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Intactivism News
September - December 2001

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East Cape News (Grahamstown)

Circumcision Regulated
- Age of Consent, 18

October 25, 2001

Sam Mkokeli

Bisho opposition parties today came out in support of the ANC and passed a much-needed Bill to regulate traditional circumcision.

The Act, introduced by acting Health MEC Max Mamase, lays down rules for the the maintenance of hygenic conditions when the custom is perfomed.

It calls for irresponsible Iingcibi and amakhankatha (traditional surgeons and nurses) to be fined R10,000 or imprisoned up to ten years for contravening the Act.

Mamase said the Act would ensure that initiates were only circumcised after with parents or gurdians had given' permission and initiates had to be 18 or older.

Health standing committee chairperson Mahlubandile Qwase of the ANC said only in "rare circumstances" could boys older than 16 years be circumsised.

UDM MPL Pofolo Kakudi said the national assembly was supposed to have played a role in the compilation of the Act in order to ensure national uniformity.

Because of cultural diversity, some people could be convicted of breaching the law because they were using their own "style".

The Act needed to be "equally and similarly applicable to all concerned".

He called for more emphasis on training Iingcibi and amakhankatha, and for the process to be community-driven.

Traditional authorities had to play a major role in accrediting potential initiates and traditional surgeons.

DA Leader Athol Trollip said the issue of "fly-by-night" traditional surgeons" who cashed in on circumcisions should be dealt with.

He said the Act was "long overdue", with the number of botched circumcisions increasing all the time.

The laws also seeks to ensure that boys are medically examined, and instruments must be sterilized.

ANC MPL Themba Manyosi circumcision schools should be "humanly habitable and worth living in, in terms of health standards"


New Jersey case to proceed

September 24, 2001

Judge Wexler of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, Eastern Division, has heard oral arguments in the lawsuit of William Stowell.

Stowell has brought the suit against the doctor and hospital responsible for circumcising him soon after his birth in 1981.

Judge Wexler denied the motion of the defendants asking for the case to be dismissed for failure to state a claim.

This means that Stowell's case has merit and will move forward. Next, the attorneys will be deposing the parties involved.

The case is unique because

  • It was brought by a man circumcised as a baby
  • His parents gave their consent
  • The circumcision and its outcome were "normal".

Earlier story


KOCO-TV Eyewitness News
September 13, 2001

Couple, Rural Man Charged With Abuse, Molestation
Suspects Being Held On $200,000 Bail

PRYOR, Okla. -- Mayes County prosecutors have filed felony counts against a rural Pryor man and a couple for allegedly binding the couple's 8- year-old boy and piercing his genitals with a hog ring, authorities said.

Jimmy Elrod, 36, Denise Elrod, 38, and Robert Crane, 37, were charged earlier this week with injury to a child and lewd molestation. Crane and the Elrods are each being held in lieu of $200,000 bail.

The Elrods are the adoptive parents of the boy and his 9-year-old sister. A Mayes County deputy on Friday removed the siblings from Crane's home and placed them in protective custody, sheriff's investigator Doug Parent said. The Elrods were staying with Crane in a two-bedroom house west of Pryor.

Authorities arrested the Elrods and Crane on Saturday after the boy was examined by a doctor at Tulsa's Juvenile Justice Center, which verified statements he made to authorities, Parent said.

Denise Elrod told deputies that the boy was tied up at night to stop him from masturbating, and that the hog ring was applied for the same reason.

According to a search warrant affidavit, the boy, who had rope burns on his wrists, said he "was tied up at night (on his back) to a black storage box, with his hands elevated above his head then wrapped in a sheet and sweat shirt so that he couldn't get up and go to the bathroom, and he had accidents on the floor."

The boy stated that he was usually tied up at night by Crane or Jimmy Elrod, the affidavit said. The boy's sister, and sometimes Denise Elrod, untied him in the mornings, the search warrant said.


Further investigation also revealed that "within the last few months a hog ring was attached to (the boy's) penis causing piercing of the skin," the affidavit said. That was also confirmed by the doctor at the Justice Center who examined the boy, authorities said.

The affidavit goes on to note that Denise Elrod saw the hog ring on the boy about six months ago and "that it was left on for about a week."

According to the affidavit, Denise Elrod said Crane or possibly her husband attached the hog ring.


[The question immediately arises, Why is it "lewd molestation" to put a ring in a boy's penis at the age of eight, but not to cut off part of his penis at birth?]


Wednesday, September 5, 2001

Finnish Unitarian Leader Condemns Circumcision

Antti Pelkola, duly elected Chairman of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Finland (equivalent of President of the US society), has today clearly stated his censure of male circumcision:

*As a Unitarian, I believe in naturalness and the freedom to choose as basic guidelines. As long as it has not been proven otherwise, circumcision represents not only an act against nature but a procedure which encroaches on a child's right to self-determination, from which commercial advantage is obtained primarily by physicians and self-styled barbers (in the event they are paid for their work), as well as bigots who wish to identify those of the "right persuasion" on the basis of their physical appearance.

"God, I feel, looks elsewhere.

"Hair and fingernails can be cut -- they grow back. Irreversible operations are, however, even at their most beneficial, akin to cosmetic foolery which should -- in appealing specifically to the protection of children -- be completely prohibited."

(He goes on to suggest that though a foreskin can be surgically replaced later, the risks and costs of such an operation are such that circumcision can not be justified on such a pretext alone.)

[Chairman Pelkola is the first religious leader of recent times to condemn circumcision on other than anti-Semitic grounds.]


The Sunday Times
September 2 2001 IRELAND

Battle to stop bogus doctors

Paul Colgan

AFRICAN tribal doctors operating in Dublin are under investigation by the health authorities for performing botched circumcisions on babies of immigrant families.

At least two infants were rushed to hospital for blood transfusions after Nigerian doctors performed "kitchen table" circumcisions at the request of their parents. ...

Peter McKenna, master of the Rotunda hospital in Dublin, said "back-street" circumcisions carried unnecessary risks. "There is the danger of haemorrhaging, and you can run into problems like distortion with the healing," he said. "I am not convinced we should do it for social reasons. If it's medically necessary, then of course, but I don't think you should cut bits off of people without their consent."

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