Opinion: Lawmakers clueless about circumcision research

By Jere DeBacker

A remedy for masturbation which is almost always successful in small boys is circumcision. The operation should be performed by a surgeon without administering an anesthetic, as the pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind, especiallyif it is connected with the idea of punishment.

John Harvey Kellogg, in his book Treatment for Self-abuse and Its Effects 1888

This is child abuse by todays standard, but it was embraced as the norm in the late 19th century. This is the root of circumcision in this country today.

Each year, as people learned that the latest claim didnt work, a new disease was introduced that circumcision would cure. Dr. Paul M. Fleiss states, In fact, no procedure in the history of medicine has been claimed to cure and prevent more diseases than circumcision.

There is still confusion and much ignorance on this subject. Just last week, Sen. Brandon Shaffer, D-Longmont, was e-mailing constituents saying, Reliable studies prove that male circumcision reduces instances of infectious disease, some congenital obstructive urinary tract anomalies, neurogenic bladder, spina bifida and urinary tract infections.

Shaffer continued to dispense this fiction despite having been challenged previously by Dr. Mat Masem, who stated, There are rare therapeutic indications for male circumcision, which generally relate to pathologic conditions of the foreskin. However, a number of the conditions you mentioned as being positively affected by circumcision have absolutely nothing to do with the foreskin. Spina bifida is an anomaly of the spine; congenital obstructive urinary tract anomalies are related to urethral strictures or other abnormalities of the urinary tract; and neurogenic bladder is a neurological condition.

Sen. Irene Aguilar, D-Denver, was on the Senate floor last Thursday telling her colleagues that there is a link between reduced cervical cancer and circumcision. Excuse me? The American Cancer Society states: Research suggesting a pattern in the circumcision status of partners of women with cervical cancer is methodologically flawed, outdated and has not been taken seriously in the medical community for decades. It concludes by saying: Perpetuating the mistaken belief that circumcision prevents cancer is inappropriate.

Dr. Aguilar must have missed the memo.

Sen. Joyce Foster, D-Denver, the instigator of this bill, is repeating her mantra that This is not about religion. For her, it is about religion. No one is trying to change her faith, but the State of Colorado cannot and must not be paying to justivy her religious rituals, either.

All the senators who have been pushing this bill so hard will fail to tell you that although America has the highest number of sexually active cut men in the world, we also have the highest rates of STDs and HIV in the developed world as well. Circumcision has proven over and over again that it does not cure or prevent disease. Education, behavior, condoms and vaccines prevent disease.

Rep. Lois Court, D-Denver, the House sponsor of this bill, thinks that circumcision is some kind of special gift that bestows mainstream American-hood on poor boys and that we just cant deny this important medical choice to poor families just because of money. Well, her old mid-1900s paradigm worked for her in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and she hasnt needed or wanted to change it since then. Ironically, mainstream America is changing it for her and fast going the other direction. Young, educated, more affluent and technologically savvy parents are saying NO to circumcision in record numbers.

In the last century, the truth about circumcision was very hard to find. Americans, including experts in medical schoolshad forgotten everything about the foreskin, its functions, the long-term complications of neonatal surgery and the reasons circumcision started in the first place.

In todays world, in five minutes anyone with a smart phone can look up the history of circumcision, and the functions of the perfectly evolved, multi-purpose foreskin. They can see the horrendous complications and the long-term implicationsof circumcision and they say NO and they take their whole baby home, without any problems, just like the other 70-80 percent of the worlds people.

Please consider abandoning the old paradigm, if you are still embracing it. Read a book,go to a website, watch a video or documentary, talk with a doctor who has done her last circumcisio, or talk with a victim of circumcision complications. Be a leader.

Make sure that Colorado is not endorsing circumcision for poor people who dont always have the time, energy or resources to discover what their more affluent brothers are learning quickly and enthusiastically.The young men of the next generation will thank you.

Jere DeBacker is a Realtor and a player piano technician, who has been associated with NOCIRC for over 30 years.

Opinions communicated in Solutions represent the view of individual authors, and may not reflect the position of the University of Colorado Denver or the University of Colorado system.