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Your thoughts on circumcision
November 19th, 2010
12:22 PM ET

Your thoughts on circumcision

CNN got more than 1,000 responses by noon to today's article about a proposal to ban circumcision in San Francisco, California.

To recap: anti-circumcision activist Lloyd Schofield has drawn up a proposal outlawing all circumcisions, even for religious reasons (circumcision of boys is traditional in Judaism and Islam). The punishment would be up to a year in jail or up to a $1000 fine.

Our reader comments, mostly passionate toward one view or another, have so far been fairly evenly split as a whole on the question of whether or not to circumcise.

Some of you men out there are glad to have been circumcised as infants, citing scientific evidence of its health benefits. Says jake1969:

Big thanks to my parents for circumcising me. Based on scores of studies, I have lower risk of contracting HPV, herpes, HIV, etc. And, the "inactivists" keep saying the studies are flawed, but it's clear they cherry-picked 1 or 2 and then claim they are right... Also, it's a riskier procedure to wait and decide on your own as a young adult.

Others agree with so-called "inactivists" that circumcision violates personal freedoms. Reader rcaferilla writes:

Circumcision is just an unnecessary tradition. Circumcising an infant, takes the choice away from the owner of the body, and not circumcising the infant, doesn't mean he won't be circumcised later – as an adult, but it will just be his choice. So it really just comes down to, do you want to remove his choice in the matter or not.

On the other hand, some of you oppose a ban on circumcision because that ban would violate personal freedoms. Says HooHa78:

This is absurd. Whether a child is circumcised should be a parent's or persons individual decision, not what my government or some dumbhead group decides. For a city that is supposedly so open minded this group sure is setting a poor example.

To this line of thinking, blueparadise responds:

You men are so sensitive about your junk, that I'd think you'd at least protect your innocent sons from any unnecessary pain down there. Who cares if he "won't remember it"! It's still an excruciatingly painful experience for a helpless being who has just entered the world.

Some of you, such as blueparadise, are also concerned about a loss of sexual pleasure that may come with the loss of foreskin. This point is still controversial, and it's hard to test it because there can be no "before and after" comparisons among infants. A 2008 study in the British Journal of Urology International found that circumcision does not reduce sexual satisfaction or performance among men circumcised as adults, although a smaller study in the same journal in 2007 found a decrease in masturbatory pleasure and sexual enjoyment.


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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.