And then following WWII we had pathologized birth instead of birthing at home women were now going to the hospital thinking they’re going to be spared and receive all this wonderful care and so forth. And the foreskins were available. There was an article written in 1953 by a couple of Obstetricians who said mothers given analgesia at birth and a lot of times are anesthetic at birth and a lot of times you end up with a floppy baby. So once you’re done sewing up the mother from the episiotomy, then you walk across the hall and you circumcise the baby and if he’s been floppy, this is with wonderful results because he comes alive right away. He’s awake and alert, yes traumatized, but he’s there and you’re done with the whole thing. You’re finished with it all. This insensitivity to both mother and baby on either side of the hall and the obstetrician’s talking to one another about how we can just go in and take care of this. So the circumcism rate went up dramatically during the forties. By the fifties there was a scare about cervical cancer.
Now that mothers and babies are in a hospital, you’ve got that component of being there with attending physicians able to access the foreskin. At the same time you’ve got insurance company’s who are the third party payers who are paying for these procedures. That was a first and that hadn’t happened before and that just enhanced this business. Which by the way, from the forties till today has become a billion dollar a year industry. Quite an amazing feat in fifty or so years, sixty years.
M: For a procedure that’s not necessary.
Mi: For a procedure that’s not necessary. And not only is it not necessary, it’s harmful. Not only does it cause trauma, it traumatizes the baby in the moment but it sends a shock wave to that being that I don’t think, well let’s hope that you can recover from it.
So during the fifties then the next scare was cervical cancer and women were being diagnosed with cervical cancer and we knew something was wrong. And it was suggested that Jewish women had a low incidence of cervical cancer and perhaps it was because their husbands were circumcised. Oh now let’s chop off a part of the male to protect the female. Imagine if we would turn that around and said, I mean everybody would be up in arms. But we’ve able to do this in terms in cutting a part off of a male to protect the female. And of course now we understand that cervical cancer is caused by the HPP virus and safe sex and condom use are the answer, not amputating an important part off of the opposite sex.
It’s just a little bit more than cervical cancer. It was interesting because that excuse for circumcism, the cervical cancer excuse, was put forth in mid 1950's and within a year it was refuted because they went back to repeat, it should be repeatable, they went back to repeat the studies and they found that in looking, in examining the husbands of the women who were reporting found out that 54%, I think, of the women, in the 50 percentile, had no idea what was wrong about their husband’s intactness or not whether he was circumcised or not. And when they asked the men, 17% of the men also didn’t know their own status. So now we have methodological flaws and again, as I said, that study was refuted within months after it was put forth, but today, that was the fifties so 15 years later cervical cancer is still being used as an excuse. It’s going to be good because we have an HPV vaccine coming out pretty quick and perhaps that will be on, depending on how people feel about vaccines. At least they can’t use that as an excuse anymore.
During the sixties, in the sexual revolution, the sexually transmitted diseases became the excuse. Everybody was out there having a good time and passing whatever they had on to their friend and their friend’s friends. And consequently the excuse again, let’s circumcise him so he wont’ get venereal disease. I don’t know where you were during the sixties but that didn’t protect me from sexually transmitted diseases, transmitted to me by my circumcised boyfriends. So then during the seventies as people began to get smart here and question specific medical practices, for example, radical mastectomy’s, routine tonsillectomy’s, episiotomy’s, and circumcism. A new excuse merged. You don’t want them to look different in the locker room do you? You don’t want him to look different than his dad do you? That excuse was never introduced when they started circumcising boys whose father’s were intact. This was an excuse to continue this practice.
During the eighties more studies were put forth to validate circumcism and they were a urinary tract infections to these. Acknowledge is being methodologically, in fact we had one researcher doing one study after another, at point some doctor said look, Wizwell’s world studies have been validated. His research is correct. Boys who are circumcised are at less risk for urinary tract infections. I said well let me see the documents. So I’m looking at it and it was Wizwell had just done his own studies again. And Wizwell happily names, heh! So that’s pretty much been pushed aside and there was one more and it’s pretty prevailing at this point that says circumcism will prevent HIV and AIDS. Now that first came out in the late eighties and then the early nineties. It was suggested by Dr. Aaron Fink who’s no longer with us. Just as an idea of his, if we circumcise boys then we’ll have a chance to get HIV. However we live in a country that has one of the highest AIDS rates and one of the highest circumcism rates around the world. So common sense tells you it’s crazy but today we have North American researchers from the United States and from Canada who have gone to Africa to peddle circumcism there. And they’re doing studies to determine whether or not the, prospective studies, whether or not circumcism is effective in stopping the spread of AIDS there. So what are they doing? They’re doing sex education. They’re promoting the use of condoms and they’re circumcising. At the end of the study what do you think they’re going to say was the most effective? They’re going to say, look, circumcism has helped stop the spread of AIDS.
Interestingly and fortunately enough we have Uganda where the President several years ago was aware of this pandemic in Africa and went around from village to village speaking to all of the people in that country. First of all he demystified sex, brought it out of the closet, it had been a taboo. Brought it out of the closet, they go to a public place where the rest of the people don’t understand that and so then they’re always fraught with anxiety because they’ve got to explain these kinds of things to other people. What keeps parents from just inviting people over to their house and just letting it go? I don’t know whether it’s the kind of houses we’re building today. Whether its there aren’t any yards or we don’t understand. When I was a child we had neighbors who all had four or five kids. We all met around the kitchen table. We had coffee and the kids dug holes in the back yard and played. There’s a piece missing now. We have to meet at the park. We have park dates. And then we complain about the park because there really isn’t all that much to do. Up and down the slide, maybe swing for a while, but for it to be real for children and authentic it has to be able to be changed and to be moved and we’ve just gotten so far away from that.
It’s always fear based. So again what are we afraid of? Is it not that urge that’s uncontrollable? Can parents keep their kids from having that urge? Can they keep that little child on the floor from playing with himself? It’s scary until we begin to educate about how to conduct ourselves, containing this urge and not being afraid of it. So again, as far as I can tell, circumcism is always fear based from the very first being afraid that we’re dual gendered. For the Jews not being cut off from their people. For the Muslims it’s in accordance with God’s plan. Whether it’s fear of masturbation or penial cancer or cervical cancer, it’s always fear based, always. And it’s always for control, controlling somebody’s something. By the way, as late as 1955, I realized that I hadn’t finished up on the fact that this has been done to girls as well as boys.