My first son had what can only be described as a bad circumcision. While he was still in diapers, the skin at the tip of his penis started to get sticky and when we changed him, we were unable to pull the skin back to do an adequate cleaning. “It’s a problem,” the pediatric urologist explained. I am sure there is some medical term for the condition, but all I can remember is that it required a trip to Boston’s Children’s Hospital where, in the office, my little boy had to get “re-snipped.”
This was very, very difficult to for me watch. Despite receiving a local anesthetic, my son cried a lot. So did I. When I found out I was expecting another boy, I did more research on circumcision and stumbled across countless websites arguing both for and against the procedure. Given that my husband and I are not of the Jewish or Islamic faith, where circumcision is customary, there was no real reason to choose circumcision other than family tradition. The medical arguments don’t really hold all that much weight, in my opinion.
The complications the author’s son experienced are easily explained. At birth, the foreskin adheres to the glans thanks to synechia. The inner foreskin is mucosal tissue, just like the nose, mouth, and female genitals. It doesn’t magically stop being mucosal tissue after circumcision. It only stops acting like mucosal tissue through years of keratinization. Until that occurs, any loose foreskin will tend to re-adhere because it is moist mucosal tissue. As the author discovered, this can require further surgical intervention. It can also lead to complications (NSFW – graphic images).
This is objective harm. Even when parents understand some of the risks – through the experience of their previously healthy sons – from medically unnecessary infant circumcision, they’re willing to proceed again. The risk of it becoming reality for the boy is inherent in every infant circumcision. No one has the right to impose this risk on him without medical need. No one should have the legal option to impose this risk on him, either.