Letters

Ritual Circumcision
As a health-care provider and a parent I am a regular reader of Minnesota Parent. I applaud you for often including topics of a sensitive and controversial nature such as the two separate articles on circumcision which appeared in your February edition. Having read them I feel compelled to comment.
Ritual or routine circumcision continues today among Jews, Muslims, and North Americans. In "Circumcision Times Two," the writer states that the surgeon who performed the second operation informed her that twenty percent of his surgical cases were circumcision revisions. According to the findings by the National Organization for Circumcision Information and Resource Center, many circumcised males suffer from extensive scarring, skin tags and skin bridges, tearing and bleeding at the scar, curvature of the penis as well as sexual problems. In the book Say No to Circumcision by Doctors T. Rilter and B. Denniston, urologist Jane Snyder notes, "Most often a poor surgical result is not recognized until years after the event."
The writer also states that the operation usually "falls" to the OB on call. Why are obstetricians performing circumcisions? Children are not their patients. It behooves expectant parents to explore this subject, especially because very little is offered to them by most prenatal care providers and educators. It can take considerable courage by those who are circumcised or whose partners and/or son(s) are circumcised, or who have been involved in the circumcisions of other peoples sons, to approach this subject objectively. But of those who do, a majority decide against it in the future. Others feel more comfortable clinging to the medical and social excuses used to support circumcision, however irrational these may be.
Two years ago the Canadian Pediatric Society conducted a painstaking review of 671 articles on circumcision published in the medical literature since 1982, with the final conclusion that circumcision of newborns should not be routinely performed. Following this, the Canadian circumcision rate is expected to fall rapidly from twenty-five percent. Many health-care providers carefully avoid sounding opinionated, stating that it is a personal or parental decision. The parents, however, don't perform the operation--doctors do. A number of doctors across the country take a stand and refuse to perform it. They realize that it violates the first rule of medical care, Primum Non Nocere ("First, Do No Harm"). To take the normal, healthy, and perfectly formed penis of a newborn and attempt to redesign it surely represents the most extreme form of arrogance. Hopefully, the American Academy of Pediatrics will soon follow the Canadian Pediatric Society, but presently almost sixty percent of our American-born boys still leave the hospital stripped of their sensitive and protective prepuce. There should be no place for ancient blood rituals in 21st century medicine, no matter how highly medicalized.
Opposing circumcision is not anti-Semitic nor anti-anything, but is pro-human rights. Every child deserves the right to an intact body.

Parents requesting further information may contact:
NOCIRC of Minnesota P.O. Box 2144 Burnsville, MN 55337
National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers (NOCIRC) P.O. Box 2512 San Anselmo, CA 94979-2512 (415) 488-9883 http:/www.nocircorg.
Circumcision Information Center Ronald Goldman, Ph.D. P.O. Box 232 Boston, MA O2133 (617) 523-0088
Doctors Opposing Circumcision (D.O.C.) George Denniston, M.D. 2442 NW Market St. #42 Seattle, WA 98107 (206) 368-8358 http:/weber.u. washington.edu/-gcd/DOC/.
* Cherida McCall
R.N. Certified Nurse Midwife
St. Paul

Violence in Arkansas
I am writing in regard to the two boys and the violence that took place in the Arkansas public school system. Everyone is asking the same question: Why, why, why did these boys mercilessly gun down their teachers and classmates? I even heard on television that we must pump more money into the public school system, and how that will make it all better again. No one wants to get to the root of the problem. As long as you have parents divorcing one another and leaving the television on as a babysitter, when you kick God out of the public school system, and give children an ungodly curriculum, this kind of violence will continue to happen.
Not until families stay together, love their kids, spend quality time with them, and train them in principles of the Bible, will these problems in society go away. It's time we stop and smell the coffee. Put God and the Bible back into the public school system were He belongs!
Roger McCombs
Plymouth

Dangerous Seat Belt Law
The legislators have proposed a bill to distribute free Minnesota highway maps to Chambers of Commerce and Tourist Information offices in other states.
I truly hope that they have the conscience to include a warning with their invitation to inform possible travelers of the huge risk involved in crossing our state lines.
Minnesota is the only state in the country that has a "gag rule" on seat belt law. If you or someone you love is injured in Minnesota and it has anything to do with a faulty seat belt, there is no recourse in the court system. There is no way to even get to court to have justice prevail. It is automatically dismissed!
Insurance companies and automobile manufacturers are endangering Minnesota citizens and travelers. There are many used cars on car lots with known restraint-system problems. The legislature has allowed Minnesota to become the dumping grounds for substandard or poorly designed motor vehicle equipment. It's a cheap fix for the automobile manufacturers to lobby the legislature to delay clarification of the ambiguous wording of a 1964 law (see Senate File #877 for clarification of the law).
The Supreme Court Justices have stated in their briefs that they are looking to the legislature to clarify the wording of the law so that the gag rule can be lifted. Our legislature says they are too busy with other issues to bring this up this year. The gag rule has been in effect since 1995. I feel that Minnesota highways are like a spider's web to attract travelers, and if an accident occurs, the travelers' lives become a living hell, if they survive at all.
I suggest that our lawmakers do their job and lift the gag rule on the seat belt law. If you agree with me, call your legislator.
* Jeanne Engen-Duranske
Bemidji

Call for Submissions
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