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Vaccination and Infant Circumcision
are Not Comparable
NOHARMM Newsletter, p. 4, August 1994
Some people attempt to defend circumcision as just one more
difficult decision a parent must make about their child's well-being, similar to the
decision of whether or not to subject their child to vaccination. Drawing such a parallel
however, is like comparing apples to oranges.
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One cannot compare a quick needle stick
with a 15-minute unanesthetized surgical alteration of the genitals.
- Vaccination adds scientifically-engineered toxins to the body, whereas
circumcision surgically removes a healthy and functional body part.
- Vaccination does not deprive individuals of functional body parts. Infant
circumcision always deprives the male of the protective and sexually enhancing gliding
mechanism of the foreskin, as well as 12-15 sqaure inches of genital tissue and more than
240 feet of nerves and thousands of nerve endings contained in the foreskin. Consequently,
infant circumcision reduces a male's full range of natural penile functioning.
can prevent common diseases over which individuals may have little control. Circumcision
does not prevent any disease. At best, circumcision is only alleged to "reduce
risk" of certain rare diseases, all of which are behavior-related. Behavior-related
diseases are those over which individuals have absolute control by virtue of their hygiene
and sexual choices (e.g., penile cancer and other sexually transmitted diseases like
have been tested for risks and outcomes. Circumcision has not undergone any such clinical
trials, and its alleged benefits are based on speculation or association, not proof of
cause and effect. All of the medical studies cited by circumcision advocates to support
circumcision have been retrospective observations that only suggest a reduction in
disease. An intellectually honest researcher will admit that retrospective studies are
less reliable than prospective studies.
infant circumcision was instituted on a widescale basis in the U.S. there was no
prospective (or even retrospective!) research done to investigate infant circumcision's
long-term adverse outcomes on men.
sexes are vaccinated. In the U.S., however, only boys are singled out for circumcision. If
removal of various genital parts can "improve hygiene" or "reduce risk of
infection," then such an intervention should prove beneficial for both sexes. This
suggests that either the "benefits" of circumcision are being denied to girls,
or that non-surgical alternatives for improving hygiene and reducing infection are being
withheld from boys.
vaccinations, botched circumcisions are a regular occurrence, often resulting in the need
for reparative surgery or gender reassignment.
- Adult dissatisfaction with
childhood vaccination is not commonly expressed. In the U.S. and elsewhere, however,
millions of men either resent or are unhappy with their circumcision, and increasing
numbers are involved in foreskin restoration methods.
- Vaccination is recommended by many
medical associations. No national medical association in the world recommends infant
circumcision, because it offers no significant health or medical advantage over the intact
state for the vast majority of males.
- Unlike vaccination, motivations
for circumcision are based largely on religion and social custom. One must consider these
influences when they hear circumcision advocates drawing a parallel between circumcision
The comparison between
vaccination and infant circumcision, especially when advocated by a health professional,
should raise red flags in the minds of the media and the general public. The intelligence
and the intellectual honesty of anyone who fails to distinguish between these two
interventions should be seriously questioned.
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