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How I Changed My Mind on Circumcision

Robert Franklin

Posted on January 17, 2019 22:13

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I'm writing this week to forever immortalize that my wife was right.

The only real argument between my wife and I, while she was pregnant, was whether or not to circumcise our son. She fought circumcising him because she believed neither she nor I could assume that decision, referring to it as an amputation (which is accurate) with a little actual medical benefit (which is also generally accurate). I argued that he should be circumcised because, based on my thoughts and research, the benefits, however small, outweighed the drawbacks -- a cost-benefit analysis.

While it is definitely an ethical quagmire, I felt that making the decision to remove his foreskin would promote better health in the long run and resolve any potential social and cultural issues that could manifest as he got older.

Even though my wife ultimately won the argument, I never stopped thinking about it. She was so adamant about not circumcising him that I felt the need to confront my views on circumcision and re-evaluate my position.

Two fairly recent events significantly aided me in this endeavor.

In a grossly underreported story this past November, a federal judge in Chicago ruled that the U.S. law banning female genital mutilation was unconstitutional. Judge Bernard Friedman said that "Congress overstepped its bounds" by passing the law, calling it a states' rights decision. He then dropped the charges of mutilation and conspiracy against the parents, doctors, and assistants who aided and performed these procedures on nine small girls in Detroit.

I've always believed that female circumcision was an abhorrent practice that provides no real medical benefit and flagrantly defies the "do no harm" principle of medicine. Yet, even holding that position, I took no issue with circumcising my son.

On its face, that's fairly hypocritical of me.

Then this morning, I came across an article from last year pertaining to the Danish Medical Association's view on circumcising healthy infant boys. It was starkly worded, devoid of the non-combative language normally found in press releases such as these. The Association, speaking on behalf of its 29,000+ members, declared it an "ethically unacceptable" procedure that defies the Hippocratic Oath and several international conventions, such as the U.N. Declaration of the Rights of the Child.

That federal court decision and that article were the final nails in the coffin when it came to burying my previous position on circumcision. I don't care that it was done to me, and while there may be minimal health benefits to doing it, they do not outweigh the ethical issues in making this decision.

That may sound like a "well, duh!"-type revelation, but it was a hard one for me to achieve. However, I'm glad I did because I believe that moral consistency is one of the most important traits all people need to exhibit.

I was blind to it for a long time, but the arrival of my healthy baby boy, my wife's passion, an unjust court decision, and a striking formal declaration of human rights helped me come around in a significant way.

Robert Franklin

Posted on January 17, 2019 22:13

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Source: KARE 11

Minnesota lawmakers are moving quickly to pass a bill that would target parents who let their daughters undergo circumcision,...

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