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.

soundoff (1,907 Responses)
  1. jessica

    I'd never have oral sex with an uncircumcised man... it smells really, really, bad.

    November 20, 2010 at 11:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kelly

      How would you feel if a man said the same thing about you?

      "I'd never go down on an uncircumcised woman...it smells really really bad."

      November 20, 2010 at 11:25 | Report abuse |
    • asimj

      Got an easy solution for you. Just open it and wash it before putting it in your mouth. You will feel its no different than an circumcised one.

      November 20, 2010 at 14:18 | Report abuse |
  2. jessica

    female circumcision is removal of clitoris. Nothing to do with sanitation as the clitoris does not emit odor. Foreskin does not only trap body odor it also traps secretions and fluids. If you pull it back to perform oral you will be met with a sticky, jelly-like fluid of stank. Sorry but no thanks, sir!

    November 20, 2010 at 11:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kelly

      do a little more research on female circumcision – there are many levels from the tiniest "nick" in the clitoral hood (female equivalent of male foreskin) to complete removal of all external genitalia.

      you are sadly very uneducated on normal human anatomy.

      November 20, 2010 at 11:43 | Report abuse |
    • jessica

      sorry... I didn't realize female circumcision was a part of "normal" human anatomy... regardless of how much of the clitoris is removed in female circumcision... I believe you've missed the point that the clitoris does not emit or trap odor. Ergo, no matter what you or the loozers with all their parts "intact" say, male foreskin does in fact, stink, stank, stunk!

      November 20, 2010 at 11:52 | Report abuse |
    • Shawn

      um, a circumcised penis is not part of "normal human anatomy" either. And I assure you, your coochie will stink if you do not wash it. I seriously think you are either a 15 year old girl due to the maturity level and ignorance and/or just have never actually seen an intact penis in person.

      November 20, 2010 at 13:52 | Report abuse |
    • Henry

      Jessica, You need to take some time out to educate yourself about normal male and female anatomy. The clitoral foreskin makes smegma just the same as the penile foreskin. To be precise, it outdoes the make foreskin in making smegma. How many women do you know who clean under their foreskin? Those who do not (perhaps you) must then be smelling real bad. The real answer is that man do not make as much smegma as everyone is made to believe and European (uncut) men do not smell any more than American men (cut). Actually the average hygienic standard in Europe is higher than in America and European men smell less than American men. But just educate yourself, go take a real biology class instead of regurgitate stupid stuff from some websites.

      November 20, 2010 at 14:23 | Report abuse |
  3. Hope

    I guess we won't pierce little girls ears anymore either.

    November 20, 2010 at 11:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joseph G.

      You aren't allowed to pierce infants, it can lead to fatal infections their developing bodies can't fight off.

      November 20, 2010 at 20:45 | Report abuse |
  4. RICK

    HERE WE GO!!! Some wack job liberal politician wants to institute a law, an unnecessary one to be sure that will take the focus off other serious state matters to address a decision that invades the privacy of parents rights to decide as to whether there male child should be circumscised. Is this really necessary. Circumcision has probably from a health standpoint helped way more than it hurt, disease, physical problems where the foreskin cannot be retracted with out pain. I mean come on...is this a decision that takes a law...this is ridiculous!!!

    November 20, 2010 at 11:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Henry

      "Some wack job liberal politician" ????? I hardly fall into this category being anti-Obama, anti-abortion, etc. I just happen to be educated in this are. Routine male or female circumcision BY DEFINITION has no medical value, no more than cutting your ears or fingers off. Please educate yourself and spare your children and grandchildren the agony of this procedure.

      November 20, 2010 at 14:28 | Report abuse |
  5. Peter

    One wonders what this practice of child abuse does to culture, this data will tell you, it refers to cultures where the majority of males have been circumcised.

    Taken from

    Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin,Cameroon, Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali ,Mauritania, Nigeria, Niger, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of the Congo, Samoa,Tonga, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Korea, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United States of America, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu and Yemen.

    November 20, 2010 at 12:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Shawn

    Hmmm, I love the person above that said something about personal rights, because by circumcising you are violating another human beings rights, you are attempting to justify it by saying your parental rights overstep that of the human being, absolutely not, human rights supercede your parental rights and baby boys deserve the same protection as girls. I think a huge issue here is people are not taking this seriously, human rights are a serious matter, and oh its a little piece of skin and all that mean NOTHING, the simple fact of the matter is, you are violating someones body without their consent, simple as that, and there is no justification for that. And I can say as a circumcised male, it does casue issues, both mentally and physically, reguardless that doesnt bother me NEARLY as much as the fact that it was done without my conset.

    November 20, 2010 at 13:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CG

      I guess its safe to say that you are against partial bitrh abortion too for the same reasons?

      November 21, 2010 at 00:53 | Report abuse |
    • Shawn

      Actually, I don't really like abortion, however, I am not against it, I am on the fence about it right now and have not really formed an opinion on the matter.

      November 21, 2010 at 02:00 | Report abuse |
  7. Shawn

    Oh and on penises stinking, im sorry, but I am not sucking a penis that stinks either way, cut or uncut, I assure you they both can stink, I know from first hand experience, its called soap and water, which most people in here don't seem to know about. And you women have NO place to talk, how about you inform yourself on female circumcision then have your hood removed, and tell me how you like it, then we will talk. You have to wash your chooch to keep it clean, men have to wash their stuff, simple as that. The ignorance of society amazes me. Glad to know the circumcision rate in the US is now 33% though.

    November 20, 2010 at 13:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Shawn

    And on religion, I am not religious, however I DO fully respect most religious beliefs, but once again, religious rights do not overstep human rights, if my religion said I can circumcise girls, I wouldn't be able to because its illegal, Jews should not be allowed to as well, unless the person involved is able to consent. If they consent, I have absolutely no issue with it being done. And before the they wont remember card is pulled, im sorry but that does not justify it, pain is pain, remembering it means nothing, but for the record, adults are given a lot more pain relief.

    November 20, 2010 at 13:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Aidan

    And what is the real agenda here? For those for whom it is a religious "tradition" it is more than a tradition, but an obligation dating back to Moses.

    Kind of like the way some folks try to regulate the production and sale of Kosher food, it seems like what we have could be seen as an attempt to say "Juden raus" and claim it's for "the greater good".

    November 20, 2010 at 13:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Peter

      Does the Sun go around the Earth or the Earth go around the

      And in giving your answer can you please give me your evidence.

      November 20, 2010 at 14:08 | Report abuse |
    • Henry

      "Juden raus"

      I have not seen this being used on this blog. It is more of an invitation for all to become part of "Respect Life," i.e. anti-circumcision and anti-abortion.

      November 20, 2010 at 16:00 | Report abuse |
    • Hugh7

      You've heard of Godwin's Law? "When you compare your opponent to Hitler and the Nazis, you've lost the argument." This proposal does not target Jews: it is about the right of all babies "to be secure in their persons … against unreasonable … seizures” (4th Amendment to the Consittution). Are you suggesting that Muslim and Jewish babies should have fewer human rights than other babies? Well, now I risk breaking Godwin's Law myself.

      November 20, 2010 at 19:26 | Report abuse |
  10. Bryan

    Circumcising is an bronze-age ritual: a sacrifice to the god(s). It's the violation of the rights of a newborn, but we seem to say the parents' religious convictions should come first. Well, they have the right chop their own skin and nipples, or whatever else they might want to. But they are cowards who point to a newborn and insist they chop that. Would they kills and burn their child if their goofy god(s) ordered so? I would hope the government would stop that if it were to be the case.

    We live in an age of running water and soap. Hands get dirty: we don't chop those off at birth. Let's move beyond this religious nonsense.

    clan hands

    November 20, 2010 at 13:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • birdseye

      There is no good reason for circumcision. The reasons against it are the same as reason against cutting off the baby's arm or eye-lid. Why do it at all?

      November 20, 2010 at 14:11 | Report abuse |
  11. girl

    "jessica – I'd never have oral sex with an uncircumcised man... it smells really, really, bad."

    Um Jessica, I'm sure you stink too sometimes and maybe you are attempting to give head to too many dirty guys, try cleaning up your act and attracting cleaner men. The things you say make you sound mean, and nasty.

    November 20, 2010 at 14:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Henry

      She sounds very stupid uneducated, if you ask me.

      November 20, 2010 at 15:55 | Report abuse |
  12. Lewis

    Sexual reproduction organs should be left the way nature intended until a problem is presented or owner can make a decision for themselves.

    November 20, 2010 at 14:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. David

    New cause sponsored by lefty anti-Semites. Circumcision for Jews is a rite of passage for male new borns. It is a sign of the covenant between the God of Israel and His people, plain and simple, and no screw-loose city is going to stop that. Hey, Jesus was circumcised! Didn't Joseph and Miriam get it right? I think San Franciscans should hand out Happy meal toys at circumcisions just to drive these loonies crazy.

    November 20, 2010 at 15:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Henry

      "New cause sponsored by lefty anti-Semites."

      Catholics Against Circumcision members and Jews Against Circumcision members are lefty anti-Semites???? You better think again. They are part of the "Respect Life" group.

      "Circumcision for Jews is a rite of passage for male new borns."
      Shift it to their 18th birthday and you wouldn't have a problem. Do it before that, it's mutilation plain and simple, just as in cases of female circumcision.

      November 20, 2010 at 15:53 | Report abuse |
    • Shawn

      I am in no way an anti-semite, I have respect for every religion including Judaism, however, they should respect human rights, in which the aspect of circumcision, they do not.

      November 20, 2010 at 15:58 | Report abuse |
    • RickSanchezPR

      You tell them!!!!!!

      November 20, 2010 at 16:08 | Report abuse |
  14. Nancy Page

    Circumcision is cruel and barbaric! I cringe every time I think of it!

    November 20, 2010 at 15:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. girl

    I just asked my two teenage boys if they cared that their units don't look like their dad's....... guess what, they looked at me like I am crazy! This is what they said: "I don't ever see dad's unit, what the heck? And even if I wanted to look like him you might as well take half the hair off my head and put it on my back/face/chest/and toes, yuck!"

    What they don't know because they aren't comparing genitals with their dad (thankfully) is that we would also have to stretch their balls out so they sag like dads and add a bunch of hair to their groins and butt cracks too. This excuse it the most retarded one I have heard from the pro-circumcision side. Kids don't want to look just like their parents and especially in the genital area, get a clue!!!

    November 20, 2010 at 16:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Martin

    It really is hard to know where to begin with this. All I can say is that if my parents had decided to surgically remove the protective cover of my penis for any other reason than a medical necessity, then I would, as an adult, have taken them to court for abuse on the grounds of mutilating a baby boy, further more I would have considered this sexual abuse.

    I was taught as a young man how to keep my body clean with soap and water, without removing parts that could become infected due to poor hygiene. My Grandma told me to wear clean under clothes "in case you get hit by a truck". She was correct of course, however I would like to think that the modern man keeps himself clean just in case he gets lucky and unexpectedly finds himself in the most wonderful situation that requires him to be naked and not alone....I rest my case..!!

    November 20, 2010 at 16:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. marie

    The foreskin plays a vital role (several in fact) for normal intercourse. Without the foreskin, the intercourse experience is abnormalized for both partners. Circumcised intercourse is abnormalized intercourse. The foreskin makes sex comfortable and pleasurable for the woman because of the role it plays. This is documented in pictures, video, and text at http://www.SexAsNatureIntendedIt.com

    November 20, 2010 at 16:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. jeff

    There is no reason to cut off the foreskin for so-called cleanliness reasons. Otherwise, we'd have to start cutting off the vulvas of women for the odor it often emits.

    There is a simple way to clean the genitals, not only for men with foreskins, but for women too. Take a little vegetable oil and apply it to the inner foreskin, or female vulva. Let it sit a minute, and blot it off with a tissue. The genitals will then be totally free of odor. Pass this cleanliness tip around whenever possible.

    Be informed on the sexual purposes of the foreskin. Visit http://www.SexAsNatureIntendedIt.com

    November 20, 2010 at 16:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. girl

    New cause sponsored by lefty anti-Semites. Circumcision for Jews is a rite of passage for male new borns. It is a sign of the covenant between the God of Israel and His people, plain and simple, and no screw-loose city is going to stop that. Hey, Jesus was circumcised! Didn't Joseph and Miriam get it right? I think San Franciscans should hand out Happy meal toys at circumcisions just to drive these loonies crazy."

    David, they also crucified Jesus, and women thought to be witches were stoned to death, and the world was believed to be flat...... we have (most of us) evolved as a race. And most of the world's men are not circumcised because it simply is not necessary. If someone really wants to be circumcised for sexual reasons, they have the option to do it when they become sexually active. Just because I have a piercing and it enhances sex, does not mean I would have my daughter pierced at birth to avoid the pain I endured during this procedure......... =)

    November 20, 2010 at 16:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Joseph G.

    There is controversy regarding circumcision. Those raised in opposition to circumcision include that it adversely affects penile function and sexual pleasure, is justified only by medical myths, is extremely painful, and is a violation of human rights.

    The American Medical Association report of 1999, which was "…confined to circumcisions that are not performed for ritualistic or religious purposes," states that "Virtually all current policy statements from specialty societies and medical organizations do not recommend routine neonatal circumcision, and support the provision of accurate and unbiased information to parents to inform their choice."

    One such organization distributed questionnaires to circumcised men. The complaints included prominent scarring (33%), insufficient penile skin for comfortable erection (27%), erectile curvature from uneven skin loss (16%), and pain and bleeding upon erection/manipulation (17%). Psychological complaints included feelings of mutilation (60%), low self esteem/inferiority to intact men (50%), genital dysmorphia (55%), rage (52%), resentment/depression (59%), violation (46%), or parental betrayal (30%). Many respondents reported that their physical/emotional suffering impeded emotional intimacy with their partner(s), resulting in sexual dysfunction.[47] Prominent men known to be unhappy about being circumcised include A E Houseman, W.H. Auden, Geoffrey Keynes and his brother John Maynard Keynes, the famous economist.[44] In 1996 the British Medical Journal published a letter by 20 men saying that "we have been harmed by circumcision in childhood"; they argued that "it cannot be ethical for a doctor to amputate normal tissue from a normal child".

    In April 2007, the British Journal of Urology published a study (Sorrells et al., 2007) that stated it "conclusively shows that circumcised males have a significant penile sensory deficit as compared with non-circumcised intact men" and that "the most sensitive regions in the uncircumcised penis are those removed by circumcision."

    Opposition to circumcision exists among Jews in Israel. Even though there is often pressure from family to circumcise their sons, a small but growing number of Jews are choosing to forgo the procedure.[81] Islamic anti-circumcision groups, such as Qur'an Alone, have also emerged, arguing among other things that routine circumcision is an insult to Allah since it tries to improve on his perfect creation.

    The British Medical Association (2006) states that "it is now widely accepted, including by the BMA, that this surgical procedure has medical and psychological risks."

    In a study by Korean researchers of 255 men circumcised after the age of 20 and 18 who were not circumcised, Kim and Pang reported that masturbatory pleasure decreased in 48% of the respondents and increased in 8%. Masturbatory difficulty increased in 63% but was easier in 37%. They concluded that there was a decrease in masturbatory pleasure after circumcision.

    November 20, 2010 at 17:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. pat from portland

    So many are concerned about the pain associated with circumcision and about a male's "junk" as you say. Childbirth involves excruciating pain as well, and I don't hear too many people wanting to ban childbirth. Men make too much of a big deal over their penis. There are more important things in this world, trust me.

    November 20, 2010 at 17:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Peter

      Yeah and with people like you running the planet, evolution suggests the human race will end up like spiders, where the male is minuscule when compared to the size of the female and he risks his very life, by attempting to fertilize the female to ensure the continuation of his species or even worse, the praying mantis where the male ends up a snack, if he does his male duty and contributes to the survival of his species.

      Or the worse case of all, the ant kingdom where the males are very much an afterthought in ant society, of little use at all and discarded at the first opportunity, look we can have big female leaf cutter ants and little leaf cutter ants, as long as we have a big fat queen to produce more sisters, those males are very stupid, haven't you heard?

      The whole idea of having two sexes is about balance, this is why evolution works, some members of the human race want there to be only one sex, or reduce the sensation of being a male.

      November 20, 2010 at 18:25 | Report abuse |
    • Hugh7

      Unlike infant circumcision, women (usually nowadays) choose for themselves to undergo childbirth. Many have elective c-sections precisely to avoid the pain. Women are just as protective of their genitalia as men, hence the law that protects girls from even a token pinprick. Why the double standard?

      November 20, 2010 at 19:10 | Report abuse |
    • Shawn

      Uhhh, you are comparing childbirth to circumcision, that is the most absurd thing I have ever heard in my life, its so stupid it is not even worth an argument, but for the record, human rights are important.

      November 21, 2010 at 02:02 | Report abuse |
  22. Randall

    Can you say "smegma?"

    November 20, 2010 at 18:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joseph G.

      In males, smegma helps keep the glans moist and facilitates sexual intercourse by acting as a lubricant. In healthy animals, smegma helps clean and lubricate the genitals. According to Wright, little smegma is produced during childhood, although the foreskin may contain sebaceous glands. She also says that production of smegma increases from adolescence until sexual maturity when the function of smegma for lubrication assumes its full value, and from middle-age production starts to decline and in old age virtually no smegma is produced.

      November 20, 2010 at 18:53 | Report abuse |
    • Hugh7

      Yes, I can. It's Greek for "soap". Women also have smegma (in fact most so than men). What do you suggest we cut off to prevent that?

      November 20, 2010 at 18:56 | Report abuse |
  23. Christine

    I have four brothers and not one of them was snipped; however, once they hit Highschool the jokes and comments got to be unbearable. My youngest brother was only 15 and had just had enough so he begged and begged for my mom to take him to the doctors. At 15 he had to suffer a pain from a circumcision that should have happened at birth. It is not about mutilation, rather it is about cleanliness. Many young mothers have had to have their child "hlaf circumcised" at only a few months old because they can not properly treat an uncircumcised penis. Now at this point the child can have just a portion snipped or be fully snipped but either way, it should have happened at birth. Lets face it, in today's world we do not have the priority of pulling back our child's skin to be sure it is clean. This is unfortunate but it is a fact of American life. Whether it is because the parents are lazy or whether it is a religous choice, we SHOULD ABSOLUTELY be circumcising the new boys coming into our world.

    November 20, 2010 at 19:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joseph G.

      Peer pressure is nothing new, an done should never be ashamed of their own body.

      As for the concept of doing it simply for the sake of lazy parents... that is horrible and you should feel bad for even entertaining the thought.

      Let's try your logic, though.

      I think it would be easier to care for kids if you bound their feet. It makes it harder for the kids to run off, makes it easier to clean the smaller feet, and teaches them at a young age that the parents control the body, just like circumcision.

      November 20, 2010 at 20:41 | Report abuse |
    • Christine

      I might feel bad for saying that if I had not witnessed so much pain suffered by children due to their parents. I work in a hospital and we constantly have to circumcise children of three months to two years because they were not cared for properly. it is sad thing to say but it is reality in our world. Most parents are not even informed that their child needs to have their skin pulled back.
      And you can blow off peer pressure and bullying all you want but America is currently suffering from a high point of suicides committed by highschoolers due to bullying and peer pressure. I would certainly have to say peer pressure is nothing to be pushed aside.

      November 20, 2010 at 22:47 | Report abuse |
    • Shawn

      Hate to tell you this, but over 80% of the world is NOT CIRCUMCISED and the rate in the US dropped from 59% in 2007 to 33% now. Seriously are you stuck in the 70's?

      November 21, 2010 at 02:04 | Report abuse |
    • Shawn

      Wow, you need to go back to medical school and inform yourself, you DO NOT retract a childs foreskin to clean it, you will cause much bigger problems by doing so. Did you get your medical degree from Wal-Mart?

      November 21, 2010 at 02:06 | Report abuse |
    • Henry

      I work in a hospital and we constantly have to circumcise children of three months to two years because they were not cared for properly. it is sad thing to say but it is reality in our world. Most parents are not even informed that their child needs to have their skin pulled back."

      Christine, I certainly hope that you are not providing patient care in any shape or form. Everyone should know that the way to take care of a normal penis of infants is to NEVER PULL THEIR FORESKINS BACK. and ONLY WASH WHAT YOU SEE. When this simple rule is followed, the circumcision rate for problems drops below 0.006%. Leaving a boys penis alone is very good advice.

      November 21, 2010 at 09:30 | Report abuse |
  24. Bud

    Thankfully, Mom and Dad had it done when I wasn't lookin'. I have no memory of it! None at all. Didn'thave to consider it going in and didn't worry about it coming out. Thanks, folks.

    November 20, 2010 at 19:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Dennis

    How about we do it like this:

    The doctor has to get parental permission before he snips.

    The doc can give the facts for and against the procedure, but can't advocate for or against.

    If he gets the approval, he uses an anethestetic and charges a fair price (say, a hundred or so)

    November 20, 2010 at 20:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. AM

    finnally, someone wants to end this barbarism..... funny thing is that those who cut parts of their sons' bodies ffight girls mutilation in Africa....

    November 20, 2010 at 20:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Chalk

    The vast majority of Intactivist are PRO-Abortion. Go figure.

    November 20, 2010 at 20:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joseph G.

      You pulled this fact out of your ass.

      I'm pro-life. I believe in adoption.

      Unless the case is extreme, such as the fetus having no chance of survival anyway (example, born with no kidneys or another terminal defect) and there is a resulting hazard to the mother's life, there is no reason to terminate a pregnancy.

      November 20, 2010 at 20:43 | Report abuse |
    • Chalk

      You can try to deny JosephG., but be honest with yourself. You are not in the majority here.

      November 20, 2010 at 20:54 | Report abuse |
    • Joseph G.

      How about you be honest with yourself?

      Admit you made the figure up, or show me actual studies proving most of us support abortion.

      This isn't a leftist-rightist issue. It's a personal freedom issue.

      November 20, 2010 at 21:54 | Report abuse |
    • Chalk

      Joseph G, clearly you are very passionate about penis'. You say it is a personal choice and parents should have no say. Should decisions about inoculation against disease also be left to the infant? Do you think the child can make these decisions regarding shots once they are 17? I guess the ones who survive to 17 might not need inoculation. Joe (and RD) are in the minority here, by that I mean you are clearly PRO-LIFE and you want the government to control the care of young penis'. Furthermore, if you think the majority of SFO Intactivists are PROLIFE, then, although I wish that were true, you are fooling yourself. Much as you attempt to fool others with the mumbo-jumbo faux scientific studies you cited.

      November 20, 2010 at 22:31 | Report abuse |
    • Henry

      Check out Catholics Against Circumcision and Jews Against Circumcision. Catholics and Jews are hardly pro-abortion. As far as I can tell they are proponents of the Respect Life movement.

      November 21, 2010 at 09:33 | Report abuse |
  28. louis

    It is completely crazy to cut off a part off a baby's body who is whole and complete, suppose we cut off the labia of girls because it is more hygienic . You wash you behind and you wash your body parts. It is a stupid primitive tribal thing to do,
    there is no freedom about it, let your son decide when he is old enough to decide for himself!

    November 20, 2010 at 21:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Bill D

    So. It will be illegal to circumcise, but legal to get an abortion which is MUCH MORE HARMFUL and degrading to a female than circumcision is to a male? As a 69-yr old UN-circumcised male with lots of medical problems, I wish I had been "mutilated" as some would call it. Besides, we still are a FREE COUNTRY-at least for now.

    November 20, 2010 at 21:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joseph G.

      Again, you are FREE to get a circumcision. You are an ADULT.

      Children do NOT get the FREEDOM to choose for themselves.

      November 20, 2010 at 21:53 | Report abuse |
    • Shawn

      SEE ABOVE!

      November 21, 2010 at 02:07 | Report abuse |
    • bran


      November 21, 2010 at 17:34 | Report abuse |
  30. RD

    It is impractical and foolish for a mere city to ban circumcision. If it is to be banned or regulated, the state legislature should be the one to do it. Also, banning circumcision without an exception for Judaism and Islam would probably not pass constitutional muster in the courts. It would be much wiser to ban circumcision performed without state of the art pain mitigation, and to forbid using tax dollars to cover the cost. California banned Medicaid coverage of routine circ back in 1982..

    That said, the only ethical circumcisions are those performed after the 21st birthday of the owner of the foreskin that will be sacrificed. That a father is glad to have been circumcised as an infant does not give him the right to have his own infant sons circumcised.

    There is no evidence that circumcision is of any use to a man who bathes daily, and who either remains sexually faithful or who sleeps around but always with a condom. I do not see parents as having a moral right to alter the private parts of their sons in order to reduce the alleged downside risk of misusing those parts. Delaying circumcision until adulthood is less risky, not more, because the adult penis is less prone to surgical accidents. The only disadvantage of adult circ is that that taking time of for recuperation is more awkward.

    The parts removed by circumcision stand at centre stage during foreplay and penetrative sex. They are also very richly ennervated. By virtue of these facts, those parts should enjoy the benefit of the doubt: the presumption should be that they contribute a lot to the sexual experience. All sensitivity tests other than Sorrels et al (2007) miss the key point: circumcision does not so much alter the sensitivity of the glans (altho I believe it does desensitize it over time), as remove tissue that is highly erogenous in its own right. North American researchers (other than Sorrels et al) have repeatedly failed to understand this point.

    On the question of circ and sexual pleasure, I value the testimony of women and gay men. Articulate North American gay men mostly prefer intact, many strongly so. Quite a few women have revealed on the internet that intact men are substantially more sensitive, that intact enriches foreplay, and that they prefer vaginal intercourse with an intact partner.
    One thing is sure: circumcision makes masturbation and manual foreplay less interesting.

    The consequences of infant circumcision for adult sexual pleasure and functionality have yet to be properly researched. Routine circumcision should be halted until those consequences are much better understood than they are now. Clinical evidence of adverse consequences are a major reason why the medical associations of the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand do not recommend routine circumcision. The rule of thumb in Australian medicine is that 1% of infant circs result in a damaged adult penis. American medical and sexual research have not been honest here.

    @Chalk: I am pro-life as well as an intactivist. I attend church. I have only had sex with only one person, my wife whom I married in the 1980s.

    @Christine: I grew up intact in the heavily circumcised midwest, and felt deeply ashamed of myself. I managed to hide the long sleeve on my short arm and so was never laughed at after third grade. But when I met the woman I married, I discovered that I was Ugly Duckling who grew up to be a swan. My only regret is that my mother did not know when I was a child what I now know. During my baby boom boyhood, there was absolutely no support in print for leaving a boy intact.

    @Dennis: the USA pretty much works as you advocate, except that anesthesia is still not standard practice, and the price is more like $350.

    @pat from portland: the pain a baby feels during a vaginal delivery is unavoidable, given current technology. Any pain the mother feels is to a large extent voluntary, because avoidable by epidural or c section. Also, most of the time a woman goes into labour, it is because the desires the child and the activities that led to her conceiving were entirely consensual. The pain from routine neonatal circ is avoidable - inject lidocaine or forego circ entirely - and therefore evil. The childbirth analogue to what we intactivists desire would be to make it illegal to deny a woman the option of an epidural.

    November 20, 2010 at 22:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. RD


    ...but a circumcision is actually a healthier choice as most men who are not circumcised don't clean themselves thoroughly – know from experience.
    ME. The appropriate response to unclean men is to teach them to wash themselves, not cut off bits in infancy when it is completely unknown what kind of men they will grow up to be. A woman definitely has the right to inspect and clean any man she is considering as a sex partner.

    Haven't we fought long and hard for our freedom?
    ME. Does "freedom" include parents having the right to alter a son's body at a time of life when he cannot formulate and express consent? What about a boy's freedom to experience all the sexual parts Mother Nature handed him, and to decide for himself which ones to discard?

    This is person/family issue and should NOT be decided by the goverment.
    ME. I too prefer to eliminate circumcision by reducing the desire to circumcise rather than making it illegal to circumcise. Doctors should be completely free to refuse to performs infant circumcisions. And hospitals should be free to not offer the service.

    Basically ALL of us want to make decision for our childern ourselves.
    ME. I trust you will grant that parents are quite capable of making serious mistakes when rearing their children.

    And yes Religion is an issue.
    ME. The Koran is silent about circumcision, and a few thoughtful Moslems are beginning to harp on that. Most Jews do not take the Bible literally, do not believe in one or more of God, the Chosen People, or the Covenant. Outside of North America, quite a few assimilated Jewish families no longer circumcise their boys. The notion that uncircumcised Jew is an oxymoron is mostly a North American one.

    November 20, 2010 at 22:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Joseph G.

    It's like the Metric system. Only three nations out of 203 have not officially adopted the International System of Units as their primary or sole system of measurement: Burma, Liberia, and the United States of America. The United States is the only industrialised country in the world that does not use the metric system as its predominant system of measurement. We're too stubborn and deadset to adapt to changing over to the better method.

    Please, look at this map.


    The United States is one of the few places where circumcision is still performed on over 80% of male infants. Compare our rate with other countries:

    USA: Rate is approx. 90% in in the majority white population of males.

    Canada: Approx. 50% overall.

    Australia: A telephone survey in 2001-02 of 10,173 men aged 16-59 found 59% were circumcised. The rate was 69% for those who were born in Australia [Richters et al., 2006]. However, the rate in those aged 16-20 years was only 32%.

    New Zealand: The circumcision rate in 1037 men aged 26 who were born in 1972–1973 in Dunedin was 40% [Dickson et al., 2005], and in a smaller study in Christchurch was 30% [Fergusson et al., 2006].

    UK: The 2000 British National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyle found that 16% of 16-44 year-olds were circumcised, the rate being 20% in those aged 40-44 and 12% in the 16-19 year age group [Dave et al., 2003].

    Thailand: 13% [Castellsague et al., 2005].

    Taiwan: 9% (age 13) [Hsieh et al., 2006; Ko et al., 2007].

    Spain: 2% [Castellsague et al., 2005].

    Slovenia: 4.5% overall, being.7% for Catholic, 92% Muslim, 0% Orthodox, Evangelical, other religious, and 7% (no religious affiliation) [Klavs & Hamers, 2007].

    Finland: 7% (all from treatment of medical problems [Schoen, 2007e]).

    Denmark: 1.6% (age 15) [Frisch et al., 1995]

    China: Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and Yunnan Province – 19.9% [Sullivan et al., 2009]. Boys aged 11 to 18 in Chongqing – 17% [Yang et al., 2009]. Four regions of China, 2.7% amongst boys aged 3-23 [Ben et al., 2008].

    Japan: LESS THEN 2%. Japan also has the lowest AIDS/HIV infection in the world. So much for that theory.

    Mexico: 10-30%, depending on the population [Lajous & Mueller, 2006]

    Brazil & Columbia: 7% [Castellsague et al., 2005]; Rio de Janeiro 13% [Périssé et al., 2009].

    South Africa: On June 19, 2006 the South African President assented to the Children's Act, which outlaws male genital cutting except for religious and medical purposes, or with the consent of a child over 16. (This has not seriously impeded non-therapeutic circumcision.)

    Sweden: On June 1, 2001, the Swedish Parliament passed a law restricting circumcision to licensed practitioners, except for religious circumcision in the first two months of life. The law comes into effect on October 1 and will be reviewed in four years.

    Finland: Late in 1999, the Juridic Ombudsman of the Finnish Parliament, Riitta-Leena Paunio, noted that infant circumcision is not recommended without a medical reason and recommended that children should be consulted and should give their permission. She said the Finnish Parliament should weigh up the parents' religious rights over their children against the obligation of society to protect its children from ritualistic operations without immediate benefit to them.

    This decision is believed to be the first of its kind in any country.

    As an immediate result, the consent of both parents is now required.

    Holland: Circumcision is not yet legally questioned, but on April 26, 2010, the KNMG (Royal Dutch Medical Association) issued a policy urging its members not to perform it.

    China: Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and Yunnan Province – 19.9% [Sullivan et al., 2009]. Boys aged 11 to 18 in Chongqing – 17% [Yang et al., 2009]. Four regions of China, 2.7% amongst boys aged 3-23 [Ben et al., 2008].

    November 20, 2010 at 22:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. daliya robson

    Check statistics of venereal diseases and see how many do the jews have. A clean penis would help in health. Best luck to the partners of the uncircumsized. Yes it sounds barbaric .

    November 20, 2010 at 22:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Henry

      STDs are the result of promiscuous sexual activity. Jews as a group have a lower STD rate because they are more monogamous that many other groups. If circumcision were protective, the US would have very low STD rates. We don't.

      November 21, 2010 at 09:42 | Report abuse |
  34. Joseph G.

    Many people emphatically deny any similarity between Female Genital Cutting (FGC) and Male Genital Cutting (or Mutilation) (MGC, circumcision). Here is a comparison:

    Cutting? YES YES
    Of the genitals? YES YES
    Of babies? YES YES
    Of children? YES YES
    Without consent? YES YES
    At parents' behest? YES YES
    Removing erogenous tissue? YES YES
    Supposedly beneficial? YES YES
    Justified by aesthetics? YES YES
    Justified by supposed health benefits? YES YES
    Justified by religion? YES YES
    Justified by sexual effects? YES YES
    Justified by custom? YES YES
    Justified by conformity? YES YES
    Effects minimised by its supporters? YES YES
    Performed by its adult victims? YES YES
    Extremely painful? YES YES
    Can cause harm? YES YES
    Very severe damage? USUALLY SOMETIMES
    Can cause death? YES YES
    Legal in Western countries? NO YES

    November 20, 2010 at 22:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Jim Kendall

    Circumcision is Barbaric, demeaning and unaesthetic. Un-circumcised men are much more interesting, and more sensitive.

    November 20, 2010 at 23:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Eric

    I think it should be required that the labia of all female newborns should be cut off with a scalpel. Sure it will hurt like hell, but they will not remember it. The folds of the vagina trap in bacteria and moisture that fosters odor and bad hygiene. Of course, with the folds of the vagina removed, it will dry out and become like leather, but this is no different than the glans of the penis.

    November 20, 2010 at 23:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. citizenbfk

    Not circumcised. Sex is better, I think. Not only is the foreskin a protective cover (like gloves for a hand) to keep sensitivity, it connects to nerve endings on the underside that respond well to, um...stroking or back and forth motion. I was saddened to see the percentage of circumcised males was so high. The article mentions people believe it reduced masturbation, so I guess anti-sex sentiments are involved in the decision. In truth, I think it is 'male genital mutilation,' about as much sense as having a baby born and cutting off it's eyelids or earlobes. We weren't born to be immediately cut up – as far as stats for health benefits I suspect there may be other reasons and/or the reports are skewed. Medicine should return to the idea of: DO NO HARM, and not the idea of 'benefits (to some) outweigh dangers."

    November 21, 2010 at 00:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. zuzu

    Circumcision is male genital mutilation. Female genital mutilation in Africa and male Genital mutilation in USA are the same. Both should be banned.

    November 21, 2010 at 00:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • bran

      They are the same. They both are cutting of the genitals of babies who do not consent to it, both remove erogenous tissue, both are extremely painful, both cause harm and severely damage, and both can cause death.

      November 21, 2010 at 17:29 | Report abuse |
  39. Wombat

    This is not a government decision.

    November 21, 2010 at 00:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Henry

      It shouldn't be, but with so many being totally ignorant........ Babies need to be protected and kept safe.

      November 21, 2010 at 09:44 | Report abuse |
    • bran

      Apparently it needs to be if parents do not know how how to keep their babies safe from unnecessary surgery.

      November 21, 2010 at 17:27 | Report abuse |
  40. zuzu

    Peeing with uncircumcised penis is easier than with cut penis. Oral sex is also better with the foreskin on.

    November 21, 2010 at 00:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • bran

      Especially without a keratinized and dried out glans, 20k more nerve endings, no scar line furthering diminishing pleasure, and gliding motion.

      November 21, 2010 at 17:24 | Report abuse |
  41. zuzu

    with circumcised penis, urine falls outside the toilet everywhere and messes up the public urinal. With full penis, it is easier to navigate and urinate into the toilet- no spraying and dirtying the place as with a cut penis.

    November 21, 2010 at 00:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Dan

    Your parents religious freedoms don't extend to your body.

    November 21, 2010 at 01:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • bran

      Very true and the parents take away their child's freedom of religion and they do not even know if they want to be a part of their religion when they are grown up or if they choose to fall away from it.

      November 21, 2010 at 17:17 | Report abuse |
  43. Craig ginsberg

    the 5 components of the 4 skin are more sensitive then the most sensitive part of the circumcised penis which is the ventral amputation scar. just Google Fine-touch pressure thresholds in the adult penis in the British journal of urology

    November 21, 2010 at 02:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Olddad

    The problem with infant circumcision is that it is being imposed on a boy (but not a girl) who is too young to give his consent. If a boy is not circumcised and decides later that he wants to shed his foreskin, he has that choice; if a boy is circumcised as an infant, he does not have that choice. That is what makes the practice of infant circumcision morally questionable.

    Of course people argue ancient custom, religious necessity and other things. However, the tissue being removed is a normal and natural part of the male body. Perhaps there are religious and medical advantages of being without it, just as there are arguments that people are better off without their tonsils, adenoids, wisdom teeth appendixes and other bits and pieces. However, in these cases, you don't remove body parts without good cause.

    To that, the pious might respond that religion trumps all. But religion, or some people's idea of religion, said that they should remove genital tissue from their little girls, that they should slaughter witches, that slavery and the slave trade were permissible and that contraception was not. Most people have tossed these notions aside and demanded that human rights trump these religious notions. These days it appears that many people are coming to the same conclusion about infant circumcision.

    I'm not sure if a ban on circumcision is the way to go. However, I do believe that we need a full and open debate about the ethics of removing genital tissue from little boys without their consent.

    November 21, 2010 at 05:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • bran

      Great argument.

      There is no benefit to male genital cutting.

      November 21, 2010 at 17:12 | Report abuse |
  45. dennypackard

    This issue has raised a lot of passions, with many facts, opinions, and myths being flung about. Truly, many people feel very strongly about this question and are unlikely the change their opinions, regardless of the facts.

    As for the argument that this would be unwanted government intrusion, let me ask this: What would happen if you circumcised your dog? Do you have the right to circumcise your dog just because you believe it is "cleaner" or "looks nicer"?

    What would happen if you tattooed your newborn because you feel it "looks nicer"? What if you operated to remove his appendix in order to prevent appendicitis in the future?

    My father had a scar on his lower back from a kidney operation. Should I have been cut there just so "I looked like him"?

    While many people claim that circumcision can reduce getting HIV, please do compare the HIV infection rates in the U.S. with those in the industrialized countries of Europe. Why do these countries, where circumcision is NOT practiced (except for religious reasons by Jews and Muslims), have much lower HIV infection rates than the U.S., where the vast majority of adult men are cut?

    I've been told that Israel's HIV infection rate is slightly higher than that of Sweden's. If this is true, than why? Circumcision is almost universal in Israel, and practically unknown in Sweden.

    That said, I personally would favor an exemption for Jews and Muslims, who circumcise for religious reasons. (I myself am a Christian, so I oppose circumcision because it is condemned for believers in Acts 15 and Galatians 5.)

    November 21, 2010 at 08:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ChildProtector

      I personally would favor insuring that Jewish and Muslim babies and children receive the same legal protection for their sex organs that all other children are granted. Equal Justice Under Law is carved in stone above the entrance to the US Supreme Court for a reason, to remind us that justice requires equal protection of the law for all. The only alternative to that is injustice. I oppose injustice.

      November 21, 2010 at 15:08 | Report abuse |
    • bran

      Genital cutting should not be exempt for religious reasons. In the New Testament of the Bible it says circumcision gives you no benefits. In the Koran, Muslims are not even obliged to getting circumcised. Religion changes, like we do not stone people or sell our daughters. Besides, circumcising baby boy's based on one's religion takes away his freedom of religion because you do not even know if he wants to become part of your religion or if he does not want to be a part of it later on.

      November 21, 2010 at 17:10 | Report abuse |
    • Mario

      I am all for freedom of religion but not when it involves sharp objects near babies

      November 21, 2010 at 18:08 | Report abuse |
  46. Susan

    To me, it does seem unnatural to remove something Mother Nature gives to someone. (On the other hand, uncircumcised penises are rather ugly) And there is the cleanliness issue.

    It will take some time to turn people's minds around. We got our son circumcised so he would look like his father. And then he may feel he wants his son to look like him, and so on.

    The doctor told me my son did not even cry.

    November 21, 2010 at 08:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Henry

      "The doctor told me my son did not even cry."

      And you believe the doctor? Are you for real?

      November 21, 2010 at 09:49 | Report abuse |
    • Lioness

      "It's ugly." That is the WORST excuse I've ever heard.
      "The cleanliness issue," Another excuse. You don't clean under it when they are babies, anyway. Then when he's old enough to pull back the skin, teach him to use soap and water. The end.
      "To look like his father," not very important.
      "The doctor said he didn't even cry." How would you know, without having witnessed it?

      November 21, 2010 at 11:50 | Report abuse |
    • bran

      If the baby truly did not cry, it was because he was in a state of shock.

      November 21, 2010 at 17:04 | Report abuse |
  47. Truthbaby

    I witnessed a circumcision in nursing school. The baby boy screamed and writhed in pain throughout the entire procedure since no local anesthetic is ever used. It was a barbaric procedure. So when my husband and I had a son it was my husband's decision whether or not to have our son circumcised. It was my decision to use the "circle ring" method instead of the knife/cut method. Fortunately, we were living in Saudi Arabia at the time and they gave us a choise to use the "circle ring" method or the cut and slice method. It was an easy choice. Our son cried a little at first and was in slight discomfort for a few hours on the day of the procedure but after a week, the ring and the foreskin just feel off. As far as circumcision itself, I think it's an unnecessary procedure altogether. One derived from an obsession to be ultra clean. Personally, I think it's totally unnecessary.

    November 21, 2010 at 09:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • bran

      It totally is unnecessary and unfortunately men that had their foreskins unnecessarily amputated off they like to do it to their sons also.

      November 21, 2010 at 16:53 | Report abuse |
    • dwd

      Wrong. Our mohel used a penile block, my baby slept through the entire thing. Do you really believe that the State will stop with outlawing a 3500 year old religious rite? what about your religious beliefs (assuming you have some)? will they be safe?

      November 23, 2010 at 10:50 | Report abuse |
  48. Steve

    What happened to California's tolerance and live-and-let live ways? The oppressed become the oppressor,and a new version of Nazi is born. Mind your own business, and leave people alone. Please spend your activist time solving SF's homeless issues once and for all.

    November 21, 2010 at 09:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Henry

      "The oppressed become the oppressor,and a new version of Nazi is born."

      The mutilated become the mutilators ......
      Sad but true. Let's break this cycle of violence and the world will be better for it.

      November 21, 2010 at 10:04 | Report abuse |
    • ChildProtector

      "Mind your own business, and leave people alone."

      ESPECIALLY their SEX ORGANS! Unless they invite you. Everything else is – by law – sexual harassment, rape, torture, mayhem or mutilation.

      November 21, 2010 at 14:05 | Report abuse |
    • bran

      If baby's were left the way they were born and had no medical problems there would not be an issue here. But there is. The foreskin is not some defect all male baby's and all male mammals are born with. God and Mother Nature did not make a mistake because they keep churning out baby boy's with foreskins.

      November 21, 2010 at 16:50 | Report abuse |
    • Mario

      "The mutilated become the mutilators ......"

      I agree

      November 21, 2010 at 18:01 | Report abuse |
  49. USStupid

    Circumcision would be a great punishment for convicted rapists.

    November 21, 2010 at 10:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • bran

      Doctor's that perform genital cutting should be convicted serial rapists.

      November 21, 2010 at 16:48 | Report abuse |
  50. Amurkan

    I have three friends who were each persuaded to be circumcised in their late 20's/early 30's. They concurred that sexual sensitivity was diminished by at least 50% to 80% by this sexual mutilation. It is a savage and barbaric practice which should be, like female circumcision, outlawed.

    November 21, 2010 at 11:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • bran

      Well, when male genital cutting cuts off around fifty-percent of the penile skin, you would expect around fifty-percent of feeling to be cut away. I feel sorry for your friends.

      November 21, 2010 at 16:47 | Report abuse |
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