Notable Quotes on Routine Infant Circumcision


Feel free to repost any of these quotes elsewhere. Many of the following quotes were culled from: http://www.med-fraud.org/

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"There are no valid medical indications for circumcision in the neonatal period."

- Committee on Fetus and Newborn. Standards and Recommendations for Hospital Care of Newborn Infants, 5th edition. Evanston, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics. (1971). p.110.

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The worst "foreskin problem" most intact males ever have is that someone thinks they have a problem.

- John A. Erickson

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"Circumcision is not a medical decision. Preventing an improbably future infection is a spurious indication. The standard of care is antibiotics, not amputation."

- Eileen Marie Wayne, MD, Letters (Nothing to debate on circumcision), American Medical News, (27 July, 1998). P.27.

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"My own preference, if I had the good fortune to have another son, would be to leave his little penis alone."

- Benjamin Spock, MD World Famous Pediatric Author

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"I believe the time has come to acknowledge that the practice of routine circumcision rests on the absurd premise that the only mammal in creation born in the condition that requires immediate surgical correction is the human male."

- Thomas Szasz, M.D

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"It is strange that doctors in Western countries will not permit female circumcision, which involves removal of some or all of the erogenous tissue from the vulva ... but will permit, and in some cases encourage, the removal of the male prepuce, which is identical to the female prepuce in its embryological development, cell structure, and nerve and blood supply."

- E. Wallerstein, Circumcision: an American Health Fallacy

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"The forced amputation of a healthy part of an infant's or child's genitals without his consent, whether in the name of medicine, religion or social custom, is a violation of his human rights."

- Paul M. Fleiss. MD, MPH

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"Those who would circumcise, implicitly suggest that they know better than nature, God, or whatever power created us and our world."

- Ronald Goldman, Ph.D, Circumcision: The Hidden Trauma

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"Childhood genital mutilations are anachronistic rituals inflicted on the helpless bodies of non-consenting children of both sexes."

- Hanny Lightfoot-Klein, 1989 Author of  "Prisoners of Ritual"

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"When a child is subjected to intolerable, overwhelming pain, it conceptualizes mother as both participatory and responsible regardless of mother's intent. The perception of the infant of
her culpability and willingness to have him harmed is indelibly emplaced. The consequences for impaired bonding are significant."

- Rima Laibow, M.D., April 30, 1991 "Circumcision and its Relationship to Attachment Impairment"

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"We recognize the inherent right of all human beings to an intact body. Without religious or racial prejudice, we affirm this basic human right. Parents or guardians do not have the right to
consent to the surgical removal or modification of their children's genitalia. Physicians and other health care providers have a responsibility to refuse to remove or mutilate normal body parts."

- First International Symposium on Circumcision May 3, 1989

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"Justification of circumcision in order to save a boy later locker room embarrassment seems unrealistic. This is the latter half of the 20th century, a time supposedly to celebrate individuality and freedom of choice."

- Capt. E. Noel Preston, MC, USAF "Whither the Foreskin?" JAMA, p. 1853, Sept. 14, 1970

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"To me, the idea of performing 100,000 mutilative procedures on newborns to possibly prevent cancer in one elderly man is absurd."

- George Denniston, M.D. "Unnecessary Circumcision" The Female Patient, p. 14, July, 1992

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"Risks of newborn circumcision are under reported and ignored factors in this argument. Often a poor surgical result is not recognized until years after the event. Adverse long-term consequences of infant circumcision on the sexual health of American men must be recognized by physicians, parents and
legislators."

- James Snyder, M.D. "The Problem of Circumcision in America" The Truth Seeker, p. 39-42, Jul/Aug 1989

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"All of the western world raises its children uncircumcised and it seems logical that, with the extent of health knowledge in those countries, such a practice must be safe."

- C. Everett Koop, M.D., Former Surgeon General Saturday Evening Post, July, 1982

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"Circumcision is not primarily a medical issue but rather has its roots in deeply held religious and social customs that defy rational and humane understanding."

- James Prescott, Ph.D. "Genital Pain vs. Genital Pleasure" The Truth Seeker, p. 14-21, Jul/Aug 1989

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"Their penises are taken to the blade of a knife and cut. This is done to the male child prior to the age of consent. The fact that we do not know the long term impact of this surgery and have not asked to know tells us about our attitude toward males."

- Warren Farrell, Ph.D. "Why Men Are the Way They Are" p. 232-233, 1986

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"Doctors who still perform circumcision are violating the first rule of good medical care - primum non nocere - first do no harm".

- George Denniston M.D., M.P.H. University of Washington School of Medicine.

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"Even if you found that there were absolutely no harmful psychological effects, it would still not justify doing an unnecessary procedure".

- Paul Fleiss M.D. University of Southern California Medical School

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"In addition to the obvious discomfort involved, there are now serious concerns this routine procedure may actually deprive adult males a vital part of their sexual sensitivity".

- Dean Edell M.D. National Radio Host

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"Circumcision causes pain, trauma, and a permanent loss of protective and erogenous tissue... Removing normal, healthy, functioning tissue for no medical reason has ethical implications: circumcision violates the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 5) and the United Nations' Convention on the Rights of the Child (Article 13)."

- Leo Sorger, to American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology: Stop Circumcisions, Ob Gyn News, (1 Nov., 1994). p.8.

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"Circumcision of newborns should not be routinely performed."

- The Fetus and Newborn Committee and the Canadian Paediatric Society. March 15, 1996 Recommendations published - CMA Journal.

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"It cannot be ethical for a doctor to amputate normal tissue from a normal child. In the case of disease, circumcision should only be used when there is evidence that conservative treatment is unlikely to be effective or when it has failed."

- John P. Warren M. D. - British Medical Journal - Volume 312, February 10, 1996. (Dr. Warren co-signed with other 20 signatures.)

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"Newborn circumcision raises serious ethical and legal questions. Do parents have the right to choose medically unnecessary and harmful cosmetic surgery for their children? I do not believe so."

"The United Nations Convention on the Right of the Child, recently ratified by Australia, guarantees the rights of children of ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities to enjoy their own culture. However, the Convention also calls for all parties to "take all effective and appropriate measures with a view to abolish traditional practices prejudicial to the health of children." Circumcision is prejudicial to the health of children, so its practice should be condemned."

- Dr. George L. Williams, M.B., Ch.B., F.R.A.P. Pediatrician/Perinatologist: Presentation to the Second International Childbirth Conference - "Reclaiming our Heritage: Creating our Future" University of Sydney October 7, 1992.

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"Dr. Margaret Somerville from the McGill Centre of Medicine, Ethics and Law in Canada (in her personal correspondence to The Honourable A. Kim Campbell, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, June 10, 1992) questions the legality of male circumcision on present medical evidence. She stated that any wounding -- and clearly circumcision involves this -- is 'prima facie' illegal unless it can be justified. For a male infant, the informed consent of an adult is not possible. Circumcision is non-therapeutic and involves irreversible consequences or harm. She concluded that both female and male circumcision should be prohibited on legal grounds."

"Circumcision is not surgery, by definition. In his classic History of Surgery, Welch has defined surgery to include: repair of wounds, extirpation of diseased organs (e.g. sympathectomy). Routine newborn circumcision eludes classification. If it is not surgery, what is it?"

- George C. Denniston M.D., M.P.H. Preface to the Second Edition of "Say No to Circumcision" by Thomas Ritter M.D.

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"Historians of the future will find it incredible that we mutilated babies by cutting off the end of their penises in the name of medicine. There are now serious concerns this routine procedure may actually deprive adult men of a vital part of their sexual sensitivity."

- Dean Edell, MD - NBC Television Medical Advisor

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"Besides all these harmful aspects, nonreligious circumcision, male and female, is a basic human rights violation - a violation by one person of the right of another person to an intact body."

"The solution to this ethical and human rights dilemma is simple. Do not perform circumcision on infants. By ceasing to perform infant circumcision, nothing is lost. Any adult with fully informed consent, may have a circumcision whenever he wishes. Most hopeful of all, caring physicians are reviewing this operation in the light of their own ethical standards and are ceasing to perform infant circumcision."

- George C. Denniston M.D., M.P.H. Circumcision and the Code of Ethics - Humane Health Care International, Volume 12, No. 2, April 1996.

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"Whatever is done to stop this terrible practice of circumcision will be of tremendous importance. There is no rational, medical reasons to support it".

- Dr. Frederick Leboyer : Author : Birth Without Violence.

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"The thoughtless, wanton amputation of an exceedingly valuable segment of male genital anatomy never ceases to amaze me. It has always been difficult for me to understand why anyone would wish to subtract one iota from genital pleasure".

- Thomas J. Ritter M.D. : Author, "Say No to Circumcision".

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"My feeling is that it is a traumatic experience and I am opposing traumatizing the baby. I'm opposed to inflicting an operation on an individual without his permission. My feelings became more concrete when I talked to Dr. Leboyer and saw his birth film. It seemed so incongruous to have an non-violent birth and then immediately do violence to a baby by circumcising him."

- Howard Marchbanks M.D.

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"Circumcision is a very cruel, very painful practice with no benefits whatsoever".

- Asheley Montagu Ph.D.

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"Take that poor penis. Take a knife--right? And start cutting. And everybody says, "It doesn't hurt." Everybody says, "No, it doesn't hurt." Get it? That's an excuse, of course, a subterfuge. They say that the sheaths of the nerves are not yet developed. Therefore, the sensation in the nerves is not yet developed. Therefore, the child doesn't feel a thing. Now, that's murder!

Circumcision is one of the worst treatments of children. And what happens to them? Just look at them. They can't talk to you. They just cry. What they do is shrink. They contract, get away into the inside, away from that ugly world. I express it very crudely, but you understand what I mean. "

- Dr Wilhelm Reich in his book Children of the Future

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"There are speculations that the father who insists that his son be circumcised, in the absence of convincing medical or "social" arguments may be afraid to allow his son to have something that he himself lacks. Some male doctors and other practitioners who avidly endorse circumcision may not be doing so out of "glorified contentment" over their own circumcised state but instead may have a subconscious drive to deprive all other males of their foreskins".

- Rosemary Romberg Author: "Circumcision: the Painful Dilemma".

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"What a tragic statement of our society that we still continue such intrusion upon physical and psychological integrity as an 'acceptable form of child abuse!' ".

- Dave McKnight D.C., D.P., D.C.P.

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"In summary, universal ablative surgery of normal structures in non-consenting infants can no more be justified than universal mastectomy, hysterectomy, or removal of ears for the prevention of sun-induced cancer."

"The problem lies in the fact the American literature has already lost credibility to a significant degree as a result of selective avoidances and suppressions related to the acrimony of the circumcision issue, and malpractice litigation more generally. For an accurate and meaningful account of the protective function of the foreskin in early life , you'll have to consult the British, and learn why they abandoned circumcision, and why you should too".

- John G. Swadey M.D. - St. Petersburg Florida.

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"The part of the baby that we have been throwing out with the bath water is the birthright of the child and should not be destroyed by the collusion of physicians and parents.

"In parting, I would like to paraphrase the words of Emperor Charles V who viewed the destruction of the Great Mosque of Cordoba and said, "What you have done could be done anytime - but what you have destroyed can never be replaced".

- James Leigh Snyder M.D., FACS, Past President of the Virginia Urological Society. Presentation to the California Medical Association Scientific and Educational Activities Committee - Anaheim, California

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"What these folks are supporting is the expenditure of hundreds of millions of dollars to torture newborn babies (of their own sex) because, as a society, we are too morally bankrupt, disorganized, and / or lazy to conduct thorough sex education. We are told that all boys should have a mutilating and excruciating experience in their first days of life, to prevent a few men (who have the understanding to deal with the operation and the guarantee of receiving anesthesia) from having cancer or VD, which can be prevented in a cheap and painless way. One can only guess at the sort of fundamental emotional outlook which can calmly rationalize this cold-blooded, wholesale cruelty".

- David S. Bates M.D. Letter to Medical Tribune

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"We in the United States are culturally acclimated to regard the foreskin as nonessential and even pathologic. We must not forget that the burden of proof is on the circumcision advocates. (To justify removing it) they must show cause and effect."

- Martin Altschul M.Sc., M.D. Pediatrician

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"It is an incontestable fact that there are more deaths each year from complications of circumcision than from cancer of the penis".

- Dr. Sydney Gellis M.D.

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"The best way to stop the complications of circumcision is to stop doing them". Mitch Ryder M.D.

"Widespread circumcision is a relic of a time when patients were not provided much of a voice in medical decision making. That era my be rapidly becoming to an end. It this case, the old dictum that 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' seems to make good sense. Submitting your son to the procedure to prevent urinary infections makes only a little more sense that buying insurance against being gored by a unicorn in Riverside".

- Eugene Robin M.D. Stanford University Medical School

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"Were girls so treated, there would be widespread protests. In my opinion the socially tolerated abuse of males is one of the primary cause of unconscious male anger and violence."

- Aaron Kipnis Ph.D. Author : "Male Privilege or Privation?"

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"I remember how inflamed and painful it seemed to be to my brother...There is a compulsive inability to leave infants alone. The compulsive issue must be explored and addressed".

- Eileen Wayne M.D.

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"We urge you to protect unconsenting infants and children from surgical alteration of their genitals. As nurses who formerly participated in neonatal circumcision, we have had the occasion to witness many 'botched' jobs where the penile shaft was grossly denuded. Upon consideration of the issues, we have come to the conclusion that every routine circumcision is a 'botch' job, since it is a brutal assault on the child's sexuality and a violation of a child's right to a whole intact body".

- Betty Katz Sperlich R.N. and Mary Conant R.N. (Nurses for the Rights of the Child) in an open letter to pediatricians and the AAP.

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"Finally, we should ask ourselves whether it is likely that nature, in her wisdom, would permit every male child to be born with a useless appendage, the presence of which according to some, frequently leads to serious consequences, including death. Why do men in Europe live so long despite not being raped at birth?"

- William K C (Keith) Morgan M.D., FRCP (Ed), FRCPC, FACP, in his letter published in the November 1993 issue of the Canadian Medical Association - Journal 149 (10)

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"For its part, Canada and Canadian physicians cannot consistently espouse the principle of respect for people on one hand, and then agree to the practice that violates that principle. Canadian physicians cannot consistently accept the principle of respect for people in the name of medical ethics, and then perform procedures they know to be medically inappropriate, harmful and demeaning only because they do not want to offend a misplaced cultural sensitivity."

"With due alteration of detail, the same ethical reasoning holds for male circumcision. There rarely are medical reasons for performing the procedure; personal preference or religious values of parents usually underlie the request. If these are insufficient to justify the circumcision of girls then unless there are distinguishing medical reasons, they are also insufficient to justify the circumcision of boys. To argue differently is to be guilty of discrimination on the basis of sex. The fact that female circumcision is more serious intervention does not alter the situation. Both involve what in other contexts would be called nonconsensual mutilation of a minor for non-medical reasons".

- Eike-Henner Kluge Ph.D. Professor with the Department of Philosophy at the University of Victoria , B.C., in his article on "Female circumcision: when medical ethics confronts cultural values" published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal - January 1993, 148 (2)

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"It is high time that the medical profession took a more definitive stand on the issue of circumcision. I agree with Kluge's reasoning and conclusion that the circumcision of girls and boys is unethical and is "nonconsensual mutilation of a minor for non-medical reasons".

- Mary E. Lynch M.D., FRCPC, in her letter to the Canadian Medical Association Journal, July 1993, Male and female circumcision in Canada

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"Children who are legally too young to give consent to treatment must still be treated as individuals whose rights as members of society are not solely dependent on the legal definition of the day. Every child shall be protected from unnecessary medical treatment".

- JP Shield (Research fellow) and JD Baum (Professor of Child Health) Article entitled : " Children's consent of treatment" British Medical Journal, May 1994.

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"Despite the great concern about child abuse among scholars and legislators in the past twenty years, the same type of cultural astigmatism which prevented past generations from perceiving or acknowledging the most widespread form of child abuse today: child mutilation through routine neonatal circumcision of males ....from the perspective of a neutral outsider, neonatal circumcision is as barbaric as female circumcision, the removal of earlobes, fingers or toes, the binding of infant feet or other disfiguring practices around the world".

- W.E. Briggman, Professor of Law at the University of Louisville School of Law, Statement in the Journal of Family Law, Volume 23, No.3

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"Criminally, the circumciser is guilty of assault, battery, kidnapping, false imprisonment, mayhem and child abuse. As children come to age and become aware of this, we should see many suits filed against those who took part in the bit of butchery. Parents who have consented based upon the advice of their physician might now reconsider, have themselves appointed as 'guardian ad Litem' and seek to recover for their sons the dollar value of the horror the innocent children suffered. The doctors and hospitals must might get financially circumcised".

- Richard W. Morris LL.B., Ph.D. Practiced law in California and the US Federal Courts. From his well publicized article:"A New Area of Liability for Physicians, Hospitals and Parents"

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"Perhaps one day we will grow weary of sticking skewers through man's noses and ears, cutting off his foreskin, tattooing his skin, and even 'conditioning' his mind and decree, and leave him free to develop what he has and where he wants it".

- Geoffrey Parker M.D. British Medical Journal

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"People still cling to their faulty old pre-1980's cliché complaining that men are insensitive and unfeeling or less intuitive, and yet these are the very same people who cannot find it in their hearts to tolerate an honest sensitive discussion of how we had a portion of our capacity for sensitivity and feeling (literally) surgically removed at birth."

"Not only do they offer no empathy for our feelings, but they offer no empathy for our feelings about our own circumcisions, circumcisions in general, nor do they offer any support in opposing its practices. The obvious bodily scars that we carry around with us have no place in their world view. The topic is simply ignored, repressed, forbidden, banned from the table, excised off, amputated and thrown in the dumpster."

"Now at last, we see the bitter truth about the women's movement. Despite what they say, they do not really want to acknowledge our sensitivity or capacity for feeling, except when they approve of it and it serves their goals. After all, as long as the world keeps us unaware of our full capacity for feeling, as long as we can be kept unconscious of the fact that a portion of our capacity for feeling was permanently taken from us by circumcision, then we will be more likely to remain safe feminist-supporting males who never go off seeking our own rights, questioning our own roles, staging our own rebellions, getting in touch with our own feelings. The perverse truth is that the feminist revenge of "keep them barefoot and pregnant has actually gone full circle and become "keep them circumcised and insensitive". LETTER FROM HAWAII to an anti circumcision activist."

"We are tired of seeing parents misled by doctors. We men are tired of being lied to and ignored by doctors on this issue. As men who were circumcised as infants and who live with the long-term physical and psychological consequences of a surgery we did not choose, we have a right and a responsibility to speak up about a practice we know has harmed us and continues to harm others."

MEN WILL NO LONGER BE SILENT

- Tim Hammond, Founder of NOHARMM National Organization to Halt the Abuse and Routine Mutilation of Males. See Links Page for NOHARMM Web Site

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"Throughout his hapless history the circumciser has been wrong on all counts. And tragically on the basis of his incredible record, many millions of children have been sacrificed upon the altar of genital mutilation".

- Nicholas Carter Author: "Routine Circumcision: The Tragic Myth". Mr. Carter was a TV news anchorman in Los Angeles, California.

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"Thus, there is the continuing need for clarification to overcome the confusion generated by Fink and Wiswell. The worldwide rejection of routine nonreligious circumcision provides overwhelming evidence that this is the correct course to follow. In the United States, every relevant medical society has taken a public position in opposition of routine circumcision. No medical society has taken a position in support of the practice".

- Edward Wallerstein Author: "Circumcision: An American Health Fallacy" (1980)

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"There is another psychological benefit to keeping our sons intact. The work of Dr. Rima Laibow concludes that a man carries unconscious rage against his own mother for betrayal, abandonment, and the assault itself. In other words, the unconscious mind of the son blames his mother for his circumcision, not "tradition, the circumciser, or the father who wanted his son to look like himself" only the mother. It's just like some bad Jewish mother joke."

"Indeed, for a newborn, his world is mother. If she cannot protect him from violation in the beginning, a baby loses trust. And isn't lack of trust an issue relationships between the genders? Can sexuality be healed on a very deep, unconscious level during the prenatal period?"

"A connection exists between crimes of sexual violence, rape for example, and circumcision. The first heterosexual encounter - with a female nurse prepping the infant male - as well as betrayal by the mother, is revenged in sexual assaults against women. As Marilyn Milos, founder and director of NOCIRC says, "Circumcision is where sex and violence meet for the first time".

- Jeannine Parvati Baker : "The Hand That Rocks The Circumstraint Board"

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"Circumcision. There is something very, very wrong and very frightening about a society that systematically tortures and mutilates babies".

- Mark Hulstrunk: American Cartoonist. 1989.

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"Another important question to bear in mind is: Do we, as parents, have the right to make this life lasting decision for our sons? Shouldn't they be free to choose for themselves whether of not they may be circumcised when the are mature enough to seek out the facts and decide their own fate?"

"It would seem that based on the facts concerning circumcision, the total elimination of this inane procedure would be a positive step towards the evolution of human-kindness. We can no longer excuse ourselves with the bliss of ignorance when it is obvious that many of the routine practices performed on children have been proven hazardous to their well-being. The information is available - it is high time we come out of our dark ways and seek the light of truth".

- Barbara J. Raibeck :"Circumcision: A Wound Which Lasts A Lifetime"

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"Until now, most Americans of every political persuasion categorically refused to recognize the gross human rights violation of circumcision. While some may grudgingly accord the female the right to control her own reproductive organs, the male is denied such rights. We who know the truth of the intact penis must speak up. History will brand us as collaborators with a system of oppression if we do not act now to stop the circumcisers. We will be silent no longer".

- Frederick Hodges, A medical historian.

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"The procedure done to millions of babies, girls and women around the world that is euphemistically called "circumcision" is horrible and Ms. Goodman should be commended for speaking out against it. I do, however, take exception to one line: "Our bizarre analogy made between "female circumcision" and "male". Why does she consider this analogy to be so "bizarre"? There is really no difference, it's only a question of degree. It is just wrong to change another person's healthy genitals without their permission. Every baby born has the most basic human right to a whole body, and that includes intact genitals."

"The removal of healthy, erogenous, sexual tissue from another human being, male or female, without their expressed consent may someday be considered to be a crime. Until then, it remains a national and worldwide shame."

- Susan Peer, East Stroudsburg, PA Letter to the Editor. 

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"We ... cannot allow females or any group of patients to be mutilated. I'm afraid that this is even more basic than religion."

- John C. Nelson, MD, AMA Trustee (in American Medical News, Vol 39, no. 40, October, 1996)

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"The fallacy of the circumcision mystique is that the foreskin -- uniquely specialized, uniquely sensitive,
uniquely functional erogenous tissue -- is demonized as abnormal, dangerous, and harmful; and circumcision -- which literally censors a male's life by irreversibly destroying that tissue -- is extolled as normal, safe, and beneficial."

"One can only wonder about the effects of such a misrepresentation over several generations on an entire nation -- much less on a single human life."

- John A. Erickson

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"The subject of circumcision is dark and deep. Some aspects are *so* dark and *so* deep -- so remote from the average person's experience and awareness -- that there is almost no way for the average person to become aware of them."

- John A. Erickson

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"Consent given by a person of good will to circumcise a baby can never be -- and never has been -- informed. The only informed choice possible for a person of good will to make about the foreskin of a baby is the choice that the baby himself, when old enough to understand what his foreskin is and what would have been done to it had he been circumcised, is most likely to be glad was made for him. That choice, beyond any reasonable doubt, is to let him keep his foreskin intact."

- John A. Erickson

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"Sharing the awareness that the human penis is designed correctly the way it normally comes into the world: with its foreskin intact; that a male's possession of his own penis - including his foreskin - is his inviolable birthright; and that a child's chances for health and happiness throughout his life are greater - by far - if he is allowed to keep all of the penis he is born with."

- John A. Erickson

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