Foreword, by Paul M. Fleiss, MD,

to Circumcision Exposed, by Billy Ray Boyd

Babies are a miracle. They come complete and perfect with all their functional parts ready to develop into a total human being. It is our job as parents, teachers, and others to guide them in their growth and development to become the best they can be -- to become intelligent, compassionate, healthy individuals in mind, body, and spirit.

A baby is born into an imperfect world, yet he or she is pure and full of trust. A baby's wants and needs are simple. A baby needs nourishment -- not only physical, but emotional nourishment. S/he wants to be held and hugged and loved and kissed and touched, to hear music -- soothing and gentle sounds -- like those produced by a harp, cello, or human voice.

It seems absurd that today we choose to mutilate a significant percentage of our newborn infants. As a young medical student in the 1960s, I learned the technique of performing the surgical procedure of male circumcision. It was not difficult to learn this procedure, and I very rapidly became expert at removing the foreskin from a newborn. I was able to do circumcisions in a very short amount of time -- four or five minutes. I did this at the parents' request, and I was oblivious to the infant's cry.

Several years later into my pediatrics career, after having performed perhaps a hundred circumcisions, I became aware of the newborn's pain that I had somehow managed to put out of my consciousness. I now know that every baby that I circumcised cried and that I never responded to their pain. I then decided I was on their side; my job was to protect babies, not harm them. It was only then that I began my study of the foreskin, how it is unlike any tissue found elsewhere in the human body and accordingly, has special functions. The doctors and others performing this procedure on newborn babies do not know the pain they are causing nor do they appreciate the functions of that unique bit of tissue.

Billy Ray Boyd, in writing this book, will have a profound impact on a ritual more than 2,000 years old that has been based on superstition, tradition, and religious beliefs, with little basis in medicine. This book will change outmoded methods of thinking. Parents, doctors, and religious leaders will learn from this book and come away from it with regret that this procedure was done to them and done by them.

It is understandable that parents, doctors, and religious leaders have always wanted what is best for their children. It is only by changing this practice that we will stop hurting our babies in a manner that cannot be good for them. Circumcision not only destroys an important part of anatomy and, therefore, the male's physiology, but also psychologically and emotionally damages him.

Infants do feel pain. This has been proven without a doubt in many recent studies. To continue to perform this procedure on our babies with medical justification is a practice that should and will end. This book will make that end come sooner rather than later.

[Paul Fleiss, M. D., has been a practicing pediatrician in Hollywood for over thirty years. He has treated over 30,000 patients, including the children of some of Hollywood's most famous stars. Dr. Fleiss is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at USC School of Medicine, a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific, and a lecturer at UCLA School of Public Health. He is on the medical advisory board for La Leche League International and also on the advisory board for the National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers.]

Circumcision Exposed: Rethinking a Medical and Cultural Tradition, by Billy Ray Boyd. The Crossing Press, Freedom, California, 1998. ISBN 0-89594-939-3.

Return to main page.