Circumcision: A letter to Ann Landers

CIRCUMCISION: A letter to Ann Landers

February 25, 1993

Ms Ann Landers
Chicago Tribune
435 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL

Dear Ms Landers:

The recent advice in your nationally syndicated column to a young
married couple, who inquired about circumcision, was totally
incorrect:  The headline of your recent advice column read,
"Clear medical evidence favors circumcision for baby boys."  What
medical evidence?

We are the only western nation that routinely straps helpless
male infants to a plastic tray, and painfully cut the protective
foreskin (without anesthesia) from the glans and amputate it,
leaving a raw wound open to constant irritation from feces and
urine-soaked diapers.  Infection is an obvious problem in
addition to the needless accidents when too much foreskin is
removed or the tiny penis is destroyed.  We can only speculate
about the psychological damage.  As it has long been recognized
that the foreskin is a functional body part and a protective
cover throughout life, and that there are no valid medical
reasons for infant circumcision, its continued practice is
barbarous child abuse (not to mention needless medical expense).

In North America, this bit of ritual savagery is done ostensibly
as a hygenic measure, although soap and water would do just as
well.  The latest scare tactic being used by some members of the
medical profession is UTI (urinary tract infection) and AIDS.  In
fact, every excuse for this curious practice has been proved
false.  85% of men in the world have an intact/natural/uncut
(uncircumcised) penis that they were born with.  Are North
American foreskins so different from those in Mexico, Europe,
Asia, Central and South America, that they need to be amputated? 
Obviously not.

In this day and age when we are hearing so much about a WOMAN's
right to choose when it involves her body, isn't it about time
that a MAN be given the same respect (and legal protection) to
choose when it involves his body?  The child may belong to his
parents, but his foreskin definitely belongs to him!  No doubt if
you were living in Africa, or were a product of Moslem religious
indoctrination, you would also be in favor of female

Have you read any books on this subject, such as "Circumcision: 
An American Health Fallacy" by Edward Wallerstein, or
"Circumcision:  The Painful Dilemma" by Rosemary Romberg, or
"Circumcision:  What Every Parent Should Know" by Anne Briggs, or
"Circumcision:  What It Does" by Billy Ray Boyd, or "Say No To
Circumcision" by Thomas Ritter, M.D.?  Since I doubt that you
have, I have enclosed a few articles on circumcision; by Dr.
Lorraine Stern, M.D., by Dr. George Denniston, M.D., M.P.H., by
Dr. Benjamin Spock, M.D., and by Dr. Thomas J. Ritter, M.D.,
which I trust you will find interesting, informative, and

No, Ann Landers, world-wide medical evidence does NOT favor
circumcision for baby boys:  It only seems to be favored in areas
and countries that have a high percentage of the medical
establishment who are Jewish.

Therefore, in the future, would you please refrain from
dispensing incorrect advice on a subject that you obviously are
unqualified to speak on objectively.


John H. Mark
Director, Circumcision Information Resource Center of Washington
P.O. Box 75594
Seattle, Washington

Tel. (206) 523-4410

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