Intactivism News

December 2012

To more recent news


News items are now being copied to Circumstitions News blog (which takes comments)

- thanks to Joseph4GI

The Intactivism Pages suffered a computer outage from November 26 to December 4, 2012, during which news items were not posted and some mail was lost.


NBC News
December 21, 2012

Court backs doctor in penis amputation case

by Brett Barrouquere

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A Kentucky man lost his bid Friday to force a doctor to pay damages for removing a cancer-riddled section of his penis during what was scheduled to be a simple circumcision.

The Kentucky Court of Appeals found that a jury correctly concluded that 66-year-old Phillip Seaton of Waddy consented to allow Dr. John Patterson to perform any procedure deemed necessary during the Oct. 19, 2007, surgery.

Patterson, a Kentucky-based urologist, maintains he found cancer in the man's penis during surgery and that it had to be removed. The patient claims the surgery was supposed to be a circumcision and he never authorized the amputation, nor was he given a chance to seek a second opinion.

[Why was the cancer not found well before the circumcision had begun? Did nobody look under his foreskin earlier?]

"Additionally, there is uncontroverted testimony in the record that if Mr. Seaton were not treated for the penile cancer, it would prove fatal in the future," Judge Janet Stumbo wrote for the court.

Judge Michael Caperton dissented, but did not issue a written opinion.

Clay Robinson, a Lexington-based attorney for Patterson, said the opinion was "very well-reasoned" and fact-based. [Would the attorney for the doctor have been so laudatory if the decision had gone the other way?]

"You always appreciate when you see judges at any level go into that amount of detail," Robinson said.

Seaton and his wife, Deborah, sued Patterson, a Kentucky-based urologist, in Shelby County Circuit Court in 2008. Seaton was having the procedure to better treat inflammation. The Seatons also sued Jewish Hospital, where the surgery took place. The hospital settled with the couple for an undisclosed amount.

Both sides agree that Seaton had squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer, in his penis. Patterson concluded that a tumor had overtaken much of the top of the organ, which made it impossible to insert a catheter.

"He also opined that serious complications and additional surgery could result if he did not insert the catheter," Stumbo wrote.

The main point of contention is whether Patterson acted reasonably in removing the organ immediately or if amputation could have been delayed to let Seaton seek other medical options.

Stumbo and Judge Donna Dixon concluded that, even though Seaton had limited ability to read and write, he never informed the doctor of that fact and signed the consent form in the presence of a witness. The Seatons claimed that the waiver didn't give Patterson authority to conduct an amputation without further consent.

"They maintain that no harm would have resulted if Dr. Patterson has consulted with either of them before proceeding, or if he had allowed them to consult with another physician to get a second opinion or other treatment options," Stumbo wrote.

Stumbo wrote that Patterson acted properly because the tumor had consumed such a large section of the organ.


Earlier story


December 31, 2012

German Green candidate quits over criticisms of Jews, Muslims

Ulf Dunkel had come under fire from the national Jewish spokesman over two anti-circumcision poems he published.

Germany's Green Party said Monday that a candidate who had described Jews and Muslims as "arseholes" because they practice male circumcision was withdrawing from a state poll.

Ulf Dunkel had come under fire from the national Jewish spokesman over two anti-circumcision poems he published.

One termed those who circumcise their sons "arseholes" and "blind fanatics." The other included the line: "Sharpen the knife, sing a hymn, cut off the member's foreskin."

Male circumcision, which is rarely practiced in Germany on medical grounds, triggered fierce controversy in the run-up to federal legislation, introduced in mid-December, which confirmed that it is legal for parents to arrange for religiously mandated circumcision. [The law does not mention religion.]

Michael Jaeger, of the Cloppenburg chapter of the Green Party, said that while Dunkel's name would remain on the ballot in a January 20 election for the Lower Saxony state parliament, the candidate would decline to take up his seat if elected. Dunkel could not be reached for comment.

Jaeger said it was too late to take his name off the ballot because postal voting in the state had already begun.

Dieter Graumann, chairman of the Central Council of Jews, earlier appealed to the Greens to withdraw Dunkel's candidacy. "His works radiate hate-filled arrogance towards Jews and Muslims," Graumann said.


December 22, 2012

E Cape gets cash boost to curb initiation deaths

In July this year, initiate deaths rocketed to the alarming figure of 42 in the Eastern Cape (SABC)

Government has allocated R20 million to the Eastern Cape Health Department to curb the deaths of initiates and ensure safe circumcisions. Seventeen boys have died due to botched circumcisions since the start of the circumcision season.

Eastern Cape Health and officials from Pretoria met in Bhisho to discuss strategies to tackle circumcision-related deaths in the province.

Eastern Cape Health Department spokesperson, Sizwe Kupelo says: "The discussions were held in Bhisho and it transpired that the department is allocated R20 million to deal with circumcision and ensure safe circumcision in the Eastern Cape."

In July this year, initiate deaths rocketed to the alarming figure of 42 in the Eastern Cape while other provinces like Limpopo and Free State had much lower figures of four and five respectively. [Cold comfort to their families.]

More than 300 initiates were admitted to hospitals across the Eastern Cape this season due to botched circumcisions or complications resulting from failure to carry out medical check-ups before going to the bush. [It is unclear how prior checkups prevent botched circumcisions.]

In South Africa, traditionally performed circumcision is still largely influenced by culture as [o]pposed to Western circumcision at a hospital. [Actually, Western circumcision at a hospital is largely influenced by culture - our culture.] It is performed routinely on boys from infancy to adolescence to initiate them into manhood. Although other South African ethnic groups practice the ritual, it is mostly associated with the Xhosa culture. According to the history of the Xhosa people, one has to be circumcised to be considered a "man".

Circumcision is performed by traditional "teachers" or "principals" who run the initiation school, often in the bush where boys spend two or more weeks undergoing all the rituals. However there have been reports that no anesthetic is used, therefore hygiene becomes crucial.

The leaders performing the procedure use "razors" or knives that are reportedly not sterilised and can be used to circumcise the entire group of initiates. [- greatly increasing the risk of HIV transmission.]


The Australian
December 24, 2012

Female circumcision is a right, says imam

by Rachel Baxendale

A MUSLIM leader and outspoken opponent of female genital mutilation says female circumcision, which he defines as the partial removal of the clitoral hood, is not only an utterly distinct practice, but the "divinely ordained right of a woman" under Islam.

Sydney-based Al-Ghazzali Centre for Islamic Sciences and Human Development founder and president, Imam Afroz Ali, appeared on the ABC's 7:30 program in October, condemning female genital mutilation and saying he had been told by community members of its occurrence in Australia.

(Registration required for more)


The Jakarta Post
December 23, 2012

Govt told to stop female circumcision

As the United Nations has adopted a resolution urging member states to ban female genital mutilation, the government has been told it has no choice but to revoke a Health Ministry regulation issued in 2010 that condones female circumcision.

National Commission on Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan) deputy chairwoman Masruchah said that the 2010 ministerial regulation runs counter to the UN resolution because it legalizes a practice that is harmful to the sexual and reproductive health of women.

The UN General Assembly unanimously approved the resolution, which is not legally binding, on Thursday, urging its 193 member states to enforce legislation that prohibits female genital circumcision.

The 2010 Health Ministry regulation stipulates that female circumcision is allowed as long as it is performed by licensed doctors, nurses or midwives.

“We have consistently pushed the ministry to revoke that regulation because it abuses the reproductive rights of women. This practice stems from the erroneous interpretation of cultural and religious teachings,” Masruchah told The Jakarta Post.

Many Indonesians, she said, believed that female circumcision could control the sexual desires of girls.

Instead of providing health benefits, female genital mutilation can cause severe bleeding, urination problems and can lead to complications during childbirth, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Health Ministry website claims that female circumcision, as stipulated in the regulation, cannot be categorized as female genital mutilation.

The regulation stipulates that “female circumcision is an action of incising the skin that covers the front part of clitoris, without harming the clitoris”.

The Indonesian Doctors Association chairman, Zaenal Abidin, said that the association would study the UN resolution and that they would issue a recommendation related to female circumcision.

“The association cannot make any recommendations unilaterally. We will involve religious scholars and communities in the deliberations. We will also study the suggestions from the WHO and international doctors’ associations,” he said.


Indonesian General Practitioners Association member Enrico Renaldi, who believes that female circumcision is unnecessary and harmful, said that medical practitioners in the country were facing challenges in preventing the practice.

“It is hard for doctors to be agents of change. There are strong pros and cons in the matter. Indonesians, particularly those in rural areas, see female circumcision as a necessity,” Enrico said.

Iffah Ainur Rochmah, the spokesperson for the Islamic group Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), rebuffed the negative assumptions about female circumcision practices in Indonesia.

“This is a part of our culture rooted in Islamic teachings. The practice should be carried out through procedures that will not cause health implications,” she said.

Iffah called on the global community, including the UN, to not liken Islamic female circumcision with the unhygienic and inhumane practice of female genital mutilation.

She explained that Islam teachings regulated female circumcision as a minor incision of the skin that covers the front part of the clitoris.


Earlier story


22. Dezember 2012

Umfrage: Klare Mehrheit der Deutschen lehnt Beschneidungsgesetz ab

von Bernd Seeger

Berlin - Das vom Bundestag mit großer Mehrheit beschlossene Gesetz zur Beschneidung von Jungen wird von 70 Prozent der Deutschen abgelehnt. Das ergab eine repräsentative Umfrage des Instituts Infratest dimap im Auftrag des Vereins Mogis (Missbrauchsopfer gegen Internetsperren), die der Frankfurter Allgemeinen Sonntagszeitung vorliegt.

Nur 24 Prozent der Befragten hielten das Gesetz demnach für richtig. Es erlaubt - mit einigen Auflagen - die bestehende Beschneidungspraxis. Im Bundestag hatten sich Mitte des Monats 434 Abgeordnete für die Annahme des Gesetzes entschieden. Für die Meinungsumfrage wurden 1.000 Personen am 18. und 19. Dezember befragt.

December 22, 2012

Poll: Clear majority of Germans reject circumcision law

by Bernd Seeger

Berlin - An infant male circumcision law overwhelmingly adopted by the Bundestag is opposed by 70 percent of Germans. The findings of a representative survey by the institute Infratest dimap on behalf of the Mogis Association (abuse victims against Internet censorship) were presented in the Sunday edition of Frankfurter Allgemeinen.

Only 24 percent of respondents considered the law appropriate. It allows - with a few conditions - the existing practice of circumcision. In the Bundestag at the middle of the month 434 MPs had decided to pass the law. In the survey, 1,000 people were questioned on 18 and 19 December.

Earlier story


African circumcision death season resumes

TimesLive (South Africa)
December 21, 2012

Eastern Cape officials to meet on circumcision deaths


Officials from the national department of health will meet with local leaders and officials on Friday to discuss the deaths of young boys after circumcision.

The department will meet with the Eastern Cape MEC for health Sicelo Gqobana, the Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders and local government departments in Bhisho, said provincial health spokesman Sizwe Kupelo.

This meeting follows the death of a boy in Mzimvubu this week.

He was the 15th boy to die as a result of a botched circumcision this season. [Apart from his death, how was his circumcision different from one that wasn't "botched"?]

In June, a total of 49 boys died while undergoing initiation in the mountains.

"The national department of health is expected to present a plan to the province and then there will be discussions that will seek to bring an end to the problem," Kupelo said.


CBS News (AP)
December 20, 2012

U.N. seeks a global ban on female circumcision

UNITED NATIONS The U.N. General Assembly unanimously approved a resolution Thursday calling for a global ban on female genital mutilation, a centuries-old practice stemming from the belief that circumcising girls controls women's sexuality and enhances fertility.

It has also been linked to religious and cultural practices, although Muslim and Christian leaders have spoken out against it.

Although not legally binding, General Assembly resolutions reflect international concerns and carry moral and political weight.

The U.N. said in 2010 that about 70 million girls and women had undergone the procedure, and the World Health Organization said about 6,000 girls were circumcised every day.

The resolution, cosponsored by over 100 countries and adopted by consensus, calls the practice harmful and a serious threat to the psychological, sexual and reproductive health of women and girls.

It calls on the U.N.'s 193 member states to condemn the practice and launch education campaigns to eliminate it. It also urges all countries to enact and enforce legislation to prohibit the practice and to end impunity for violators.

According to Amnesty International, female genital mutilation is commonplace in 28 countries in Africa as well as in Yemen, Iraq, Malaysia, Indonesia and among certain ethnic groups in South America, but it is also a worldwide concern because it is also practiced by immigrants in diaspora communities.

Amnesty International's U.N. representative Jose Luis Diaz called the resolution "a first" for the General Assembly and an important moment for campaigners against "this grotesque practice."


Not telling parents about the risks of sucking penises is freedom of speech now?

The New York Times
December 18, 2012

Lawyer Says Ritual Circumcision Is Protected Activity

by Russ Buettner

A lawyer for Orthodox Jewish groups asked a federal judge on Tuesday to throw out a New York City regulation requiring parents to sign a consent form before their infant sons undergo a form of Jewish ritual circumcision in which the circumciser uses his mouth to remove blood from the incision.

The lawyer, Shay Dvoretzky, said the practice, which is prevalent in parts of the ultra-Orthodox community, is a constitutionally protected religious activity. He said that requiring ritual circumcisers, known collectively as mohelim, to be involved in conveying the city’s perspective on the procedure would infringe upon their rights of free speech.

“That lies at the heart of First Amendment protection,” Mr. Dvoretzky said.

But a lawyer for the city argued that the regulation was necessary and that the practice most likely caused 11 herpes infections in infants between 2004 and 2011. Two of the infected babies died; at least two others suffered brain damage.

“The health department is not looking at the religion in determining what to do about this conduct,” said Michelle L. Goldberg-Cahn, a lawyer for the city. “The city is looking at the conduct.”

The Orthodox groups, including Agudath Israel of America and the Central Rabbinical Congress, sued the city in October to block the regulation, which was approved by the New York City Board of Health in September but is suspended until a ruling is issued in this case. The groups say that the procedure is safe and that the city has not definitively linked infections to the practice.

Infectious disease experts, several of whom filed briefs in support of the regulation, widely agree that the oral contact, known in Hebrew as metzitzah b’peh, creates a risk of transmission of herpes that can be deadly to infants because of their underdeveloped immune systems.

On Tuesday, Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald, of Federal District Court in Manhattan, heard oral arguments in the case, one that pits the sanctity of ancient religious rituals against the rigors of both modern medicine and secular government regulation [but not, so far, human rights]. She said her decision would come within a few weeks.

Her sharpest inquiries were directed at Mr. Dvoretzky, the lawyer for the Orthodox groups.

She raised a hypothetical situation in which a single religious group amputates left pinkie fingers at birth, and asked Mr. Dvoretzky whether the city would have the authority to regulate the activity. He said it would depend upon whether the practice caused immediate, serious harm. [Does anyone seriously argue that it wouldn't?]

Judge Buchwald also said there was a direct comparison to consent requirements placed on physicians when they perform a circumcision.

Mr. Dvoretzky called that an “apples and oranges” comparison, because a physician would not perform a metzitzah b’peh.

“Wait a second,” Judge Buchwald interrupted. “They can’t perform any circumcision without consent. It’s a surgery.” [She's on the brink of Getting It. Whose consent, when it is unnecessary surgery.]

Mr. Dvoretzky said the city should undertake a broad education campaign, to prevent all infant herpes infections.

But Judge Buchwald said such a campaign would have little impact, because the risk of infections is medically well-known.

Earlier story


December 14, 2012

Grace Adeleye guilty of killing baby in botched circumcision

A nurse has been found guilty of manslaughter after causing a baby's death by botching his circumcision.

Grace Adeleye, 67, carried out the procedure on four-week-old Goodluck Caubergs at an address in Chadderton, Oldham, in April 2010.

The boy bled to death before he could reach hospital the following day.

Adeleye was found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence at Manchester Crown Court.

The nurse, who denied the charge, had told the jury she had done "more than 1,000" circumcision operations without incident. [So much for "Make sure the doctor who does it is experienced"!]

The court heard that Adeleye and Goodluck's parents were from Nigeria, where the circumcision of newborns is the tradition for Christian families.

Adeleye, of Sarnia Court, Salford, was paid £100 to do the operation.

The jury was told that she carried out the procedure using a pair of scissors, forceps and olive oil and without anaesthetic.

She had claimed there had been "no problem" when she left the infant and that his parents had been pleased with the operation.

However, the court heard that when Goodluck's parents had changed his nappy several hours later, they had found a large amount of blood and phoned Adeleye, who had told them to re-dress the wound.

Goodluck's parents called an ambulance the following morning and he was taken to the Royal Oldham Hospital, where he died a short time later.

A spokesman for NHS Oldham said had the family gone to the hospital and asked for a circumcision, "they would have been advised to go to an approved practitioner who would have charged £100, the same as Grace Adeleye".

Following the guilty verdict, Adeleye was bailed while pre-sentencing reports are prepared.

The Crown Prosecution Service's Jane Wragg said the case "was not about the rights or wrongs of circumcision [yet if he hadn't been circumcised, he would still be alive], but the grossly negligent way in which the procedure was undertaken".

"Goodluck Caubergs was a healthy little boy whose tragic death was wholly unnecessary," she said.

"Goodluck died because the standard of care taken by Grace Adeleye in carrying out the circumcision fell far below the standard that should be applied.

Earlier story


December 12, 2012

Germany passes law to protect circumcision after outcry

by Madeline Chambers

Protesters against circumcision, Berlin 12-12-12

Protestors in front of the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin

REUTERS-Pawel Kopczynski

(Reuters) - German politicians passed a law on Wednesday to protect the right to circumcise infant boys in a show of support for Muslims and Jews angered by a local court ban on the practice in May.

The ban - imposed on the grounds that circumcision amounted to "bodily harm" - triggered an emotional debate over the treatment of Jews and other religious minorities, a sensitive subject in a country still haunted by its Nazi past.

The outcry prompted Germany's centre-right government and opposition parties to draw up legislation confirming the practice was legal - overruling the decision by a court in the western city of Cologne.

The new law passed by an overwhelming majority in Bundestag lower house said the operation could be carried out, as long as parents were informed about the risks.

[Hardly "overwhelming" - the 100 votes against were considerably more than expected.]

German vote piechart, 434 for, 100 against, 46 abstained

[By party: Angela Merkel's CDU/CSU most toed her line; only among the Communsts did most vote to protect children:]

Voting in the Bundestag, 12/12/12 by party

Jewish groups welcomed the move.

"This vote and the strong commitment shown ... to protect this most integral practice of the Jewish religion is a strong message to our community for the continuation and flourishing of Jewish life in Germany," said Moshe Kantor, President of the European Jewish Congress.

Germany's Catholic Bishops Conference said it hoped the bill would help safeguard religious freedoms. No comment was immediately available from the country's Central Council of Muslims.


The May ruling centered on the case of a Muslim boy who bled after the procedure [requiring surgery under general anaesthetic and 10 days in hospital] and the ban only applied to the area around Cologne.

But some doctors in other parts of Germany started refusing to carry out circumcisions, saying it was unclear whether they would face prosecution.

Under the new law, a doctor or trained expert must conduct the operation and children must endure as little pain as possible, which means an anesthetic should be used. The procedure cannot take place if there is any doubt about the child's health.

Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said no other country in the world country had made the religious circumcision of boys an offence.

"In our modern and secular state, it is not the job of the state to interfere in children's' upbringing," she said. [Cutting what other body part off is "upbringing"?]

Child welfare group Deutsche Kinderhilfe disagreed, saying the government had "(pushed) through the legalization of the ritual of genital circumcision ... against the advice of child right campaigners and the medical profession." [And against German's Grundgesetz - Basic Law]

Earlier story


7th Space
December 12, 2012

Decline in male circumcision in South Korea

by DaiSik Kim, Sung-Ae Koo and Myung-Geol Pang

To investigate the changing circumcision rate in South Korea in the last decade and to propose underlying causes for this change, in the context of the present fluctuating world-wide trends in circumcision.

Methods: From 2009 to 2011, 3,296 South Korean males (or their parents) aged 0-64 years were asked about their circumcision status, their age at circumcision, and their information level regarding circumcision. We employed non-probability sampling considering the sensitive questions on the study theme.

Results: Currently the age-standardized circumcision rate for South Korean males aged 14-29 is found to be 75.8%.

In an earlier study performed in 2002, the rate for the same age group was 86.3%. Of particular interest, males aged 14-16 show a circumcision rate of 56.4%, while the same age group 10 years ago displayed a much higher percentage, at 88.4%.

In addition, the extraordinarily high circumcision rate of 95.2% found 10 years ago for the 17-19 age group is now reduced to 74.4%. Interestingly, of the circumcised males, the percentage circumcised in the last decade was only 25.2%; i.e., the majority of the currently circumcised males had undergone the operation prior to 2002, indicating that the actual change in the last decade is far greater.

Consistent with this conjecture, the 2002 survey showed that the majority of circumcised males (75.7%) had undergone the operation in the decade prior to that point. Focusing on the flagship age group of 14-16, this drop suggests that, considering the population structure of Korean males, approximately one million fewer circumcision operations have been performed in the last decade relative to the case of non-decline.

This decline is strongly correlated with the information available through internet, newspapers, lectures, books, and television: within the circumcised population, both the patients and their parents had less prior knowledge regarding circumcision, other than information obtained from person to person by oral communication. Within the uncircumcised population, the prior knowledge was far greater, suggesting that information discouraging circumcision played an important role.

Conclusion: South Korean male circumcision is likely to be undergoing a steep decline.

The cause for this decline seems to be the increase in information available on the pros and cons of circumcision.

[Boys in South Korea are commonly circumcised in late childhood or early puberty. They have input into the decision that babies do not - the reason, cynics say, that circumcision advocates press for the operation to be performed in infancy.]


ABC (Australia)
December 7, 2012

Malaysia storm over female circumcision

Audio: Activist Azrul Mohamad Khalib speaks to Connect Asia about female circumcision in Malaysia (ABC News)

Debate is raging in Malaysia over Muslim female genital mutilation as the country's health ministry reportedly develops guidelines to reclassify it as a medical practice.

In 2009, the Fatwa Committee of Malaysia's National Council of Islamic Religious Affairs ruled that "female circumcision", as it has become known, was obligatory for Muslims but if harmful must be avoided.

Human rights activist Azrul Mohamad Khalib has written a scathing commentary calling for abolition of the practice.

He says it has no religious or medical benefits.

But according to the results of a university survey the practice is widespread, with more than 90 per cent of Malay Muslim female respondents reporting they have been circumcised.

Azrul Mohamad Khalib told Radio Australia's Connect Asia: "It certainly is a surprising figure, really. The study involves more than 1,000 female respondents and when we look at it, around 90 per cent or so are Malay Muslims."

Azrul Mohamad Khalib is also communications and resource mobilisation adviser of the SPRINT project with the International Planned Parenthood Federation.

He said that to have anecdotal evidence "captured" in the study is really "both surprising and a little bit disappointing".

What about the suggestion that the health ministry may be about to register the practice?

He said: "One of the things I find quite alarming with regards to this development is that the Ministry of Health is actually depending on a fatwa, a religious opinion that was actually issued by the national fatwa council, in which they made it obligatory, or 'wajib', for all Muslim women to be circumcised.

"It seems that the Ministry of Health is now (instituting) that fatwa.

"So, in contrary to quite a number of best practices as well as a WHO (World Health Organisation) advisory, the Ministry of Health is taking steps now to sort of make it standardised, or medicalised, in such a way that it might be applied to all public health-care facilities."

At the moment the practice is carried out generally by traditional practitioners, as well as private health practitioners, the activist said.

"One of the things that those working on gender issues in Malaysia have come to realise is that a barrier when we deal with these sort of issues is the lack of awareness - the 'why' of such practices and how harmful it can be.

"Certainly when it comes to female circumcision, the position that has been taken is that if it does do no harm why not do it? Well . . . if there are no benefits to doing it, why do it?

"One of the first steps that we are trying to push out forward is that we are very much trying to spread awareness that such practices are unnecessary.

"They're not required by religion, they're not having any medical benefits whatsoever and certainly when we look at it it's strictly cultural in its entirety.

"But as you mentioned, it is going to be extremely hard if more than 90 per cent of the Malay Muslim population already practising it."


Mancunian Matters
December 7, 2012

Nurse accused of killing Oldham baby in botched circumcision used 'discredited' procedure, court hears

by Lucy Kenderdine

A nurse accused of killing a four-week-old Oldham baby in a botched circumcision used a ‘relatively dangerous’ and ‘discredited’ procedure, a court heard today.

Grace Adeleye, 67, of Sarnia Court, Salford, denies manslaughter by gross negligence where 27-day-old Goodluck Caubergs died following the operation at his home.

The jury in Manchester Crown Court heard evidence from expert circumcision consultant Nigel Zoltie on the Nigerian religious ‘clamp and cut’ procedure used by Adeleye in the circumcision.

He said: “Bleeding is such a significant risk that it must be explained to the parents, particularly for the method used on Goodluck.”

Mr Zoltie added that the traditional method carries risks greater than others currently used and the procedure has largely been discredited by medical circles.

But he did argue that it whilst the instruments used by the defendant, artery forceps and surgical scissors, were not the ideal tools, if ‘used with skill’ they could do the job effectively and safely.

The prosecution also argued that the high risks and complications that can arise as a result of the procedure were not properly explained to the parents.

This could mean that full consent for the circumcision was not given as the parents did not fully understand what it entailed and how it would be done, the court were told.

Adeleye also did not get written consent from the parents to carry out the procedure as it is not customary to do so for community and religious circumcisions, the jury heard.

However she defended herself by saying that she discussed the risks with the parents before the procedure through a series of phone calls with the father on the day of the circumcision.

She said: “I explained everything to him and he told me he understood.”

Adeleye added that the fact that they had asked her to perform the circumcision was enough consent for community circumcisions and written consent was never given.

The court also heard evidence surrounding the aftercare of baby Goodluck and what information the parents were given regarding his safety.

Neither parent received written information on what to look out for in terms of complications after the procedure.

Adeleye said: “I told them they should watch out for bleeding and infection.”

The trial continues next week.

Earlier story


Manchester Evening News
December 5, 2012

Salford nurse accused of Oldham baby's manslaughter after 'botched' circumcision defends method

A nurse accused of the manslaughter of a four-week-old baby after a home circumcision said today she had carried out "more than a thousand" such procedures without a single problem.

Grace Adeleye, 67, performed the procedure on Goodluck Caubergs without anaesthetic and using only a pair of scissors, forceps and olive oil, Manchester Crown Court heard.

Goodluck was born on March 22, 2010, in Rochdale Infirmary and died on April 17, after bleeding to death the day after the circumcision, aged 27 days old.

The defendant is originally from Nigeria, where she qualified as a nurse and midwife, as [are] the youngster's parents, where the circumcision of newborns is the tradition for Christian families, the jury heard.

Mrs Adeleye said after praying before the operation, as is her custom, she used the traditional, Nigerian "clamp and cut" method, which she had used hundreds of times, without any pain-killers for the child.

And she told the jury when she left the boy with his parents, Sylvia Attiko and Olajunti Fatunla, there [were] no problems but [she] warned them to monitor closely any bleeding from the wound.


But today Mrs Adeleye, a mother-of-six told the jury she herself performed circumcisions on her two grandsons and carried out more than a thousand such ops while practising in Nigeria.

She said it was custom to have a naming ceremony for the child on the eighth day after birth then she would travel from church to church performing the operation.

And since coming to the UK in 2004, working as a state registered nurse in Litchfield, she had performed a further 20 home circumcisions.

None had required hospital treatment or suffered excessive bleeding.

Mrs Adeleye said she performed the same circumcision technique on Goodluck like the others.

"It's the cultural one in Nigeria. It's clamp and cut," she said.

Peter Wright QC, defending asked her: "Is there anaesthetic administered to the child before the procedure?"

"We don't usually, no," she replied.

"The culture, why we don't need anaesthetic, that's why we do it early in life. We believe if it's done early the pain is not as well as in an older child."

The prosecution claim Adeleye also failed in her duty of care to the child because the boy's parents knew nothing about the procedure or medical matters.

But the witness said she had discussed the procedure and what needed to be done with firstly the father then the mother separately,

"Mr Fatunla asked me , he told me about the procedure he wanted to do," the defendant told the jury.

"He said he has inquired amongst the Nigerians. That he wanted to do the cultural one."

She added: "He said he's scared of blood. He said he doesn't want to see blood."

Mrs Adeleye said she did not want to use "big medical words" so spoke to the father in their own Yoruba dialect from Nigeria - and stressed the boy must be monitored for bleeding from the wound.

The defendant said she questioned the parents about the health of mother and baby, sterilised the instruments she used and cleaned the boy's groin with TCP before the op began.

She used artery forceps to clamp the excess skin for one minute then used surgical scissors to "trim" the foreskin which only took a "few seconds," before gauze, vaseline and bandages were applied.

The skin was given to the boy's father, because Nigerian custom has it, that if it is discarded carelessly the boy will grow into a "promiscuous" man, the jury were told.

Mrs Adeleye said she remained at the house for one hour to monitor any bleeding before leaving.

She told the jury there was "no problem" with the parents thanking her and about to cook a meal before she left.

She told the jury they would hardly have been "dining and wining" if there had been complications with their son's op.


Earlier story


December 5, 2012

Charges brought against two religious circumcisers for the first time in Austria

Criminal charge: grievous bodily harm inflicted on at least 2000 babies and small children

(Vienna, 29 November 2012) – Charges are being brought against the community rabbi and mohel of the Jewish Religious Community in Vienna. The rabbi has stated himself that for religious reasons he has performed operations, where there was no medical indication, on the genitals of over 1000 male babies. The second accused is a general practitioner who runs a circumcision centre in Vienna and is specialized in ritual Islamic circumcision. He is also the president of the Islamic Religious Community in Vienna. On his website he proudly presents photos of circumcised children online. The doctor also faces charges by the disciplinary commission of the Chamber of Doctors. The rabbi will also be charged for violation of medical law.

Circumcision is a severe trauma for children

“The removal of the penis foreskin is a surgical operation on the physical integrity of the patient. In cases where there are no medical reasons, it is a matter of deliberate grievous bodily harm,” explains Anja Oberkofler, lawyer. Even nowadays the operation is often carried out without an anaesthetic and is extremely painful: babies have no protective mechanism and because of the shock often fall into a momentary coma. The circumcision ritual is often performed without any explanation and frequently also without any anaesthetic; for little boys aged between 6 and 8 this causes severe trauma. The foreskin is the most sensitive part of the penis and thus highly erogenous tissue. When it is removed the glans is covered by a layer of hard skin. This can result in the loss of sexual sensitivity and a limited ability to achieve an orgasm, as testified by many of those affected. Possible complications can occur after the operation such as bleeding or mutilation: according to current medical information the ratio is between 2 and 10 per cent.

Religiously motivated bodily harm is not per se exempt from punishment

A further reason for the charge: for an operation with such grave consequences it is necessary to gain the consent of the person concerned. This does not occur in the case of babies and children. As lawyer Oberkofler stated, “It is incomprehensible why religious approval to inflict grievous bodily harm should be exempt from punishment.” Austria has signed the UNO convention on the rights of children which contains a regulation concerning punishment for the circumcision of children due to religious reasons. The right of protection of bodily integrity is also anchored in the Charter of fundamental rights of the European Union. “The fundamental right of the child to have physical integrity ensured cannot be annulled by arguing for the religious freedom of the parents. The religious freedom of the parents in bringing up their children ends where grievous bodily harm inflicted on their child begins”, she says.

Charge brought by victim of abuse and circumcision

The charge is being brought by Sepp Rothwangl, who was subject to sexual abuse in his childhood by a member of the church. “Nowadays I see it as my duty to ensure that children should not suffer physical and emotional harm because of religious privileges which go unpunished.” Rothwangl has also been instrumental in organizing the campaign against church privileges; signatures are at present being collected for this campaign. “I am totally against special rights for religious communities, because it should not be allowed to mutilate children’s sexual organs in the name of religion without being punished,” stated Rothwangl. “This is where civil society and the rule of law have to intervene.” The campaign against church privileges is therefore also in favour of bringing the current criminal charges.

Afflicted persons break their silence

The second person bringing charges is Cahit Kaya, who was circumcised as a child according to Islamic ritual. “I would have liked to have had the freedom myself to decide whether I would be circumcised or not”, says Kaya today. “But without my consent, without any information and without any preparation on the part of the doctor nor on the part of my parents, I was circumcised in a state hospital in Vorarlberg. Many Moslems suffer a great deal from the sexual consequences of their circumcision and are ashamed to have been a victim of this operation. If they do indeed talk about it, then only in their very closest circle of friends. This silence finally has to be broken.”



To earlier news (headlines)

Back to the Intactivism index page.