German court: circumcising a child is bodily harm

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After much deliberation, it concluded that a circumcision, "even when done properly by a doctor with the permission of the parents, should be considered as bodily harm if it is carried out on a boy unable to give his own consent".

It ruled the child's body would be "permanently and irreparably changed", and that this alteration went "against the interests of a child to decide for himself later on to what religion he wishes to belong".

I agree it is bodily harm, I am not sure how you can argue otherwise. However I don't see how being circumcised has any affect on you choosing what religion you are later in life.

What's with the Germans? Even when they're trying to be the good guys, they always have to take shots at the Jews.

Funkenpants wrote:

What's with the Germans? Even when they're trying to be the good guys, they always have to take shots at the Jews.

http://instantrimshot.com/

Not sure how I feel about this, to be honest. I don't think there's a compelling medical reason for infant (or toddler) circumcision, but it's also a multi-thousand year long religious tradition, and stepping on those, even with the best of intent, is not a great path to be trodding down.

It's not really fundamentally any different than female circumcision. There is quite good evidence that it DOES affect sexual function (ie, the loss of your foreskin significantly impairs sexual pleasure), and there appears to be a strong link between circumcision and later sexual dysfunction, especially premature ejaculation.

I used to agree with you guys that it was no big deal, but I was persuaded otherwise. It's male genital mutilation, and it's not acceptable for Westerners to cut up their boys any more than it's acceptable for Muslims to cut up their girls.

Tanglebones wrote:
Funkenpants wrote:

What's with the Germans? Even when they're trying to be the good guys, they always have to take shots at the Jews.

http://instantrimshot.com/

Not sure how I feel about this, to be honest. I don't think there's a compelling medical reason for infant (or toddler) circumcision, but it's also a multi-thousand year long religious tradition, and stepping on those, even with the best of intent, is not a great path to be trodding down.

There's been a few studies.

Malor wrote:

It's not really fundamentally any different than female circumcision.


Female genital mutilation (FGM), also known as female genital cutting and female circumcision, is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as "all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons." .. The WHO has offered four classifications of FGM. The main three are Type I, removal of the clitoral hood, almost invariably accompanied by removal of the clitoris itself (clitoridectomy); Type II, removal of the clitoris and inner labia; and Type III (infibulation), removal of all or part of the inner and outer labia, and usually the clitoris, and the fusion of the wound, leaving a small hole for the passage of urine and menstrual blood—the fused wound is opened for intercourse and childbirth.

It's kind of a lot different.

No, actually, it really isn't. The foreskin is very important. Again, foreskin removal, especially the complete kind, is very strongly linked to multiple types of sexual dysfunction.

It's not okay to damage children's bodies for religious or cultural reasons.

Malor wrote:

No, actually, it really isn't. The foreskin is very important. Again, foreskin removal, especially the complete kind, is very strongly linked to multiple types of sexual dysfunction.

It's not okay to damage children's bodies for religious or cultural reasons.

My understanding of this is that the results have been inconclusive. Besides, you're making very strong statements without providing any evidence.

The second part of your post I completely agree with.

Source

Also:

”…with regard to circumcision, one of the reasons for it is… the wish to bring about a decrease in sexual intercourse and a weakening of the organ in question, so that this activity be diminished and the organ be in as quiet a state as possible…
The bodily pain caused to that member is the real purpose of circumcision…
..The fact that circumcision weakens the faculty of sexual excitement and sometimes perhaps diminishes the pleasure is indubitable. ” ~Rabbi Moses Maimonides

I'm with Malor on this one. It's about time people started tackling this, there's really no reason to let something like this slip for religious reasons. Religions adapt to moral changes all the time, I think it's time they adapted away from slicing bits off defenceless children. A couple of generations down the track, it'll be another embarrassment of the past like stoning women or assigning correct pricing to slaves.

So a non-religious argument might go something like this...

On the one hand: everything Malor says.
On the other hand: Smegma.

I'm ambivalent.

bighoppa wrote:

So a non-religious argument might go something like this...

On the one hand: everything Malor says.
On the other hand: Smegma.

I'm ambivalent.

IMAGE(http://www.reddwarf.co.uk/features/history/evolution-of-rimmers-costumes/rimmers-costumes-23s.jpg)

Malor wrote:

No, actually, it really isn't. The foreskin is very important. Again, foreskin removal, especially the complete kind, is very strongly linked to multiple types of sexual dysfunction.

Yes, there is some question as to whether circumcision reduces potential male pleasure, but the magnitude of the effect isn't clear, and the studies don't agree if it is significant.

That in no way compares to the effects of a clitoridectomy, which largely eliminates sexual pleasure. They aren't the same thing unless you circumcise someone by chopping off his penis.

Redwing wrote:

A couple of generations down the track, it'll be another embarrassment of the past like stoning women or assigning correct pricing to slaves.

A very apt comparison if we were talking about Jews wanting to kill their children or sell them into slavery to please Jehovah. But we aren't. We're talking about removal of the foreskin, a traditional act that generations of Jewish men have undergone while still being able to enjoy sex later in life.

That in no way compares to the effects of a clitoridectomy, which largely eliminates sexual pleasure.

According to women on MeFi, this is not true. Women still experience sexual pleasure after a clitoridectomy, and can even still orgasm. But it is much more difficult, and things just don't work as well, much like removing a foreskin. It's more severe, but it's the same basic thing, for the same basic reason.

The full excision of everything is a lot more like actually chopping the penis off, but my understanding is that this is quite uncommon.

And really, it's all rather unimportant to the central thesis that chopping bits off people, especially children, isn't really something we should be doing.

Honestly female circumcision sounds like it may potentially be worse (and is also completely abhorent), but that probably isn't much consolation for the kid who just had a bit of his dick sliced off!

Malor wrote:

According to women on MeFi, this is not true. Women still experience sexual pleasure after a clitoridectomy, and can even still orgasm.

That is true. Perhaps it would be better to say that it would be like cutting off only a big part of your penis.

As someone who has been circumcised, I can tell you that it doesn't sound like I'm missing much by not having a foreskin. The descriptions of sexual activity of people with foreskins sound identical to my own experiences. I don't think a women without a clitoris would have the same experience as a woman with a clitoris. Are there any women at MeFi who have had their clitoris removed and say that sex is close to, or equivalent to, that of a woman with a clitoris?

Funkenpants wrote:
Malor wrote:

According to women on MeFi, this is not true. Women still experience sexual pleasure after a clitoridectomy, and can even still orgasm.

That is true. Perhaps it would be better to say that it would be like cutting off only a big part of your penis.

As someone who has been circumcised, I can tell you that it doesn't sound like I'm missing much by not having a foreskin. The descriptions of sexual activity of people with foreskins sound identical to my own experiences. I don't think a women without a clitoris would have the same experience as a woman with a clitoris. Are there any women at MeFi who have had their clitoris removed and say that sex is close to, or equivalent to, that of a woman with a clitoris?

I think the difference is pretty clear. Men might choose to have their foreskin removed, but a woman would never have her clitoris removed.

I too am on the fence about it. Having heard that circumcision has had a dramatic effect on sexual disease prevention in African countries makes me think there are valid medical reasons for having my son's foreskin removed. And since by and large circumcision, done at a young enough age, leaves no emotional impact, I don't think I would be putting his emotional health at risk. But on the other hand, my mom told me how guilty she felt (Catholic of course) and has never stopped feeling since hearing our screams when we were circumcised after birth. I have no religious reasons for doing it, only medical ones, so I'm still undecided.

Mutilation of a child, for whatever reason is wrong. If they want to mutilate their bodies it should be their choice after they obtain the age of adulthood. F* tradition. F* religion. Mutilation of a child is wrong.

I think the 'it's good for the health' argument would be more forceful if they hadn't been doing it for 2,000 years (or whatever) anyway. The fact it's good for health seems coincidental. In holy books that call for circumcision - and this is a genuine question - does it mention doing in it a clean environment with sterile tools? Does it explain how to sterilise the knife? Does it explain how this might help stop infection (and subsequent deaths of children)? Are there any records of HIV-style illnesses from back then?

If they want too circumcise themselves as an adult for furthering their religion, by all means. But don't force it on a child. There are mental health consequences to it later in life.

1Dgaf wrote:

I think the 'it's good for the health' argument would be more forceful if they hadn't been doing it for 2,000 years (or whatever) anyway. The fact it's good for health seems coincidental. In holy books that call for circumcision - and this is a genuine question - does it mention doing in it a clean environment with sterile tools? Does it explain how to sterilise the knife? Does it explain how this might help stop infection (and subsequent deaths of children)? Are there any records of HIV-style illnesses from back then?

Torah doesn't mention metzitza b'peh either, if we're going to get into health. Plenty of Orthodox doctors out there, parents, yet vile old mohels stay in business because they're not Orthodox enough for you?

Rarely do I say this about anything online, but that article makes me feel sick. Sick like I'm going retch.

Masai tribes in Africa have a millenia old tradition of bashing their front teeth out. Not only the outcome of this procedure makes them more "beautiful", in their eyes, but it also serves an important hygienic function -- since their teeth erode by the middle-age due to their diet, getting rid of front teeth actually solves the problem of having an unsightly smile later on.

(At least they do it as consenting young adults, as a rite of passage of sorts)

The point that I am trying to make is that there is a whole lot of ages old, hallowed tribal traditions in societies all over the world which are just plain barbaric in their nature. Some of them just happen to be ensconced in our society. Doesn't make them less barbaric.

Malor, I agree with both your point and your comparison, but I think your point is strong enough to stand without the comparison to female mutilation, which seems to be what some people are taking exception to. Might be simpler to let the comparison go.

Uncircumcised males in the audience. Raise your hand if there's a chance in hell anyone in your family could tell you now you have to have your foreskin chopped off for religious reasons.

For the record, I'm circumcised. My son most certainly is not.

I am circumcised, and I am very glad that I have 2 daughters (with no more kids possible) and thus did not have to enter these murky waters.

Funkenpants wrote:

A very apt comparison if we were talking about Jews wanting to kill their children or sell them into slavery to please Jehovah. But we aren't. We're talking about removal of the foreskin, a traditional act that generations of Jewish men have undergone while still being able to enjoy sex later in life.

We're talking about whether a minor has the right to avoid being disfigured by his parents because of their beliefs which he may/may not wish to ascribe to when he's old enough to form his own opinion.

Totally agree with the ruling.

Now I feel like some kind of tabloid-reading-knuckle-dragging fascists by being replused by the link Clover posted. It feels wrong to have that kind of reaction, as though I'm the one with the problem.

I'm all in favour of people cutting the end of their dick off for religious reasons. As consistent with my stance on religion in general, however, I don't believe you ever have the right to practice your religion on other people. Especially not infants.

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