1. As regards pain, circumcision:
A. does not hurt.
B. Is excruciating for an infant as well as an adult. Tightening the circumcision clamp puts crushing pressure on a large area of sensitive skin.
2. The foreskin is:
A. a useless piece of skin
B. an integral part of the male sexual organ, containing most of the nerve endings of sexual pleasure.
3. During circumcision, the infant:
A. goes to sleep.
B. withdraws into a state of neurogenic shock (coma), due to sudden massive pain.
4. With respect to functions, the foreskin:
A. has no function. It is “just a piece of skin.”
B. has at least three major functions:
1. protection of the glans penis, an internal organ.
2. coverage of the shaft of the elongated, erect penis.
3. provision of most of the nerves for sexual response
(the ridged bands on the inner lining of the foreskin).
5. With respect to cancer of the penis, circumcision:
A. prevents it.
B. has nothing to do with penile cancer.(American Cancer Society, 1989)
6. With respect to ethics, a doctor who performs a circumcision:
A. is practicing reasonable medicine.
B. violates all seven Principles of the AMA Code of Ethics; violates a primary tenet of health care, First, Do No Harm; and violates the Golden Rule.
7. With respect to human rights, a doctor who performs a circumcision:
A. is within his rights.
B. violates a basic human right, the right to an intact body. The infant has the right not to have normal body parts removed without his express consent. The doctor has failed to obtain the informed consent of the mutilee. The doctor is violating the Nuremberg Code of Ethics, which regulates experimentation on humans.
8. With respect to safety, circumcision is:
B. kills an unknown number of U.S. infants every year.
9. With respect to complications, circumcision has:
A. very few complications
B. a 100% complication rate – in every instance the loss of a useful organ. In addition, there are many unrecorded complications, including deaths. Health costs of circumcised boys 5x those of intact boys!
10. The loss of foreskin:
A. has no effect on later life.
B. contributes to inferior sexual relations, which leads to increased divorce rates, increased violence, increased exposure to sexually transmitted diseases, and contributes to impotence, especially after age 40.
If you answered A to every question, you believe in myths. If you answered B, you are informed with the latest scientific information on this harmful procedure.
The reason that doctors accept these myths, when they usually are eager to accept the scientific evidence on most topics, is that circumcisers are almost always victims of the procedure. An important body part has been stolen from them and they have great difficulty dealing with that loss. If they are women practitioners, they have either agreed to having their sons’ foreskins amputated, or they did a number of circumcisions without thinking, then lacked the courage to acknowledge the harm they had caused.
The purpose of this brief questionnaire is to help people better understand how doctors can be so misled, and so misleading.
George C. Denniston MD, MPH