Concurrent Session: Marilyn Milos
Genital Autonomy: Protecting Personal Choice and Preventing a Primal Wound
The origins of circumcision as a puberty rite or religious ritual have been lost in antiquity, however, we know exactly when and how circumcision entered western medicine. During the mid-1800s, masturbation was blamed for causing disease and the notion of circumcising males to remove the most sensitive part of the penis would curb the urge to masturbate was born. Circumcision of girls (clitoridectomy) also was practiced during that era for the same reason. In fact, female genital mutilation was paid for by Blue Shield, Blue Cross until the late 1970s. Today, parents are saying "No!" to circumcision of their male babies because they understand the ramifications of genital cutting of infants and children. This talk will discuss the origins of circumcision in western medicine, the excuses we've used to perpetuate this multi-billion-dollar-a-year business, the risks, the harms, and the lifelong consequences of genital cutting, and the rights of the child to genital autonomy and self-determination.