Circumcision ban?

Sandra - posted on 11/19/2010 ( 1013 moms have responded )

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San Francisco might be proposing a ban a circumcision....

I, personally, absolutely, do not agree with circumcising a child. (My son is not) I also feel that most people with the "it's cleaner" idea, aren't fully educated in the area. That's actually a VERY popular misconception. There is a reason it's not covered be (most) insurance anymore. It's not necessary. It's an elective, cosmetic surgery.

One mother I knew said it best, "Saying preventing UTI's and other infections is why you chose to circumcise your son, is like saying you cut off your pinky to prevent a hangnail. Totally unnecessary."

However, I do think they should make some room for religious reasons... It's a very fine line.... Personally, i don't even agree with religious reasons. You're still cutting off part of a persons body... But exceptions should be made whether we all agree or not...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/13...

Your thoughts?

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Kimberly - posted on 11/22/2010

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*Some cultures circumcise males.
*Some cultures circumcise females.
*Some cultures tattoo infants.
*Some cultures break and bind young girl's feet (yes, this is still practiced by some)
*Some cultures marry 8 year old girls to 40 year old men
*some cultures kill children with birth defects within minutes of birth

These are all CULTURAL beliefs, and the parents believe that they are doing what is "right".

All but one of these "parental rights" are illegal in these United States. Darn government taking away our rights!

Kimberly - posted on 12/05/2010

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I'm not asking for anyone to feel guilty about a choice they made in the past, with the best of intentions, based on the info that they had at the time. You can't go back, and regret is a waste of time. You can however, question the prevailing wisdom of the time.

I see the argument being made that circumcision
"was the right choice for our family"

Since when is the cleanliness or appearance of one's genitals a *family* matter?

How does circumcision benefit the *family*?

It certainly can't be that the appearance is a benefit to the *family*. If the *family* is standing around admiring it, well, then the family has bigger issues.

How about cleanliness? For the first few years, cleaning a circ'd and an intact penis is exactly the same. You wipe it off. By the time an intact penis is retractable, a boy is old enough to clean it on his own. Maybe it is better for a *family* not to have to have embarrassing conversations with their boys about how to properly retract their foreskin and clean. (Parenthood is embarrassing)

Maybe parents are embarrassed that they will have to double check to make sure the boy cleaned. (not an issue. this is one area of the body that boys are quite willing to clean thoroughly. Repeatedly even)

Maybe the *family* is afraid of getting teased. (Mandatory showers in school are a thing of the past, so the likelihood of your boy's friends ever seeing his penis is pretty slim. If it does become a problem, it can be dealt with in many ways, including circ, if it ever comes up.)

Maybe the *family* is afraid it may be a problem for a caregiver when the child becomes elderly. (The family that made the choice won't even be around to be the caregiver when that happens. Do you really care what some nurse 80 years from now is going to think?)

Maybe it would be of interest to know that the skin that is removed in an adult circ is big enough to cover a 3x5 card. If you were to remove the webbing between all the fingers and toes, and the earlobes of an adult, it would actually add up to LESS tissue.

Just because the foreskin is tiny on the tiny body of a newborn, doesn't mean it isn't a major surgery when you put it into context.


Several years ago, there was a local man that CUT OFF HIS 2YO DAUGHTER"S HAND AS PUNISHMENT FOR STEALING A COOKIE. He claimed it was his duty because his religion specified the loss of a hand as the punishment for stealing. Freedom of religion. Cultural heritage. Parental choice.

Fact is, you have to draw the line as to how far a parents rights go..

Krista - posted on 11/19/2010

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Sandra, you've hit the nail on the head. I am utterly convinced that the VAST majority of infections in uncircumcised penises is due to improper care, forcible retraction, etc. That's why I think it's absolutely crucial that if they're going to ban it, they need to get a seriously widespread public information campaign out there about how to care for a natural penis. Otherwise, you'll have a bunch of parents (or doctors) forcing the foreskin back, the kid gets an infection, and everybody goes, "See! If he'd been circumcised, this never would have happened!"

Kimberly - posted on 12/08/2010

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On the subject of changing views on aesthetics....as women we all cry out about how our daughters are being made to think that they are only beautiful if they have Barbie Doll bodies. We seek out toys and pictures depicting woman as beautiful in all sizes so that our daughters do not damage their bodies trying to fit into the "thin" ideal of beauty.

Then we turn around and have cosmetic surgery performed on newborn boys.

Hypocritical much?

[deleted account]

Sherri -- I'm an attorney. It is illegal. It's not my opinion -- it's a fact. Just because hospitals (or anyone) engages in behavior and is NOT prosecuted for it doesn't make it legal. Speeding is a violation of the law, using drugs is a violation of the law, sharing prescription drugs is a violation of the law, driving without your seatbelt is a violation of the law, etc. -- yet all these things happen on a daily basis and most people are not prosecuted for those offenses. You don't seem to understand the difference between something being illegal and the illegality being enforced. Criminal battery statutues, child abuse statutes, and tort law all expressly prohibit routine infant circumcision for the reasons I already stated. For example, here is the simple legal definition of Aggravated Battery, which is a FELONY in every State in the US:



Aggravated battery -- any unconsented touching of a person involving the loss of the victim's limb or some other type of permanent disfigurement. Although battery typically occurs in the context of physical altercations, battery also applies in other instances, such as medical cases where the doctor performs a non-consented medical procedure.



Routine infant circumcision is aggravated battery and it IS illegal to amputate someone else's body part based on any of the baseless reasons given for infant circumcision. Even religion wouldn't be a justification under the law. A parent cannot consent to circumcision on a newborn infant because, by definition, there is no MEDICAL need to perform it. If you would like to cite some caselaw supporting your claim, go ahead. I already know there is none.



I would also love to know the basis for claiming that hospitals are "deemed" to follow the law. Ever hear of medical malpractice claims, Sherri? Isn't that proof enough that a hospital's activites aren't necessarily legal even though the hospital engaged in them?

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[deleted account]

I think that its a choice, sometimes a religious choice, and if a parent is willing to pay to have their child circumsized because it's important to them then they should be able to.

Brittney - posted on 02/12/2012

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I think if circumcisions were banned, some people wouldn't properly clean the uncircumcised penis and that would lead to infection. It's the parents' decision whether or not to get it done to their son.

Jenni - posted on 02/12/2012

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Cindy, that's your opinion. Not everyone feels that way.



Unhealthy? How? It's a part of the body that was put there for a reason. It isn't some evolutionary mistake. You are incredibly misinformed.



Ugly? Eye of the beholder. I imagine people in countries where circumcision isn't the norm, they find the circ'd penis ugly. After all, it isn't natural.



Illegal not to preform a medically unnecessary procedure that carries risks of damage to the organ, pain, complications, reduction in sexual pleasure and in some cases deaths.



No thank you. If you want to subject your sons to genital mutilation carrying these risks that's on you. But I will not put my son through this for aesthetics and cultural norms.

Cindy - posted on 02/12/2012

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An uncircumcised penis is unhealthy, ugly, and just plain disgusting. It should be illegal to not circumcise.

[deleted account]

For all the Moms with Intact Sons, please visit the Toddlers page and comment on the "Question about being uncircumcised" by kori Carreiro. She is trying to teach her 2 year old to retract his foreskin even though it is adhered. Please help correct her misunderstanding about the care of her son's penis!!!

Charlie - posted on 12/28/2010

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Ok I worked in both childcare and as a kindergarden teacher and there is absolutely NO REASON they should be handeling your child's genitals exept for a quick wipe with a wet wipe .

I have to say in all my years there majority of children being intact there was never , ever an issue I am assuming that is because their parents were quiet good at teaching simple personal hygeine .

And yes there is restoration but it only acts as a substitue sheath to protect the head of the penis from further "wear and tear " like the natural foreskin is supposed to no amount of restoration can ever get back the thousands of sensitive nerve endings lost to circumcision .

April - posted on 12/28/2010

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Well Haley, that's the thing...she CAN circumcise if she wanted to...it's never too late. However...you can't really undo a circumcision. Yes, there is foreskin restoration, but I am not sure it's the same.

Haley - posted on 12/27/2010

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My best friend had a son and decided to not circumcise him and now she wishes she would have. I don't blame her. If I have a boy I plan to circumcise.

[deleted account]

My boys were only in daycare for 4 months before I quit my job to be a SAHM and I also was really, really careful in instructing them how to care for their penises. Our daycare providers didn't seem to think it was a big deal, although they did blame the boys "leaking" out of their diapers on them being uncircumcised, which I thought was bizarre.

April - posted on 12/27/2010

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I'm astounded at the number of people who don't know how to take care of a uncirc'd penis...look it up if you don't know or ask the parent! Why does it create such anxiety. in people?



I feel bad for your son Jamie-Leigh...it seems like the relatives don't want to deal with it, so they leave the diaper! I just don't get the anxiety. I can understand if a child has special needs and the caretaker has never experienced taking care of a child with an unusual disease (i.e. having to administer medicines, working a feeding tube) ! I just don't get it...

Jaime - posted on 12/26/2010

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I get nervous when people watch Gray and they are not familiar with an uncirc'd penis. I always instruct them to "wipe it like a finger" because I don't want them peeling back skin, thinking they need to wash underneath after he has a big poop. Oddly enough I'm pretty much the only one that changes Gray's diaper...sadly I find that when I leave him with my aunts I usually come back to him in a dirty diaper. Needless to say I don't leave him with childless people for very long. That might not seem fair but all my friends with kids seem to be ontop of the hygiene thing, but I find that friends/family without kids tend to be more slack on it. At any rate, so far Gray has had no issues with being uncircumcised and I'm just glad I went with my gut and didn't listen to the plethora of opposing opinion on the matter when he was born.

[deleted account]

Well we got there 1000 posts all (pretty much) debating circumcision - well done ladies :-) AND we have changed a few minds on the way too :-)

Becky - posted on 12/26/2010

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Thank you Lisa and everyone else.
It is not done at all in the uk as far as i know thank god [my god gave my sons foreskins who am i to chop em off!}
Sounds bloody awful.

LaCi - posted on 12/25/2010

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"And jeez, I never even thought about our daycare provider...I mean, I'm assuming she's not forcibly retracting him, as everything looks fine down there and he doesn't appear to be in any pain, but it's never anything I would have thought to ask about!"


I actually went over it with every family member who has watched him. I was afraid to put him in daycare (still am) mainly because of that. It's extremely rare for a boy to not be circumcised here, and people have no idea what they're doing. :/

[deleted account]

There are no religious reasons that justify it. A human rights violation doesn't suddenly become OK just because of someone else's religious beliefs (e.g., the parents). Infants don't have religious beliefs.

Krista - posted on 12/25/2010

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That's exactly it, Lisa. We put limits on religious expression when it comes to taking a knife to the genitals of a baby girl. So why do we shrug and look the other way (or vociferously defend it) when people use religion as an excuse to take a knife to the genitals of a baby boy?

Minnie - posted on 12/25/2010

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Becky, people who follow Jewish tradition have a ceremony in which the baby boy has the foreskin that hangs past the end of the glands cut off.

Others aren't exactly aware of traditional Biblical circumcision and have a mohel remove the entire thing just like they do in US hospitals.

Routine pricking of the clitoris, removal of the clitoris and its prepuce are done for religious purposes and yet that is completely illegal here in the US. I don't see why baby boys should not be offered the same respect and protection.

Krista - posted on 12/24/2010

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Ali, you make an EXCELLENT point. Unless doctors and parents inform themselves as to the proper way to care for a natural penis, we'll still see a lot more circumcision than we should, but it'll be taking place in toddlers, not in infants, due to the foreskin being forcibly retracted, causing tearing and infection.

And jeez, I never even thought about our daycare provider...I mean, I'm assuming she's not forcibly retracting him, as everything looks fine down there and he doesn't appear to be in any pain, but it's never anything I would have thought to ask about!

[deleted account]

I've heard that some insurance companies don't cover it in some states and there are hospitals hear that refuse to to do it unless there are genuine medical grounds. This could be the reason why rates are falling. I've heard that circumcised boys will be in the minority here in the next few years.

This is good news only if the parents are informed on proper care. I've heard of daycare providers attempting to retract the skin because they think it looks too tight without seeking parents permission. I was shocked to read a post like this on the welcome page. There is still a lot of ignorance here. Forskins are normal in Europe and I hope it becomes that way here.

I not for banning it though. I respect it for religious reasons. I would prefer that it's done in a clean and safe environment if it's going to get done.

Krista - posted on 12/24/2010

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Well exactly. As far as I'm aware, non-medical infant circumcision isn't banned in Canada, but it's not covered by our provincial health coverage. You have to a) find a doctor who's willing to do it, and b) pay out-of-pocket for it. Rates are still high in some provinces, but in others, they're incredibly low. I think that here in Nova Scotia, only 6 percent of neonates are circumcised. And I'm guessing that the national rates will continue to drop. Hopefully our country will also issue a ban against RIC.

Krista - posted on 12/23/2010

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I don't think there should be a law banning it, but I think something has to be done to stop it being routine.

I think that if insurance companies stopped covering it, you'd see the rates absolutely plummet, as people would have to pay out-of-pocket for it, would consider the cost, and would suddenly decide that it's not that important after all for their son's tallywhacker to look like his daddy's.

April - posted on 12/23/2010

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for some reason i thought that the AAP had the power to declare which procedures were considered routine. thus, i thought that they were saying circumcision isn't allowed to be considered routine anymore. i misinterpreted...my bad. :(

Minnie - posted on 12/23/2010

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I also want to point out that the AAP is definitely not 'neutral' on the subject of RIC, as someone previously mentioned. It says that there may be potential benefits- meaning there MIGHT be some out there, but they have not found any compelling ones yet to support infants having their healthy functioning foreskins removed as a matter of course.



They also note that



"procedures that may interfere with breastfeeding or traumatize the infant should be avoided or minimized."



Neonatal circumcision is the most common traumatic procedure carried out on newborns.

Charlie - posted on 12/23/2010

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April I know routine circumcision is considered nothing more than cosmetic surgery in Australia , it is unnecessary unless for the rare occasion that medical problems call for it and only after exhausting all other options .

[deleted account]

I don't think there should be a law banning it, but I think something has to be done to stop it being routine.

Krista - posted on 12/23/2010

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Basically, they're saying that they don't recommend doing it if there is no medical need for it. "Routine" infant circumcision is when parents just get it done automatically as soon as the kid is born. And so the AAP is now saying that there isn't enough evidence to support this practice.

April - posted on 12/23/2010

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The AAP policy statement on circumcision (that i posted a few pages ago) does state that there isn't enough evidence to support circumcision as a routine procedure. They used the word routine...does that mean that they no longer consider this procedure routine?? Yet, it is routinely done...I'm confused?

Minnie - posted on 12/22/2010

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I refer to it as MGM because it is what it is. The World Health Organization has categorized FGM:



I. Clitoridectomy

Ia. Removal of prepuce only

Ib. Removal of prepuce and clitoris



II. Excision

IIa. Removal of Labia minora only

IIb. Partial or total removal of clitoris and labia minora

IIc. Partial or total removal of clitoris, labia minor and

labia majora



III. Infibulation

IIa. removal and apposition of labia minora

IIb. removal and apposition of labia majora



IV. All other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, fore example: pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterization



Removal of the clitoris is the most common form of FGM. Pricking of the clitoris is also common (I'm sure that some remember that very recently the AAP wanted to give parents lee-way and allow routine ceremonial pricking of their baby girls' clitorises). Both are less invasive than routine infant male circumcision. Even if only a small portion of the male prepuce is removed it still falls within the same realm as these categories for FGM.



FGM is what it is, no one balks and gets defensive about calling it what it is. MGM should be no different.



Anyways, this debate is about instituting a ban against routine infant circumcision- protecting male babies too. A word is just a word. The same is done no matter what you call it- strapping down an unconsenting human being and ripping off part of his genitals for non-medical purposes.

April - posted on 12/22/2010

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Krista is absolutely on the money about sugar coating. My own husband, "The procedure takes less than 5 minutes...they make a little snip and then cut all the way around in a circle and it's all done!!" Plus...I tried showing him a video and he whined that "they don't do it like that anymore" and tried to find a "better" video. He said it looked like the video was taken in the 80's and circ. now is much more humane. UM....how is strapping down an infant's arms humane????

Nikkole - posted on 12/21/2010

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Yea if someone were to come to me and say i was a horrible person if i did it and all this i would just shut down and tune you out but like ive said before i did have my son done and it was his daddy's choice mainly but if i had to do it over again i wouldn't have! I learned my lesson the hard way !

[deleted account]

IF i were for circumcision and someone started at me about it being mutilation then yeah i'd walk away and never bring it up with that person again BUT if they started off softly and then brought it up in a gentler way then i'd be more likely to listen to them.
So yeah i get what Kati is saying and i tend to agree with her.
To change someones mind on something it has to be done with tact.

Krista - posted on 12/21/2010

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I think that part of the reason why some refer to it as MGM, however, is to change the dialogue about it. Circumcision is constantly sugarcoated. "Oh, it's just a little snip." "Oh, they use the plastibell and it doesn't hurt them at all." "Oh, it's just a little bit of skin."

By bringing male circumcision into the same realm as FGM, we start to ask the question, "Why are we appalled at the idea of altering a female infant's genitals, but approving of the idea of altering a male infant's genitals?" It's to basically get people to see that the DEGREE of alteration is irrelevant -- the basic fact of the matter is that you are taking a knife and altering the genitals of a helpless infant, without there being a medical necessity for it.

So yes, the language does seem harsh. And I can see Kati's point about it possibly being a turn-off. But I think that the comparison DOES need to be made, if only to shake people out of the habit of sugar-coating what circumcision really IS.

Jaime - posted on 12/21/2010

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FGM does not always destroy a woman's ability to experience pleasure, April. There are varied forms of FGM. Circumcision can definitely be classified as MGM because it is the removal of vital tissue, that serves a very valuable purpose. And the majority of circumcised men might very well not wish they were uncircumcised...but as has been proven over 49 pages of this conversation, not all of the facts are presented to parents in the time leading up to the decision to circumcise. And right now, today, there is vast evidence to support the professional assertion that circumcision is not necessary. Not all men are going to be affected by circumcision...but not all men will realize what they don't have as a result of an unnecessary decision being made for them.

April - posted on 12/21/2010

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Kati makes a good point that the majority of circumcised men do not wish they were uncircumcised. On the other hand, those subject to FGM usually wish that it didn't happen to them. For this reason, it might be unfair to label circumcision as MGM. IMO, mutilate means to destroy and circumcision does not destroy a man's sex life. FGM, however, does destroy a woman's ability to feel pleasure...that's the reason it's done. I am aware that some women can still feel pleasure...but most don't.

Charlie - posted on 12/21/2010

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I believe tattoos and piercings are also mutilations , ones I decided to do to my own body and that is the major difference between RIC and personal consent to tattoos ect , I agree that modification is just another word to describe mutilation .

I do think that 98% are getting their sons circed with their child's interests at heart .

Minnie - posted on 12/21/2010

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OK, I'll use myself as an example. We were pretty clueless when our first was a baby/young toddler. We did serious CIO with her at 7 months at the advise of her doctor. We also spanked her at the advise of our church.

I'm not gonna sugar coat it and say it wasn't abuse. It was abuse. We abused our daughter.

We did it with the best intentions. But it was abuse.

Doesn't matter the intent behind it. I'm sure most parents here in the US who circumcise their infants do it with the best intentions. It is still mutilation.

[deleted account]

They call piercings and tattoos modification. Just because they labeled it differently, doesn't mean that its not still a form of mutilation. Even if its self mutilation, doesn't take away from the fact that it is an alteration from its original form. I'm sure anyone would think that it would be wrong to give your baby a sleeve tattoo and pierce their eyebrow nose or any other part of their body. For the simple fact that the baby did not ask for it.

[deleted account]

I personally don't think the intent of the parent matters IMHO. As some people say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. It is what it is; good intentions don't make it OK. However, I don't think parents should beat themselves up over having it done because you can't put the horse back in the barn. We all do things we regret with our children and have things we wish we did differently. However, if a little bit of guilt prevents a parent from making the same decision again, I'd say it's a net positive.



I don't really think you can compare tattooing, piercing, and mastectomy to RIC because in those cases the owner of the body is consenting to the act. I can tell you I know quite a few women who consider a mastectomy to be mutilation, though, (even though they consented to it) and I would consider any of the three to be mutilation if someone forced it upon me without giving me a say in the matter. For the record, I'm not in favor of piercing little girls ears until they are old enough to request it and at least 7.

Rosie - posted on 12/21/2010

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april, i know you didn't ask MY input, but of course i feel i have to say something. my feelings of calling it mutilation is that it's a scare tactic to envoke fear into mothers, and what it does instaed in some cases is cause fear, and anguish and regret over what you did to your child. i can honestly say i know of NOBODY that is circumcised that wishes they weren't. not saying it can't happen, but it's not very common in the united states.
now the whole mutilation thing... i believe intent behind an action has a lot to do with what you call it. sure, loureens right, by definition it is mutilation. however so would tattooing, and piercing, and mastectomy. we don't call those mutilation do we? a loving mother doing what she thinks is best for her child is NOT mutilating her child IMO.

Jodi - posted on 12/21/2010

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Solve the problem and move to Australia. Our circumcision rate is only something like 10 or 15% these days (can't say off the top of my head - too much to drink at the Christmas party ;P).

Minnie - posted on 12/21/2010

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Hippies just go against the mainstream. And in this case, mainstream is cutting off parts of our babies' bodies to make them conform to everyone else.

I'd rather be hippie than a sheeple.

April - posted on 12/21/2010

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so one of my friends was like, "Of course California wants to impose a Circumcision Ban...California is the hippie state!"

Oi....how do you fight stupid?

Isobel - posted on 12/20/2010

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I hate to say it but it doesn't matter how much was cut off...it was cut off...for no good reason

Minnie - posted on 12/20/2010

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Well, April, look at it this way. Even ceremonial pricking of the clitoris is considered FGM. There are multiple degrees to FGM. So where would removing some of the male prepuce fall under?



I recognize that it is a hard word to wrap one's mind around. That is what I believe though. FGM and MGM...I don't think that girls are any more special and deserve a heavier name to what is done to their genitals than do boys.



You even used the word tortured. That, to me, is a very heavy word. I guess we all apply different weights to words.

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