I sense that I’m not a good person to be answering the question. I’m like a fish that swims in the fishbowl and does not realize that there is water, if you know what I mean. I belong to several large email lists for ‘intactivists’ and I even belong to one list that is for men who are restoring their foreskins. By immersing myself in the subject each day, I get the impression that great strides are being made and the end of this barbarism is in sight. Then, I go out in the “real world” and I wonder what the truth is about this whole subject.
Statistics would be helpful but accurate accounting is hard to come by. In my province, B.C., Canada, hospitals are not cutting babies any longer and right across Canada, no provincial medical plan will pay for it. Although both of these measures are commendable and hard won, it means it is now difficult to know what is being done privately in doctors’ offices. It’s estimated that our rate in B.C. is about 10%. My American cohorts think this is a wonderful statistic but I find it absolutely sickening. One in 10 boys being unnecessarily tortured can not be condoned. We do have a formidable tool in this province for ending circumcision of baby boys and that is the position statement of our provincial College of Physicians and Surgeons. A baby boy died in 2002 after his parents had his foreskin amputated at the Penticton Hospital. Soon after that tragedy, which was reported to the press by a hospital whistle blower, the doctors’ regulating body took a tougher stance on this insanity. Ryleigh McWillis’ death has meant that many Canadian boys have been saved from this painful, permanently mutilating procedure.
What makes me wonder about what’s going on in the “on the street” reality of life in my province is the feedback that I get when I meet people who have nothing to do with the birth field and nothing to do with intactivism. I am taking a business course right now and have been assigned to a team with two young (30ish) men and a young (25ish) woman. The other night, at our team meeting, we each declared one of our commitments to the group. I, of course, let them know that I am committed to ending circumcision. The two men proceeded to agree with me (I suspect to be polite) but both muttered afterward about “Of course, it’s cleaner to be cut”. . . this is a sure sign that they both are cut and have been sold a bill of goods about how they are “cleaner”. The real surprise and heartening reaction was from the young woman. She stated “I can’t believe you, since when do we cut off body parts instead of washing them? Would you cut off your ears because they are dirty?” Wow! how did she get so educated? I’m just starting out with this team but I’ll be getting deeper into their information and beliefs about this subject. I’m happy not to be preaching to the converted and you never know where opening up this subject may lead.