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From the Physicians' Lounge #3

April 18, 2018

From the Physicians' Lounge

I have been absent from this blog for a while as my colleagues here at Circumcision Choice have continued to generate a lot of thought provoking content for our website and for Facebook discussions.

In my prior two "From the Physicians' Lounge" posts, I have made a couple points from a physician's perspective. The first was to dispel the notion that circumcised men are flocking to urologists demanding some type of intervention, and the second post was to emphasize the need for analgesia in newborn circumcision. I think it is important to push back against the anti-circumcision talking points that can confuse and mislead parents when trying to decide if circumcision is the right thing for their baby boy. I also want to stand up as a physician - a pediatrician - and call out some of the more ludicrous claims about my profession by intactivism's crusaders.

Now I'd like to briefly discuss one of the most misleading and utterly heinous tactics used by intactivists. Most pediatricians go into practice because they love the satisfaction they get from caring for healthy and sick kids (and sometimes their families, LOL). No two pediatricians are identical but we essentially share a commitment to guarding the health and well-being of patients from birth to adulthood. (Hopefully, for me at least, not too far into that adulthood!) As a pediatrician, if you aren't up to this task then you are in the wrong field. That commitment usually earns the trust of parents. Any violation of that "trust" is unthinkable to us. Just the thought that any of our pediatric colleagues enjoy or willingly participate in practices known to be harmful to children is appalling! So, as you can imagine, it is just a little bit jarring to have activists in the street claiming we are rapists, butchers, pedophiles, fetishists, or just plain money-grubbing profiteers.

When pediatricians attend their biggest national meetings they get to see all these horrible things plastered on signs or distributed in pamphlets. We get to have our social media and our business reviews destroyed with these claims. Sometimes protests are scheduled outside of our offices with calls going out around the world for rabid anti-circumcision activists to attend. When it comes to circumcision, we are more likely to have someone in Australia, Sweden, or the UK attacking our medical career with these libelous claims than a disgruntled parent from our own practice. While we work to keep children healthy, a group of fanatics is always looking for ways to make us seem like monsters.

I don't speak for all pediatricians, but I am pretty sure my colleagues would agree that we don't deserve this kind of demonization for a simple, routine procedure. Yes, this kind of characterization of pediatricians who perform circumcision is mostly an intimidation tactic, and, yes, I doubt many normal Americans believe the claims. It's just that these attacks are, without doubt, harmful to our psyche if not to our actual livelihood. No doubt, that's intended. That trauma is one of the reasons we here at exist. We are not here to fight for circumcision. We fight for a parent's right and a physician's right to choose circumcision as a preventive health procedure without the fear that they will be alone against the reprehensible tactics of intactivism. Intactivism is often a mental illness -- an obsession with foreskin or lack thereof, often veiled in the language of a "human rights" issue. "Attacktivism" against pediatricians is one of its very ugly symptoms! D.D.


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