The Des Moines Register
Thursday, July 30, 1998

All circumcisions 'botched'

        Regarding Kathleen Parker's July 16 column on the sex reassignments of two boys who endured "botched" circumcisions:  These two cases are tragedies made more unacceptable because the circumcisions were unnecessary to start with.
        These boys whose penises were, in the first case, "ablated" (i.e., cut off) and, in the second, burned so badly that it fell off, offer only the grossest examples of injury as a result of circumcision.  There are many lesser forms of injury that the public never hears about which result in problems following circumcision, as well as in the future.
        In an open letter to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the non-profit organization Nurses for the Rights of the Child wrote, "Parents are . . . poorly informed about the sexual and psychological damage caused by circumcision.  Most parents believe that circumcision is medically necessary or have a vague notion that it is somehow 'cleaner'. . . .  As nurses who formerly participated in neonatal circumcisions, we have had the occasion to witness many 'botched' jobs. . . .  W have come to the conclusion that every routine circumcision is a 'botch' job, since it is a brutal assault on a child's right to a whole intact body."
        It is important to remember when discussing such complications that these babies came into this world with normal penises.  It is time for us adults to take a hard look at what we are doing to the majority of our baby boys - and why.

-- Carolyn Reinhold
413 Fourth Ave., Collins.