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Circumcision Exposed
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The Birth of
 It's a Boy! A Circus Opera

Betty Katz Sperlich, R..N.

Nurses for the Rights of the Child started out as a group of labor and delivery and newborn nursery nurses at St. Vincent Hospital in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Part of our jobs was to assist with the circumcision of newborn baby boys. I am ashamed to say that I assisted with circumcision for years, mostly out of fear of losing my job.

Then, in January 1993, twenty-four of us nurses became the first (and still the only) group of conscientious objectors to circumcision in the country. We expected to be fired at the time, but we weren't. We became whistle-blowers, speaking to the press and the public. With the help of Marilyn Milos of NOCIRC, we formed Nurses for the Rights of the Child (in June l995) so we could speak more freely.

Since the beginning, we've been talking with parents and the public about circumcision. So, for more than twenty years, I've kept on hearing the same thing, the same tired old defenses of circumcision, such as: "It's cleaner, isn't it", or "I'm circumcised, and I'm fine, so we'll have him done," or "We wouldn't want him looking different in the locker room" and "I don't really want him done, but I guess it's a guy thing." I always responded to these comments with more words, patiently trying to explain things, sometimes drawing diagrams, using logic and appealing to common sense.

"Opera is for when emotions are too big for words."

But, I must say, in the past few years, I've gotten somewhat tired of this. Frankly, I've had it with words; I've heard them all before!  Forget words: it's time to move to a different level, it's time to move to art. Someone from the Santa Fe Opera told me,  "opera is for when emotions are too big for words." And I realized that's what we're dealing with here.

It all started with the idea of an art show about circumcision.  I contacted Wise Fool, New Mexico, about a puppet-making workshop. I thought maybe we could do something special; perhaps have a procession or a spectacle with larger than life puppets, for the opening night party of the art show. I felt these puppets just begged to be made.

But, after the puppets were made, they started channeling their songs to me. The words they were singing were the words I had heard all these years. I couldn't get these songs out of my head.  Now, I'm not a musician, so I knew I needed help.  I approached Ron  "Dadou" Romanovsky and I propositioned him. I said: "Dadou, we've made these puppets, and now they're singing to
me. It's a whole circus opera. Can you help?" Dadou laughed. He was slightly dubious at first, but soon he also heard the songs the puppets were channeling.  The rest, as they say, is history.




We are looking for angels to help make the CD and theater performance of "It's a Boy! A circus opera" a reality. The opera deals with the emotional issues surrounding the circumcision of a baby boy.

It's a Boy! features original accordion and violin music by "Dadou" Ron Romanovsky, and six vocalists.  Hit songs include: Perfectly You, Locker Room Blues, and How Could a Knife. The show stars live musicians, dancers, larger-than-life puppets, a trapeze artist and a knife juggler.   Text and lyrics by Betty Katz Sperlich of Nurses for the Rights of the Child

"Dadou" Ron Romanovsky

If you are feeling angelic, please send a donation to:

Nurses for the Rights of the Child
369 Montezuma #354
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501

Inquiries: please write

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