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The Internet has made it easier for expectant parents to research everything about having a baby, from choosing a stroller to buying the right diapers. But it hasn’t been easy for parents to find reliable information on a question that invariably arises: whether or not to circumcise their son?
Now, a website called CircumcisionDebate.orgcan give parents, as well as anyone else interested in knowing more about the surgery, an overview from different viewpoints on the topic. Consumer-friendly and easy-to-use, this new online reference includes a parents’ guide and advice on how to talk to your doctor, as well as possible benefits, harms, and risks from circumcision.
“The average person doesn’t know where to begin to research circumcision information. CircumcisionDebate.org provides a great overview, in everyday language, so the public can understand what the debate is about,” explains Georganne Chapin, executive director of Intact America, the site’s sponsor and the nation’s largest organization advocating to keep baby boys intact (not circumcised).
Even though Intact America takes a side in the debate, it has created an entry-level website where anyone can feel comfortable exploring the subject. “Doctors have told us they wished they could refer parents to a website that acknowledges that circumcision is a difficult decision,” Ms. Chapin says. “It recognizes that by presenting different perspectives on the debate.”
What a visitor will find:
An overview of diverse viewpoints from people who are uncertain about, against, and in favor of circumcision;
A history of the practice, from prehistoric times to the present;
Discussion of possible benefits of circumcision, as well as harms and risks;
An overview of the foreskin’s function;
Links to sources for further information.
Intact America is in the process of obtaining Health on the Net Foundation Code of Conduct (HONcode) certification for CircumcisionDebate.org. Certification is awarded to health websites that are deemed to be authoritative and reliable.
Responding to the public’s need for information
Intact America decided to launch CircumcisionDebate.orgafter examining the analytics for its own website, intactamerica.org. “We found that more than 30,000 unique visitors a month were landing on our ‘Circumcision Decision’ page,” explains Ms. Chapin. “That page lists 10 reasons not to circumcise baby boys. However, Intact America realized that presenting one side was not necessarily enough for parents struggling with opposing viewpoints from doctors, family members, and friends.
“People google circumcision when they want to begin thinking about the issue, but the information they find is either overwhelming, incomplete, or one-sided,” Ms. Chapin says. “We recognized a need to provide basic information so visitors can gain a sense of the entire picture.”
She adds that the website is also useful for journalists and students who want to understand the subject, as well as doctors and nurses who would like to refer patients to an authoritative source on circumcision. In addition, it supports parents who leave their sons intact by including advice on how to talk to doctors, friends, and relatives about their decision. It’s also a great primer for men—whether intact or circumcised—who want to learn more about their bodies.
Ms. Chapin points out that the need for a website such as these shows that America is approaching a tipping point in how we think about the subject. “A decade ago, the only people talking about circumcision were intactivists. Now it’s become more mainstream, as evidenced by a stream of articles about it in the media,” she says. “But it’s still a difficult conversation for many people. We hope that by providing a safe and informative website, we can encourage more people to engage in the debate.”
About Intact America
Intact America is the largest national advocacy group working to end involuntary circumcision in America, and to ensure a healthy sexual future for all people. Intact America is based in Tarrytown, New York. For more information, visit Intact America at www.intactamerica.org, on Facebook, and on Twitter.