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April 21st, 2011
08:33 AM ET

Reader response to 'Circumcising our son'

I am overwhelmed by the tremendous outpouring of response to my article “Circumcising our son - How do we decide?” There were more than 2,200 comments from you, CNN's readers.

I was intrigued that the majority of the comments I received were from men. As a mom blogger I find that particularly interesting, or maybe I am just not used to it.

I have been moved by the CNN readers’ honesty and passion on the topic. I laughed out loud at some of the childishness I read, which maybe comes with the territory in writing about a sexual organ. I have had particularly thoughtful comments e-mailed to me on my blog.

I have had some pleading requests to circumcise my son before he is too old. I have had a 70-year-old man write that the greatest shame in his life was his uncircumcised penis. One man begged that I become an activist against circumcision and mutilation. One man was circumcised as a teen, as he did not want to be different, and that was clearly a pivotal and celebrated moment in his life.

I have heard stories of teasing and embarrassment from men who felt they were different or sexually discriminated against because of their foreskin. Some people wrote, "What’s the big deal?" Another advised me to flip a coin.

Some are still angry at their parents for cutting them. Some were outraged at the fact that, as a woman, I was even deliberating the issue.

Thank you for reading and taking the time to respond. Mostly, I am so grateful for the thoughtfulness that I have heard. The varying views and the passion with which they have been expressed confirms my belief that any big decision about our children’s health, especially one which is irreversible, should not be considered lightly, but with love and contemplation.


soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. steven klotz

    if, as you suggest, your son has an opinion, i suggest listening to it. It is his body and his feelings; and he who must live with your decision for ever. I have treated way to many children who report that parents acted without litening to their opinions, as family considered them too young to be informed. This is a tragic misjudgement and has been repeatedly demonstrated in excellent psychiatric studies, i'm not suggesting you follow every whim he chooses; but consider and listen to him. This is about him, right??????

    April 21, 2011 at 13:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Stan

    What would have been your response if your son had said, "I hate my ears", or "I hate my toes", or your daughter had said, "I hate my labia"? Would surgery ever be considered even for a second by a responsible parent if a 5 year old made one of those statements? Cutting the genitals of children is a bizarre cultural practice that has no place in a modern civilized society!

    April 21, 2011 at 19:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tom

      What ridiculous hysteria. It's too bad that gay San Francisco has such an obsession over male genitalia.

      April 28, 2011 at 13:44 | Report abuse |
    • deb

      To stan and mike, and others who think this a form of child abuse. This is not BARBARIC nor is it child abuse. I happens to be part of jewish law, when a boy baby is born, ALL ,have what is known as a bris..the foresking is cut off. it is also a matter of cleanliness, as the forsking can hold in dirt.
      the bris is something akin to christian christining........... i really do not feel my religious laws are barbaric, abuse, or rediculous... what then, if this leads to arrest, are jews and rabbis to do ..... get aressted for following our religion?

      April 29, 2011 at 11:22 | Report abuse |
    • David

      There are numerous infections and issues that can arise that don't when the foreskin is removed. This is not the case with a nose, ear or labia. Regardless of the religious part of this, it is simply more sanitary and free of potential medical issues, and usually doesn't have anything to do with "hating" the appearance of the foreskin. Your mini-tirade misses the point, Stan. Feel free to look this up yourself.

      May 19, 2011 at 00:57 | Report abuse |
  3. Xandra

    What if he said "I hate my nose!" Would you consider plastic surgery to remove some of it? He's FIVE not twenty-five! At this age, you should be reassuring him that everyone is different, we don't judge people based on how they look and that you love him just the way he is.

    April 21, 2011 at 19:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Maddy

      Couldn't have said it better myself!

      April 21, 2011 at 23:16 | Report abuse |
  4. asimj

    There is no "big decision about our children’s health". Cutting off part of your body is mutilation and there is no reason to do it, especially to a newborn baby. you wouldn't cut off your eye-lid or remove your nail because it may get an infection someday. american parents are blinded by tradition to agree to such a barbaric custom. folks missing a finger may think it was a useless part and they were better off without it, so cut men opinion's don't not have any weight.

    April 23, 2011 at 18:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • AJSChicago

      Typical asinine response to this medical issue. Absolutely laughable.

      April 27, 2011 at 11:51 | Report abuse |
  5. CCGeorgia

    This is ridiculous!!!!! We have been doing this for years and centuries why change it now. If you waited to do this when they were over 17 they wouldn't do it and the boy is more prone to diseases and infections. A baby won't remember it and a 4 year old can tell you exactly what they did when they did the procedure. Come on seriously leave it up to the parents and stay out of it. This isn't your ecision it isnt your son if you have one or dont have then place your focus on him and not all boys.

    April 29, 2011 at 09:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Mike

    Kudos to SF for considering outlawing this barbaric form of child abuse.

    April 29, 2011 at 10:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • oanne

      its not child abuse...idiot!

      May 4, 2011 at 16:38 | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      Kudos to SF. Now, lets move on to fix the rest of the world, starting with Chicago. No mutilation! Let the person decide about their own body!

      May 8, 2011 at 13:42 | Report abuse |
  7. Carla

    Personally I think it's a turn-off to see an uncut man. No fun for oral and just looks unappealing all around.

    April 30, 2011 at 04:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Alex

    I like mine the way it is.

    May 8, 2011 at 13:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dennis R

      I like mine too. And my parents were apparently barbarians.

      May 18, 2011 at 18:18 | Report abuse |
  9. Dennis R

    Once again, the 'government' seems to think it knows best. This is a parental responsibility, not my neighbor's. And, while SF is at it, they've said farewell to religious freedom. Too bad. What's next? Change the name of the city to get rid of that Saint?

    May 18, 2011 at 18:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Glad to have left CA

      "the 'government' seems to think it knows best"

      If you bothered to read the article you would have noticed that this was something that "the people" have brought up and asked to have it on the ballot.

      On a side note; I wonder what happened to the division of Church and State.

      May 18, 2011 at 21:50 | Report abuse |
  10. statistics

    Is there a correlation between ED in older age and ethnic background?
    Why so many cases of ED? Whose interest is there to produce future Big-Pharma customers?
    Seek answer to those questions first before hurting a child.

    May 20, 2011 at 16:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • cm

      Lots of things parents either have to do or chose to do actually hurt a child. Being squeezed through a birth canal is very traumatic for them but a necessary part of being born. Perhaps we should just do away with children altogether because we can't guarantee them a pain free existence.

      May 20, 2011 at 17:56 | Report abuse |
  11. Brett

    Interesting debate. However it is troubling that the "this is how we have always done it" folks use that as their main argument. Inertia allowed slavery exist for far longer than it should have as well. As for the "religious freedom" argument, there are many things endorced by religions that are not acceptable to most people, so that doesn't hold too much weight for me either. As a pediatrician, I have done this procedure several hundred times. So far, no complaints (from parents or child), but I have also referred more boys and young men to urology for "circ revisions" (fixing someone else's error) than i have for infections/phimosis (problems with foreskin). After much internal debate, we elected not to have my recently new-born son circed....we'll see how it goes.

    May 30, 2011 at 15:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Keydren

    Gosh, I wish I would have had that ifornmatoin earlier!

    September 17, 2011 at 22:14 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.