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Groups Protest Male Circumcision

Fewer American parents are opting to circumcise their baby boys. The medical practice isn't as common in other Western countries. (Janelle/flickr)
Fewer American parents are opting to circumcise their baby boys. The medical practice isn't as common in other Western countries. (Janelle/flickr)
March 29, 2018

GREENSBORO, N.C. — It's a medical procedure performed on more than half of American males, but there is a growing feeling among some that circumcision serves no valid medical purpose and may actually jeopardize male sexuality.

This month the group Bloodstained Men & Their Friends is touring the Carolinas to raise awareness about what they say are dangers of the practice. Circumcision is the surgical removal of what's commonly referred to as the foreskin of the penis. But the founder of the group, who says his legal name is Brother K, said that is based on a misconception.

"There is no literal foreskin. It's just a term,” Brother K said. “The glans penis dries out and becomes an external structure, with a thin layer of callous over it called keratin. It has multiple destructive effects on human sexuality."

Glans penis is the medical term for the head of the male sexual organ. According to the World Health Organization, 80 percent of the world does not practice circumcision, including most countries in the western world.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says the benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks, and lists benefits of the procedure to include easier hygiene, decreased risk of penile cancer and decreased risks of STDs. Some choose to circumcise based on religious or cultural practices.

Protests are planned over the next week in Jacksonville, Greenville, Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Durham, Greensboro, Asheville and Charlotte. Non-therapeutic circumcision is no longer covered by Medicaid in North Carolina and 17 other states.

Brother K said it's important that parents ask questions before choosing the procedure for their sons.

"Parents really should educate themselves on this,” he said. “Be cynical on this issue, because American doctors have a billion-dollar industry and investment of their pride and ego in defending this surgery."

Lawmakers in Iceland are currently considering legislation that would ban the practice. According to the Mayo Clinic, the rate of male circumcision in the U.S. has declined from 83 percent in the 1960s to 77 percent in 2010.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC