Friday, August 31, 2012

Birth Awareness Carnival Day #5

Starting off the day with some birth photos from Jillian H:

Here are today's articles in anticipation of Birth Awareness Week:

Molly Bellner presents Life in Tandem: Birth Day! posted at Life in Tandem.

Talk Birth presents Can I really expect to have a great birth? (updated edition) posted at Talk Birth.

Leigh Anne Hancock presents So you pee on yourself when you run? posted at Confessions of a Misplaced Alaskan.

Want submit an article, photos or video? Email me or inbox me on Facebook!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Birth Awareness Carnival Day #4

We only have 4 days left before the National Improving Birth Rallies kick off across the nation! Click on the photo to learn more!
If a rally isn't the right thing for you, there are two other great projects happening for Birth Awareness Week!
Barbara's Empowered Birth Awareness: make it your own!

Carla's Trust Birth Initiative!

Here are today's carnival submissions:

Kourtney Owens presents Every Day Is Laundry Day: Birth Story posted at Every Day Is Laundry Day.

Funky Little EarthChild presents Funky Little EarthChild: It Hurt. I Screamed. I'm Still Legit. posted at Funky Little EarthChild.
Amanda Hammond presents My Story- How a Baby Planner Could Have Helped Me | Ready or Not A Baby Planning Service posted at Ready or Not A Baby Planning Service.

Do you want to participate? Submissions are ongoing! You can submit your post here or email your post/story/photos/video.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Birth Carnival Day #3

We are onto day #3 of our Birth Awareness Week Blog Carnival. Enjoy these articles and check out Summer's birth video!

Amy Pointer presents Why not start with a birth story? posted at a little bit crunchy.

Miranda Roller presents Pressing On: Lydia Jane's Birth Story posted at Pressing On.

Nora presents Time to give up control posted at Happy Within

Do you want to participate? Submissions are ongoing! You can submit your post here or email your post/story/photos/video.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Birth Carnival Day #2!

I had to start with some birth photo candy from Amber Robinson!

Hi there and welcome to our second day! We are doing a birth awareness blog carnival to prepare for Birth Awareness Week (September 3rd-10th). Here are today's blog posts. Enjoy!

Kristen Miller presents Evan’s Birth – a hypnobabies home waterbirth « My Vociferations posted at My Vociferations.

Leigh Anne Hancock presents My Three Birth Stories posted at Confessions of a Misplaced Alaskan. 

Jamie Wagner presents What I Hope My Children Understand About Birth posted at I Love Junk Mail....and Other Stuff.

Do you want to participate? Submissions are ongoing! You can submit your post here or email the link to me.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Birth Carnival Day #1

Welcome to day number one of the birth carnival! So many wonderful articles were submitted that I am dividing them up by day!

Here are today's posts:

Kristi Keen presents 7 Things That Surprised Me About Natural Childbirth posted at Keen Doula Care.

Summer Thorp-Lancaster presents Lush posted at Midwives, Doulas, Home Birth, OH MY!.

Violet presents My Traumatic Labor posted at Sleep, baby, sleep . . .

Do you want to participate? Submissions are ongoing! You can submit your post here or email the link to me.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Parents Guide (Death after Vaccination)

 I send this with a heavy heart as most of you or one of your close family members have been on the receiving end of serious adverse events after vaccination. Most of you are aware of the typical response from medical authorities and doctors - minimize, ignore, blame something or someone else and most important - hide the true rate of these events. This is nowhere more apparent than when death occurs after a routine vaccination.

For those of you who have survived this tragedy, please accept my personal heartfelt apology for the sensitive nature of the articles and the Parents' Guide. My co-author, Catherine J. Frompovich and I felt it was necessary to provide parents a means of trying to uncover the truth about the death of their children.

Vaccine-related deaths are considered such a rare event medical personnel/coroners receive no training to help them recognize telltale signs/symptoms, leaving survivors forever questioning the unexplained death of their child. This is not acceptable. 

Parents facing the tragic death of a previously healthy child should never be left with more questions than answers; nor should they be falsely accused of contributing to the death of their child. This educational guide should provide at least one way to solve such problems. The Parents’ Guide: What to do if your child dies after vaccination may be distributed worldwide at no charge as a public service to the survivors of death after vaccination. 

You can access copies of this Guide via either of the two links below (a pdf copy is also attached in case any of you would like to print it out and distribute it to friends and family):
Many advocates from around the world have volunteered their time to translate this guide into other languages. As translations become available, we will provide pdf copies via the SaneVax link above.

The entire SaneVax team would like to personally thank the co-author, Catherine J. Frompovich and all of the medical and scientific professionals who provided their expertise to help us prepare this much needed resource.

Warmest Regards to All,
Norma Erickson, President

Monday, August 20, 2012

Doctors Group to Announce New Policy on Circumcision


Doctors Group to Announce New Policy on Circumcision

Aug 20, 2012 | 4:17 PM ET | Rachael Rettner, MyHealthNewsDaily Staff Writer

An influential group of pediatricians is expected to release a new policy regarding infant circumcision next week. The new statement may be a shift towards a greater acknowledgement of circumcision's health benefits, experts said.

The new policy from the American Academy of Pediatricians will be announced on Monday, Aug. 27, according to the media relations manager for the organization.

Currently, the American Academy of Pediatrics' stance on circumcision is that, although some health benefits have been found, the evidence is not sufficient enough to recommend circumcision be done routinely.


Possible AAP Circumcision Task Force Members and Emails  - Errol Alden, M.D.  – AAP Executive Director/CEO  - Jay E. Berkelhamer, M.D.  [Jewish]  - Susan Blank, M.D., Chair of the Task Force [Jewish]

michael.brady@nationwidechildr  - Michael Brady, M.D. - Douglas S. Diekema, M.D.   [Calvinist background] – Andrew L. Freedman, M.D. [Jewish] – Renee Jenkins, M.D.

Judith.Palfrey@childrens.harva – Judith S. Palfrey, M.D. – Roger Suchyta, M.D. – David T. Tayloe, M.D. – Dan Walter, M.D. – Ed Zimmerman, MS [Jewish] – Alison Baker, MS  – Armand H. Matheny Antommaria, M.D., PhD – Mary Elizabeth Fallat, M.D. – Ian R. Holzman, M.D. – Steven R. Leuthner, M.D. – Lainie F. Ross, M.D. – Sally Webb, M.D. – Henry Schaeffer, M.D. – Myles B. Abbott, M.D. – Francis E. Ruston, M.D.  – Mary Brown, M.D. – Michael V. Severson, M.D. – Edward N. Bailey, M.D. – Marilyn J. Bull, M.D.  – O. Marion Burton, M.D. – AAP Past President  – Robert W. Block, M.D. – AAP President

.edu – Thomas McInerny, MD – AAP President- Elect

Danielle Laraque, MD - Kyle Yasuda, MD - Sara H. Goza, MD – Peter Kilmarx, M.D. (Centers for Disease Control) – Waldemar A. Carlo, M.D. – Lynne G. Maxwell, M.D. – Lesley Atwood, M.D. (Family Practice) – Steven E. Wegner, M.D. – Ellen Plummer Buerk, M.D. – Sabrina D. Craigo, M.D. (Obstetrician) – Philip Luke Baese, M.D. – Jessica Wilen Berg, J.D. – Aviva L. Katz, M.D.

Ellen Tsai, M.D. - Carole E. Allen, M.D. - Arlington, MA - Sandra Gibson Hassink, M.D. – Wilmington, DE - Kenneth E. Matthews, M.D. – College Station, TX

John Curran, M.D. – Tampa, FL Dr. Laraque is on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
She is also a professor of Pediatrics at the School of Medicine at New York University.

Birth Truth on Labor Day

© Carla Hartley 2012
"In 2005, I had a little meltdown over the cesarean numbers in our country. I had been doing birth work for 30 years, but for all of our shouting and handwringing and fist shaking, we were going backwards instead of forwards in terms of the super large number of surgical extraction of babies.

I wrestled with enormous guilt, frustration and even despair. Then I had an epiphany. Instead of yelling at hospitals and doctos, I would just tell the truth to as many owners of birth as I could.

And so I started by printing 60,000 of the cards I designed: "There are more than 40 countries where it is safer to be born than in the US." (To date, the count is now 49 countries). I invited friends to either come to NYC and hand out cards with me or to hold local truth telling events in their areas. I knew that many people wanted to participate but didn't have the money or time to join us in Times Square. But they could have picnics in the park, walk down to the beach, have a block party or neighborhood parade with the kids, or hold individual or neighborhood garage sales. They could also decorate sacks and make signs.

We printed pens to take to restaurants to give to servers. We printed Birth is Safe; Interference is Risky yard signs (my landlord made me take mine down so I put it in my car window!) We have not made it back to NYC on Labor Day since 2005, but many of us have been telling the truth in our neighborhoods every Labor Day weekend since.

Telling the truth doesn't take a lot of time or money or travel but it is incredibly effective in terms of helping women take their births back. I have received many cards and emails thanking me for a neighborhood BIRTH TRUTH ON LABOR DAY effort that changed their life.

This year, 2012, marks our 7th year. We don't have the cards this year. Instead, we have Trust Birth bands, pens and fortune cookies (instead of fortunes, they contain slogans such as Birth is Safe; Interference is Risky.) We are fired up again and will be telling the truth in as many neighborhoods as we can. We hope you will join us right where you are at!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Birth Awareness Week Blog Carnival Submissions NEEDED!

Bloggers big and small: join us in promoting awareness about birth in America by participating in the Birth Awareness Week Blog Carnival!

The submission period begins NOW and ends on August 26th at midnight. We will then start the carnival on Monday, August 27th so people have time to get excited about birthing topics and events before the actual birth awareness week. :)

Entering is very simple!
To enter, submit your material on the selected theme at this site: by 11:59 p.m. PST on August 26th, 2012.
Please note that posts are moderated. Submissions for marketing or anything that is abusive, inflammatory, offensive, illegal, etc will not be published.

What's the point of a carnival?
Carnivals provide organization about a theme or topic, so that readers can quickly find a collection of posts on a theme. This is important for birth week because readers will be able to learn about local and national evens, gather birth data and get excited about birth week as they read birth stories, watch slideshows and share photos.

Your blog post will be linked to everyone in the carnival, giving you exposure to a like minded audience. You get to meet new people and see a range of great posts on the selected topic. 

Remember... Grab this image and put it on your blog:

You do not have to be big, famous or have a business/organization to participate. If you have a working blog, you can submit material!

You are welcome to submit any form of media/art for this theme. Think about what you have to contribute...a birth video? An unusual, beautiful or educational birth photo? A birth story? Perhaps an article with advice, data or an argument for a certain type of birth? Anything birthy...send it over!

If you have an international, national or local event for birth week, you can post about that  as well!

National Events:

Monday, August 13, 2012

Improve Birth National Rally for Change

The Largest Women’s Rights Movement in Decades is Coming to Your City

A monumental uprising is on the horizon. Thousands of men, women and children will gather on September 3rd as part of a national movement. These rallies are being hosted in over 100 major cities, coast to coast, for Improving Birth’s “National Rally for Change on Labor Day.”

Thanks to social networking, Improving Birth has been able to organize a massive movement to bring awareness to the lack of evidence-based maternity care in America. With supporters like talk show host Ricki Lake and sponsors such as “International Cesarean Awareness Network” and the “American Association of Birth Centers,” this is sure to be a historical event.

Much of scientific evidence takes an average of 20 to 30 years to become standard practice in our maternity care system; this is an unacceptable time table, especially when talking about the wellbeing of mothers and babies. Until we get it right, we are needlessly subjecting too many mothers and babies to major abdominal surgery, the long term side effects that go along with that and the unnecessary risk of death for both.

“Despite the dire situation, this is not a protest,” says Dawn Thompson, founder of Improving Birth. “It is a public awareness campaign to bring attention to the outdated practices that have been proven time and again to not be what is best for mothers and babies.”

Ina May Gaskin, midwife and Right Livelihood Award winner, says, “We need medical practice standards at both the federal and the state level that would address c-sections performed without medical justification and assure more mother-friendly births and fewer medical interventions during labor.” This is just one of the six steps Gaskin believes to be essential in obtaining better maternal healthcare.

Improving Birth was founded with the vision of encouraging hospital administrators to review their birth-specific policies and procedures. We ask that they implement incentive programs for doctors and nurses to get up-to-date information and education about the most current care practices.

The U.S. outspends every country in the world on maternity care, and yet we rank #49 out of 49 countries for maternal mortality rates. In fact, Amnesty International reports that, “Women in the U.S. face a greater risk of maternal death than nearly all European countries, as well as Canada and several countries in Asia and the Middle East.”

We Can Do Better.

For more information about the National Rally for change, visit and like them on Facebook.

One Birth, Two Birth, Red Birth, Blue Birth

Leslie's midwife holds her baby after a home birth in September, 2010.

I have these words all bunched up (again), but I'm worried (again) that I won't have the grace to communicate them well, and that they'll be watered down into the general birth debate (again).

See, the other day I was remembering my first birth and thinking about the kind midwife who selflessly stopped by to help my daughter out. (Haha, pun.)

This midwife had only met me one time at a fundraising event. She didn't know me very well, nor did she have any obligation to me. She didn't know my choices during pregnancy. She didn't know my educational level. She didn't know my reasons for my birth choices. She didn't know my husband. She didn't know where I lived. She didn't know if I could afford to pay her.

But this midwife volunteered to visit my home in the middle of the night, after I had been laboring for a long time, stalling at each point. She offered her suggestions, not commands. She didn't muscle Dear Husband (DH) to the side, but included him, guiding him on how to help reposition the baby. (Baby was tilted, stalling labor). She sat by my side while I pushed for hours.

She sat there, whispering prayers...and not prayers of fear, but prayers of confidence in me, my strength, my body, and my baby. At some point, I remember asking her something like, "I guess eventually I'll need a c-section?" And she didn't jump on that as an opportunity to scare me or manipulate me. She mirrored it back to me and I saw in myself the resolution to finish this, and the gut feeling that my baby was safe.

She helped me onto the birthing stool after I birthed my baby. Guided the placenta out. She helped me settle down onto some blankets, got a pillow for my head, as I was exhausted from such a long labor. Then she kneeled down and kissed my forehead.

And this is what she said, "Thank you for allowing me to be at your birth."

Now, whenever I hear people argue that OBs are good, that there are good doctors, that you can have a good birth with a doctor, that it's wrong to demonize doctors...I agree. I know doctors who are good at what they do, and who are respectful and kind to their patients. I know mamas and babies who are here today because of the deft skill of an OB.

There are very GOOD doctors in the world. And very BAD ones. There are very GOOD midwives in the world. And very BAD ones. Yet no matter how good (whether in character or skill) you measure your doctor at a hospital...a doctor at a hospital is completely different from a midwife at home. They are inherently different concepts. So when a birth advocate is talking about physiologically normal birth, it is not to insinuate that doctors are bad or that all midwives are angels. It is because location and provider do play a part in altering our birth experiences.

But I won't hold my breath waiting for you to call an American doc when you aren't her patient, to tell her your baby is taking a long time to get past the pelvic brim. I won't wait for you to find one who will then stop by your house in the middle of the night without confirmation of insurance/payment and watch you birth, who will support you in the ways you need and who will then thank you for the honor.

 If you find one, let me know.

Megan's midwife brings her baby up onto her belly after birth.

Rebecca's midwife weighs her baby.

Maria Corazón's Birth Journey

With my two boys, I easily call their birth stories, well, stories.

When it comes to my first birth, I can't help but view it as a journey. I had a very long and detailed version posted on Facebook for some time. It was really disjointed. I wrote it less than a week after she was born. I took that version down because I've pieced together many things since her birth. But to add more would almost turn it into a book.

Taking the story down, however, has caused a consistent flow of questions from people wondering...what about your first birth? Sometimes I think I hear a little accusation: Hey! You've left your daughter out! Hahaha. :-)

So here is the abridged version. (And that's pretty long anyways! You've been warned lol!)

Pickles. I still remember the moment I knew. We decided to gamble our lives by eating at the university cafeteria. All I wanted was a plate filled with sliced pickles. We looked at each other and smiled, two people who knew a special secret.

My mom had already told me eleventy-million times to call her the moment I found out I was pregnant. She said to me, "Even if you find out in the middle of the night! CALL ME!" She couldn't wait for a grandchild. So to spill the beans, I had her open a box. Inside was a baby onesie that said, "Face it! It's time to call Grandma!" She stared at it blankly before it hit her.

Ah, then we had dinner with the in laws. We didn't intend to wait until the very end to say anything. Walking outside, almost like an afterthought, "Oh yeah, I'm pregnant." My dear mother in law jumped up and down and shouted (ok, screamed) with joy.

Unassisted pregnancy and birth was normal to me, my default. But towards the middle of the pregnancy (around 24 weeks) I decided on an ultrasound to rule out heart defects due to family history. A free-standing clinic had just opened in the area and they offered a free trial scan. I made friends with the tech and she provided about 5 minutes of scanning while I directed her to see what I needed.

Growing a baby surrounded such abundant love is dizzying. The days pass by gently and the symptoms of pregnancy seem worth it. I didn't experience morning sickness. But my body marched through the hormonal changes; you could almost chart by the feelings alone. I had severe migraines at one point and struggled to maintain a drug-free experience, chewing on raw ginger and writing as a distraction. Fortunately, they subsided in the 2nd trimester and life went on blissfully.

Zon's first harvest celebration lol.

On Halloween night, during the full moon, I felt a mantra. It repeated itself to me over and over again. My inner sense was so free to speak, that it spoke even when I didn't understand the language. My body was ready at 39 weeks. (By conception date). My baby? She wasn't so sure at that point. Almost against my own anti-exercising will, I walked a few miles that night, trick or treating with my siblings until the streets became empty and dark.

I told my mom I felt crampy. She smiled.

At 4AM, I woke up to what I realized was a contraction. My baby was arriving! Excited, I woke up DH and told him to fill the birth pool and to call my sister and parents. I figured in about 8 hours, I'd be holding my baby.

My contractions said so as well. They were intense, long and about 5 minutes apart, growing steadily closer together. I had some bloody show and saw my mucus plug. Everything was as expected.

But babies have a way of bringing real life with them. And Zon is the most stubborn of them all. She wasn't ready. I don't think she had even engaged at that point, actually. Although she had moved down early on in the pregnancy, it was a posterior, almost oblique position. (Her face was sunnyside up and she was angled over towards my left hip, so that her shoulder was pointing downwards). And now that my body was ready, she was attempting to retrace her steps to try again.

I found myself in the birth pool for a day. I only wanted that pool. It was my reprieve from the long waves crashing over me. I found myself on all fours, rocking forward, pulling my legs up and almost arching my back. DH asked me what I was doing. I didn't know. It felt right. I later learned that this is the Walcher technique used to help a baby engage. My body and my baby were dancing an old routine.

Labor continued through the night steadily, then died off suddenly as the sun winked through the blinds. Where was my baby? I could walk, talk and eat almost as if nothing had happened. I didn't know it at the time, but this is an established labor pattern. My baby had engaged into the pelvic brim, so now my uterus was resting. DH massaged my back and gently adjusted my hips. The SI joints were stinging, a reference to my gymnastic injuries and something I hadn't researched yet.

Towards the evening, labor started again. I ran for the birth pool, my haven. But rolling my large tummy in the pool came with consequences. A breath taking, sharp pain started during contractions, then stayed with me permanently. I was doubled over and concerned. I heard the words: Placental Abruption. Not wanting to ignore the potential symptoms, we drove over to the local hospital. The on call doctor observed for about 20 minutes. He even did an ultrasound on the baby, saying she was in a great position and maybe 8.5lbs. He asked to do a vaginal exam and I consented.

Patting my foot, he smiled and said I was barely at 4cm and with the history of stalling, my labor was probably going to be a longer one. "It's normal for first time moms." I still remember the warmth and confidence in his voice. Who gets a doctor like that these days, anyways? I signed AMA and rushed back home, eager to recommit to laboring. A mama online told me to try hot rice in socks for the pain, which turned out to be round ligament pain. It worked like a miracle. We were back in business.

I labored. And then I labored some more. How much longer, and when is long too long? DH called the midwife to ask what she thought. "Let me stop by."

She did stop by, late at night. She asked if she could check to see what was going on and I consented. Ah. Baby had tipped into the canal asynclitic (tilted head) which is fairly normal but hadn't straightened out. All those contractions were directed against my pubic symphosis. My body was wearing itself out like waves crashing on a rock. She tried to manually turn the baby and I immediately felt more effective contractions, and yet they alternated, light then strong, light then strong. I would later learn that my body was working to move the baby into position then working to dilate, doing double duty in one labor. Amazing!

I still had a long way to go, and some herbs helped me out a bit, along with the midwife guiding DH on how to help the baby's head past my pubic bone. Finally, it was time to push, but I had no desire. Her positioning wasn't triggering the reflex. I had to do directed pushing for a long time. I think over 5 hours. I pushed in the pool. I pushed sitting. I pushed on all fours. I got out and pushed on my knees until one leg gave out.

Then I leaned on the birth ball and kept pushing. It was hard to map out my birth canal and learn about all this birthing stuff when my pelvic area had basically gone numb (that gymnastics injury I had yet to research). I suppose that's what it feels like for a first time mom using an epidural, except she doesn't have the freedom to move all over her living room and bathroom.

Finally, Zon's head was on my perineum. I found that sitting down and slightly leaning back, with DH behind me, holding me up by my underarms, was the most effective way for me to push. By then I was pretty tired. I studied her head moving down, down, down, then slowly going up again as I stopped pushing. I started to get much more focused now that I could see her and feel her in the softer tissues. But her head looked so strange to me. Hmm.

She crowned...with a brow presentation! The wrinkles I saw were her eyebrows. I remember my mom's shocked gasp and giddy giggle. Imagine that, a brow presentation! My baby had managed to enter the brim and crown while asynclitic with an extended chin. A very difficult presentation...and we both had worked hard for it.

The midwife worried about shoulder dystocia. "Get on all fours." I was already rolling over. She plopped right out of me, though. The little squiggly slippery plop was an amazing sensation, one I will remember forever. And then she immediately pooped all over my foot. :) My baby was here. She was as tired as I was from our journey together, but as she was lying there and I was admiring her, DH kneeled down next to her and spoke to her. She immediately opened her eyes, turned her head and looked at him. That moment out of the entire birth is sealed in my memory forever. I still get teary eyed thinking about it.

I had walked a long journey with my baby. And thanks to the many people around me who deeply trusted me and my baby, it was a gentle journey. (Read more about the midwife who helped us here.)

I only have one photo from her birth. My dad walked into the room after he heard her cry out, a few minutes after she was born. He rushed in and took that above photo. I'm forever grateful.

Zon was born on 11-03-08 sometime in the early AM. She weighed 11lbs, 4oz, although I was tempted to say 11lbs, 3oz so it would match her birth date. She was earthside, finally. :)

One week old!

Thank you for reading about our journey.

If you liked this post...

Ian's story

Ciaran's story

Finnian's story



Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Jewish Intactivism Part IV

Jewish Opposition to Traditional Circumcision - Jews Write on Foreskin Rights 

"My grandmother also refused to follow the circumcision tradition and chose to leave her son—my father—intact. This is remarkable given that she made this choice as a Jewish woman in America in the 1920s when Jewish circumcision was the unquestioned norm. As a single parent, she devoted her life to caring for her son. She knew that circumcision would sever the bond between them, and cause him excruciating pain, physically and emotionally. She refused circumcision in New Jersey and left her son intact because she was a very strong-minded individual who followed her mothering instincts....

We must continue to educate about the harmfulness of circumcision for newborns so those who are resistant to change this old ritual will realize it’s cruel, unhealthy, and causes a severe blow to the psyche of our speechless baby boys. The bris ceremony can be replaced with a ceremony called brit shalom, the covenant of peace, which celebrates the complete intact child. As some rabbis begin to abolish brit milah, I am hopeful that even religious Jews will understand it’s time for change, and that they will not be less religious for choosing to part with Jewish circumcision."
"Hundreds of thousands of Jewish males around the world remain intact. Most Eastern European and South American Jews remain intact, and many Western European Jews have ceased circumcision, seeing it as a barbaric remnant of pre-civilized times. Both Reform Judaism andHumanistic Judaism welcome intact Jews.
Increasingly young Jewish parents are choosing not to circumcise their newborn sons. Many of these parents want a welcoming covenant ceremony that affirms their Jewish faith without damaging their son's body. This movement exists in the United StatesIsrael, and around the worldIntactivists are those who believe that child circumcision is a violation of human rights and civil liberties, and a growing number of Jews are adopting this position. Jewish leaders, Rabbis, and scholars are evolving tradition to create a covenant without circumcision."
Circumcision of boys amounts to bodily harm, German court rules (June 27)

As a liberal Jewish woman, I agree 100 per cent with the German court’s decision [to ban circumcision].
Maimonides knew, centuries ago, that circumcision impacted men’s sex drive, making sex and masturbation more difficult and less pleasurable, in addition to leaving penises weaker. According to him, circumcision’s job is to cause pain to boys’ members in order to accomplish the objectives stated above; it’s not about any covenantal accord referred to in scripture at all.
It’s also interesting to note that the first people to be circumcised in the Torah are teens and adults capable of making the decision on their own terms, something that makes sense given a comment in the Talmud that somebody ready for circumcision is akin to a groom.
On first glance, they’re not similar at all, since eight-day-old infants are vulnerable and deserve to be protected from anything unnecessary that can hurt them and grooms are older, capable of independent decision-making.
However, if we return to the Scripture and think about everything in a marriage context, perhaps the similarity is this: if someone ready for circumcision is akin to a groom, he has to be capable of rational decision-making and ready to live with the consequences of his actions.
Circumcision will always be a hotly debated topic but in the long run, it, like any genital surgery, deserves to be chosen by the people who have to live with its effect."
Amy Soule, Hamilton, The Spec

"Since the risks and damage greatly out ways any once thought to be real benefit, the only real reason to do this unnecessary procedure is religion. And it is wrong for the person who's foreskin is in question to not have any say in the matter. If an adult male is so dedicated to his faith that he would like to have his penis mutilated, he is free to do that. But the unnecessary mutilation of a baby's penis without his permission is simply wrong.
I know what a sensitivities subject this is to religious and non religious Jews alike. This is a core part of their Jewish identity. When I first came across these facts, I was encouraged to research the matter on my own so that I could prove all these claims wrongs. I was sure that all the new information I had just learned was part of sum anti-Semitic conspiracy. But the more I read, the more i learned it was all true and the more horrified I became by the practice.
- Ami Horowitz, My Views on Traditional Male Circumcision (Formerly Orthodox Jewish/Secular Blogger)

"I cannot support circumcision with any conviction, just because it has always been held in high regard. It remains a barbaric, bloody act, which fills the father with anxiety and subjects the mother to morbid stress. The idea of sacrifice, which once consecrated the procedure, has certainly vanished among us, as it should. It is a brutal act that does not deserve continuation. No matter how much religious sentiment may have clung to it in the past, today it is perpetuated only by custom and fear, to which surely we do not want to erect temples."
Rabbi Abraham Geiger, an influential Rabbi in the early Jewish Reform movement.

"As a Jewish grandfather, I want to assure young couples about to bring a child into the world, that there are other members of the Jewish "older" generation, including other Jewish physicians, and even some rabbis, who feel as I do. If your heart and instincts tell you to leave your son intact, listen!"
- Mark D. Reiss, M.D., American Circumcision and Brit Milah in 2003, Kol Nidre address at Shul of Marin,DoctorsOpposingCircumcision.
org. (Dr. Reiss also keeps a list of Rabbis and other Jewish leaders who perform welcoming ceremonies without circumcision.) 

"The changing attitude of Israelis toward the axiomatic character of circumcision is evident during meetings for the Kahal organization. Kahal offers support to parents who are undecided about whether to have their sons circumcised, and to those who decide against circumcision. Twelve years ago, when the organization was founded, meetings were held every three months and involved about 40 families. Presently they are held every two months, and there are about 20 parents at each meeting, most of whom are agonizing over circumcision.
One of the founders of Kahal is Ronit Tamir, 46, a software engineer from Tel Aviv who is the mother of three children: two daughters aged 16 and 10, and an uncircumcised son, aged 12. Tamir says that Kahal was originally founded as a support group for families with uncircumcised children. “But after a year we found that those who were most interested were the still-undecided parents, not the veteran parents. In fact, we learned that uncircumcised boys have no problems at all, certainly not social ones, so their parents are not in need of support.”
Her experience with parents over the years shows that after the stage of soul-searching before the first child, “they no longer remember what all the fuss was about. The subject is usually forgotten when the baby is about half a year old.” Tamir adds that, contrary to expectations, not all the parents involved are “Tel Avivians, bohemians, hippies or weirdos.” In fact, according to her information, most are not from Tel Aviv at all but from Rishon Letzion."
- Netta Ahituv, Even in Israel, more and more parents choose not to circumcise their sons, Haaretz (Israel), Jun.14, 2012.

"Halachah (Jewish law) evolves over time as new insights develop. In the talmudic era, for example, deaf people were classified with the mentally incompetent and weren’t even counted toward a minyan. We learned more, and Jewish practices changed accordingly...More and more parents — including Jewish couples — are deciding to leave their baby boys intact. That’s because the harmfulness of circumcision is now coming to light. "
- Lisa Braver Moss, Evolving Jewish, June 9, 2011.

"Many of the progressive Jewish reformers of the 19th century rejected the practice of circumcision as barbaric. Even the legendary Theodor Herzl, the father of Zionism and one of modern Jewry’s most iconic figures, refused to circumcise his son for this reason....
With all this in the balance, our minds were made up by a reluctance to make the decision on Isaac’s behalf. Now, I’m no woolly liberal; children are born to a particular set of parents in a particular cultural context, and there is no point in running away from that. But this was a potentially very painful operation. Wouldn’t it be best to leave it until he was old enough to decide for himself? Some people believe that any unnecessary operation imposed upon a child amounts to mutilation. A respect for Isaac’s right to choose, combined with our other hesitations, led to our decision not to have him circumcised."
- Jake Wallis Simons, How could I inflict the pain of circumcision on my son?, Telegraph (UK), 22 Jul 2012.

"As 21st century Jews, we are always working to adjust our lives and actions to the constantly expanding moral arc of human rights. A greater number of AmericanIsraeli, and worldwide Jews are beginning to question milah (the surgical circumcision) aspect of the bris. Is it wishful thinking to hope that Judaism in the modern age moves to a symbolic interpretation of circumcision, as it has already done for all other violent commandments from the Torah? Jewish law is constantly evolving to expand human rights and ethical treatment of others. Jewish law regularly reinterprets violent decrees in metaphorical and symbolic ways, so as to avoid harming others. That an individual has the right to all of their original body parts is a moral truism. Some Jews even feel that circumcision is a violation adequate enough to warrant legal restriction. Increasinglyforward thinking Jews are adopting peaceful covenant ceremonies that abolish the surgical circumcision in favor of a loving welcoming instead."
Jewish Intactivism in the USA, The Whole Network, 12/19/2011.
Jewish Intactivist Resources

Some American Rabbis Explain their Opposition to Circumcision.
Rabbi Binyamin Biber with Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon * 
Rabbi Steven Blane with Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon *
Rabbi Nathan Segal * A Progressive Rabbi urges us to move to peaceful covenants.
Rabbi Jeffrey Falick: Eliminating The Cruelest Cut * The Vice President of the Association of Humanistic Rabbis writes on Intactivism.
Rabbi Jeffrey Falick: A Resource Guide To The "Intactivist" (No Circumcision) Movement

Jewish Intactivist Media. * Jewish Intactivist Articles & Opinions.
Cut: Slicing Through the Myths of Circumcision * A Movie by Orthodox Intactivist, Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon
Questioning Circumcision: A Jewish Perspective by Ronald Goldman, Ph.D. *
Rabbis and other leaders who lead covenant without cutting ceremonies. *

Jewish Intactivist Groups.
Jews Against Circumcision * Jews For the Rights of the Child * Questioning Circumcision: A Jewish Perspective by Ron Goldman, PhD. *Gonnen * Kahal * Af-Mila: An Israeli Jewish Intactivist Journal *
The Israeli Association Against Genital Mutilation *

Judaism, the Foreskin and Human Rights Law.
Jewish Questioning of Traditional Circumcision * Part 1.
Jewish Questioning of Traditional Circumcision * Part 2. 
Jewish Questioning of Traditional Circumcision * Part 3.

The Moral Problems of Circumcision & the Search for Jewish Alternatives.
Jewish Rationales for Abolishing Circumcision * by Jews Against Circumcision.
Eli Ungar-Sargon & Rabbi Shmuley Boteach on the Ethical Problems of Circumcision * At the Manhattan Jewish Experience.
Eli Ungar-Sargon: Outlawing Circumcision: Good for the Jews? * Published in the Jewish Daily Forward.
Hebrew Scholar Vadim Cherny: How Judaic is circumcision? * It’s not at all, he finds.
Circumcision Questions (letter from an intact Jew)
. * Published in the Northern California Jewish Bulletin.
Miriam Pollack: Circumcision: Identity, Gender, and Power * Originally published in Tikkun magazine.
Miriam Pollack: Circumcision : A Jewish Feminist Perspective * Published in Jewish Women Speak Out.
The Measure of His Grief by Lisa Braver Moss
 * A new book exploring Jewish intactivism.
Lisa Braver Moss: The Jewish Roots of Anti-Circumcision Arguments * 
Jenny Goodman, MD: An Alternative Perspective * A Jewish doctor in the UK urges us to keep our sons intact.
A Progressive Case for Bris without Milah. * 
Moshe Rothenberg: Being Rational About Circumcision and Jewish Observance * 
Brit Milah: Inconsistent with Jewish Ethics? * Written by a Jewish parent.

Leaders in the Jewish Movement to Abolish Circumcision.
Intact America: Profile of Orthodox Intactivist Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon * 
Intact America: Profile of Jewish Intactivist Miriam Pollack * 
Intact America: Profile of Jewish Scholar and Intactivist Leonard Glick, MD, PhD. * A Jewish history of circumcision.
The Intactivist Movement Within Judaism. * Published on Saving Sons.
Jewish mom: Circumcision spiritually wounds * From a lecture by Miriam Pollack.
Today’s Jews Reject Circumcision and Choose Peaceful Welcoming Covenants * An Intactivist Midwife.
Regretting Circumcision: Women’s Perspectives
 * Published on Dr. Ron Goldman’s site.
Progressive, Moral Jews speak out in Favor of Banning Circumcision on Minors. * Intactivism and Human Rights.
The History of Circumcision: Leonard Glick , MD, PhD. explains how he came to write Marked In Your Flesh. * 
American Jews Speak Out in Favor of Banning Circumcision on Minors * 
International Jews Also Favor Outlawing Circumcision of Minors * 
Judaism, Human Rights and the History of Circumcision * 

Peaceful Covenant Texts for Jewish Parents.
Worldwide list of Rabbis who lead covenant without cutting ceremonies * 
Song for an Intact Jewish Boy’s Welcoming Ceremony * 
Brit B'lee Milah Ceremony * 
A Brit Shalom Ceremony * 
Norm Cohen: A Brit B’lee Milah Ceremony *

Jewish Parents' Experiences Keeping their Sons Intact.
Dear Elijah: A Conservative Jewish Father's Letter to His Intact Son * Published on Peaceful Parenting.
Moshe Rothenberg: Ending Circumcision in the Jewish Community? * Envisioning an Intactivist Judaism.
Laura Shanley: A Jewish Woman Denounces Circumcision
 * A Childbirth educator chooses intact.
Michael Kimmel: The Kindest Un-Cut: Feminism, Judaism, and My Son's Foreskin * Published in Tikkun. 
The Naming
 * Published on Very, Very Fine.
Stacey Greenberg: My Son: The Little Jew with a Foreskin * Published in Mothering Magazine.
Intact & Jewish * Published on the Natural Parents Network.

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