It happens every day. In fact, it is pretty hard to avoid it. There are some things that can only be understood with a slap on the forehead. Things so mind-boggling that one wonders how humans managed to evolve thumbs while being this mentally inept. Case in point:
Let’s circumcise boys to prevent teen pregnancy
In Colorado, a proposed bill to reinstate Medicaid funding for circumcision failed to pass. It managed to get through one hearing, but died in the next. According to an article about the proposal:
Opponents, who included health professionals, budget hawks and anti-circumcision activists told health committee members on Thursday that circumcision is cosmetic and potentially harmful, and taxpayers should not fund it.
Proponents for the bill argued that funding for circumcision for babies on Medicaid is a social justice issue. In general, insurance companies pay for the procedure for insured Colorado babies even though the American Academy of Pediatrics does not deem circumcisions to be “medically necessary.” Meanwhile, low-income parents who want their babies circumcised are being put on waiting lists for the procedure until parents can prove they’ve paid in advance.
It is worth noting that only one doctor testified in favor of circumcision.
But that is not the stupid part. While representatives argued their reasons for supporting or opposing either funding circumcision or circumcision itself, Rep. Sue Schafer had specific reason for supporting circumcision:
One lawmaker, Rep. Sue Schafer, D-Wheat Ridge, elicited laughter in the hearing room when she asked Dr. Johnson if circumcision might help reduce teen pregnancy rates and teen sexual activity by reducing nerve sensation in boys’ penises.
“I’m wondering if there’s a risk of more sexual activity, more male irresponsibility” for uncircumcised boys, Schafer asked.
It is funny because it is stupid.
Can you imagine the backlash a male representative would receive if he joked that circumcising girls to make sex less pleasurable might be an effective means of reducing teen pregnancy and sexual activity?
While it is unsurprising that people think male pain is comedy fodder, it is surprising that someone would so blatantly state that we should hurt boys to stop them from wanting sex.
Thankfully, Dr. Jennifer Johnson challenged Schafer’s comments:
Johnson answered that teen pregnancy is certainly a problem, but said circumcision won’t halt teen sexual activity.
“Circumcision is not a cure for behavior. That’s about education,” she said.
She and others also testified that cutting off infant babies’ body parts is not the way to prevent urinary tract infections. She said she’s treated plenty of babies for infections and antibiotics are an easy answer.
“You don’t cut off part of a healthy penis to treat urinary tract infections,” Johnson said.
The good thing that came out of this is that it seems that there are plenty of educated, well-informed people who can reasonably explain why mutilating a boy’s penis is a bad, harmful thing. The circumcision supporters cannot offer any plausible or medical reason for circumcising all boys. The best they can do is site parental or religious preference and an incomplete study that does not actually show that circumcision prevents HIV infections.