- 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)
according to Aristotle's definition, circumcision
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
to endure the misfortune
- Francois De La Rochefoucauld
never do evil so completely and cheerfully
as when they do it from religious conviction.
- Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)
cut off the uppermost skin of the secret parts is directly against the
honesty of nature, and an injurious insufferable trick put upon her.
part which hangeth over the end of the foreskin, is moved
up and down in coition, that in this attrition it might gather more
and increase the pleasure of the other sexe; a contentation of which
are defrauded by this injurious invention. For, the shortnesse of the
prepuce is reckoned among the organical defects of the yard, whether it
original or [induced ?] by an artificial procision of it. And although
neither of these kinds of brevity doth incommode the action of the
which is extension and ejaculation of the seed; yet circumcision
somewhat from the delight of women, by lessening their titillation.
she in the epigram found herself aggrieved at this invention, thinking
had been more reasonable to have added than to have detracted from that
- Dr John Bulwer
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
Yard, and sometimes goes so far back that it will not come forward
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
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
foreskin any hindrance to procreation or pleasure, nature had never
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
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 (1781)
If we believe absurdities,
we shall commit atrocities.
There is nothing so venerable
as an ancient abuse.
- Voltaire (1694-1778)
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.
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
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772 -
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
We might as well require a man to wear still the coat that fitted him
boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their
- Thomas Jefferson
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)
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)
it progress if a cannibal uses knife and fork?
- Alexander von Humboldt
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
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
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
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
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
- 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
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.
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
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
- Maurice Bevan-Brown
"The Sources of Love and Fear"
(Christchurch, NZ, 1948)
Pardon him Theodotus: he
is a barbarian,
"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
and thinks that the customs of
his tribe and island
are the laws of nature.
- George Bernard Shaw
Caesar and Cleopatra, Act II
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
The smallest minority on earth is the individual.
Those who deny individual rights
cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.
- Ayn Rand
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
and so harassed by socially induced
- Harvey Cox, "Sex and
Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.
- Richard Feynman, "What is
What is done to
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
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"
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
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
Just one thing spoils it:
- Piet Hein
Why is the operation of circumcision
One might as well attempt to explain the rites of voodoo!
- William Keith C. Morgan, MD
The Rape of the
I continue to be shocked at the arbitrariness of the
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
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
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
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
way. In pre-paid group practices where surgeons are paid a steady
not tied to how many operations they perform, hysterectomies and
tonsillectomies occur only about one-third as often as in
- Robert S. Mendelsohn, MD.
"Confessions of a Medical
Chapter 3 ("Ritual Mutilations"), pp. 58-59.
is a solution
looking for a problem.
medical profession bears responsibility
for the introduction of prophylactic circumcision
without scientific basis in
and for its continued use and rationalization
basis in the present.
- Dr Edward Wallerstein
An American Health Fallacy, 1980
Take that poor penis. Take a knife - right? And
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
slavery was a custom,every right minded person supported it. Nothing is
as powerful a legitimizer as social custom,even more powerful than law.
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
- Thomas Szasz
Whatever is done to
stop the terrible practice of circumcision will be of tremendous
There is no rational medical reason to support it.
- Dr. Frederick Leboyer, author of Birth
circumcision is a good idea.... However, it is not absolutely necessary.
I think circumcision is a good idea.... However, it is not necessary.
I strongly recommend leaving the foreskin alone.
Dr Benjamin Spock
Baby and Child Care
if I had the good fortune to have
would be to leave his little penis
- Redbook, April
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
- "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
had wanted us to be uncircumcised,
we'd all be born with foreskins.
- J. D. Ahmanson
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
v. Stillman,  1 S.C.R. 607
We believe that children have rights, too.
- Professor Spencer Beasley
President of the New Zealand Society of Paediatric Surgeons
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
National Public Radio 1999
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
- Anon. Knowing when not to operate
Br Med J. 1999; 318(7180):0
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)
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.
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
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
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
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."
Circumcision: a history of the world's most controversial surgery
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
- 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
January 15, 2000
people are mutilated,
it is criminal, not cultural.
- Madeleine Albright, then US
Secretary of State
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
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"
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
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
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
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
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
Carl Sagan, Contact (New York: Pocket Books, 1985),
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.
Sagan, Demon-Haunted world (1995)
- Carl Sagan, Demon-Haunted
We should show greater respect for the genius of
Nature's designs, rigorously tested and refined over millions of years.
- Charles, Prince of Wales
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
Oxford University Press, 2000
skin at the end of the penis is not sexually
what was God/evolution thinking of?
- H. Y.
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
parents would most likely lose custody of the child.
April 3, 2001
- 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
the child is old enough to participate in the
we should not do any cosmetic surgery.
- Dr Bruce E. Wilson, October 19,
Pediatric endocrinologist, DeVos
speaking of sex-reassignment surgery in "Is it a girl or a boy?"
by Kathleen Longcore, Grand Rapids & Detroit News
possible, circumcision should not be done
until the person is able to give informed consent.
- Dr Rodger Charlton, June 2001
School of Postgraduate Medical
University of Warwick, UK
"Men's health - a neglected area?"
NZ Family Physician, v28 no3
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
- 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
groups should be leaders, not offenders,
in the area of human rights.
difference between circumcised and intact
is the difference between a
bugle and a trombone
- Warren Smith
NOCIRC of NJ
|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
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
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
always easily persuaded of the benefits of removing dispensable body
parts. George Bernard Shaw satirised the practice in The
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
(does not actually mention
Circumcising a baby boy to protect against
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."
only significant drawback to owning a foreskin
is the one just before it's drawn forward again.
- "Brew" on alt.circumcision
July 21, 2002
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
parents-to-be otherwise without being seen as some sort of zealot with
an ax to grind against doctors.
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
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
...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-
- John M. Goldenring, MD,
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
- Carl Elliott, "American
Bioscience Meets the American Dream,"
The American Prospect vol 14 no. 6, June 1,
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
- Daniel Dennett
|In 1944, the Supreme Court, in Prince vs
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
that circumcision is universal and inevitable]
Circumcision: doctors make money
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..
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
Body of Research — Ownership and Use of Human Tissue
New England Journal of Medicine, Volume 355:1517-1519, October 12, 2006
circumcision was magical, not medical (and it still is).
One day, we will look back on
the time when we cut children's genitals
People in the future will not believe that
something so monstrous
January 5, 2007
I HAVE KNOWN AND LOVED
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
folds, and powerful defenses - soft and strong. But some are surprised
learn that I love the penis, too.
over the current debate. I found myself thinking about all of the
penises I have come into contact over the years. I remember learning
intact men in my health classes in school. The teacher did not have a
opinion of them and talked at length about the smelly smegma. What a
creepy image that was for me as a young woman!
seeing my first intact man - when I was a student nurse. I
expected some gross and smelly penis covered in cheesy goo (as
by my health teacher), but that was not the case. It was a little
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
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
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
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
a painful manner and left defenseless. Now that I am more penis-savvy,
can rapidly identify the structures that should have been there, and
mysterious bits are not so mysterious (Like those puzzling little holes
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
better lovers. My lovers have been, good, and kind, and given me
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
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
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
exposed glanses peeping out. They look unnatural, defenseless,
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.
M. Pitcher-Cooper BSN, RN
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.
KIND OF ANTIQUE FURNITURE"
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
some kind of antique furniture whose value increases with age. Medicine
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
Circumcision doesn’t protect against denial
- Stephen J. Fallon, Ph.D.
San Francisco Bay Times, April 19, 2007
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
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"
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
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,
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?”
Milos, January 4, 2008
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,
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
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
for it's not like pulling teeth for there is no foreskin fairy.
- capiche in the (Springfield,
Leader, September 1, 2008
Virginia, there is a foreskin fairy, but she brings
the nickels to the doctors.)
beats a foreskin.
- Actor John Barrowman, Guardian,
... [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
- 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?
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
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
- 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.
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
- Dianabay at allnurses.com,
April 1, 2009
a newborn baby
that a woman has carried beneath her heart
from her loving and nurturing breast
and inflicting a wound
its tiny, protesting and immobilized body
is an unequivocal act of
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.
long-standing, implacable, irrational custom.]
- ZPP writing in Zinc Plate Press Blog, October 24,
...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
That is the best way to mock circumcision-pushers,
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
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
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
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
- fullyoperational on Mark's Daily Apple, January 12,
... 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
- 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
- John Geisheker of Doctors
Opposing Circumcision at Bonobo3D's
July 25, 2009
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
January 29, 2010
if s/he isn't, who is?]
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
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
promote is the notion that
in their privacy and their
and women are not exempt from that"
nick suggested by some pediatricians
is ... much less
extensive than routine newborn male genital cutting."
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
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
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,
Plastibell and the Accu-circ.
I find that this issue of parental rights versus
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
their child the way they see fit. Never make the mistake of wandering
in between a mother bear and her cub, and nothing
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
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
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
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
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,
- Russell Crowe on Twitter, June 9,
2011 quoted in the Daily Mail, June 19, 2011
(Examples of variant spellings now have their
Hygienic? Why don't you sew up your ass then?
- Russell Crowe on Twitter, June 9,
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
- 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
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
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
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
[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,
Only a fool would leave the enjoyment of rainbows
to the opticians. Or give the science of optics the last word on the
- 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
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
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
Auvert and Robert
none of whom corrected him, July 23, 2012
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
"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
- 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
medical only. Parents' religion is the worst of all reasons –– pure
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
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
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,
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
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
control your motherfucking dick until you’re in the ground” power
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
- 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
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.