Rates of Infant Genital Mutilation Fall in US
There is, at last, some good news out of America -- the number of baby boys who are genitally mutilated is falling. The revolting surgery of infant circumcision is, it seems, finally falling out of fashion. Thank God!
I have nothing at all against circumcision for those who are adult and religiously inclined; it shows a true commitment to their beliefs. But the genital mutilation of baby boys without, of course, their consent should be a serious crime -- no different than scalding a baby or shaking them -- and the perpetrators, parents and doctors, should be sent to prison for long periods.
It is a relief to see that many new parents agree with this philosophy.
The Cruelest Cut
Tom Morton's review in the Australian Review of Public Affairs of Richard A. Shweder's "Why Do Men Barbecue? Recipes for Cultural Psychology" focuses almost entirely on Morton's dismay at Shweder's apparent support for female genital mutiliation under certain circumstances, most particularly in cases where the practice is culturally approved and determined.
Part of Shweder's case is that boys are regularly circumsized and therefore it is a form of cultural hypocrisy for liberals to oppose a similar operation for girls. He is saying in effect, because we allow this disgusting and degrading practice for males we shoud be happy to extend the privilege to females. Ooops, I guess I let my prejudices show there.
I am firmly opposed to the practice of infant genital mutilation for non-medical purposes, regardless of sex. It is simply disgraceful that we allow this practice (on boys) to be widespread and for it to receive government approval. It is worth noting the position of the American Academy of Pediatricians, supported by the American Medical Association: “There is no absolute medical indication for routine circumcision of the newborn.” I am certainly not opposed to circumcision itself: I believe that any adult person has the right to do anything to their bodies that they choose. But no adult person has the right to mutilate an infant that, by definition, has no ability to consent or reject.
And don't give me that old "religious freedom" garbage! We don't allow polygamy, even though that is sanctioned by several religions. We have taken steps to stop corporal punishment even when that was being applied under the guise of religious teaching. There is no doubt in my mind that we would disallow the cutting off of a baby's finger, say, even if the family's religion called for it to be given as a sacrament. And yet we still allow men to cut the ends off the penises of little boys in an act of vindictive savagery.
It is nothing but hypocrisy for us to challenge the right of African tribalists to maintain their rituals while we ourselves are using a knife on the sex of hundreds of thousands of children every year. Both sets of practices, when performed by adults on children, represent fascism at the deepest and most fundamental level. And both sets of practices should be banned immediately.