Tuesday, February 7, 2012

COLORADO: Conflicts of Interest Plague Medicaid Circumcision Coverage Bill


On February 2nd this year, the Colorado Senate Health and Human Services Committee held a hearing for Senate Bill 90. Last year, Colorado became the 18th state to drop Medicaid coverage for routine infant circumcision, and the bill, introduced by Senator Joyce Foster, aims to restore the coverage, which is estimated at $186,500 annually.

Seeing the circumcision of healthy, non-consenting infants as a violation of basic human rights, and a waste of taxpayer dollars, intactivists had been watching the introduction of this bill closely. Colorado intactivists were alerted to contact  members of the Committee to tell them why this bill was a bad idea. They got responses from three senators just a few hours just before the hearing, saying why they were in support of the bill, giving Colorado intactivists little time to prepare for the hearing in advance.

Even given the short amount of time given to prepare, however, Colorado intactivists attended the hearing and gave those in support of the bill a run for their money.

Joyce Foster defended her bill from the platforms of "disease prevention," "fairness," "social justice" and "parental choice." She and a number of other speakers read off a litany of "medical benefits," above all, stressing the HIV "research" in Africa, and likening circumcision to a vaccine.

Intactivists fired back, calling out all the misinformation being presented, effectively destroying the opposing side's arguments of the "medical necessity" of the circumcision of infants.

Mark Filbert challenged the assertion that public funding for circumcisions was a matter of "social justice."

“Nobody has said anything about the choice of the person on whom this is done,” he said. “I very much resent that this decision was made for me. … I don’t think state money should be used to potentially violate the individual human rights of men.”

Intactivists had conclusively made their case, putting Senator Joyce Foster in her place.

Even so, the bill passed 6-3.

Senators Ellen Roberts, Jean White, and Kevin Lundberg voted against restoring the funding, while Senators Jeanne Nicholson, Betty Boyd, Linda Newell, Shawn Mitchell, Irene Aguilar; and Joyce Foster voted for the bill.

The arguments on our side were clearly argued, which is why many intactivists are bewildered as to why the bill managed to pass. Given the responses Colorado Intactivists got from the senators, we sense the they may have been bought out, the votes were already cast in advance, and this was all just political theatre.

Automated and Scripted
In response to their e-mails and letters, Colorado intactivists got back form letters from their senators. They were automated and scripted, and the senators didn't even attempt to answer questions posed to them; they were just form responses touting the "benefits" of circumcision, and touting the pro-circumcision party line.


From: Senator Irene Aguliar

Colorado intactivists got the following form letter from Senator Irene Aguilar:

Thank you for your thoughtful letter.

I want to take a moment to explain to you why I support SB 90.

First, I see this as a social justice issue.  I think the decision a parent or parent(s) make about circumcision is very personal.  I do not want cost to be part of that decision for families on Medicaid.  You may not know this, but 75 to 80% of American men are circumcised.  Most families choose to have the newborn son circumcised if their father is circumcised. I would like families on Medicaid to have this choice.

Secondly, I think there is circumstantial evidence that there may be a medical benefit to circumcision in high risk populations.  The World Health Organization has strongly endorsed circumcision in Africa as it has decreased the incidence of HIV, AIDS, and STDs.  Circumcision is also linked to lower rates of HPV and cervical cancer in female partners.  While this data is not corroborated in the United States as a whole, there is evidence that HIV/AIDS and STDs are more prevalent in low income populations.

The overall costs to the state are under $200,000.  I would never endorse or suggest mandatory circumcision but do want all families in Colorado to make this very personal choice without regard to cost.

Thanks again for writing and for your engagement in the legislative process.

Sincerely,

Irene Aguilar, MD
State Senator, District 32
www.aguilarfor32.com


In her first paragraph, Senator Aguilar seems to come to the conclusion that, since 75% to 80% of US men are all circumcised, and that since "most families choose to have the newborn son circumcised if their father is circumcised," that it automatically means that that many babies are getting circumcised She seems to be unaware that, according to the latest CDC report, the rate of infant circumcision has dropped down to 56%. She also seems to be unaware of what Medicaid is supposed to be used for; absolute medical necessities. It brings up the question that I always ask on this blog:

Without medical or clinical necessity, how is it doctors can even be performing surgery on a healthy child, let alone give parents any kind of a "choice?"

So some parents view circumcision as a "choice" they're entitled to. Why should the taxpayer have to pay for elective surgery when there is no pressing medical need?

The second paragraph was to be expected, and it didn't surprise intactivists at all. Touting baseless claims, there was no attempt to answer questions posed to Aguilar by intactivists at all, which suggests that Aguilar isn't really interested in any "facts," as she is in justifying her predetermined decision to support this bill.

Yes, some (horrendously flawed) "evidence" indicates that there MIGHT be "medical benefits" (which?) in high-risks populations (of which newborns are?). The WHO has strongly endorsed circumcision in AFRICA, for men who engage in high-risk activities like multiple partnerships and unprotected sex, however, the WHO says nothing about infants elsewhere.

Regarding HPV, Aguilar is engaging in selection and preference; while some "studies" link circumcision to lower rates of HPV, others say that there is little to no difference, while still others link it to HIGHER transmission rates. Aguilar is touting HPV as a "potential medical benefit" of circumcision, based on inconclusive evidence.

But furthermore, she seems to imply that low income populations are dirty and disease-prone, and would somehow be too stupid to comprehend the use of condoms, which would be cheaper, and more effectively prevent any STD that she names.

She doesn't seem to care that the foreskin is a healthy, normal, functioning part of the body, or that there might be cheaper, more effective, less invasive ways to prevent disease. She doesn't seem to care that there are inherent risks to the procedure, which include infection, partial or full ablation, and even death. She doesn't seem to be aware that there has been a rise in circumcision botches and calls for their repair. She doesn't seem to care that circumcision is a human rights issue.

Senator Irene Aguilar on Facebook
For a while, Senator Irene Aguilar was gracious enough to let intactivists comment regarding Senate Bill 90 on her Facebook page. She posted the following, more or less sticking to her lines:

Dear Commentators on SB-90,

I respect the work that you, and people who share your passion, are doing to educate parents about the benefits of leaving a male infant uncircumcised. I also respect the right of those whose religion dictates this procedure to pursue it. And I respect the doctors' opinions on the potential medical benefits of the procedure. Most importantly, I defer to parents ...to make the decision that is most in line with their own personal values. I do not want their decisions to be based on poverty.


For me, Senate Bill 90 is not about whether infant males should or should not be circumcised. That is a personal decision. SB 90 is about giving parents who live in poverty the same choices that others have. And it was about the country-wide effort to undermine Medicaid by trying to cut benefits in any way possible. That is why it is such a social justice issue to me.


I would encourage you to continue your advocacy and education efforts with parents. I did learn a lot from the testimony I heard.


I hope you can respect my position, as I respect yours.


To quote MLK: Cowardice asks the question 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the question 'Is it politic?' But conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?' And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but because conscience tells one it is right.


Clearly our opinions on what is right differ. I recognize that my opinion may not be safe or politic or popular with some of you. However, my conscience tells me it is right and I will not be bullied or harassed into going against my conscience.


Thank you for sharing your opinions. 


Sincerely,

Senator Irene Aguilar


It seems strange that she brings up religious obligation to circumcision, when what is being discussed is a bill to restore Medicaid coverage to the secular, non-religious practice of circumcision at hospitals.

And once again, she seems to forget, or possibly be completely oblivious to the fact that Medicaid is supposed to pay for medically necessary procedures. Instead, her bigger concern is that poor people won't be able to keep up with the Joneses because they can't afford an elective, non-medical procedure all the rich parents are putting their kids through. Instead of based on social status, shouldn't parents be making their medical decisions based on MEDICAL NECESSITY??? Senator Aguilar has a very strange definition of the words "social justice."

She claims to have "learned a lot" from peoples' testimony on the 2nd, but apparently not...

I can't see why, but she feels the need to quote Martin Luther King Jr:

Cowardice asks the question 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the question 'Is it politic?' But conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?' And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but because conscience tells one it is right.

And Medicaid (not to mention medical ethics) asks the question "is it medically necessary?"

The question never was about whether or not it was "right," or what her conscience thinks.

The question is, is circumcision an absolute medical necessity in healthy children, and should taxpayers have to pay for it?

It appears Senator Aguilar has taken it upon herself to start silencing the people questioning her, and deleting questions and statements that defy her position from her Facebook page.

Judging from her attitude, and judging from how automated and scripted her responses are, it sounds like Senator Aguilar is not so interested in any facts, but is dead set on supporting this bill for unseen motives.

From Senator Joyce Foster:

Joyce Foster also replied to intactivists with a form letter just before the hearing, in more or less the same fashion as Senator Aguilar:

Thank you for sharing your concerns with me regarding Senate Bill 90. After reviewing the overwhelming scientific data validating that male circumcision reduces instances of HIV, AIDS, HPV, urinary tract infections, penile cancer and other infectious diseases I remain steadfast with my support to restore Medicaid funding for this important preventative health care procedure.

A 2009 UCLA AIDS Institute study reports that “Hospitals in states where Medicaid does not pay for routine male circumcision are only about half as likely to perform the procedure, and this disparity could lead to an increased risk of HIV infection among lower-income children later in life”.  Senate Bill 90 helps level the playing field for these children, providing them the same protection from contracting HIV as children with non-Medicaid health plans. Organizations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are working toward the same goal abroad, giving to the Global Fund for AIDS prevention. The Foundation cites studies that say male circumcision reduces HIV transmission by up to 70% in non-industrialized countries.

In addition, the Journal of the International Aids Society recently reported that “The scientific evidence accumulated over more than 20 years shows that among the strategies advocated during this period for HIV prevention, male circumcision is one of, if not, the most efficacious, epidemiological as well as cost-wise”.  Until last year Colorado covered male circumcision under Medicaid, and while the elimination reduced state spending by about $186,000 yearly, we must recognize that preventative care is key to sustainable savings.

Thank you again for writing and expressing your opinion with my office. I value your input.

Sincerely,

Colorado State Senator Joyce Foster
District 35
State Capitol Rm. 329
Capitol Phone: 303-866-4875
Email: joyce.foster.senate@state.co.us


Senator Foster's response was completely predictable, touting every last "medical benefit" she could, spoken like the true advocate of circumcision that she is. Much of her information is also inaccurate, and she would be refuted at the hearing on the 2nd by intactivists who knew what they were talking about. But let's examine some of what she touts here:

She claims there to be "overwhelming scientific data validating that male circumcision reduces" such and such disease. But how is this even possible?

The fact of the matter is, the trend of opinion on routine male circumcision is so overwhelmingly negative in industrialized nations, that it would be quite surprising were male circumcision to be recommended in the United States. No respected U.S. based medical board recommends circumcision for U.S. infants, not even in the name of HIV prevention. They must all point to the risks, and they must all state that there is no convincing evidence that the benefits outweigh these risks. To do otherwise would be to take an unfounded position against the best medical authorities of the West, within and outside of the United States.

There is not enough evidence for major medical organizations to come to any reasonable conclusion regarding the circumcision of infants, and yet, somehow, Senator Foster has found "overwhelming scientific data?" How can that be?

She makes the obligatory reference to HIV/AIDS, and I've already explained this, as well as HPV above, in my analysis of Senator Aguilar's response.

But these aren't enough; Foster also has to mention UTI, penile cancer and other "infectious diseases."

It must be noted that Senator Foster is attempting to resuscitate alibis for circumcision that have been since disproven. The notion that circumcision is a useful prophylactic against UTI, for example, has been laid to rest by the 1999 AAP Task Force on Circumcision.

According to the American Cancer Society:

"In the past, circumcision has been suggested as a way to prevent penile cancer. This was based on studies that reported much lower penile cancer rates among circumcised men than among uncircumcised men. But most researchers now believe those studies were flawed because they failed to consider other risk factors, such as smoking, personal hygiene, and the number of sexual partners.

Most public health researchers believe that the risk of penile cancer is low among uncircumcised men without known risk factors living in the United States. Most experts agree that circumcision should not be recommended solely as a way to prevent penile cancer."


She mentions a study which concludes that “Hospitals in states where Medicaid does not pay for routine male circumcision are only about half as likely to perform the procedure, and this disparity could lead to an increased risk of HIV infection among lower-income children later in life.”

While it may be true that circumcision is less performed where Medicaid does not pay for circumcision, the "increased risk of HIV among lower income children later in life" is pure speculation.

Like Aguilar, she talks from the platform of "social justice" saying that "Senate Bill 90 helps level the playing field for these children, providing them the same protection from contracting HIV as children with non-Medicaid health plans." The dubious assumption here being that children are at risk for HIV transmission, and that, when they're adults, they'd be promiscuous sex fiends that would be too stupid to learn to wear condoms. Again, even if the "science" were correct, which it is horrendously flawed, circumcision would be out-performed by condoms. Senator Foster seems more interested in legitimizing circumcision than she is about actual disease prevention, and I believe there is a very good reason, that I'll get into shortly.

I just think she's an idiot citing the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Bill Gates is very crazy about circumcision, but who is he? What medical credentials does he have? How is it his word trumps the word of the best medical authorities in the west?

I'd like to bring attention to the "up to 70%" figure we see here; not too long ago, the figure was "60%." So where is Bill Gates etc. getting this number from? Why doesn't it manifest itself anywhere else in the world?

Scot Anderson let Senator Foster have it in the hearing with the facts:
Circumcision has been practiced in America for decades now. 80% of US men have been circumcised from birth. And yet we manage to have the highest HIV transmission rate in the industrialized world. We have a higher HIV transmission rate than various countries in Europe where circumcision is rare.

He also challenged the bill's price tag of $186,000 yearly, stating that, based on average costs and the number of procedures reported in hospitals across the state, the likely cost to taxpayers was closer to $4 million annually.

From Brandon Shaffer:

Colorado intactivists got a response back from Brandon Shaffer which was faithful to the pro-circumcision script: 

Thank you for writing.  I rely on feedback from fellow Coloradans to be an effective legislator.  Senate Bill 090, known as the Medicaid circumcision bill, would provide vital preventative health care for boys.

I understand that the issue of male circumcision is controversial because it is at the intersection of medical and cultural debate, and I respect the varying factors that must be weighed.  However, reliable studies prove that male circumcision reduces instances of infectious disease, some congenital obstructive urinary tract anomalies, neurogenic bladder, spina bifida, and urinary tract infections.

A UCLA AIDS Institute study reports that if states opt to not cover male circumcision the rate of HIV in boys who were born into low-income families will likely go up.  Senate Bill 090 helps give those boys the same preventative healthcare as boys with non-Medicaid health plans.  Organizations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are working toward the same goal abroad, giving to the Global Fund for AIDS prevention.  The Foundation cites studies that say male circumcision reduces HIV transmission by up to 70% in non-industrialized countries.  

Up until July 1, 2011, Colorado covered male circumcision under Medicaid, and while the programmatic cut will save the state about $186,000 yearly, we must recognize that preventative care is key to sustainable savings.

Thank you again for writing and expressing your opinion.  Even though we may disagree, I value your input.

Sincerely,

Senator Brandon Shaffer

Brandon C. Shaffer
Senate President
Colorado State Capitol
200 East Colfax, Room 257
Denver, CO  80203
Phone:  (303) 866-3342
Fax:  (303) 866-4543


"Vital preventative care." Are newborns engaging in risky sexual activity that will put them at risk for HIV? Aren't condoms already more effective at preventing HIV transmission, and the transmission of other STDs?

He also seems to be missing the point, either intentionally, or because he's really that ignorant. "The issue of male circumcision is controversial because it is at the intersection of medical and cultural debate," he says. He fails to address the question of whether or not doctors can be performing surgery on minors without medical or clinical indication. He, like Aguilar, also seem to be oblivious to, or deliberately ignoring the fact that Medicaid is supposed to be paying for medically necessary procedure, not cultural traditions.

The issue of male circumcision is "controversial" because, unless there is a medical or clinical indication, the circumcision of healthy, non-consenting individuals is a deliberate wound; it is the destruction of normal, healthy tissue, the permanent disfigurement of normal, healthy organs, and by very definition, infant genital mutilation, and a violation of the most basic of human rights.

Shaffer mentions a few new diseases circumcision is supposed to prevent in his letter: "congenital obstructive urinary tract anomalies, neurogenic bladder, spina bifida."  It is simply baffling how circumcision advocates scrape the bottom of the barrel and always manage to find SOMETHING. What "obstructive urinary tract anomalies?" How often do these occur, and couldn't these be treated as they came? What is the rate of "neurogenic bladder and spina bifida?" What is the reason there is not an epidemic of these conditions in other countries where circumcision is rare? Absolutely astounding!

Almost word for word he mentions the UCLA paper that Foster mentions, as well as the "savings" this bill is supposed to offer. These are addressed in my analysis of Foster's letter.


Conflicts of Interest
Foster and her supporters don't have a case. They were clearly shown up at the hearing on the 2nd. They were clearly and conclusively refuted, and there is simply no way that the bill could have passed at that hearing. I speculate that there are other factors at play here. Ostensibly Foster etc. have an interest in public health, but I suspect that their interests are espoused elsewhere.


Financial Interest
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" ~Upton Sinclair
It would appear as if Irene Aguilar had a true interest in public health. But if so, why does she seem willfully ignorant to the facts? Instead of addressing questions Coloradans sent her, why does she send out a form letter touting the party line? Why does she keep deleting legitimate questions posed to her by concerned Coloradans on her Facebook page?

Irene Aguilar is a doctor, one that possibly profits from the circumcision of minors herself. Could it be she is not looking out for public health interests, or the interests of "low-income families," but only her own? Could it be she's bought and paid for by other physicians who profit from this procedure? I could only speculate, but I wouldn't put it past her.


Safeguarding Religious Tradition
I suspected that there might be a religious influence in all of this circumcision for "health benefits" talk; there usually is.

In this day and age, "religious freedom" and "parental choice" have lost their validity as alibis for male circumcision. The litmus test for this is female genital cutting; "religious freedom" and "parental choice" fail as arguments, which is why the conversation inevitably has to be directed towards the "research" and the "medical benefits" of circumcision. Advocates of infant circumcision as a religious right must therefore feign an interest in public health. Readers will remember that in order to strike down the circumcision ban proposal in San Francisco, circumcision advocates had to invoke an obscure law that protects veterinarians who profit from declawing cats.

Joyce Foster speaks from the platforms of "public health" and "social justice," but how much of this is an actual interest in public health and "equality," as opposed to an interest in protecting her own traditions?




It just so happens that Joyce Foster is married to a rabbi, Steven Foster. She is also quoted in the Colorado hearing as having had her own children circumcised "for religious and medical reasons." (Medical AND religious. Figure that!) According to her Wikipedia profile (Accessed 2/8/2012), she introduced a resolution in support of the nation of Israel.

So did Foster introduce Senate Bill 90 in true interest in public health? Or is she using her position of power and authority to help safe-guard a medical procedure that also just happens to be a religious rite particular to Judaism?

Is her husband a mohel, and did she introduce this bill as a favor for him? This wouldn't be the first time she uses her position to introduce a bill for a family member. In 2010, she introduced a bill that would benefit her brother-in-law, who was involved in relationship with a client he was paid to treat.

Incidentally, the UCLA "study" was written by one Arleen Leibowitz,who lamented, at the time, that 17 states had dropped Medicaid coverage for routine infant circumcision.

Brandon Shaffer, who replied to Coloradan intactivists with a form letter similar to Foster and Aguilar also happens to be Jewish, according to his Wikipedia profile. (Accessed 2/8/2012)

So what's this bill really about? And who is it really for?

Is it truly about public health? Or is this about safeguarding a religious tradition that has become ever under scrutiny?

The Hearing
Witnesses at the hearing say that it was phenomenal. The senators and their supporters were obviously not expecting any kind of competition, and they got their asses handed to them. There was over an hour of amazing intactivist testimony. Foster was clearly self-conscious and defensive. "Let me clarify," she said. "I had my sons circumcised because it was a health issue and a religious issue." (So what was wrong with them?) Aguilar had to beg for the vote, it was like a personal favor. I can only imagine that they all felt dirty afterward.

It is truly saddening and discouraging that although the arguments were clearly on our side, the bill passed 6-3 anyway. But in a way, this is no surprise; intactivists could see it coming a mile away. We saw it in the introduction of the bill, the dubious premises on which it was based, the ready-made responses from Aguilar and Foster... it was clear that there was an agenda.

We find comfort in that we took a few people to school that day. The advocates of the bill were made to look like fools, there was actual debate that others could learn from, and we got three dissenting votes. This is only the first stage in getting this bill passed, and there is still time to stop it.


Where the bill stands now
SB-90 will move to the Appropriations Committee, which is where bills that involve costs to the state go to first, for evaluation as to whether or not funds are available. The Appropriations Committee will be unable to conduct this evaluation, however, until the Joint Budget Committee finishes deciding the total state budget for the year. (This may not be until the end of March.) The bill must then be introduced in the House Committee by a sponsor, before it can go to the full House for a vote. It can be voted down at any stage in this process.


Closing Remarks
Circumcision is not a medically necessary procedure in healthy newborns. Speculation on potential disease can be used to warrant no other amputative surgery. Catering to parental whim or religious belief is not a medical mandate. Any "benefit" of circumcision that can be named can already be easily and better achieved through non-surgical means, and without putting a child at needless risk for infection, partial or full ablation, or even death.

The current trend is for states to eliminate any spending that does not directly benefit the recipients of Medicaid. Outside Colorado, infant circumcision is recognized by 17 other states as having no immediate benefit to infants, with enough costs to warrant its elimination except in the case of medical need.

Parents can always obtain the surgery through Medicaid, in the rare instance where it becomes medically necessary; before then, and for solely cosmetic purposes, it is a waste of taxpayer money.

At a time of decreased funding for necessary medical care and procedures, why should the taxpayer have to pay for superfluous, risky surgery, whose benefits are already equally, or better achieved through non-surgical means?

What other non-medical cultural traditions should the taxpayer have to pay for? Ear piercings? Scarification? Tribal tattoos? Where does it stop?

The Bottom Line
The foreskin is not a birth defect. Neither is it a congenital deformity or genetic anomaly akin to a 6th finger or a cleft. Neither is it a medical condition like a ruptured appendix or diseased gall bladder. Neither is it a dead part of the body, like the umbilical cord, hair, or fingernails. The foreskin is normal, natural, healthy, FUNCTIONING tissue, with which all boys are born.

Unless there is a medical or clinical indication, the circumcision of healthy, non-consenting individuals is a deliberate wound; it is the destruction of normal, healthy tissue, the permanent disfigurement of normal, healthy organs, and by very definition, infant genital mutilation, and a violation of the most basic of human rights.

Without any medical or clinical indication, how can a doctor be performing surgery on healthy, non-consenting infants, let alone be giving parents any kind of a choice? Let alone be compensated for it?


In Defiance
The trend of opinion on routine male circumcision is so overwhelmingly negative in industrialized nations that it would be quite surprising were male circumcision to be recommended in the United States. No respected U.S. based medical board recommends circumcision for U.S. infants, not even in the name of HIV prevention. They must all point to the risks, and they must all state that there is no convincing evidence that the benefits outweigh these risks. To do otherwise would be to take an unfounded position against the best medical authorities of the West, within and outside of the United States.

Medical bodies that agree that there is not enough evidence to recommend infant circumcision include the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia, the Canadian Paediatric Society, the British Medical Association, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, and the Royal Dutch Medical Association.

The best medical authorities in the West have concluded that the benefits do NOT outweigh the risks. They must all say that there isn't enough evidence to recommend the circumcision of infants. So where are the Colorado senators getting their "overwhelming  scientific data" from? Do they dare defy the whole of Western medicine?

It needs to be made clear:
A vaccine functions by strengthening the immune system against pathogens that cause disease. When HIV, or any other disease, invades the body, it makes no difference to the immune system whether or not a man is circumcised. Saying that circumcision behaves ANYTHING like a vaccine is a deliberate LIE, it is an unscientific statement and a disservice in the fight against disease, and our leaders have got to stop repeating it.

Let it be clear:
The idea that circumcision prevents male heterosexual HIV transmission is a belief; a belief that cannot be scientifically demonstrated. A "decrease" in HIV transmission can be "observed" in three hopelessly flawed, heavily skewed "studies" that fail to correlate with real world empirical evidence. That this "decrease" was indeed caused by circumcision, however, is a far-fetched belief that "researchers" have yet to substantiate. "Researchers" are trying to frame their cherished beliefs and traditions in "research," and that's not science.

One of the most thorough demolitions of the "studies" the WHO has used to endorse adult circumcision as HIV prevention in Africa can be found here.

These three  papers thoroughly and conclusively destroy them. One must wonder what kind of boobs they have working at the WHO, that they managed to pass such highly flawed rubbish off as “science.”
Our leaders would do well to challenge and look at the "evidence" closer, instead of just accepting it at face value.

Does science trump basic human rights?
The science is irrefutably on OUR side, however we've got to stop buying into the idea that human rights can be bargained with "science" and "research."

Even IF we lent any credibility to the latest twaddle some people dare to call "science," circumcision would still fail. Even if we assumed the "research" to be problem free, the authors themselves cannot stress the use of condoms enough. Even if the latest "studies" were 100% infallible, we have got to ask, why is the solution always circumcision?

Is there any reason why "researchers" are not looking for non-destructive ways to prevent HIV transmission, and instead facilitating male circumcision which just happens to be a cherished ritual tradition?

Consider this:
There would never be enough "science" or "research" to endorse the promotion of female circumcision to prevent ANYTHING.

It wouldn't matter if female circumcision were made "painless," "bloodless," and it didn’t affect a girl’s sexuality. It wouldn't matter if female circumcision were performed in the clean environment of the hospital, by a trained professional, using pain killers and the most pristine, and most "advanced" utensils. Why do "researchers" grope for reasons to promote male infant circumcision?

Genital mutilation, whither it be wrapped in culture, religion or "research" is still genital mutilation.

We've got to stop giving credibility to the idea that deliberate child abuse and the violation of basic human rights can be justified with "science."


DISCLAIMER:
The opinions I express in this blog are my own, and do not necessarily reflect the view of all intactivists. These are my own individual expressions, and I do not claim to speak for any one intactivist affiliation. ~Joseph4GI

6 comments:

  1. Why the Bill passed:

    Ignorance? I don't think so.
    Tradition? Maybe.
    Money? Definitely.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Circumcision prevents Spina Bifida?

      Why the Bill passed:

      Ignorance? YES.

      Delete
  2. Follow the money. The OB/GYNs almost certainly gave these politicians campaign-contributions. President Theodore Roosevelt, over an hundred years ago advocated public funding for campaigns, so that the politicians will not be beholden to fat cats. At least 10%, probably 205, and maybe as much as 30% of the Budgets for the US-Government he signed was pure pork, paying back the fat cats. The fat cats get a return of scores to 1.

    In California, basically doctors with the help of jews and moslems who believe that their gods demand sexual genital mutilation, bought the legislature. I would not be surprised if the Californian doctors, buoyed by their success, try to get sexual genital mutilation covered under Medicaid. I can see the wheels turning in their heads:

    Greedy Ob/Gyn:
    Sexual genital mutilation takes 10-20 minutes.
    I get 100.00 U$D from each sexual Genital Mutilation.
    If Medicaid in California would cover sexual genital mutilation again, I could gross and extra 10,00.00 U$D at taxpayer-expense.
    All I have to do is donate 1,000.00 U$D to the campaigns of politicians along with with a few thousand of my colleagues this year, and next year, each of us will gross an extra 10,000.00 U$D at taxpayer expense.

    Make no mistake, doctors think like this. In medicine, we have the extreme of science-based medicine, like cancer-treatment (5-year survival rates improved drastically in the 20th century), and greed-based medicine like cosmetic surgery (not to be mistaken with reconstructive surgery, although they share many techniques). Sexual genital mutilation os pure cosmetic surgery. It is pure greed-based medicine. ¡It is totally nontherapeutic!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I don't understand at all how it is legal to user taxpayer funding to perform an elective surgery. I also don't understand why there is never a whisper about the risks of circumcision. It goes WRONG. Terribly wrong. Everyone acts like it's no big deal and completely without risk, wholly beneficial. This whole thing is outrageous.

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  4. Spina bifida has not a single thing to do with circumcision. People are born with spina bifida as a result of the back bone and spine not coming together as they ought, as infants. Circumcision comes after birth. Spina bifida comes before. To call circumcision a preventative measure for this would be like calling cutting your own finger off a vaccination against being born with a cleft palate. This condition has nothing to do with circumcision. There is not a single reputable study that is written that can even link the two. To claim such a thing is both inventive, and foolish.

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    1. Wow.

      Thanks for that insight, DN...

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