The Instigator
MyWoodenHeart
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
hatshepsut
Pro (for)
Winning
11 Points

Should you circumcise your child?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
hatshepsut
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/5/2014 Category: Health
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 684 times Debate No: 62669
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (2)

 

MyWoodenHeart

Con

I believe that, in most situations, you should not circumcice your child. I am not debating the legality of circumcision, but simply if one should circumcise their son. Pro shall present his arguments in favor of circumcision in the first round, and shall not partake in the final round.

Thank you in advance for debating me.
hatshepsut

Pro

I will dispense briefly with the case of parents who belong to Judaism or another religious tradition that calls for male circumcision: These families should have their boys circumcised at the age and in the manner their religion prescribes, as long as accepted medical standards of hygiene and risk are honored in the process and laws are not broken. Jewish circumcisions are done at age 8 days by a practitioner with paramedical training (note 1). Although conflicts with USA laws or norms related to gender status can indeed arise here, we are discussing the relatively minor removal of the male foreskin only, not embarking on treatment of women by other cultures or on issues of whether these cultures have merit from a Western ethical standpoint. To omit it denies the boy full standing among his peers in that religion and may expose him to ridicule or ostracism, or affect his later sex and courtship (note 2). The exception is when the parents will not raise the boy within the tradition.


As a medical procedure for infants done outside religious tradition, circumcision is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (notes 3, 3a, 3b). The AAP of course doesn’t state that parents who forego the procedure are remiss in their child’s health care, allowing that it is an elective surgery and that they do not recommend it as a routine for all infants. However, they do say that the benefits throughout life clearly outweigh the risks. The area between the foreskin and the bulb of the penis in uncircumcised males is filled with a waxy substance called smegma, which may serve to lubricate the penile head during sexual entry. However, this area is subject to infection, becoming a portal for urinary tract infections in men, whenever it is not cleaned frequently or after sexual contact. Uncircumcised males contract many STDs more readily than their circumcised counterparts. Nor is lubrication a problem with sex in our era of condoms and creams. In the past, the American Cancer Society endorsed circumcision as a way to reduce risk of penile cancer, which is associated with HPV infection. This group no longer suggests it, emphasizing however that daily removal of smegma will be required for good hygiene and infection control (note 4).


I concede here that arguments for circumcision rest hardly incontrovertible. The operation itself is nontrivial, and can incur complications, especially if not professionally done. In adults or older children, as opposed to babies, a scar will form at the site. I am not arguing that circumcision should be undertaken lightly. The frequency of hospital infant circumcisions has declined in recent years, and now varies from 34 to 64 percent by U.S. region (note 5). If it would transgress parents’ ethical or moral views it shouldn’t be done.


However, I reject the notion the AAP advocates circumcision merely with revenue for physicians they represent in mind. This would likely violate American Medical Association codes of ethics they subscribe to, including those governing publicity (note 6). Over decades, their position has oscillated from pro to con and back to pro again, based mainly on studies of adult health risks faced by circumcised and uncircumcised men. Their latest switch back to recommending it may relate to the ongoing rise of drug-resistant infections. They also acknowledge dissent, and that that foreign and other American medical boards do not always agree with them (notes 7, 8).


Yet notwithstanding the ethical arguments around infant operations and body intactness, few adult men regret having been circumcised. As one of these “proud” men, I can say it doesn’t take away any of your sexual pleasure, and has eliminated literally thousands of hours of daily hygiene chores that would have otherwise been a part of my life. Parents should consider its known benefits and risks in light of their own value systems. If they do, I believe they will elect the procedure more often than not.


1. What is Brit Milah? webpage at http://judaism.about.com...


2. Olugboyega 2004. Understanding Sexuality in the Yoruba Culture. Univ. of Lagos, p. 9. pdf at http://www.arsrc.org...


3. Emmons 2012. AAP: Health benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks. CNN Health. webpage at http://www.cnn.com...


3a. Circumcision Policy Statement. In Pediatrics. pdf at http://pediatrics.aappublications.org...


3b. Blank et al. 2012. Male circumcision. In Pediatrics 130(3), 756-785. PubMed abstract at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...


4. Penile Cancer. webpage by American Cancer Society at http://www.cancer.org...


5. United States Circumcision Incidence. The Circumcision Reference Library. webpage at http://www.cirp.org...


6. Opinion 5.02: Advertising and Publicity. In AMA Code of Ethics. webpage at http://www.ama-assn.org...?


7. Lindahl. 2013. Routine Circumcision is Insane. Electronic letter in Pediatrics. webpage at http://pediatrics.aappublications.org...


8. Article citation from AAP in Circumcision Policy Statement above: Optimizing pediatric clinical care and advocacy in an online era: Report of the Canadian Paediatric Society Infectious Diseases and Immunization Committee. Article in Canadian Family Physician. webpage at http://www.cfp.ca...

Debate Round No. 1
MyWoodenHeart

Con

MyWoodenHeart forfeited this round.
hatshepsut

Pro

Instigator cannot continue due to circumstances; see comments. Thanks.
Debate Round No. 2
MyWoodenHeart

Con

MyWoodenHeart forfeited this round.
hatshepsut

Pro

See note above.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by hatshepsut 2 years ago
hatshepsut
Hope it's not because I was too long of wind. :) It would have probably been my longest post on it, with just support or rebuttal on the other round. Since debaters take either side by assignment on debate teams, my post need not reflect my true opinion on the matter. I think your opinion accords better with the principle of conservative practice in medicine, although people who have religious requirements for it and back out do so at a personal cost. Defending liberal principles isn't always worth it when it means losing standing in a lifelong social group and starting life over again as a stranger. Although it's not ideal, I don't see it as excessive mutilation for guys, although the "female version" is very harsh, with the lips sewn together to leave only a tiny pore, and should be condemned.
Posted by MyWoodenHeart 2 years ago
MyWoodenHeart
Hatshepsut, unfortunately, some things came up and I'll probably be too busy to do this debate with you. Sorry. I might re-challenge you later when I have time. Thanks.
Posted by MyWoodenHeart 2 years ago
MyWoodenHeart
To missmedic: I agree that circumcision is mutilation, although circumcision is rarely life-threatening if ever.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
lannan13
MyWoodenHearthatshepsutTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Arguments went uncontested plus Con was unable to finish. Due to his early warning I'll leave Conduct tied.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 2 years ago
9spaceking
MyWoodenHearthatshepsutTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: ff, pro only one to use sources