I believe we all, regardless of whether we oppose circumcision of children, or promote it, can agree that circumcision is not a necessary procedure.
In fact, the third paragraph of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ 2012 Policy Statement on Circumcision starts: “Although health benefits are not great enough to recommend routine circumcision for all male newborns“. Then it goes on to boast the “benefits” and endorse insurance coverage of the procedure.
Nevertheless, the important point is, the procedure is considered elective. Intactivists and the medical community disagree over who has the right to “elect” the procedure, but there is no medical view that considers the procedure necessary.
Which is why it is important to see how subtle language is used to convince parents otherwise.
We were alerted to Touro Infirmary’s verbiage and had the chance to verify it on their website. Touro, founded in 1852, claims to be New Orleans’ only community based, not-for-profit, faith-based hospital, and their “about us” page claims they have always taken a progressive path.
But are they progressive when it comes to male newborns’ genitalia?
The “before delivery” page reads:
“You may have already signed the “Consent for Circumcision” for your male child when you signed your other consents at 36 weeks. If not, this consent will also need to be signed shortly before the circumcision procedure is done.”
Notice the language: this consent will need to be signed before the procedure is done. There is no question of whether you are the parents have decided. The language presents circumcision of the male child as something inevitable, and the consent form as something that just needs to be signed so we can move forward and be done with this.
The “after delivery” page then starts with this question and answer:
“I have heard that after the birth of my baby, the baby will remain in my room, with me, rather than go to the nursery. Is this true?”
“Touro offers “rooming-in/mother-baby care” before and during the newborn’s initial bath and examination by the nurse and pediatrician. Of course, circumcisions and other necessary procedures are done in the nursery, not in the mother’s room.”
Notice the wording: “circumcision and other necessary procedures” which seems to imply that circumcision is one of those necessary procedures. In fact, it seems it is so important that it is the first one mentioned!
The only place where they hint that circumcision is not necessary or otherwise mandatory is on their example of a birth plan, which includes this line:
“If your baby is a boy, do you want to have him circumcised?”
The website makes no attempt to educate parents on why they would want or not, to have their male child circumcised. But by using careful language, they present circumcision as a necessity, as something that is simply done. And by doing this, they attempt to ensure the perpetuation of male infant circumcision in the United States.
Touro, shame on you.