

- Christopher Green, paediatrician,
Camperdown Children's Hospital, Sydney

No one has the right to demand
that others participate in religious rituals.

- Ann Landers
September 7, 2001


...until the child is old enough to participate in the decision,
we should not do any cosmetic surgery.

- Dr Bruce E. Wilson, October 19, 2001
Pediatric endocrinologist, DeVos Children's Hospital,
speaking of sex-reassignment surgery in "Is it a girl or a boy?"
by Kathleen Longcore, Grand Rapids & Detroit News


...where possible, circumcision should not be done
until the person is able to give informed consent.

- Dr Rodger Charlton, June 2001
School of Postgraduate Medical Education
University of Warwick, UK
"Men's health - a neglected area?"
NZ Family Physician, v28 no3


Every American boy is born with a $100 bill under his foreskin.
All you have to do to get it is take it off.

- a US doctor


If I was a newborn baby tonight
and I could speak
and I was asked about circumcision,
I would say,
"Can you hold off a bit
until I can make up my own mind."

- Roger McClay, New Zealand Commissioner for Children
The first cut, NZ Listener, Nov 17, 2001


The foreskin is not the candy wrapper, it's the candy.

- Martin Novoa, Novermber 25, 2001


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.

- A woman obstetrician
writing in Parentsplace
on the turf war between
obgyns and paediatricians
to perform circumcisions.


[R]eligious groups should be leaders, not offenders,
in the area of human rights.

- Dr Cat Saunders,
December 2001


The difference between circumcised and intact
is the difference between a bugle and a trombone

- Warren Smith

A trombone can play more notes than a vuvuzela.

- adapted from the above during the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa


Modern medicine assuredly has all the trappings of a science, and it undeniably makes abundant use of discoveries in the biological sciences, but it remains perilously poised between science and 'healing art', based as much on superstition as logic. The training of medical students still does not predispose to scepticism or an open mind in the face of text-book authority. The stance that doctors take on controversial issues com­monly owes more to what they imbibed from their mentors than to a critical evaluation of the evidence.

The problems may be intrinsic to a profession forced to grapple eternally with the anfractuosities [windings and turnings] of human nature and the limited options for experimentation.


Nobody seems to have questioned the reality of ptosis ["dropped organs"] for some fifty years, but the medical profession took a grip on itself in the late 1920s, when doubts were at last voiced. Over the next two decades ptosis quietly slipped out of the text-books, but in some centres floating kidneys were still being surgically corrected in the years fol­lowing the Second World War. Ann Dally reports sightings of dropped organ diagnoses in 1992, however, so one cannot be sure that patients are not even now being subjected to this highly unpleasant ordeal. Tonsillectomy, to which untold numbers of children were subjected during the first half of the twentieth century, was fortunately in general without overt ill-effects, and so its efficacy was barely ques­tioned until the mid-1950s, when the practice gradually fell out of favour. The same was true of uterine 'dilatation and curetage'.

Surgeons were always easily persuaded of the benefits of removing dispensable body parts. George Bernard Shaw satirised the practice in The Doctor's Dilemma, in which the surgeon, Cutler Walpole - commonly thought to be based on Sir William Arbuthnot Lane... - finds an inessential organ, the nuciform sac; this he gives out to be the seat of every kind of disease and earns social and pecuniary success by relieving his grateful patients of it. In the years before Shaw wrote the play surgeons had for instance been taking out healthy ovaries from untold thousands of women as a cure-all for undiagnosed conditions. This operation at the time had a mortality rate of some 20 per cent.

- Walter Gratzer, "The Undergrowth of Science"
(does not actually mention circumcision)


Circumcising a baby boy to protect against STDs
is like selling your car to make sure he's never injured in a crash.

- "Dr Schwanz"
Men's Health, July/August 2002


"Whatever you laugh at, you can continue to do."


The only significant drawback to owning a foreskin
is the one just before it's drawn forward again.

- "Brew" on alt.circumcision
July 21, 2002


The nature of professional trade associations is a bit fuzzy in the minds of most American parents and they tend to not immediately see why a prestigious American medical organization may not have the child's best interests solely at heart.  And it's not an easy task to convince parents-to-be otherwise without being seen as some sort of zealot with an ax to grind against doctors.

Vincent Bach


Circumcised males do not benefit from their circumcision but instead only suffer pain and permanent disfigurement of their genitalia.

- Thomas Bartman, MD, PHD
Division of Neonatology University of California, San Francisco
Pediatrics, Evanston, Jan 2001, Vol. 107:1, p 210

America's habituation to routine circumcision is not less aberrant viewed from a cost/benefit standpoint than it is looked at from a sociologic perspective.

Considering all the time, pain, and paper-work involved in routine circumcision in this country, it's no wonder the rest of the civilized world of medical care looks at us and just shakes it head. And, unlike the money our obstetrician colleagues waste on routine fetal monitoring, we can't even blame it on the lawyers.

- James A. Canfield, MD, FAAP
Amherst Pediatrics

...universal male circumcision makes no more sense than the other favorite operation of the 1950s - the ubiquitous tonsillectomy. ...[it is] counterintuitive and highly unlikely to meet reasonable cost- effectiveness criteria.

- John M. Goldenring, MD, MPH,FAAP


One of the worst things that can happen to a people
is when they embrace oppression as a right.

- Samoan author Albert Wendt


Wherever we can make the tools of medicine work, the condition that we are working on tends to be reconceptualized as a medical problem.

- Carl Elliott, "American Bioscience Meets the American Dream,"
The American Prospect vol 14 no. 6, June 1, 2003


A cultural malignancy - such as a tradition of slavery or abuse of women - can sometimes be made to evaporate in [a short] time, thanks to a few practical adjustments. Not all cultural features are so delicate. A culturally enforced habit may long outlive its usefulness, persisting thanks to sanctions imposed by the members of the culture, who may be oblivious to, or only dimly appreciate the original rationale of their habit-turned-tradition.

- Daniel Dennett
Freedom Evolves
p 182


In 1944, the Supreme Court, in Prince vs Massachussetts, a case about Jehovah's Witnesses and child labor laws, concluded that "parents may be free to become martyrs themselves. But it does not follow that they are free, in identical circumstances, to make martyrs of their children."

- Naomi Schaefer
Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center
"Yes, Polygamy Is Everybody's Business"
Los Angeles Times
February 9, 2004


Quite convincingly, circumcision gives the lie to the womb-dream of life in the beautiful state of innocent prehistory, the appealing idyll of living 'naturally,' unencumbered by man-made ritual. To be born is to lose all that. The heavy hand of human values falls upon you right at the start, marking your genitals as its own.

- Philip Roth, The Counterlife, 2005

[Assuming that circumcision is universal and inevitable]


Circumcision: doctors make money from it,
thoughtless, ignorant, parents request it,
and babies can't prevent it.

- "Hairy Harry" on Eunuch.org, August 25, 2005


Mutilating the baby instead of teaching each child the arts of good hygiene is bad practice, bad ethics, bad theology and a bad idea. I do not understand how any religious system could ever endorse that. Female circumcision - I prefer to call it "female genital mutilation" is still practiced in parts of Christian Africa. It too is said to have health benefits. I think not. Both of these practices represent control tactics and guilt laden castration rites born out of the superstition and ignorance of the past. I regard circumcision in both sexes as a barbaric act with no redeeming features. I find it almost laughable that the same religious voices that oppose the use of condoms would now support circumcision as a health practice..

- Bishop John Spong in Bishop Spong Q&A, January 8, 2006


Common law protects people from involuntary excision of body tissue, which would be considered battery

- R. Alta Charo, J.D.
Body of Research — Ownership and Use of Human Tissue
New England Journal of Medicine, Volume 355:1517-1519, October 12, 2006


Early circumcision was magical, not medical (and it still is).

- H.Y., 2006


One day, we will look back on
the time when we cut children's genitals
with horror.
People in the future will not believe that
something so monstrous
was done.

- Gloria Lemay, Vancouver
January 5, 2007



It comes as no surprise to anyone who knows how much I love birth that I am a fan of the yoni (vagina). It is sacred to me - all of those beautiful folds, and powerful defenses - soft and strong. But some are surprised to learn that I love the penis, too.

Reading over the current debate. I found myself thinking about all of the penises I have come into contact over the years. I remember learning about intact men in my health classes in school. The teacher did not have a high opinion of them and talked at length about the smelly smegma. What a creepy image that was for me as a young woman!

I remember seeing my first intact man - when I was a student nurse. I expected some gross and smelly penis covered in cheesy goo (as described by my health teacher), but that was not the case. It was a little harder to do a sterile catheter on a flaccid penis with the foreskin trying to cover over the glans, but I managed, as unskilled as I was. And, it is probably here that I first began to appreciate the beauty of an intact penis. How protected - how, well, "right" it looked! I admit that I did not give it much thought over the years, but in my study of normal birth, I grew to realize that circumcision was yet another assault on normal functioning parts, and I think back on that first intact penis and smile at my pre-conceived notions. How silly it seems to think that the intact penis would be any more problematic, smelly or troublesome than my own wonderful yoni!

I think back over my few male lovers and their wonderful penises. Having seen photos of all of the scarring and skin changes due to surgery identified in a systematic fashion, I can see now how altered they all were. Those penises were also meant to have loving folds and powerful defenses, just like my beloved yoni, but the foreskin had been removed in a painful manner and left defenseless. Now that I am more penis-savvy, I can rapidly identify the structures that should have been there, and mysterious bits are not so mysterious (Like those puzzling little holes in the skin are actually suture marks - I have no doubt there were larger blood vessels meant to run in those spots). I don't know if intact men are better lovers. My lovers have been, good, and kind, and given me wonderful pleasure. I cannot fault the men, or their equipment. But I do feel sadness for their penises that no longer have their full and rich body function.

Now, I have my own little boy, who we decided to leave intact after a few small debates. And I appreciate the foreskin even more - that loving cocoon for his penis. So essential, so misunderstood. It protects him from beasties, it is a barrier for wet underwear chafe, and it gives him pleasure. The more I know my son's penis, the more I see how abnormal a circumcised penis really is. To compare them with the scar tissue, the suture marks, etc. of a circumcised boy - It really shocks me. Those dark, exposed glanses peeping out. They look unnatural, defenseless, stripped.

The penis is a beautiful part of any man, just as the yoni is a beautiful part of any woman. Let us leave them smooth, beautiful and intact, with all the protective, self-cleaning and pleasure-producing parts. It is not so much to do - it takes no effort to leave a penis or yoni alone, in all of its beauty, mystery and power.

- Charity M. Pitcher-Cooper BSN, RN



... it is not circumcision that saves ...

- Pope Benedict XVI
June 17, 2007


Pet owner: "What would you say if I wanted to get my dog circumcised?"

Vet (after a silence): I'd have to report you to the ASPCA for cruelty.



The supporters of many forms of alternative medicine today claim it as a virtue that they are based on practices that have been in use for centuries, as if it was some sort of recommendation that they date back to medieval times or even earlier. A more accurate description might be that they are steeped in ancient superstition. It also seems somewhat perverse to treat medical practice as some kind of antique furniture whose value increases with age. Medicine in medieval times and the ancient world relied heavily on witchcraft, and even in modern times it has never managed to rid itself entirely of an element of magic and ritual.

Dick Taverne, "The March of Unreason"


Circumcision doesn’t protect against denial

- Stephen J. Fallon, Ph.D.
San Francisco Bay Times, April 19, 2007


Ah, yes, tradition. The finest way of making decisions in the world, even the dead get their say.

"irate_atheist" writing at RichardDawkins.net, October 23, 2007


[In US Gentile circumcision] the cultural tail would appear to be wagging the scientific dog.

Steven Svoboda and Robert Darby "A Rose by any other name"


The male prepuce has gone straight from being an inconsequential "flap of skin" to being a complex immunological organ, just in time to be infected by a virus that targets immune cells. Is this an indication of accelerated evolution, perhaps driven by medicine's century-long obsession with the purported pathologies of male genitals, or perhaps just a demonstration of medicine's capacity to deceive the public?

- Rich Winkel


[The pediatrician of a friend of mine told her] the only thing she needs to take care of her son's foreskin is a ruler ... to smack anyone's hand who tries to touch it! Not bad for Peoria, Illinois.

Gabrielle Rhodes
December 26, 2007


"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."

- Martin Luther King, Jr.


European women ask me, “How can American women have foreplay without a foreskin to play with?”

- Marilyn Milos, January 4, 2008

They can have my foreskin when they pry it out of my cold, dead hand.

- posted by oregoncat on Fark.com, March 29, 2008

Originally Posted by Saturos
To all who voted No [to a poll asking "Are you circumcised?"] how hard is it to keep your penis clean?

Pull back, soap soap soap, water, done. As easy as cleaning you toes, just without the bending over.

- posted by KineticAesthetic on Halflife2, May 9, 2008
[Actually, one should go easy on the soap.]

"The world can only be better if we make a difference now in the lives of children."

- Justice Barbara J. Pariente, Florida Supreme Court


If you want to saw off the end of your penis, you're welcome. (laughter) You're not to do it to a child who hasn't asked for it. Same with the genitals of a little girl. If she thinks later on she'd be better off without them, let her take, or have taken to her, a sharp instrument. If it proves that it's good for AIDS - it might well be, I've heard that it's said to be good for cervical cancer - let it be decided by the grown-up. It is not right, it is not moral, it is in fact wicked, to submit children to the mutilation of their genitalia, or to anyone without consent. (applause. Hitchens bangs podium) Do you understand that this elementary point only needs to be made because of wickedness enjoined by religion. The rabbi here's a fairly humane guy. He wouldn't - if he didn't think God was involved - ever consider mutilating the genitals of a child, but because it's a covenant with God, anything can be done. (laughter), Now don't you see - you laugh, but you should be crying. (laughter) I said crying! (laughter) Okay, suit yourself. (laughter)

- Christopher Hitchens debating with Rabbi Schmuley Boteach
January 30, 2008 [Youtube, 42' 30"]

Trying to leave the hospital with our newborn son was like trying to escape from circumcision mountain.

- Jenny O'L, The Economist, June 23, 2008

If it's a looks thing, then I reckon an uncircumcised cock is just as pretty: Corinthian rather than Doric, one might say.

- Bulbosaur, The Economist, June 26, 2008

regarding the hygiene argument... when I get out of the shower I can assure you that if there is one spot on my body that is cleaner than the rest, it's that spot.

- gruntt, writing on QBN, August 28, 2008

Don't cut, for it's not like pulling teeth for there is no foreskin fairy.

- capiche in the (Springfield, Missouri) News Leader, September 1, 2008
(No, Virginia, there is a foreskin fairy, but she brings the nickels to the doctors.)

...nothing beats a foreskin.

- Actor John Barrowman, Guardian, September 7,2008


... [What] are the things we do not see today that people in thirty years' or forty years' time will look at you and say, 'How could you not have seen the importance of that? How could you be so ignorant? How could you be so unfair? How could you have been so cruel? And that is the challenge for thinking, conscientious people. And I think that's what you've got to focus on - what are the things your generation is not seeing that will be seen? And you have to contribute to the seeing of it."

- Michael Kirby to the ANU Law Students' Society, October 13, 2008


Think of the ongoing pain also - how would you like to have someone soak ammonia into a raw wound on your genitals on a daily basis during the 10-30 days it will take to fully heal?

Also consider the issue of erection pain during healing which you've raised. You obviously don't realise that baby boys get erections too. Often the very first one will be the one that results when the doctor rubs antiseptic on the penis he's about to slice open. So the first erotic feelings will co-incide with the most pain he will likely ever feel in his life.

And you the proud daddy want to do this? I'd hate to see what you'd put him through if you weren't proud of him.....

- Vikinggirl at brandnewdad.com, replying to Prouddad09 on November 9, 2008

A foreskin is not a cleft palette or a hole in the heart. There is nothing inherently dangerous about a foreskin.

- Dr. Dim on TampaBay.com November 13, 2008

When you separate a man from his foreskin, it's like separating the Serengeti from the summer rains.

- Christopher Johnson, The Penis Monologues, February 18, 2009

In the Midwest, "we whack 'em all,"
says Dr. Renee Stein, whose clinic at St. John's Mercy Medical Center in St. Louis
offers payment plans for families on Medicaid.

- Nick Summers, "The Fate of a Million Foreskins" Newsweek, April 4, 2009

To this day, I still wonder if I made the right choice. But I can live with the wrong reversible decision much more so than wrong irreversible one.

- Dianabay at allnurses.com, April 1, 2009

"Tearing a newborn baby
that a woman has carried beneath her heart
for nine months
from her loving and nurturing breast
and inflicting a wound
on its tiny, protesting and immobilized body
is an unequivocal act of violence
against the mother."

- Hanny Lightfoot-Klein

I didn't read one single thing to know that circumcision was wrong. When I found out about it at the age of 18, I threw up.

- ScottJanssen on YouTube, May 12, 2009

If circumcision took place in hallways, instead of behind closed doors, it would stop tomorrow.

- Marilyn Milos on YoutTube June 6, 2009

If you don't own your own body, what do you own in this world?

- Dan Strandjord on "SCHMUCK", June 2009

Smegma is secreted by the human prepuce? Am I to get this straight? I'm sure lint is "secreted" by the belly button as well!

- Joe in CA on LoHud.com, 27 July, 2009

Circumcision reminds of Shirley Jackson’s short story The Lottery.
[...as a long-standing, implacable, irrational custom.]

- ZPP writing in Zinc Plate Press Blog, October 24, 2009


...the popularity of modern American circumcision to a large extent the result of late 19th/early 20th century anti-masturbation quackery “spearheaded” by the co-inventor of the cornflake, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg


That is the best way to mock circumcision-pushers, in my opinion. It comes from the age of snake oil and miracle cures with cocaine in them. It’s hocus pocus carnival quackery that medical professionals should be mocked for continuing.

- Jack Donovan in The Spearhead, November 5, 2009


Smart people believe weird things
because they are skilled at defending
beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons.

- Michael Shermer


Parents should recognize
that having their babies cry unnecessarily
harms the baby permanently.
It changes the nervous system
so they're sensitive to future trauma.

- Dr. Michael Commons, Dept of Psychiatry, Harvard University


You’re going to subject your beautiful brand new baby
to fake preventative surgery?
Why don’t you just yank out his baby teeth
as soon as they come in,
just so they don’t get cavities?

- Rapper Paul Barman in Thought Balloon Mushroom Cloud


[Circumcision to protect against HIV] makes as much sense as a chocolate fire guard.

- Gumdrop on Time Live (South Africa), December 1, 2009


Only 25 percent of the world circumcises, and it's not necessarily the good 25 percent.

a mohel ... is the Jewish version of Santa Claus,
who, instead of leaving presents and eating your snacks,
cuts off your son's foreskin and eats your snacks.

- Stacey Grenrock Woods in Esquire, January 8, 2010


How can a woman tell me that an uncircumcised penis is anymore attractive looking than the shriveled testicle pouch behind it?

- fullyoperational on Mark's Daily Apple, January 12, 2010


... when the surgeon performs the circumcision, the infant literally screams in shock and pain. ... Why don't they just waterboard the poor little guy and really make his day[?]

- Fazool-555369 on MSNBC Newsvine, January 13, 2010


Didn't need it for several million years, why now?

- Yrral on MSNBC Newsvine, January 14, 2010


Almost every male in the US that's circumcised has what I call "beta genitalia". Basically, you're the first surgical experiment of some 27-year-old. Millions of American men look every day at ugly scars left by somebody who was basically faking it, or trying to do their first surgery. It's amazing.

- John Geisheker of Doctors Opposing Circumcision at Bonobo3D's YouTube (3'40")
July 25, 2009


In the circumcisions that I was part of in my OB/GYN round, one of the huge disclaimers is that the person performing it isn't responsible for how it looks cosmetically, years later, like they can't predict that, they don't know how it's going to turn out, they don't know how it's specifically going to heal...

- Bryan McColgan, "Becoming a Doctor": The Incomplete Circumcision
January 29, 2010

[And if s/he isn't, who is?]


The biblical injunction to circumcise speaks to a man about men. But circumcision is also a woman's issue, for on a subtle, but very potent level it is, like the akedah [Abraham's near-sacrifice of Isaac], about the primary disempowerment of the mother. At no other time is a woman so in touch with her most elemental and powerful mammalian instincts as after a birth, When, her culture tells her that in order for this male baby to be a man, to be part of the masculine community and bond with the male God, the men must cut her male baby on his most sensitive male organ, this mother is inevitably in conflict with her entire life-giving feminine biology. And if a woman is made to distrust her most basic instinct to protect her newborn child, what feelings can she ever trust?

- Miriam Pollack, from Jewish Women Speak Out
(ed. Kayla Weiner and Arinna Moon)


I left him to his singing, hurried home without a pause;
Never tell a man the truth about the one that he adores.

- "Armadillo" (about an armadillo singing a love-song to an army tank)
Michael Flanders and Donald Swann


"Part of what
our core constitutional values
promote is the notion that
individuals are protected
in their privacy and their
bodily integrity,
and women are not exempt from that"

- Barack Obama


"[T]he ritual nick suggested by some pediatricians is ... much less extensive than routine newborn male genital cutting."

Health educators must also be prepared to explain to parents from outside North America why male genital alteration is routinely practiced here but female genital alteration is routinely condemned.

- AAP FGC Policy, April 26, 2010, p 1092 (6 of 8) - May 27, 2010

That explaining just got a lot harder.


... when a community opts to end genital cutting, it is generally because of a recognition that cutting not only endangers girls' physical well-being but runs counter to the universal right to stewardship of one's body.

- Female genital cutting: not even a 'nick' L A Times, May 29, 2010


after I pulled back my foreskin she said, "cool like a transformer". I really like her now.

- (401) on (MDT): My Drunk Texts
February 2010


There is a tendency for students, and indeed many clinicians, to treat the medical literature with undue respect. Major journals such as the 'Lancet' and the 'New England Journal of Medicine' are presumed to present new medical facts which are not to be disputed. Such a naive faith in the 'clinical gospels' is perhaps encouraged by the dogmatic style that many authors adopt, so that the uncertainties inherent in any research project often receive inadequate emphasis...

- "Clinical Trials: A Practical Approach" by Stuart J Pocock, Wiley, 1984


"I´ve always been a mad scientist type"

- David Tomlinson, inventor of the Improved Gomco Clamp, the Improved Plastibell and the Accu-circ.


I find that this issue of parental rights versus children's rights has no clear rivals for triggering emotional responses in place of reasoned responses, and I suspect that this is one place where a genetic factor is playing a quite direct role. In mammals and birds who must take care for their offspring the instinct to protect one's young from all outside interference is universal and extremely potent; we will risk our lives unhesitatingly - unthinkingly - to fend off threats, real or imagined. It's like a reflex. And in this case, we can "feel in our bones" that parents do have the right to raise their child the way they see fit. Never make the mistake of wandering in between a mother bear and her cub, and nothing should come between parents and their children. That's the core of "family values". At the same time, we do have to admit that parents don't literally own their children (the way slaveowners once owned slaves), but are, rather, their stewards or guardians and ought to be held accountable by outsiders for their guardianship, which does imply that outsiders have a right to interfere - which sets off that adrenaline alarm again. When we find that what we feel in our bones is hard to defend in the court of reason, we get defensive and testy, and start looking around for something to hide behind. How about a sacred and (hence) unquestionable bond? Ah, that's the ticket!

There is an obvious (but seldom discussed) tension between the supposedly sacred principles involved at this point. On the one hand, many declare, there is the sacred and inviolable right to life. Every unborn child has a right to life and no prospective parent has the right to terminate a pregnancy (excpet maybe if the mother's life is itself in jeopardy). On the other hand, many of the same people declare that, once born, the child loses its right not to be indoctrinated or brainwashed or othersiwe psychologically abused by those prents, who have the right to raise the child with any upbringing they choose, short of physical torture. Let us spread the value of freedom throughout the world - but not to chlldren, apparently. No child has a right to freedom from indoctrination. [Or permanent bodily modification.] Shouldn't we change that? What, and let outsiders have a say in how I raise my kids? (Now do you feel the adrenaline rush?)

- Daniel Dennett, "Breaking the Spell" pp325-6

[Meaning that one of the core tasks of Intactisim is to show parents that their mother-bear instincts should rightly be directed at the doctors who want to cut part off their baby's genitalia, not the people who want to protect their babies from that.]

 Nothing inflates dishonest work like power.

- Jonathan M. Marks, "Why I Am Not a Scientist: Anthropology and Modern Knowledge", 2009

I don't believe just because ideas are tenacious it means that they're worthy

- Tim Minchin, "White Wine in the Sun", 2009

Religion forces nice people to do unkind things, and also makes intelligent people say stupid things. Handed a small baby for the first time, is it your first reaction to think, beautiful, almost perfect, now please hand me the sharp stone for its genitalia that I may do the work of the Lord?

Christopher Hitchens debating Tony Blair November 26, 2010


One's religion should be between his ears, not his legs.

- Pebble at Jweekly.com, December 3, 2010


Show me a kid with fond memories of what their father's penis looked like
and I'll show you a kid who needs some therapy....

- springdalekittymama at YouTube, Janaury 14, 2011


You're not 'just' circumcising a baby.
You're circumcising the man he's destined to become.
You're circumcising someone else's lover, husband, and father.

Bryan Intactivist on Facebook


Just like, what was the person thinking when he cut down the last tree on Easter Island ?
What was going on in the brain of the first person who thought skinnin' the penis on a baby boy was a good idea?

Protodan on Mother Jones April 13, 2011


The internet has made it possible for North American women who have bit into both flavours of apples, to blog about it anonymously. And nowadays, women under 40 are typically less prudish than their male peers. The result is damning: a lot of women have concluded that the long sleeve on the short arm makes for a more comfortable ride. I have noticed that circ advocates pass over this fact in silence.

RD on Should I circumcise? April 29, 2011


As to the benefits of circumcision just ask a grownup male who did it in his adulthood (usually for religious reasons) and how that affected their sex life. One man described it as "... like switching from a Cadillac to [a] Yugo".

Peter Gray in the Wall Street Journal May 25, 2011


Russell Crowe: ''If you can't spell it, don't do it.''

- Russell Crowe on Twitter, June 9, 2011 quoted in the Daily Mail, June 19, 2011

(Examples of variant spellings now have their own page.)


Hygienic? Why don't you sew up your ass then?

- Russell Crowe on Twitter, June 9, 2011


Very few men who grew up with a foreskin think, "Hey! My sex feels too good, I gotta cut off part..."

- Glen Callender, founder of the Canadian Foreskin Awareness Project, at Vancouver Pride, 2011 (6:20)


"But why would we [make circumcision illegal]? That would be like making a law saying you cannot cut off your child's arm."

- a Dutch woman to Karen Kelly Glennon at a Genital Integrity demonstration in Washington DC


It’s more nicer and delicious with the open and close skin

- paradise on NewsDze-Zimbabwe, December 3, 2011


...the purposes of ritual are seldom if ever the object of conscious knowledge.

- Karen Ericksen Paige and Jeffrey M. Paige, The Politics of Reproductive Ritual University of California Press, 1981


We don't have female murder and male murder. We just have murder.

- J. Steven Svoboda, Attorneys for the Rights of the Child


Infant circumcision is voodoo medicine. It ascribes all specious manner of divine favor, spiritual cleanliness and disease prevention to a 10-minute, irreversible genital wounding of a healthy child. Only perversion of meaning could equate this with civilization, progress, holiness or treatment.

It is unconscionable that any country's medical profession would be complicit in promoting or even tolerating this imaginary prophylaxis. Penile circumcision of healthy boys should be roundly condemned by all caring and thinking people, and outlawed to the extent of female genital cutting.

Medicine's guiding principles include better understanding the human body; looking for advantages before disadvantages of normal body parts; and minimizing cutting into, and especially off of, the body, particularly the bodies of non-consenting, helpless minors. Ultimately, respecting the patient. Nontherapeutic circumcision defiantly violates all of these principles.

- M N, December 26, 2011



The foreskin is a normal, healthy part of human anatomy. It has developmental, protective and sexual functions.

Except in rare cases of medical exigency, every male - like every female - has a fundamental right to know, understand and value his complete sexual organs.

More than any part of our bodies, our sexual organs have evolved to confer enjoyment, health, function and reproductive advantage.

The assault on the penis needs to be called out for what it is: an unhealthy fixation on body modification.

Throughout history, more men have been satisfied with their natural state than with their non-intact state. This has never been more true than today, in the age of information.

The proper objective is not to seek and enumerate problems; any unhappy person can do this. It's to more fully appreciate the beauty of what we have.

- M N, March 2, 2012


The last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant: 'What good is it?'
... If the biota, in the course of aeons, has built something we like but do not understand,
then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts?
To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.


A thing is right when it tends to preserve integrity, stability, and beauty [of the biotic community].
 It is wrong when it tends otherwise.

- scientist, environmentalist and co-founder of The Wilderness Society,
Aldo Leopold in A Sand County Almanac

Religious liberty simply does not extend to injuring others or putting children at risk

- New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, March 7, 2012


It's a dick, it's not a Jack-O-Lantern; you don't have to chop parts off it to make it look better.

Guest on Joe Rogan's talk show (2:30) March 18, 2012


[Paul] Krassner went to Hebrew school, he said, “but only to please my parents.” Even there, he played the trickster, questioning the rabbi who instructed his class that circumcision was a covenant with God. “I challenged him, saying if circumcision wasn’t voluntary, it wasn’t a covenant,” Krassner recalled. “He agreed, and said: ‘Okay, it’s not a covenant anymore. It’s an obligation.’”

The Jewish Daily Forward March 31, 2012


Only a fool would leave the enjoyment of rainbows to the opticians. Or give the science of optics the last word on the matter.

- Edward Abbey , 2012


"We know, for instance, that the choice to undergo a risky medical procedure will be heavily influenced by whether its possible outcomes are framed in terms of survival rates or mortality rates. We know, in fact, that this framing effect is no less pronounced among doctors than among patients. Given this knowledge, physicians have a moral obligation to handle medical statistics in ways that minimize unconscious bias. Otherwise, they cannot help but inavertently manipulate both their patients and one another, guaranteeing that some of the most important decisions in life will be unprincipled."

Sam Harris, "The Moral Landscape" Random House 2010


... there will come a time when medical students will ask their professor of ethics in astonishment:
'Did doctors really do that to healthy babies in Britain in the 21st century?'

Dr John Warren to the Sunday Times, July 2, 2012


Now I have no worries if I have an opportunity and I have forgotten to bring along a condom.

- Angelo Kaggwa from Uganda at the AIDS 2012 Conference, Washington DC,
about the confidence his circumcision had given him,
to an audience including Daniel Halperin, Bertran Auvert and Robert Bailey,
none of whom corrected him, July 23, 2012


...relying strictly on numbers to predict health outcomes is tricky. "The more we move away from actual disease, he harder it is to predict what will happen to a particular patient," [Markus] Seibel, [University of Sydney,] says.

"Cracks in the Bone Test" by Deborah Franklin, Scientific American, August 2012


What philosophical argument would reassure me that I have the right to my own foreskin?

Anonymous, NewAPPS, September 3, 2012


The AAP's policy is not strong enough.
The benefits exceed risks by over 100 to 1 just from number-crunching.

Brian Morris in San Rafael Patch, September 1, 2012

We congratulate the AAP Task Force on Circumcision
for concluding that "the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks"...

Brian J. Morris et al. in Pediatrics, September 7, 2012


If something is claiming to cure everything, that should set your bullshit detector off.

Rebecca Watson ("Skepchick") at a meeting in Wellington, New Zealand, December 6, 2012


You saw an intact male, the one you gave birth to, then you wanted him to look like the ones you've slept with.... Weird :(

Megan Renee Sampson on Facebook, January 13, 2013


The moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision, or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible.

- Salman Rushdie


Whole is the baseline, not the enemy.

Jason Fairfield on Facebook, August 31, 2013


If circumcision has any justification AT ALL, it should be medical only. Parents' religion is the worst of all reasons –– pure child abuse.

Richard Dawkins on Twitter, November 19, 2013

I'm shocked at the people who think it's a human right to cut your child, ignoring the rights of the child.

Richard Dawkins on Twitter, November 20, 2013


There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way it treats its children - Nelson Mandela


... babies are capable of objection. It was the objection of the baby as he pulled at his restraints in 1979 that first alerted me to something being wrong with circumcision. The baby made the same sounds I would as he tugged and tried to pull his arms out of the Velcro straps. Many babies have bruised arms and legs after circumcision from their frantic tugging against the restraints. As he went from being distressed to being panicked, I asked my nursing instructor if I could comfort him. She said, "Wait til the doctor gets here." That was my second clue to something being wrong--after all, I was in school to become a nurse, a caregiver, and was being told not to help the frightened two-day-old baby. When the doctor came in and I asked, he said, "Yes, go stick your finger in the baby's mouth." As I did, the baby sucked hard and quieted down as I stroked his little head and spoke softly to him. However, the scream he let out when the first hemostat was ratcheted to his foreskin could not be quieted and only intensified when the second hemostat crushed another part of his foreskin. Those screams continued to intensify throughout the procedure until, when the entire foreskin was finally crushed against the Plastibell, the baby could no longer scream. He choked on his own voice and then screamed without sound...

Years later, when someone asked, "Why you?", I said, because I heard the screams. He said, "Do you know how many millions of people have heard those screams? Why you?" I said, "The question is, 'Why not them?'!" It was because, when I saw how the baby reacted, when I heard the sounds he made, I knew what I would have to be enduring to make those same sounds. Babies do object but people don't hear them or recognize the pain and agony he is enduring. So, the next question is, what happens to us that we are incapable of having the compassion and empathy that would bring an end to this NOW?!

- Marilyn Fayre Milos to a group of Intactivists, March 28, 2014


If you are ever presented with a multifaceted social problem
and the first solution that springs to your mind is
“We’d better cut off part of everyone’s penis,”
you might want to consider another line of work.

Fatherhood for Geeks, quoted in Evolutionary Parenting, May 20, 2014


Behind both circumcision and FGM is fear on the part of the powerful, who appease that fear on the bodies of the helpless.

Tobe Levin, Cologne, May 7, 2014

"Think of the foreskin as a rosebud...."

Facebook, October 14, 2015

Let’s get one thing straight. We Intactivists are not shoving our opinions down people’s throats. Circumcision is not a child rearing decision, it’s an
“I control your motherfucking dick until you’re in the ground” power trip. It’s not like you give your child his foreskin back at the age of 18 with some super glue and say, “Ok. Now you have control over your adult body.” Circumcising a child, male or female, is violent, harmful and disgusting. It always will be. The whole purpose of parenting is to get your child to adulthood in one piece, and that includes his penis. If you cut him in the cradle, you didn’t make it very far.

-Brian Herrity, October 15,2015

quotation- Dr Christian Jessen ''against it, should be choice of owner' and "I have many male patients very unhappy about it

- Dr Christian Jessen, personable host of the UK medical reality TV show
"Embarassing Bodies" on Twitter, January 6-7, 2016

It's an old adage in English surgery that
it takes  three months to learn how to do an operation,
three years to learn when to do it,
and 30 years to learn when not to do it.
...and it's a particular problem in countries like America
which spend an absolute fortune on  health care
compared to New Zealand or Britain.

- Henry Marsh, neurosurgeon, on Radio NZ, March 14, 2016 (4'33" in)

I'm from England ... Watching American-made porn is like
watching a soap opera where all the characters have no eyelids.

- Danyel J. Roberts, quoted by Nicholas K Intactivist, July 18, 2016

It's not our job to toughen our children
to face a cruel and heartless world.
It's our job to raise children
who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.

-  L.R. Knos
Tradition is peer pressure from dead people"
- Nick Kirkpatrick - IG @cvramen on Twitter, October 6, 2022


Contributions to this page are welcome. You can e-mail me. See also: