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Circumcision battle lands parents of 8 year-old in US court

 
 
Reply Mon 20 Feb, 2006 10:13 am
Circumcision battle lands parents of eight-year-old in US court
Sat Feb 18, 2006

A clash over of their son's circumcision has landed the parents of an eight-year-old Illinois boy in a US court where there is no apparent precedent.

A Cook County judge ordered the mother in the case not to have her son circumcised until the court can hear arguments from the child's father, who opposes the operation, and decide if it is in the boy's best interest.

Jews and Muslims circumcise their sons for religious reasons.

But this case instead involves shifting medical and cultural preferences, which have recently become a matter of debate in the United States.

The mother, 31, is a homemaker from Northbrook, Illinois. She says two doctors recommended the procedure for health reasons.

But her ex-husband, 49, a building manager in Arlington Heights, Illinois, has called the procedure an "unnecessary amputation" that could cause his son physical and emotional harm.

In the 1900s, surgical circumcision, in which the foreskin of the penis is removed usually before a newborn leaves the hospital, was the norm in the United States.

But the percentage of US babies being circumcised has plunged from an estimated 90 percent in 1970 to some 60 percent now, data show.

The American Academy of Pediatrics no longer recommends routine neonatal circumcision but says the decision should be left to the parents. That has added fuel to the fire where until recently there was little debate on the issue at all among the US Christian majority.

Some staunch opponents of the procedure see it as akin to female genital mutilation. They argue that the procedure is medically unnecessary and morally wrong. Still others have launched support groups for those who have been circumcised and would rather not have been; some have even pursued surgical options for restoration.

Legal experts however say that there are no published US opinions to serve as precedents in this case. As such it normally would be determined based on the best interests of the child.

When the divorced parents appeared Friday in Cook County Circuit Court, Judge Jordan Kaplan got the two sides to agree that the child would not be circumcised "until further order of (the) court."

He also also ordered them not to discuss the case with their child.

Tracy Rizzo, an attorney for the mother, said the father scared the child by telling him frightening stories about what might happen if he were circumcised.

The father's lawyers, John D'Arco and Alan Toback, have argued that the couple's divorce agreement provides that the father must be consulted before any non-emergency medical care.

Male circumcision is much more widespread in the United States, Canada, and the Middle East than in Asia, South America, Central America, and most of Europe.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 4,556 • Replies: 31
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fresco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Feb, 2006 01:14 pm
bm
0 Replies
 
Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Feb, 2006 01:25 pm
Why would they do this now? Unless there is a specific medical condition I can't see the benifit of causing an 8 yr old uneccesay pain.
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Feb, 2006 09:02 am
Ceili wrote:
Why would they do this now? Unless there is a specific medical condition I can't see the benifit of causing an 8 yr old uneccesay pain.

From the original article:
    The mother, 31, is a homemaker from Northbrook, Illinois. [b]She says two doctors recommended the procedure for health reasons.[/b]
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Feb, 2006 10:51 am
Right, but what health reasons?

There are those who hold that a circumcised penis is healthier than an uncircumcised one, period. Or stupid "mental health" reasons, or something.

I could imagine that the mom thought the kid should be circumcised at birth, he wasn't because of the dad's strong objections (and they were married at the time), then down the line, after they got divorced, the mom went for it again. Maybe just because she could, maybe because he's going to start Little League and there will be some locker-room type situations, who knows.

But it is suspicious to me that the specific "health reason" isn't given.
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jespah
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Feb, 2006 10:58 am
I s'pect it's just another weapon in the divorce/custody/ongoing stuff between the two parents. And the kid is the pawn.

I, too, am suspicious re health reasons, whatever the hell they are.

Jews circumcise their sons at age 8 days. Muslims, so far as I am aware, at age 13 (please correct me if I am wrong).

So it's not a ritual thing. But -- I repeat -- what health reasons? Cancer? VD? Mental health, er, stuff?

There aren't a lot of options there for health reasons, so far as I understand.

I think the poor kid is just a pawn, and this is another area where the parents can disagree and act out their disagreement in public.
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BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Feb, 2006 11:12 am
Male Circumcision
Circumcision history:

http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/full/10.1046/j.1464-410X.2003.04354.x?cookieSet=1
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fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Feb, 2006 12:06 pm
"In England, a Muslim father in 1999 lost his battle to have his 5-year-old son circumcised against the wishes of the mother, with whom the child lives. (Jews and Muslims circumcise their sons for religious reasons.) A judge ruled that circumcision was not in the child's interests and might traumatize him."

(Chicago Tribune Feb19th.)
0 Replies
 
2PacksAday
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Feb, 2006 12:46 pm
I do know a few men that had to have the procedure later in life, for "health" reasons, one was at least 60 when he underwent the surgery.

It can be a hygiene problem, infections can develope if fluids {or other things} get trapped in hard to clean areas...crevices?...I'm thinking those with high blood sugar problems are more at risk, so younger men are probably not effected as much.
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Feb, 2006 12:52 pm
sozobe wrote:
But it is suspicious to me that the specific "health reason" isn't given.

Why? Do you doubt that circumcision is medically indicated on occasion?

I imagine that the "health reasons" weren't mentioned because this is a newspaper story, not a court document. The reporter either didn't think the reasons were terribly interesting, or else thought that it was mortifying enough for an eight-year-old to have his foresking become the subject of a court hearing and a news story without also going into the medical details
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Feb, 2006 12:55 pm
It's possible.

I remain suspicious, as it has a bearing on the story. Could just be bad reportage. (I can't imagine that it would be that more mortifying for the [unnamed] boy to have that one extra, and important, piece of information included. The WHOLE THING is mortifying.)
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JPB
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Feb, 2006 12:57 pm
At this point, I'm not sure it would matter much if it were to occur at 8 or 68. Unless there is a current medical situation (sound unlikely) then IMO, if it wasn't done in infancy and isn't being pursued for religious reasons, then it shouldn't be performed until such time as it might be needed.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Feb, 2006 01:08 pm
sozobe wrote:
It's possible.

I remain suspicious, as it has a bearing on the story. Could just be bad reportage. (I can't imagine that it would be that more mortifying for the [unnamed] boy to have that one extra, and important, piece of information included. The WHOLE THING is mortifying.)

More mortifying than this? (Warning: graphic images alert!).
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Feb, 2006 01:12 pm
I did some looking, found this:

Quote:
The mother has said that two doctors have recommended the procedure to prevent recurrent infections.


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/02/21/wcirc21.xml&sSheet=/news/2006/02/21/ixworld.html

That's more specific. That would make sense, too -- as in, it's a parent's job to make sure that a kid cleans as necessary, and that might be a job that, as a single mother, she's deeply uncomfortable with.

Which I could see. Not sure if the answer is to lop it all off, though.

Awaiting further info.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Feb, 2006 01:16 pm
sozobe wrote:
Not sure if the answer is to lop it all off, though.

I would not equate circumcision with lopping it all off....
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Feb, 2006 01:18 pm
Actually, now I'm not so sure -- the other news items I found all had variations of "The boy's mother says two doctors recommended the procedure to prevent infections." Does this mean that he's been having infections and a circumcision will help (I'd have sympathy there, though still limited if there are other ways to prevent infection, such as more thorough cleanings -- the dad can show him how and the kid can do it, seems like he'd have plenty of incentive Shocked), or just that these two doctors fall on the side of the circumcision debate that says that it helps prevent infection, whether that's been a problem for the kid or not?
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Feb, 2006 01:19 pm
Well, lopping off all the foreskin...
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DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Feb, 2006 01:21 pm
Lopping it all off would certainly avoid those uncomfortable "birds and bees" discussions....
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Feb, 2006 01:23 pm
Hee hee! Uh, yeah. Shocked
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Feb, 2006 01:29 pm
As for the medical advice, it sounds like the generic conventional wisdom advice from 20 years ago. How many doctors didn't advise circumcision?

Things that made sense 100 years ago need to be rethought in the age of indoor plumbing.
0 Replies
 
 

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