What is infant circumcision? Why is the practice common in U.S. hospitals and not in other countries? What does it remove and how does that affect the child? Does scientific data suggest that circumcision has benefits? What are the potential complications? How does it affect sexuality? Is it a medical procedure or a social surgery? If it’s unnecessary surgery, what about contemporary bioethics principles?
Through both a review of scientific literature and a discussion of the human cost of the procedure, this presentation explores these questions from the perspectives of the child, the adult survivor, the parent, and the practitioner.
Ryan is a parent, a biophysicist, an Assistant Professor of Physics and Oncology at Georgetown University, and also a volunteer who supports parents and families. Over the last 10 years he has been studying the medicalization of childbirth in U.S. hospitals.
– Ryan McAllister, PhD
Mātā yathā niyaṃ
mānasaṃ bhāvaye aparimāṇaṃ.
As a mother would risk her life
to protect her child, her only child,
even so should one cultivate a limitless heart
with regard to all beings.
Sutta Nipāta 1.149
Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
My friends, let’s grow up.
Let’s stop pretending we don’t know the deal here.
Or if we truly haven’t noticed, let’s wake up and notice.
Look: Everything that can be lost, will be lost.
It’s simple — how could we have missed it for so long?
Let’s grieve our losses fully, like ripe human beings,
But please, let’s not be so shocked by them.
Let’s not act so betrayed,
As though life had broken her secret promise to us.
Impermanence is life’s only promise to us,
And she keeps it with ruthless impeccability.
To a child she seems cruel, but she is only wild,
And her compassion exquisitely precise:
Brilliantly penetrating, luminous with truth,
She strips away the unreal to show us the real.
This is the true ride — let’s give ourselves to it!
Let’s stop making deals for a safe passage:
There isn’t one anyway, and the cost is too high.
We are not children anymore.
The true human adult gives everything for what cannot be lost.
Let’s dance the wild dance of no hope!
What does the notion of “grieving our losses fully, without being betrayed by them” mean to you?
Can you share a personal experience involving life’s exquisitely precise compassion?
How do we develop the strength to stop making deals for a safe passage?