A pro-circumcision fanatic – you can read his endless rants against the beleaguered foreskin here – managed to get the Mayo Clinic to endorse mandatory genital mutilation for infant boys. Hide your kids! Then he ups the ante some more, declaring that opposition to genital cutting is equivalent to being against vaccines for children. Seriously. He wants to paint the opposition to circumcision up there with anti-vaccine denialism? Please. I strongly favor universal HPV vaccination, for example, along with all the appropriate vaccines for serious disease. They massively improve one’s health prospects and do not alter a core part of a human being’s body without his consent. The question is whether the slight and contested medical benefits of circumcision outweigh the mutilation’s effects, and whether permanently dulling a man’s sexual sensitivity is something we have a right to impose on boys and men without their consent.
As it is, American boys are still being mutilated without their consent in very large numbers (well over 70 percent). And Canada, for example, has no problem sparing infants the knife:
The Canadian Paediatric Society, which outlined its position in 1996, says that “the overall evidence of the benefits and harms of circumcision is so evenly balanced that (the CPS) does not support recommending circumcision as a routine procedure for newborns.” And the CPS policy appears to reflect circumcision rates in Canada. A February 2013 study in the medical journal Canadian Family Physician put the circumcision rate in Canada at 32 per cent.
Are Canadian men suffering for being left alone? Our health decisions should be ours’ alone – not some crusading doctor’s attempts to tell us what’s good for us, before we even have a chance to demur. Update from a reader:
You’re misunderstanding the nature of scientific publishing. There is no endorsement from Mayo. The journal “Mayo Clinic Proceedings” is a high quality peer-reviewed medical journal published by the Mayo Clinic, but anyone can submit articles. An article being accepted for publication does not imply that the publisher necessarily agrees with it. It just means that they executed the peer review process, so it should be at least competent and well argued, whether true or not. So you’re over-reacting. But that’s why we read your blog!
Earlier today, I spiked the ball a little bit after Tom Daley proved me right – and all the pomo liberals wrong – about his sexual orientation. Ann Friedman, who made a bet with me on this, still refuses to concede she lost. Weak. Lame. The conversation about race and America continued to and fro. Lawrence Lessig gave us a lesson in corruption after the Supreme Court made Sheldon Adelson even happier. Michael Lewis defended Flash Boys from its critics (buy the riveting book here). And I charted the rise and rise of the European far right – now, in Britain as well as France.
See you in the morning.
(Photo: Queen Elizabeth II meets Pope Francis at the Paul VI Hall in Vatican City on April 3, 2014. By Vatican Pool/Getty Images.)