The Nursing Home Debate

I’ve heard most of the reasons people use to justify circumcision. This one keeps popping up, and it’s used a lot by nurses and friends of nurses.

And every time I hear it, I cringe a little more.

It’s the nursing home argument.

It goes something like this:

“I [or a friend of mine, or a cousin’s roommate’s ex-boyfriend’s mom’s nephew’s neighbor’s dog-walker’s mailman’s sister] am a nurse in a nursing home, and there are SO MANY older men in the facility who aren’t circumcised, and cleaning them is terrible and nasty. So many of them have to get circumcised because they keep getting infections.”

Nursing home circumcision? Not a good argument. Here's why

OK. I get that nurses are trained to do things a certain way here in America, and I’m not doubting that some men, in the past, needed a circumcision while in a nursing home facility. But to suggest that it is an epidemic?

That’s breathtakingly short-sighted.

Here’s why.

Reason #1:

This just isn’t the case in countries other than the US.

In Europe, South America, Asia, and even other countries in North America, there are nursing home facilities. And yet there are no horror stories from them about men needing circumcisions like there are in the US.

Reason #2:

Even if this were the case, this reasoning can only exist for right here and right now. Unless you believe that there is no chance that American nursing homes could possibly improve over time.

Think about it.

circumcision rates are declining, falling rapidly in the US

Your son isn’t born yet. It’s 2016 (or whenever you’re reading this).

Currently, according to Linda Breytspraak at the Center on Aging Studies, University of Missouri-Kansas City:

“According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, slightly over 5 percent of the 65+ population occupy nursing homes, congregate care, assisted living, and board-and-care homes, and about 4.2 percent are in nursing homes at any given time.”

That’s not very many.

If you assume that he will be one of these few that have to enter a nursing facility, and given that the average age of admittance into a nursing care facility is approximately 80 years old, we can assume that this would happen around the year 2096.

That is a long time from now. Think about how different 1916 was from 1996. If you assume your son will ‘need’ a circumcision during his stay in a nursing home, you must assume that there will be no change in the quality of care provided by American nursing homes between today and 80 years from now.

That means you must assume:

  • Nurses won’t be taught anything different 80 years from now
  • There will be no new technology to cure possible infections more effectively
  • We will have gotten nowhere in terms of prolonging the quality or longevity of the human lifespan
  • Your son will end up in a nursing home in the first place

You’re saying that your experience in 2016 will still be the status quo almost a century from now.

Even if it were the case that there were scores of “uncircumcised” men in nursing homes that actually needed to be cut every year to provide a basic level of hygiene and care, you must accept all of these suppositions as true if subject your child to circumcision now as an infant and use this line of reasoning.

I, for one, have more hope for the future than that. I believe that:

  • There will be advancements in the quality of later-in-life care as the century progresses and more and more technology is invented (by our children, nonetheless).
  • There will will be advancements in the understanding of what causes infections and how we can prevent them before they occur.
  • The education that nursing students receive regarding geriatric care will be different with each decade that passes.
  • America will lose the stigma once and for all that a foreskin is somehow inherently problematic, germ-ridden, and useless, and instead understand it to be an important, functional part of the male reproductive system, like almost all other countries in the world already do.
  • In the rare event that 80 years from now, a man might require a circumcision, he can confidently say that he appreciated all the years he was thankful to have had it and understood how beneficial it was for him.

Intact baby son, circumcision unethical

Ultimately, I have hope that we are leaving, and that God is building, a better world for our children than the one we had growing up.

What kind of future do you hope for?

A world of peace, prosperity, and advancement?

Or a world that looks exactly the same as it does now?

Think about it. Before you sign the paper that authorizes someone to cut off your son’s foreskin. Live with the hope that, like the vast majority of the men alive today, your son will have no problems whatsoever with his penis left exactly the way it was designed to work.

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