Circumcision: It’s a crime to do it to a girl. How can it be all right to do it to a boy?

His parents probably don’t know what is actually being done to their baby boy.
He is placed spread-eagle on his back on a board, and his arms and legs are strapped down so that he can’t move. His genitals are scrubbed and covered with antiseptic. His foreskin is torn from the glans and slit lengthwise so that the cutting instrument can be inserted. Then his foreskin is cut off, most likely without anesthetic.

Most babies scream frantically when their foreskins are cut off. Some defecate. Some lapse into a coma. Some babies don’t cry or scream because they can’t – they are in a state of shock.

No pain medication is given after the surgery or during the week to ten days it takes the wound to heal. Contrary to what some people believe, babies do feel pain.

This procedure is performed on over a million baby boys every year in the United States. It is estimated that between 2% and 10% of these boys suffer complications such as uncontrollable bleeding, infection, disfigurement, and penile amputation, and over 200 baby boys die because of it every year.

But the damage is not limited to infancy. The foreskin contains 10,000 nerve endings and 240 feet of nerves, and the loss of the foreskin permanently reduces his capacity to feel pleasure during sex when he grows up. Men who have undergone this procedure as adults report a drastic decrease in sexual pleasure. Also, there is evidence indicating that losing the foreskin causes or contributes to a variety of sexual dysfunctions.

The procedure described above is circumcision. The American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics agree that it is not medically necessary and not therapeutic.

Both Congress and the Minnesota Legislature have outlawed any medically unnecessary genital cutting of girls, but boys are denied the equal protection of these laws.

It’s a crime to do it to a girl. How can it be all right to do it to a boy?

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