In Manchester, England, a four-week-old boy bled to death after a circumcision performed without anesthetic, in which the nurse used only scissors, forceps, and olive oil and did not perform appropriate postoperative care.
This is obviously an extreme case. Most circumcisions are performed in hospitals with postoperative care and modern surgical techniques. Nevertheless, circumcisions can be dangerous. Children can face infections, bleeding, and removal of an insufficient amount of tissue. In rare cases, the child’s penis can be lost or, as in this tragic case, the child can die.
Circumcisions don’t really do anything. They have some mild health benefits (but the science is mixed and most of the health benefits can be gotten by washing regularly and using condoms anyway) and they may reduce sexual pleasure (but again the science is mixed). Their primary benefit is aesthetic– which is fucked itself. Why shouldn’t people with penises be allowed to decide for themselves, when they’re adults, whether or not they would prefer for their penis to be circumcised? Why on earth would we risk complications ranging from infections to death for absolutely no reason at all?
Oh, right, I forgot, it’s tradition. They just won’t feel right if they don’t look like their daddy. And children’s bodily autonomy doesn’t matter anyway, it’s not like they’re people.
Photo credit– miss pupik/Flickr. A newborn baby tearing up.