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Is Male Circumcision A Violation Of Human Rights?

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While flipping through the WestJet TV lineup on a recent cross-country flight, I reluctantly settled for a popular daytime talk-show (my other options included Days of Our Lives and re-runs of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo), which saw a panel of 4 diversely opinionated women duking it out to see who could make their co-host seem like the biggest idiot. Sigh.

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More interesting, however, was the subject they were debating about: male circumcision.

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Two of the female hosts in particular were taking the stage with polarizing views. One host saw the medical procedure as a hygienic practice that lowered the risk of disease while the other saw it as an archaic and highly irrelevant surgery.

In the end, the victor was left undecided. I, however, was left with an ignited curiosity about a medical procedure that I had never really taken time to question.

I was impressed by the research the anti-circumcision host had prepared for her debate, and it got me thinking intently about the ethics behind the globally rooted practice.

How Did Circumcision Come To Be Globally Recognized?

Ancient Medieval era circumcision Italy. Source: Wikimedia

Ancient Medieval era circumcision Italy.
Source: Wikimedia

While the true origins of circumcision are largely obscured, the procedure undoubtedly has ancient roots, as documented in findings from several ethnic groups, including ancient Egypt, Greece, and Sub-equatorial Africa.

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It has been proposed that the procedure began for a number of reasons, including serving as a rite of passage marking a boy’s entrance into adulthood or as a form of sympathetic magic to ensure virility or fertility. It could also have been started as a means of reducing sexual pleasure, marking those of higher social status, aiding hygiene where regular bathing was impractical, or even humiliating enemies and slaves by symbolic castration.

By the 1890s, it became a popular technique to prevent, or cure, masturbatory insanity.

Sadly, female circumcision is still practiced in certain areas of the world today, although efforts are being made to put a stop to it.

Female circumcision is still practiced in certain areas of the world today, although efforts are being made to put a stop to it.

Clitoridectomies (removal of the clitoris) were also performed for the same reason, and were widely practiced in the US until 1925. This of course was until someone recognized the absurdity of such an invasive and irrelevant medical procedure.

Yet even still, male circumcision continued onwards unto further generations of men.

Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that globally one-third of males aged 15 years and over are circumcised, with almost 70% of those being Muslims.

To Cut Or Not To Cut

Circumcision is a massive industry, costing upwards to billions of dollars annually.

Surprisingly, even though circumcision is still performed by most surgeons today, many leading medical institutions show no favour towards the procedure.

Take the New England Journal of Medicine, for example:

Failure to provide adequate control of pain amounts to substandard and unethical medical practice.

The American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement on circumcision:

Existing scientific evidence demonstrates potential medical benefits of newborn male circumcision; however, this data is not sufficient to recommend routine neonatal circumcision.  (AAP 1999)

The British Medical Association:

[P]arental preference alone is not sufficient justification for performing a surgical procedure on a child. (BMA 2006)

Even the Canadian Paediatric Society has its reservations:

Circumcision of newborns should not be routinely performed.  (CPS 1996)

Perhaps the reason most medical institutions show no favor towards circumcision has something to do with one of medicine’s first code of ethics, “First, do no harm.”

Removing a normal, healthy body part and causing unnecessary pain is in fact doing harm.

 “But the pain only lasts for a minute…”

We know that a baby has nerve endings in their genitals at birth, therefore surgically cutting a newborn’s penis undoubtedly causes extreme pain for the baby. Even if it were only for a ‘minute’ (which it’s not), such an argument also implies it is okay to inflict unnecessary pain on an infant, even if only temporarily.

Furthermore, circumcision without anesthesia is inconsistent with ethical guidelines that prohibit performing surgical procedures on live beings without anesthesia.

Money, Autonomy, and Misguided Parental Decisions

Circumcision is a massive industry, costing upwards to billions of dollars annually.

Circumcision is a massive industry, costing upwards to billions of dollars annually.

In her article, “Circumcision Ethics and Economics,” author Darcia Narvaez states that her anti-circumcision stance comes down to money, autonomy, and parental intentions.

For one, Narvaez explains how much money we actually waste on the procedure.

Medicaid spends $198 million each year on routine infant circumcision in the 33 states that still pay for it, a procedure its own guidelines consider to be medically unnecessary. Private insurance programs are reimbursing an additional $677 million, raising prices for us all (Craig 2006.)  In addition to the cost of circumcision itself, correcting its complications are said to double the cost, bringing the total bill to $1.75 billion each year. Is this what we should be spending money on during a recession and at a time when healthcare costs are skyrocketing?

Complications indeed, not to mention the average 117 neonatal circumcision-related deaths (9.01/100,000) which occur annually in the United States.

Secondly, Narvaez points out that everyone has a right to bodily autonomy and self-determination, and that the only person qualified to make the medical decision is “the owner of the penis, as he is the one going to have to live with the results, not his parents.”

Another valid point brought up by Narvaez comes down to the fact that parents’ “aesthetic preferences are not valid reasons for circumcision.”

While all of her points speak truth in some regard, there are arguments for circumcision that should also be looked at.

Risk of Disease?

The most common arguments for circumcision comes down to hygiene and risk of disease. Increased risk of spreading and contracting HPV, cervical cancer, and HIV are the big ones most commonly mentioned.

However, when one actually takes the time to look at the studies which suggest this correlation, it’s extremely easy to see how weak that correlation is (fortunately).

A 2002 paper in the New England Journal of Medicine studied men in Europe, Asia, and Latin America, and found that circumcision was correlated with a decreased risk of penile HPV infection (this correlation is corroborated by a 2009 study in African men), but that there was not a significant correlation between circumcision and incidence of cervical cancer.

Does circumcision truly reduce the chances of HPV and HIV? Is there enough correlation to draw conclusions?

Does circumcision truly reduce the chances of contracting or spreading HPV and HIV? Is there enough correlation to draw conclusions?

When they restricted their dataset to women with only one sexual partner, there was an increased risk of cervical cancer in women whose partners were uncircumcised only if their partner was already considered at high risk for contracting HPV (as determined by age at first intercourse, number of sexual partners, and sex with prostitutes). So, in men who already engage in risky sexual behavior, circumcision does offer an advantage for protecting their partners from cervical cancer.

Yes, circumcision reduces the mucosal surface area, thereby potentially minimizing the interface for abrasion and transmission of viruses, but again, this is a weak reason for surgical intervention.

Women also have many crevices and folds in their genitals, yet we don’t automatically assume to surgically remove their labia for hygienic purposes.

It’s called showering.

Facing Reality

Routine infant circumcision is a 90-year aberration among hundreds of thousands of years of our time here as homo-sapiens.

Furthermore, manmade traditions have never been the basis for scientific principles, so why have we chosen to hold on to such an archaic way of thinking with regards to circumcision?

Thankfully, these traditions are on their way out soon, with only 30% of American boys circumcised in 2009. It seems that more and more parents are seeing through the silly traditions of our past while looking to create a more reasonable future for us all.

Perhaps one day we will look back at a list of all the strange things we once accepted as normal and laugh, with circumcision topping the list of these absurdities.

What are your thoughts on male circumcision? Share below!

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Study Finds Many Uninfected Adults Still Have Strong Pre-Existing Antibody Protection Against COVID

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CE Staff Writer 5 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A study published in March 2021 suggests that the majority of healthy adults in British Columbia, Canada, have immunity from COVID-19 despite the fact that some of them have never been infected with it.

  • Reflect On:

    Why has the power of naturally acquired immunity not been recognized and focused on more deeply? Why is the only focus on vaccination?

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A study published in March 2021 suggested that  the majority of healthy Adults in British Columbia have evidence of pre-existing or naturally acquired immunity to COVID-19.  They found this to be the case even in individuals who haven’t been infected, and could be explained by the fact that coronaviruses that already circle the globe, prior to COVID-19, may provide protection from the novel virus.  They explain,

There are 4 circulating coronaviruses predating COVID-19 that cause up to 30% of seasonal upper respiratory tract infections (8). The spike proteins of β-coronaviruses HKU1 and OC43 exhibit approximately 40% sequence similarity, whereas the α-coronaviruses NL63 and 229E exhibit approximately 30% structural similarity with SARS-CoV-2 (9). The common occurrence of circulating coronaviruses year after year and their structural similarity with SARS-CoV-2 raises the possibility that the former may stimulate cross-reactive responses toward SARS-CoV-2 and that this heterotopic immunity may impact clinical susceptibility to COVID-19 and/or modulate responses to the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine (10, 11)….In conclusion, this study reveals common preexisting, broadly reactive SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in uninfected adults. These findings warrant larger studies to understand how these antibodies affect the severity of COVID-19, as well as the quality and longevity of responses to SARS-CoV-2 vaccines.

We are living in a world where anything “natural” seems to be shunned by a large portion of the medical community, and defined as “pseudoscientific”, when in fact, research suggests the opposite.

Natural immunity is quite robust. Dr. Suneel Dhang, an internal medical physician in the United States explains,

I’m not aware of any vaccine out there which will ever give you more immunity than if you’re naturally recovered from the illness itself…If you’ve naturally recovered from it, my understanding as a doctor level scientist is that those antibodies will always be better than a vaccine, and if you know any differently, please let me know.

A number of studies have now been published demonstrating that infection from COVID will provide a person with long lasting antibodies. Several studies have demonstrated that individuals with prior infection not only have these antibodies, but that they also developed robust levels of B cells and T cells (necessary for fighting off the virus) and these cells may persist in the body for a very long time. How long? It could be decades, or even a lifetime.

Individuals with infection from SARS, for example, still have a robust level of antibodies nearly two decades later. Research has also found that even a mild COVID infection can provide very strong protection that could last a lifetime.

Last fall there were reports that antibodies wane quickly after infection with the virus that causes COVID-19, and mainstream media interpreted that to mean that immunity was not long-lived. But that’s a misrepresentation of the data. It’s normal for antibody levels to go down after acute infection, but they don’t go down to zero; they plateau. Here, we found antibody-producing cells in people 11 months after first symptoms. These cells will live and produce antibodies for the rest of people’s lives. That’s strong evidence for long-lasting immunity. –  Ali Ellebedy, PhD, associate professor of pathology & immunology, of medicine and micro-biology. (source)

This science and research completely opposes what we were hearing early on in the pandemic, that prior infection, and infection from other coronaviruses may only provide protection for a few months or even a couple of years. It turns out that it’s probably a lot longer.

When infected with SARS-CoV-2, most people clear this virus from their body by mounting a robust, long-lasting immune response that targets multiple components of the virus1. These people will be protected from re-infection with the same variant of SARS-CoV-2 and, due to the breadth of a natural immune response, will also likely have some degree of protection against emerging new variants of SARS-CoV-2. Indeed, most people who have naturally acquired immunity should not be at risk of developing severe disease. – Dr. Byram Bridle, Viral Immunologist, University of Guelph. (source)

How does this compare to vaccine induced immunity? We don’t know as there is not enough data to say yet.

Dr. Ozlem Tureci, co-founder and CMO of BioNTech, the company that developed a COVID vaccine with Pfizer told CNBC that people will likely need a third shot of its two-dose COVID-19 vaccine. She also believes people will need one every year. Judging by this belief, vaccine induced immunity will continually wane and those who choose to go the vaccine route may have to continue with inoculations.

The scientific consensus of the number of people infected around the world is well over what testing has claimed. Currently, we’re nearly at 200,000,000 cases, but that number is most likely well over a billion globally. This is why the survival rate for healthy people under the age of 60 is nearly one hundred percent.

These infection numbers are important because it represents a globe closing in on herd immunity. My question is, what effect does the vaccine have on those who have already had an infection? What does this do to natural protection one gets from infection?

Another important question to ask is, why has the topic of naturally acquired immunity been given absolutely zero attention within the mainstream? Why are they pushing the idea that we can’t go back to completely normal until every single person has had a vaccine if that doesn’t match what the science is saying?

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Pfizer & Moderna Fail To Respond To British Medical Journal About COVID Vaccine Safety Concerns

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Associate Editor of the British Medical Journal Dr. Peter Doshi explains that both Pfizer and Moderna did not respond to questions about why bio-distribution studies were not conducted prior to the rollout of their COVID vaccines.

  • Reflect On:

    Are these vaccines actually safe and effective? Why are so many people within the mainstream completely unaware of certain safety concerns and issues being raised with COVID vaccines?

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An article published in the British Medical Journal by Dr. Peter Doshi titled “Covid-19 Vaccines: In The Rush for Regulatory Approval, Do We Need More Data?” raises concerns regarding COVID-19 vaccine rollout, and one of them is the bio-distribution of the vaccine.  This refers to the examination and study of where the vaccine and its ingredients go once injected into the body. Having sped up the approval process of these vaccines, it has been claimed that no compromises in the process of examining their safety were made. But the fact that no study for tracking the distribution of the vaccine within the human body was conducted for any of the authorized vaccines, we cannot say this is true.

Dr. Doshi points out that such bio-distribution studies are a standard practice of drug safety testing but “are usually not required for vaccines.” This in itself is concerning. Research regarding the bio-distribution of aluminum containing vaccines, for example, have raised concerns about injected aluminum crossing the blood brain barrier and being distributed throughout the body where it can be detected years after injection. This is important, because vaccines are a different method of delivery than say, ingested aluminum, which the body does a great job of getting rid of through digestion.

Bio-distribution studies weren’t performed for COVID vaccines because data from past studies performed with related, and “mostly unapproved compounds that use the same platform technology” were used to bypass them.

Dr. Doshi points out that,

“Pfizer and Moderna did not respond to The BMJ’s questions regarding why no biodistribution studies were conducted on their novel mRNA products, and none of the companies, nor the FDA, would say whether new biodistribution studies will be required prior to licensure.”

In his article, Dr. Doshi also references a report that Pfizer provided to the Japanese government. In the report there is a table containing lipid nanoparticle bio-distribution data.

This table shows where their surrogate “vaccine” (i.e. represented in the laboratory test by little bubbles of surrogate fat containing an analytical detection marker) ended up in the body of immunized rats, used in the laboratory as surrogates for humans…I would like to highlight some observations. First…a lot of the surrogate vaccine dose remained at the injection site, as one would expect. Remarkably, however, most of the vaccine dose had gone elsewhere….50-75% of the vaccine dose failed to remain at the site of injection. The big question is, where did it go? Looking at the other tissues shows some of the paces it went and accumulated…The surrogate vaccine was circulating in the blood. There is also evidence that a substantial amount of the vaccine went to places like the spleen, liver, ovaries, adrenal glands, and bone marrow. The vaccine went to other places as well, such as testes, lungs, intestines, kidneys, thyroid glands, pituitary gland, uterus, etc. The surrogate vaccine tested in a laboratory setting was widely distributed throughout the laboratory animal’s bodies. – Dr. Byram W. Bridle, Viral Immunologist, University of Guelph.

The above quote comes from a detailed report Bridle recently released for COVID-19: “A Vaccine Guide For Parents.” One of his main concerns is that the spike protein that our cells manufacture after injection enter into the bloodstream, and that the spike protein itself isn’t harmless. He goes into a detailed explanation in the report cited above.

According to him,

This information is incredibly important because recent data have come to light that the spike protein is “biologically active.” This means that the spike protein is not just an antigen that is recognized the immune system as being foreign. It means that the spike protein, itself, can interact with receptors throughout the body, called ACE2 receptors, potentially causing undesirable effects such as damage to the heart and cardiovascular system, blood clots, bleeding, and neurological effects.

Again, the report is quite detailed and you can access it here if you’re interested. Bridle is not the only one raising these concerns. He, like many other professionals out there, have been subjected to “fact checking” via Facebook third party fact checkers. Here’s a response from PolitiFact regarding Bridle’s claims and the science he points to.

PolitiFact claims that there is no evidence that the spike protein is ‘a toxin.’ They cite opinions from the CDC and other researchers claiming that no evidence has yet emerged stating the spike protein is dangerous. But they are not actually addressing the cited science Bridle is pointing to, they are merely saying everything he is saying is wrong.

This type of baseless ‘fact checking’ has been a problem during the entire pandemic. A recent article published in the British Medical Journal by journalist Laurie Clarke has highlighted the fact that Facebook has already removed at least 16 million pieces of content from its platform and added warnings to approximately 167 million others. YouTube has removed nearly 1 million videos related to, according to them, “dangerous or misleading covid-19 medical information.”

The article explains why fact-checking scientists has been nothing short of censorship of both evidence and educated opinion. This has happened numerous times throughout the pandemic with multiple renowned scientists. I recently wrote about a couple of examples here, and here, if you’d like to dig deeper.

It’s telling when science, evidence and opinions of experts are censored and subjected to ridicule throughout a global event like this. One has to ask: what is the motivation? Does a clear headed society seek to censor?

Any narrative that questions what we are receiving from government, health authorities, and mainstream media have been completely unacknowledged.  Effectively dividing the public on important issues.

Once again, this begs the question, why? You would think it a time like this discussion and evidence would be shared openly and transparently, instead, we’ve seen the exact opposite.

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Houston Methodist Hospital Set To Terminate Unvaccinated Employees

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CE Staff Writer 1 minute read

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Houston Methodist Hospital is set to terminate employees who refuse COVID-19 vaccines. As of June 12th, a district Judge has shot down a lawsuit the employees have filed against the the hospital. The employees, led by Jennifer Bridges, are set to file an appeal and are prepared to take the case all the way to the supreme court.

This case will be important to track as this may set the tone for how private companies will approach the ‘mandating’ of vaccines that governments had suggested would not be policy. If people can be fired for refusing a vaccine, is it fair to say these vaccines are truly not mandatory?

 

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Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

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