To more recent news
News items are now being copied to Circumstitions News blog (which takes comments)
- thanks to Joseph4GI
And still they push circumcision...
Circumcised Men On Sex Spree: "They Think They are Immune To HIV"
By Malawi Voice
Some circumcised men in Mangochi have gone on a sex rampage, whilst claiming that they are immune to HIV.
Apparently the circumcised men have been misinformed on the effectiveness of male circumcision and reduction of HIV transmission.
According [to] Dickens Mahawayo of Given Secrets Consultants he bemoaned misinformation surrounding Iale circumcision in reducing the HIV transmission.
He said most circumcised men in the district think they are licensed to chase every skirt they see on the street.
"What is most saddening is that most circumcised men [are] now engaging in unprotected sex claiming they are immune to HIV" he said.
He said 74 percent of circumcised men interviewed no longer practice safe sex.
"In fact circumcised men are now charged peanuts for sex compared with uncircumcised men" he said.
But nevertheless there is compelling evidence that male circumcision reduces the spread of HIV by 60 percent. [This must be a new meaning of "reduces".]
Female Circumcision On The Rise
Female circumcision is on the rise in the Bawku municipality [of Ghana] and its environs as parents are still carrying out the act secretly even though the practice has been outlawed.
Statistics by stakeholders including the Social Welfare, Ghana Health Service and the Ghana Education Service indicate that children between the ages of one and 17 years go through the ordeal at Bawku and neighboring countries such as Burkina Faso, Togo or Niger.
About 30 per cent of girls living in the area who have been recruited for the circumcision have it done at Bawku or some neighboring countries.
Most of the girls, who go through the act, either become school dropouts or face psychological problem, because they must stay at home until the wound is healed, which takes many weeks.
Mrs. Lydia Issaka, Bawku Municipal Girl Child Education Officer, ... noted that about 15 girls believed to have gone through the practice could not take part in the Basic Education Certificate Examination this year.
Men DO complain
Press conference by Intact America outside the American Academy of Pediatrics convention, New Orleans
The men aren't buying it...
The Herald (Zimbabwe)
Zimbabwe: Circumcision - Doctors Up in Arms
By Paidamoyo Chipunza
Government has failed to achieve set targets for male circumcision because a few selected individuals are carrying out the procedure which any doctor should have been allowed to do, provincial medical directors have said. The country's provincial medical directors revealed this at an HIV and Aids meeting held by the National Aids Council in Kwekwe last week.
The provincial medical directors from across the country urged Government to incorporate male circumcision in the general health system to allow for easy access.
According to the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, 80 000 men had been circumcised as of September against a target of 1,2 million for the next five years.
[There is no evidence that circumcising men in Zimbabwe has any effect against HIV.]
Click to enlarge
This is the third year into the five-year target. The senior doctors also urged Government to expedite initiation of neo-natal circumcisions. [The men aren't buying it, so they come after the babies.]
"The problem is that male circumcision came as a programme where a few selected people were trained and put in charge. And yet this is a simple procedure which any medical doctor can perform," said the acting PMD for Matabeleland North, Dr Nyasha Masuka.
"Teams are coming from Harare or Bulawayo into our provinces, pitch their tents under a tree, circumcise a few men, and get paid hefty allowances and then leave."
Dr Masuka said the approach frustrated other doctors and patients.
"Some people hear of the programme when teams are long gone and the local doctor has to explain to them that the teams have left," he said.
Dr Zizhou said ... "If an old man from the village can perform this procedure [sometimes killing the patient] , then any doctor should be able to do that," ...
Acting PMD for Mashonaland West Dr Solomon Mukungunurwa said circumcision services should be universally accessible.
"If we are to realise full benefits of this programme, circumcision should start as soon as a child is born."
...so they go after babies.
The Herald (Zimbabwe)
Zimbabwe: Neonatal Circumcision
CHILDREN will soon be circumcised at birth under a national programme to achieve maximum results of the medical procedure, senior health officials have said. Aids and TB Unit director in the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare Dr Owen Mugurungi said Government was planning to start neonatal circumcision as soon as possible.
"We hope between 2013 and 2014 we would start neonatal circumcisions at a national scale," he said. "It is actually more sustainable than adult circumcisions."
Dr Mugurungi said some children were already covered under Government's catch up phase targeting children and adults between the ages of 13 and 29 years.
He said for every 200 000 babies circumcised, about 1 500 new infections are averted. [This figure is Just Made Up. There is no evidence neonatal circumcision has any effect on HIV, and for every 200,000 Zimbabwean babies circumcised, 6000 will die within a year.]
National male circumcision co-ordinator Mr Xaba Sinokuthemba said they submitted a device used to do neonatal circumcisions for approval to the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe.
"There is no device that has been approved to work here in Zimbabwe and we have actually taken a device that is currently used in Botswana," he said. "This is the device that we have sent to MCAZ for approval and hopefully, very soon neonatal circumcisions will begin."
Government intends to circumcise one million men between 2013 and 2015. The turnout has been very low in the previous years with only 85 000 circumcised since the inception of the programme. [So they're going after them before they can resist. So much for human rights.] Chances of a man acquiring HIV from an infected partner if circumcised are less than 60 percent. [We should certainly hope so! Clearly the reporter doesn't begin to understand statistics.]
October 24, 2012
Pediatrician tells AAP "Listen to Intactivists"
By Hugh Young
Tweets from within the American Academy of Pedriatrics Convention indicate the only presentation on circumcision included a pro-intact message.
While Dr Yves Homsy of Florida was presenting on "Pros and Cons of Doing Circumcisions", a session described as aiming "to explain what one needs to do in order to set up a program to do neonatal circumcisions and how one can become an expert circumciser" one of the audience, Dr Daniel Flanders of Toronto sent a picture of Dr Homsy's opening slide.
Dr. Homsy: Those who oppose circumcision are conveying an important message and their voices should be heard
Queried that this was hardly the message in the session's abstract, Dr Flanders Tweeted: "I noticed that discrepancy as well. The lecture was not as described in the program. Focus was on medically necessary circ."
Challenged on his own views, he Tweeted: "My personal views are irrelevant. Professionally, I do not do circumcisions."
42 years later, the message is unchanged
At the weekend in New Orleans, Jonathon Conte of San Francisco carried an inflammatory sign outside the American Academy of Pediatrics convention: "Sex Criminals for Hire: Inquire within".
Picture: James Loewen
It is the same message that pioneer Intactivist Van Lewis was arrested for carrying.
Van and his brother Ben were outside the Tallahassee Memorial Hospital on December 16, 1970. He and his brother Ben carried signs also saying "Infant Circumcision is a Sex Crime. Abolish it." "Abolish Infant Circumcision." and "Men's Liberation" outside the Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, Tallahassee, Florida. They were charged with disturbing the peace and spent a day in the cells.
In 2010, Van Lewis told James Loewen about his arrest:
Van Lewis died in Tallahassee, Florida on June 6, 2011 of pancreatic cancer. He was 68. But his soul goes marching on.
Anti-circumcision activists confront pediatricians
By John Pope| Religion News Service [Religion?]
Intactivists demonstrate that circumcising babies harms the men they become,
opposite the AAP convention
Picture: James Loewen
NEW ORLEANS — Pediatricians gathered here for the American Academy of Pediatrics convention were greeted by protesters urging the medical group to rethink its position on an issue that makes most people squirm: the circumcision of newborn boys.
And although the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t recommend routine removal of infants’ foreskins — that has been its stance since 1999 — its report, released two months ago, does cite literature saying that the procedure can prevent [some] urinary-tract infections, cancer of the penis and sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS.
Such benefits, the report says, justify its coverage by private insurance and Medicaid. But opponents, who call themselves “intactivists,” go beyond mere opposition to the circumcision of healthy infants.
“We say that it’s a human-rights violation to tie down a baby and cut off part of his penis,” said Georganne Chapin, the founding executive director of Intact America, which held a press conference and rally outside the convention on Saturday (Oct. 20).
The AAP convention continues through Tuesday.
Moreover, she said, “There are absolutely no data suggesting that areas with high circumcision rates have healthier boys or areas with low circumcision rates have less healthy boys.”
Data suggest a decline in the percentage of American newborns undergoing the procedure.
Anthony Losquadro of Brooklyn, N.Y., who spoke at Saturday’s rally at the convention center, said it represents a shift in public opinion.
“Like any change in culture, it takes time,” he said, “but I think people realize that babies are born intact and you don’t need to correct a perfectly functional body part with surgery.”
The authors did not take a position on whether newborns should be circumcised. [Everything but...] They also took pains to point out that the data they used didn’t include circumcisions performed outside hospitals, such as those required for boys born into Jewish and Muslim families.
But the reason for the procedure doesn’t matter, said Chapin, whose organization opposes all medically unnecessary circumcisions.
“Our organization is not going after Jews and Muslims,” she said. “We’re saying that all babies are entitled to protection.”
Among the speakers at Saturday’s protest were men who were circumcised days after they were born and still profess to be upset by it, even though the procedure occurred decades ago. [Way to dismiss their human rights! Have their foreskins grown back?]
“I do feel a sense that my rights were violated on my second day of life,” Losquadro said.
The foreskin has a role, he said, because it covers the tip of the penis — he likened this role to that of an eyelid — and because it has cells that alert the immune system to potential trouble.
“It evolved for a reason,” he said, “and it’s foolish for doctors to assume that it’s an unneeded flap of skin."
Georgeanne Chapin writes:
Saturday, the second day of our protest, two AAP officials convened with police and security guards in front of the convention center. A couple of Intactivists were able to overhear some of the conversation. They asked the police if we could not be forced to leave the area. The police told them no, that we were marching on public property, and that we were breaking no laws.
I actually went up to the man, extended my hand, and introduced myself as Georgnne Chapin, executive director of Intact America. He refused to shake my hand and said, "So what?"
I said I just wanted to introduce myself and I would like to know his name. He said, "I don't agree with anything you do or say," turned on his heel, and walked away.
We had the equivalent of an outdoor, public booth across from the Center; it was a streetcorner, next to an outdoor parking lot, which was next to a Marriott Hotel. On Friday, we had received permission from the lot owner to hang our "I Did Not Consent" banner, and other signs on the chain link fence.
Picture: Intact Lousiana
Around an hour after the AAP officials' unsuccessful attempt to get rid of us, the valet from the Marriott came and told us that the owner of the parking lot said we were trespassing and had to take the banner and signs down.
Dan Bollinger asked to speak with the owner who "didn't have time" to talk with us, but asked the valet if he could give us the guy's number. Dan called him (turns out it was the manager, not the owner), and had a very pleasant conversation, which ended in him agreeing to extend the permission for us to have the signs up for two more days. (We paid him a small fee.)
We are certain that the AAP also had complained to the Marriott, which is what sparked them to contact the parking lot manager (who clearly felt he didn't owe the AAP anything). Very nice. All of that said, we had some good conversations, and I felt that by being on the street rather than in the convention exhibit hall, we were free to say all the things we believe.
The Monitor (Botswana)
133 prisoners circumcised
By Keobonye Majatsie
The Botswana Prisons Service (BPS) has adopted the Safe Male Circumcision (SMC) programme to reduce the spread of new HIV/AIDS infections.
Speaking at a press briefing, Dr Rachel Seleka revealed that so far 133 inmates have undergone circumcision at their clinics."So far we have at least 133 inmates from Gaborone, Moshupa and Molepolole prisons circumcised since April last year but we have not taken our initiative to the northern part of the country," she said.
Government introduced the SMC programme a few years ago, and there have been calls for the initiative to be extended to other vulnerable groups outside mainstream society. Seleka said they have discovered that inmates take health related issues more seriously when they are incarcerated.
Admitting that sodomy is a sensitive issue Prisons chief, Motlalekgosi acknowledged that there is sodomy in Botswana prisons. "We know that sodomy is illegal in Botswana but it happens in our prisons, how we don't know. If it can happen in mainstream society, what about in places like prisons? I don't have evidence to say it's not happening but we have heard stories narrated by ex-inmates," he said. ...
He also decried overcrowding in prisons. Currently there are 3,048 local male convicts and 435 foreign male inmates, 60 female citizen convicts and 14 female foreign convicts. There are 634 remanded local males, 303 foreign males, 15 local females and 11 foreign females. Motlalekgosi said these figures represent 15.2 percent overcrowding.
On other issues, Motlalekgosi revealed that they have banned smoking in all their prison facilities to curb drug smuggling in prisons. ...
[So let's see. They've circumcised men in overcrowded prisons where they know men are having sex together, and while no study suggests circumcision protects against male-to-male HIV transmission, one does suggest that sex too soon after the operation is a risk factor ... the men who can't smoke will get restless, and no mention of condoms ... What is wrong with this picture?]
Intact America Calls on American Academy of Pediatrics to Rescind Pro-Circumcision Report that Violates Ethics, Human Rights of Baby Boys
By Georgeanne Chapin
Intact America, the nation’s leading intactivist organization critical of neonatal male circumcision, today called on the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to reject a one-sided Task Force report that presses insurance companies and state Medicaid plans to pay for an unnecessary, and unethical surgery that even the task force cannot see its way clear to recommend.
“The AAP stacked its circumcision Task Force with pro-circumcision doctors and activists, and apparently is afraid to let its members learn the truth about the unnecessary, unethical, and risky surgery that U.S. doctors perform more than a million times a year on baby boys who cannot consent,” said Georganne Chapin, Executive Director of Intact America. The AAP had originally accepted Intact America’s application and payment for a booth at its exhibition hall but then cancelled it without warning after Intact America and others openly criticized the report of its Circumcision Task Force.
Intactivists, as critics of neonatal male circumcision are called, will be coming from around the United States and Canada to protest outside the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, where the AAP is holding its annual convention starting on October 20th. They include a number of men expected to express outrage that they were forced to undergo the surgery without their consent.
“They can kick us out of their hall, but they can’t escape the growing realization that they have trapped themselves in an ethical quagmire by seeking reimbursement for surgery the American Medical Association properly calls ‘non-therapeutic,’” Chapin said. “They know that growing numbers of American parents are saying no to the removal of healthy functioning tissue from the genitals of their baby boys in a surgery that is a gross violation of medical ethics and the baby’s basic human rights.”
The AAP action came shortly after Chapin authored an essay appearing in Huffington Post, arguing that the AAP was acting more like a trade association than a doctors’ organization that claims to be “dedicated to the health of all children.” In its report issued this summer, the AAP Task Force acknowledged that there were not enough benefits to justify recommending circumcision, but sought to win approval for reimbursement by insurance companies and the 18 states’ Medicaid programs – including Louisiana’s – where the surgery is currently not covered.
“Although health benefits are not great enough to recommend routine circumcision for all male newborns, the benefits of circumcision are sufficient to justify access to this procedure for families choosing it and to warrant third-party payment for circumcision of male newborns,” the report reads.
The AAP relied heavily on studies of sexually-active adult African men and the role circumcision might play in retarding female-to-male – but not male-to-female – transmission of the HIV virus linked to AIDS. The AAP and Centers for Disease Control correctly report there is no evidence circumcision plays any role in retarding male-to-male HIV transmission, which along with sharing intravenous needles is the predominant mode of HIV transmission in the United States.
“Ethical and scientific problems with the African research aside, trying to extrapolate from studies of sexually active adult African men to infant boys in America is bad science, bad medicine and bad health policy,” Chapin said. “Medical ethics requires necessity and informed consent for something as invasive as surgery. The foreskin is normal tissue, an integral part of the male anatomy; it protects the rest of the penis and plays an important role in sexual pleasure. Babies should be left alone. When they become men, they can make their own informed decision about whether they want to remove a part of their own penises.”
“Not only does the Task Force report blatantly ignore the ethical obligation of physicians to respect their patients' autonomy and do no harm, it repeatedly calls for doctors to be paid [by the taxpayer] for removing healthy, functioning tissue from somebody who cannot consent.” Chapin wrote.
While the male circumcision rate in the United States was around 80 percent 30 years ago, it has steadily dropped to around 50 percent today. In Europe, circumcision rates in most countries are well under 10 percent, and European physician groups and even courts are now calling for doctors to stop performing all child circumcisions that are not medically indicated.
The Royal Dutch Medical Association has recommended against routine male circumcision, the organization calling it a medically-unnecessary form of surgery.
"The patient has to give consent, but children can't give consent and we feel that is wrong and a violation of the child's right,” said Gert Van Dijk, an ethicist at The Royal Dutch Medical Association. "In our code of medical ethics, it states that you must not do harm to the patient, but with this procedure this is exactly what you're doing."
In Denmark, Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt has commissioned an investigation into whether non-medical circumcision procedures violate its health code. In Germany, a court ruled in June that non-therapeutic male circumcision amounted to bodily injury and violated human rights provisions of the country's laws. The judge explicitly ruled that the parents' religious freedom cannot override the child's right to physical integrity and self-determination. "The body of the child is irreparably and permanently changed by a circumcision," the judge wrote. "This change contravenes the interests of the child to decide later on his religious beliefs."
Following the German court's decision, hospitals in Austria and Switzerland suspended all medically-unnecessary infant circumcisions. Political discussion continues in Germany over whether religious circumcisions might be allowed, but no European physician organization is contending that there is any medical justification for routinely circumcising babies or children.
The AAP letter kicking Intact America out of the convention hall in New Orleans, sent from its Illinois headquarters and dated October 10th, cited content on the Intact America website and Intact America’s Facebook page for its actions. Intact America and other critics of circumcision have rented exhibition space for years without incident at AAP conventions.
“Pediatricians must be reminded that their patients are the babies,” Chapin said. “If we can’t remind them in the hall, we will remind them in the streets of New Orleans.”
Meanwhile, the AAP has printed a second letter from Profressor Brian Morris in support of its policy, while withholding moderate, referenced letters in opposition. Professor Morris' letter cites three papers, all co-authored by himself.
Professor Morris's website still carries material headed with the Gilgal Society logo, and a verse written by the head of the Gilgal Society, Vernon Quaintance, convicted of possessing child pornography, though Professor Morris purged his material of most of the references soon after the conviction. The Gilgal Society continues to advertise Professor Morris's leaflets, though "a major computer failure" prevents them from being available from the site.
Jewish Daily Forward
Seeking To Protect Kosher Slaughter and Circumcision
Jewish Leader Unveils Model Bill for European Nations
European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor has unveiled a model bill designed to set “strict legal terms” on religious freedoms in order to enshrine them in Europe.
Kantor, who is also co-chairman of the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation, or ECTR, presented the model bill on Oct. 15 at the European Parliament.
Designed to delineate the legal boundaries of tolerance in light of “anti-Semitism, racism and attempts to limit freedom of worship in Europe,” the document proposes to enshrine Jewish and Muslim religious slaughter practices, shechitah and halal, as well as ritual circumcision. It also recognized the state’s right to regulate these practices.
Citing “overriding” public safety reasons, the bill proposes to ban burkas and other face-covering headgear. Kantor said he hoped parliaments of European Union member states adopt the principles laid down in the model bill in legislation, as “only by defining the boundaries of real tolerance can we ensure it.”
The model bill was co-authored by Aleksander Kwas'niewski, a former Polish president and co-chair of ECTR, a Brussels-based NGO comprised of Nobel Peace Prize laureates, several former heads of states and others recognized for adding to tolerance.
Under the model bill, “migrants who refuse to learn the local language may face deportation due to their unwillingness to integrate,” said Prof. Yoram Dinstein, one of the documents’ co-authors and an Israeli expert in international law.
“Many support tolerance as an abstract idea but find it hard to specify how it should be applied,” he told JTA. “This document tries to translate aspirations into practice.”
[And so the fox claims to ensure tolerance in the chickenhouse]
Wall Street Journal
City's Circumcision Regulations Delayed
By Sean Gardiner
A city Department of Health regulation that would force rabbis to obtain written permission before performing a controversial circumcision won’t go into effect in several days as planned.
The city agreed to a brief stay in the enforcement of the regulation regarding the circumcisions–in which the mouth is used to remove blood from the incision wound–so that the plaintiffs who filed a lawsuit last week in Manhattan federal court can submit a motion for a preliminary injunction.
Under the regulation, the rabbi or other person performing the metzitzah b’ peh would need to obtain a signed permission form from parents of the infant warning that the procedure could expose their infant “to risk of transmission of herpes simplex virus infection or other infectious diseases.”
Since some of those who perform the ritual don’t agree with that warning, the lawsuit argues the regulation violates their constitutional rights to free speech and freedom of religion.
The implementation of the city’s regulation, originally set to begin Oct. 21, has been pushed back until Nov. 14, said Hank Sheinkopf, who is representing the groups that sued.
City health officials have argued that the practice has lead to 11 confirmed cases of infants contracting herpes simplex virus. Two of those babies died and two others suffered brain damage, city officials said. Some of the parents of those children were not aware that direct oral suction would be performed, city officials said.
The Health Department is working with the Law Department on a response that will be filed this month.
An end to the agony
By Victor Schonfeld
It is an amputation of a healthy, sensitive body part that is performed without specific medical need, and without the patient's consent.
Germany's parliament may soon approve a law to protect religious circumcision, this to counteract a Cologne court ruling last June that pronounced the practice unlawful.
This is wrong - the German government should rethink. I say this as a Jewish parent from a proud rabbinic lineage, with relatives killed in the Holocaust; I say this as the maker of "It's a Boy!" the 1995 British TV documentary
The film triggered a furor in Britain by chronicling the near-death of a baby circumcised by a mohel, ...
I recall the TV documentary I made against corporal punishment of children, and how I applauded countries like Israel and Germany, which were among the first to outlaw such punishment. It appears to me wholly contradictory that those countries protect a tradition that routinely inflicts greater suffering and harm. ...
Ironically, there was a time in Germany, long before the Nazi era, when some rabbinic leaders advocated abandoning circumcision; ... In a letter I've sent Chancellor Angela Merkel my message is simple: Please don't undo the opportunity for change created by your courageous Cologne judge. ...
Filmmaker Victor Schonfeld's documentaries include "Loving Smacks," "Shattered Dreams: Picking Up the Pieces" and "The Animals Film." "It's a Boy!" is available from www.itsaboythefilm.com
Suit Is Filed Over Move to Regulate Circumcision
By Marc Santora
Several Jewish groups filed a lawsuit on Thursday seeking to prevent New York City from enforcing a rule on circumcisions, arguing that the regulation would violate religious freedoms.
The city Board of Health passed a regulation in September that required written parental consent before a ritual circumcision could be done. In the procedure, common among ultra-Orthodox Jews, the person performing the circumcision uses his mouth to remove blood from the incision.
The oral contact, known in Hebrew as metzitzah b’peh, is considered dangerous by public health officials, because of the possibility of spreading diseases, specifically herpes. Failure to comply with the regulation could result in warnings and fines.
From 2000 to 2011, 11 babies contracted herpes, most likely as a result of the practice, and two of them died, according to the city’s health department. This spring, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also declared that the procedure created a risk for transmission of herpes and other pathogens, and was “not safe.”
In the lawsuit, filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan, several rabbis and Jewish organizations — including Agudath Israel of America and the International Bris Association — argue that the practice has been used safely for thousands of years among Jews and that the regulations are unconstitutional.
“Not only is the Department of Health wrong about metzitzah b’peh, it is trying to enforce its erroneous opinions on the people of New York City,” said Hank Sheinkopf, a spokesman for the groups suing the city. “By essentially starting a public intimidation campaign that forces private citizens to spread the government’s beliefs, they are shaking the core of our democracy. We believe the courts will stop this overzealous government overreach and keep them out of our speech and religion.”
Dr. Thomas A. Farley, commissioner of the city health department, issued a statement on Thursday citing the danger posed by the procedures and arguing that the measures were necessary for public safety.
“The city’s highest obligation is to protect its children,” he said in the statement. [To fulfil that obligation it should age-restrict circumcision.] “The health department’s written consent requirement is lawful, appropriate and necessary.”
October 12, 2012
Intact America banned from AAP Conference
By Hugh Young
Intact America has been banned from having a booth at the American Academy of Pediatrics Conference in New Orleans later this month.
The conference will be held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and the Hilton New Orleans Riverside hotel from October 20 to 23, 2012
It includes a session on Tuesday October 23, called "Pros & Cons of Doing Circumcisions" that does not seem to say much about Cons but "aims to explain what one needs to do in order to set up a program to do neonatal circumcisions and how one can become an expert circumciser."
Intact America's press release
Intact America operates under the auspices of the Hudson Center for Health Equity & Quality, a not-for-profit organization that is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the internal revenue code.
German cabinet approves bill allowing circumcision of boys
By Alexandra Hudson
BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's cabinet approved a draft law on Wednesday protecting the right to circumcise infant boys, which it says will end months of legal uncertainty after a local court banned the practice, causing outrage among Muslims and Jews.
The June ruling by a Cologne district court that circumcision constitutes "bodily harm" sparked an emotional national debate about religious freedom and the procedure itself.
Parliament must still approve the bill for it to become law.
The speed with which national lawmakers agreed to draw up a new law underscored sensitivity to charges of intolerance in a country haunted by its Nazi past.
The bill states that the operation should take place with the most effective pain relief possible and only if parents have been fully informed about the nature of the procedure. It makes no mention of religious motivations for circumcision.
The court ban had applied only to the Cologne region but doctors across the country refused to carry out operations because of what they saw as a risk of legal action.
About 120,000 Jews are registered as living in Germany along with around 4 million Muslims, many of them from Turkey.
The Cologne court, ruling in the case of a Muslim boy who suffered bleeding [requiring surgery under general anaesthetic and 10 days in hospital] after circumcision, said the practice inflicted bodily harm and should not be carried out on young boys, although it could be performed on older males with their consent.
Anticipating the government bill, Berlin city authorities announced last month that parents were free to have their sons circumcised without fear of prosecution and the operations resumed in the German capital.
... The children's charity Deutsche Kinderhilfe was among the staunchest critics of the decision, calling it a "quick-fire" political solution that favored parents at the expense of their children's rights.
"While a smack is forbidden, now an irreversible procedure with the risk of considerable side-effects and pain should be allowed for almost any reason - such a decree in German law would enduringly weaken children's rights," the chairman of the charity, Georg Ehrmann, said in a press release, saying the move sent Germany back decades in terms of protecting the young.
the Monitor (Uganda)
Circumcision alone won't fight HIV, says minister
By Agatha Azebazibwe
The State Minister for Health, Ms Sarah Opendi, has appealed to the public to change its behaviour in order to avoid contracting and spreading HIV/Aids rather than relying on safe male circumcision.
Ms Opendi was last week responding to calls by the Kagadi medical superintendent, Dr James Olowo, who was appealing to men to take part in the safe male circumcision exercise to minimise their chances of catching the virus that causes Aids.
Ms Opendi said some people were taking the message literally thinking that it was enough to protect them against the HIV virus. “Most of you engage in risky sexual behaviour because you think after circumcising you have got an HIV- free ticket which is not true because even after you have done that, you still need to protect yourself against HIV,” she said.
The minister warned the public against abandoning other protective methods such as using condoms, being faithful to one partner, among others. “While I agree that circumcision will reduce your chances of contracting the HIV infection, that should not give you false confidence that if you engage in risky sexual behaviour you will not acquire the virus ,” she said.
While the minister is fronting behavioural change, experts say the move is not realistic since there is no single strategy that can be used alone to prevent further spread of the virus.
Dr Francis Kiweewa, the head of research and scientific affairs at Walter Reeds Project, said since the epidemic broke out, advocacy for behavioural change has been used but did not bear any tangible benefits.
“Safe male circumcision alone cannot stop one from acquiring the virus if they recklessly engage in sexual behaviour. It has to be supplemented by use of condoms or sticking to one sexual partner. If you promote behavioural change alone, it will not work,” Dr Kiweewa said. He also said policy makers need to realise that people do not abstain and therefore tailor strategies that will address the reality.
Men aren't buying it....
The Voice (Botswana)
By Daniel Chida
Only 360 out of 2560 men get circumcised
The number of men that took part in the Safe male Circumcision in the North West District has been disappointing, a report has revealed.
Out of the targeted 2560 men, only 360 have been circumcised so far, a figure that translates into a paltry 14 percent of the target group, the recently released North West District Development Committee Report has indicated.
The figures did not sit well with some NWD councillors who felt that there was a need for re-strategising the campaign to achieve better results.
First to address the disturbing matter at a full council meeting discussion which had female councillors in stitches was Makalamabedi South councillor, Moetetsi Mogalakwe who blamed the unimpressive turn out to the call for circumcision on the youth who were used to educate the public on the issue.
“Majority of the representatives of the campaign were young people who lacked the skills needed to convince older people like us to be circumcised. Apart from anything else the subject is too embarrassing for young people to engage in with men old enough to be their fathers.”
The councillor also blamed the ‘Banana’ symbol used in adverts promoting circumcision for the poor turn out, arguing that it was too comical to be taken seriously.
Councillor for Kubung ward Pelokgale Monyamme however claimed that many older men did not respond to the call because it was too risky for those over the age of 45 because they would take too long to heal.
Monyamme further noted that instead of the campaign focusing all the attention on men,government needed to involve women too because they had influence on decisions taken by their spouses.
October 3, 2012
Syposium issues Declaration of the Right to Genital Autonomy
A symposium in Helsinki has issued a Declaration that Genital Autonomy is a human right.
The Twelfth International Symposium on Law, Genital Autonomy and Human Rights, was held jointly by the Sexpo Foundation, Genital Autonomy and the National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers (NOCIRC). It included speakers from Australia, Denmark, Finland, Indonesia, Sweden, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The declaration asserts, inter alia:
the existence of a fundamental right of each human being[,] a Right of Genital Autonomy, that is the right to:
the fundamental right of parents and guardians to freedom of thought, conscience and religion ... not absolute, [but] limited by the same fundamental human rights of others, in particular their children.
healthy genital and reproductive organs are natural, normal, functional parts of the human body.
And it calls on all states that have signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child (every country in the world except Romania and the USA) to honour their commitments under that convention.
The symposium was told that a bold new letter in opposition to unconsented circumcision will be released shortly. The 30-odd signers are many of the top names in Europe in medicine, policy and law.
A Finnish mother with a Ghanaian husband told of her unsuccessful attempt to protect her son from circumcision. The Finnish Children's Ombusman spoke of moves in that country age-restrict circumcision. Other topics included the role of law in Islamic and Jewish genital cutting, growing interest in Brit Shalom, the CIA's secret studies into the psychological effects of circumcision, ancient Egyptical penile modification customs, and transgender and intersex issues with genital surgery.
The Epoch Times
Maasai Women End Traditional Female Circumcision
Two-day ceremony marks end of genital mutilation for 52 young Maasai girls
By Denise Darcel
In a traditional two-day ceremony in Kenya, the Maasai, one of the oldest cultures in Africa, changed the fate of 52 young girls in a historic alternative rite of passage performed without female circumcision.
Maasai men and women who accepted the new ceremony took a monumental leap forward in health and education for their culture, causing reactions across the globe.
Three Maasai women were selected by the African Schools of Kenya (ASK) to talk with the girls about issues ranging from their basic human rights as young women to reasons for using birth control.
Meals were prepared and delivered to the girls, and they stayed together overnight in the classroom on Aug. 27.
“There was no holding back on the information given to the 52 girls attending the first Alternative Rites of Passage without cutting,” said Teri Gabrielsen, founder of ASK, which funds educational courses in Africa.
The 52 girls, including the chief’s own daughters, paraded through their village early Saturday morning wearing their traditional all-black dresses and crowns, slowly walking to the school room for the very first two-day ARP ceremony.
Nurse in court over genital mutilation
Lawyers for a retired nurse have withdrawn an attempt to have her name suppressed over accusations she mutilated the genitals of two young sisters.
Kubra Magennis, 69, appeared in Campbelltown Local Court on Wednesday charged with the illegal circumcision of the Sydney girls, who were aged six and seven at the time.
Her barrister Sean Jeppesen asked Magistrate Glenn Walsh to suppress further publication of her name in the media.
'We're dealing with a relatively small religious community that can be somewhat identifiable by their clothing,' he said.
The office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) opposed the application, saying the woman and the alleged victims had different surnames.
Magistrate Walsh adjourned the matter briefly to consider the legislation before Mr Jeppesen returned to the courtroom and withdrew the application.
He did not provide a reason and declined to speak to the media.
The nurse is one of eight people - including the girls' parents - who are accused of taking part in the alleged genital mutilation between January 2010 and July 2012.
One of the alleged offences occurred on the NSW south coast and the other in Sydney.
The girls' father, who is a GP, and his pharmacist wife have been charged, along with a community religious leader who is an associate of the couple and an Islamic sheik.
The sheik is accused of being present during the mutilation and telling the local community to lie about the prevalence of female circumcision in their community.
The matters involving Magennis, the parents and the sheik will come before Parramatta Local Court on November 8.
Four other women - aged 39, 68, 73 and 77 - from Sydney and Wollongong have also been charged in the case, bringing the total accused to eight.
They have been charged with female genital mutilation and are alleged to have been present at one or both of the circumcisions.
The women have been granted bail to face Parramatta Local Court on November 7.
Nehandra Radio (Zimbabwe)
Father and son hospitalised after horror circumcision
THREE Gweru men, among them a father and son, were reportedly admitted to Gweru Provincial Hospital after they reacted by bleeding profusely after being circumcised at the hospital’s circumcision clinic.
In an interview, one of the men said he had taken his son, aged 16, to the hospital circumcision clinic when they suffered the complications. He said he was hospitalised in the same ward with his son for three days following the anomaly.
“We spent three days admitted to the hospital following the incident and we were later discharged on Thursday last week. We discovered that there was another man in the same ward who had also suffered some complications after being circumcised,” said the man.
He said they were not in the light on whether the complications they faced were as a result of the doctor’s failure to properly conduct the operations.
“I was very disappointed because I am the one who persuaded my son to undergo circumcision only for us to develop the complication. We believe the doctor might have failed to conduct his duties properly. This is because we later discovered that there was another patient in the same ward who also experienced problems after being circumcised,” he said.
Gweru Provincial Hospital medical superintendent Dr Fabian Mashingaidze, however, said it was common that circumcision patients could develop “adverse complications” after circumcision. He said the number of patients who responded negatively after being circumcised was, however, minimal.
“These particular cases were not brought before my attention maybe because they were not serious or common adverse events. This can happen when a patient develops normal complications after undergoing circumcision. Remember, this is an operation and these incidences do happen but they are very minimal,” he said.
Dr Mashingaidze said the Gweru circumcision clinic has conducted many circumcision cases and had not recorded any serious complications in the process.
“In fact, globally the chances of one getting complications after getting circumcised is one out of 100 and according to a national audit, which was conducted recently, only two percent of the circumcised population had complications meaning that the chances of one getting complications like bleeding or infections is very low in the country.
“Some of the challenges that might arise are due to failure to take care of the wound on the part of the patient,” he said. The Chronicle
Parents 'planned baby girl's circumcision'
A PERTH couple have appeared in court after allegedly organising the illegal circumcision of their one-year-old baby girl in Bali.
The 44-year-old father and 42-year-old mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared in Joondalup Magistrates Court today charged with female genital mutilation offences.
They were released on bail to appear in Perth Magistrates Court on December 12.
Police allege the parents went to Perth Airport in August with the intention of taking the girl to Bali for the circumcision procedure.
Female circumcision is performed in some cultures and religions, but is illegal in Australia.
It is also illegal to perform, arrange or take a child out of the state for such a procedure.
Edith Cowan University's head of medical sciences Moira Sim said she worked with patients who had undergone the procedure and it was important to consider their needs.
“There's not a place for mutilation in society but, in making that stance that it is not OK, we also have to make sure that we don't stigmatise the women who have had it done,” she said.
“This is part of what they have grown up with, and we should not make it hard for them to get health care.”
Professor Sim said she had treated patients from Africa who needed an operation before they could have intercourse properly, but that was no different from others who had been born with defects and needed a similar operation.
She said the women she treated did not see the mutilation of their genitals as an issue because they did not remember having the procedure.
Finnish party plans new bill to ban circumcision
(JTA) -- Finland's third largest party, True Finns, has demanded a ban on ritual circumcision of minors.
In a debate held on Sept. 26 at the Finnish parliament in Helsinki, Vesa-Matti Saarakkala, a lawmaker for True Finns, reiterated his calls in March to outlaw the practice in Finland.
Saarakkala, 28, said he would submit a bill proposing to criminalize ritual circumcision in boys younger than 15 years of age, according to the online edition of Yleisradio, Finland's national public broadcasting company.
"The Finnish constitution guarantees everyone the right to personal integrity," Saarakkala is quoted as saying. Saarakkala - a critic of what he called perceived integration problems among immigrants - also pointed out that female circumcision "is already considered assault" in Finland. The fact that circumcision in males is legal in Finland, he said, constitutes legal discrimination.
With 39 seats out of 200 in the lower house, the socialist-conservative True Finns is Finland's largest opposition party
Jouko Jääskeläinen, lawmaker for the Christian Democrats, said in parliament that circumcision was a minor procedure and that research showed it was helpful in preventing diseases.
On Sept. 30, an international conference of critics of ritual circumcision [no, of all non-consesual, non-therapeutic genital cutting] opened in Helsinki.
Gideon Bolotowsky of the Central Council of Jewish Communities in Finland told JTA he did not foresee a ban on circumcision in Finland in the near future.
"Those trying to ban circumcision are hard pressed to present scientific evidence that circumcision in harmful," he said.
Bolotowsky added that the critics of circumcision in children "have had the rug pulled from under their feet" because of the publication in August of a new research by the American Academy of Pediatrics which suggested that the procedure may protect heterosexual men against H.I.V. and that the health benefits outweighed the risks connected to the procedure.
Zimbabwe: Will Circumcision Change Behaviour or Reinforce Machismo?
By Rashweat Mukundu
A mood of sober curiosity as dozens of men - young and old-waited for their turn on the surgical table in order to have their foreskins chopped off characterised Harare's Spilhaus Family Planning Centre.
Following research that found circumcision reduces the risk of HIV transmission by as much as 60%, a USAID-supported programme aims to circumcise two million Zimbabwean men by 2015. So far, 55 000 have undergone the procedure.
I volunteered to take part after I received an HIV test and the advice that circumcision helps to prevent HIV and many other diseases.
Before the short surgical operation, all participants are tested for HIV and AIDS and provided with counselling services. They also take part in an awareness discussion about the benefits of circumcision. The discussion appeared to ease the expressions of fear and concern present on most faces in the room.
Circumcision remains a polarising issue, especially between men and women. Many of my female friends realise the obvious health benefits, including a lower risk of HIV infection. For women especially, if their boyfriend or husband is circumcised it lessens the chance he will infect them with HIV should he stray outside the relationship. [DANGEROUSLY WRONG - It does no such thing.]
As a government policy, it appears circumcision is reluctantly promoted by some MPs because other health-related and donor-funded initiatives are tied to this programme.
[In a word, blackmail.]
And while the benefits of circumcision have been proven, the temptation of circumcised men to feel "protected" - and hence indulge in unsafe sexual practices - is a dangerous risk likely also increased because of this programme.
A few weeks into my healing process, I heard from a man I'd met at the clinic. He said his organ had healed and wanted to "test" it. He made it clear that he wanted to "test" the organ on a number of sexual partners to be sure the he is "ok."
This illustrates the false attitude among many sexually active circumcised men that circumcision gives them license to take part in multiple sexual liaisons. Messages about the benefits of circumcision do not seem fully integrated into HIV prevention campaigns in a way that underscores the point that even circumcised men are at risk of contracting and spreading the virus. As such, continued emphasis on condom use and, more importantly, the development, awareness and access to HIV preventive methods that give women power over their sexuality, is key. [Circumcising men reduces women's ability to demand condoms.]
Circumcision does not necessarily result in male sexual behaviour changes. For many macho men, it might as well be another trophy in the cabinet. Such men have not understood the message that it is but one method of HIV prevention - men still need to be faithful and use condoms.
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