Intactivism News

January 2013

To more recent news


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

- thanks to Joseph4GI


The Jewish Daily Forward
January 30, 2013

Orthodox Rabbis Vow To Resist Consent Forms for Controversial Circumcision Rite

Balk at New York City Health Rule on Metzitzah B'Peh

by Seth Berkman

The leading association for mohelim who practice a risky oral blood suctioning technique in their circumcisions has vowed not to cooperate with New York City’s new health regulations governing use of the technique, known as metzitzah b’peh.

Brooklyn mohel Rabbi Avrohom Cohn, chairman of the American Board of Ritual Circumcision, said his group would not have parents sign waiver forms, which the city is now requiring as a condition for performing metzitzah b’peh.

“He’s the mayor of the biggest city in the world, but I’m not going to listen to him,” Cohn said, referring to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has strongly backed the new rules. “I have another mayor, the Almighty, and I will do it His way.”


Failure by a mohel who practices metzitzah b’peh to produce the relevant signed consent forms on request is “a violation of the New York City Health Code,” the DOHMH said in a statement to the Forward. Violating that code can lead to “a range of penalties,” the department added, including fines up to $2,000.

Orthodox defenders of the practice have filed a notice of appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to reverse Buchwald’s ruling, but that is pending.


Now that the DOHMH rule is enforced, Orthodox defenders of the practice appear to be split on how to respond. David Zwiebel, executive vice president of Agudath Israel, an influential umbrella organization for ultra-Orthodox groups, said his organization has not issued any directive advising whether or not parents should sign the consent forms.


New York City council member Lewis Fidler told the Forward at that time that the regulation was “probably next to impossible to enforce.” Fidler said: “Will you have undercover agents at a bris? In the end this will probably be a regulation flagrantly violated.”

In its statement to the Forward, DOHMH said it had “no plans for continuous monitoring” of mohels. “DOHMH will request forms from mohelim when investigating neonatal herpes cases potentially caused by direct oral suction or when investigating complaints by parents about direct oral suction,” the statement said. [Fat lot of good it does a baby with herpes that his parents have given informed consent for him to be infected.]

Cohn said he was working with other mohelim to organize a “day of prayer” that would draw “millions of people” who believe “in the existence of God” to protest in front of Bloomberg’s office in City Hall.

“We’re working very hard, spending a fortune of money on this,” he said.

Niederman said he did not know of any planned protests and that official bodies involved in the lawsuit have never discussed such action.

Earlier story


January 30, 2013

Dangerous circumcision clamp still in use in Africa

by Hugh Young

While the Mogen circumcision clamp is no longer manufactured in the USA, the Mogen company having been driven out of business by legal action, Mogen clamps are still being tested in Africa with a view to circumcising babies to reduce HIV-acquisition. No study has shown infant circumcision has any effect on HIV acquisition.

In 2010, a Florida family won $10.8 million in damages from the Mogen company, after the glans (head) of their son's penis was partially cut off in a Mogen clamp. This followed another successful claim for $7.5 million. As a result the Mogen Company went out of business.

Now, two studies from Africa, involving Mogen clamps have been published, suggesting they should be used on babies there.

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2013 Jan 1;62(1):e1-6. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0b013e318275741b.

A controlled trial of three methods for neonatal circumcision in lusaka, zambia.

Bowa K, Li MS, Mugisa B, Waters E, Linyama DM, Chi BH, Stringer JS, Stringer EM.


Neonatal male circumcision (NMC) is not routinely practiced in Zambia, but it is a promising long-term HIV prevention strategy. We studied the feasibility and safety of three different NMC methods.

We enrolled healthy newborns in a controlled trial of the Mogen, Gomco, and Plastibell devices. Doctors, nurses, and clinical officers were trained to perform Mogen, Gomco, and Plastibell techniques. Each provider performed at least 10 circumcisions using each device. Neonates were reviewed at 1 and 6 weeks after circumcision for adverse events.

Between October 2009 and March 2011, 17 providers (5 physicians, 9 nurse midwives, and 3 clinical officers) without previous NMC experience were trained, and 640 circumcisions were performed. The median infant birth weight was 3.2 kg (interquartile range: 2.9-3.5 kg), and median age at the time of procedure was 11 days (interquartile range: 7-18 days); 149 babies (23.3%) were exposed to HIV. The overall adverse event rate was 4.9% (n = 31/630), and the moderate-severe adverse event rate was 4.1% (n = 26/630). Rates did not significantly differ by method. Most providers (65%) preferred Mogen clamp over Gomco and Plastibell.

Doctors, nurses, and clinical officers can be trained to safely provide NMC in a programmatic setting. The 3 studied techniques had comparable safety profiles. Mogen clamp was the preferred device for most providers.

That is, one baby in 24 suffered a moderate-to-severe adverse event, and one baby in 20 any adverse event.

PLoS One. 2012;7(10):e47395. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0047395. Epub 2012 Oct 17

Safety [or danger] of over twelve hundred infant male circumcisions using the Mogen clamp in Kenya.

Young MR, Bailey RC, Odoyo-June E, Irwin TE, Obiero W, Ongong'a DO, Badia JA, Agot K, Nordstrom SK.


Several sub-Saharan African countries plan to scale-up infant male circumcision (IMC) for cost-efficient HIV prevention. Little data exist about the safety of IMC in East and southern Africa. We calculated adverse event (AE) rate and risks for AEs associated with introduction of IMC services at five government health facilities in western Kenya.

AE data were analyzed for IMC procedures performed between September, 2009 and November, 2011. Healthy infants aged 2 months [or less] and weighing 2.5 kg [or more] were eligible for IMC. Following parental consent, trained clinicians provided IMC services free of charge under local anesthesia using the Mogen clamp. Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were used to explore AE risk factors.

A total of 1,239 IMC procedures were performed. Median age of infants was 4 days (IQR=1, 16). The overall AE rate among infants reviewed post-operatively was 2.7% (18/678; 95%CI: 1.4, 3.9). There was one severe AE involving excision of a small piece of the lateral aspect of the glans penis. Other AEs were mild or moderate and were treated conservatively. Babies one month of age or older were more likely to have an AE (OR 3.20; 95%CI: 1.23, 8.36). AE rate did not differ by nurse versus clinical officer or number of previous procedures performed.

IMC services provided in Kenyan Government hospitals in the context of routine IMC programming have AE rates comparable to those in developed countries. The optimal time for IMC is within the first month of life.

The Adverse Event frequency of 2.7% reported here is an order of magnitude greater than that reported by the AAP. Any claim the AAP makes of "the benefits exceeding the risks" is diluted by this. The AE rate is also higher than that of 1.7% reported by Weiss, Larke, Halperin and Schenker.

They report a [parental?] dissatisfaction rate of 4% and less than 1 in 10 of those would not circumcise their son again.

Earlier story


January 22, 2013

Routine circumcision is insane

by Harry G Lindahl, Associate Professor of Paediatric Surgery
Helsinki University Children's Hospital

Re: "Circumcision Policy Statement" 130:3 585-586doi:10.1542/peds.2012-1989

The evolution of mammals gained speed about 65 million years ago, when a meteorite fell on Yucatan and killed the dinosaurs. For all that we know, at that time, the mammals had a foreskin. If the mammal foreskin would be such a harmful piece of tissue as the pro circumcision lobbyists claim, it certainly would have fallen off during the 65 million years of evolution. However, mammals, including the human species, still have a foreskin. Rat is the most successful mammal on this planet. It has a foreskin. Evolution is merciless, and whatever mistakes it makes about the less important organs, such as the brain or stomach, it certainly knows best about the reproductive organs.

Therefore, the claim, that there are health benefits in excising a piece of healthy tissue from the penis of a healthy neonate, is as absurd as would be the claim that amputating the left little finger of a neonate has health benefits. However, if you would make such an absurd claim, either of the prepuce or of the left little finger, you would have to provide the highest level of proof according to the principles of evidence based medicine. This means several randomized controlled studies performed by independent researchers, all having the same result. There is no such evidence, neither of the prepuce nor of the left little finger.

The AAP is having a "Circumcision task force". This is as absurd as having a task force for "The Routine Amputating of the Left Little Finger of a Neonate". Is the AAP insane? To an European Paediatric Surgeon it seems so.

Earlier story


Brandford Expositor (Canada)
January 23, 2013

Oprah protested for endorsing face cream made from foreskins

by Jim Morris

Demonstration against Oprah Winfrey's endoresment of foreskin-based cosmetics

Picture by James Loewen

VANCOUVER – Her advice may be followed by hordes of people, but a Vancouver group wants Oprah Winfrey to explain why she has endorsed an anti-wrinkle cream made with human foreskins.

Winfrey makes her first appearance in Vancouver on Thursday before a sold-out crowd at Rogers Arena.

But as crowds pack into the stadium, Glen Callender, founder of the Canadian Foreskin Awareness Project, will be outside with his supporters protesting Winfrey's support of SkinMedica.

Callender says it’s hypocritical of Winfrey to speak out against female genital mutilation, while saying it’s all right to use a face cream made from foreskins from circumcised infant males.

“Imagine how Oprah would respond if a skin cream for men went on the market that was made from parts of the genitalia of little girls,” Callender said. “That would be an outrage and rightly so.”

Callender expects “a dozen to two dozen people” to attend the protest.

Advertisements for SkinMedica say Winfrey has described the product as her “magic fountain of youth and miracle wrinkle solution.” Winfrey didn’t immediately respond to an email asking for comment.

The makers of SkinMedica have said they use foreskin fibroblast — a piece of human skin used as a culture to grow other skin or cells.

“I would like Oprah to come to her senses and realize that all children have a fundamental human right to keep all their genitalia and to decide for themselves if anything gets cut off,” Callender said Wednesday.

Callender describes the Foreskin Awareness Project as Canada's “feistiest pro-foreskin advocacy group” with the goal of “foreskin education and appreciation.”


WAtoday (Western Australia)
January 25, 2013

Genital mutilation parents appear in court

by Aleisha Orr

The Perth mother and father alleged to have organised the illegal circumcision of their baby girl in Bali have made a brief appearance in court.

The 44-year-old father and 42-year-old mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared in Perth Magistrates Court on Wednesday charged with female genital mutilation offences.

Police allege the parents went to Perth Airport in August with the intention of taking the girl to Bali for the procedure.

The matter was adjourned until February 27 to allow further consultation with the treating doctor in the case.

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.

Earlier story


January 23, 2013

His foreskin was cut off!

An 18-year-old boy was found in Kutlwanong with his throat slit and his foreskin removed from his genitals, Free State police said

Sgt Puleng Motsoeneng said the body was found on Saturday by a passerby walking near Tshepong mine.

“When he saw traces of blood, he became curious and followed the blood traces.

“To his dismay he made the gruesome discovery and found a teenage boy lying in a pool of his own blood, still in his school uniform.”

She said the principal of JC Motume High School identified him as Lerato Samuel Nyama.

No arrests have been made.

[Comments suggest the young man was murdered either to use his foreskin for witchcraft, or because he had seen boys during their initiation school.]


Yes, a foreskin is a good airhead repellent....

Showbiz Spy
January , 2013

Harry Styles told to get circumcised

by Adam

HARRY Styles dumped Taylor Swift because she wanted him to get circumcised.

The One Direction star apparently hated that Taylor kept nagging him about clipping his manhood.

“Taylor didn’t like the fact that English-born Harry was not circumcised – she even suggested he undergo surgery!” a source said.

“Harry made it clear he had no intention of changing anything. He asked her not to mention it again. But Taylor never missed the chance to poke fun or make a comment.

“At first, Harry just rolled his eyes and tried to ignore her, but the final straw came when she suggested once again that he get…snipped!”


And this is what all the fuss was about!

NYC 311
(January 22, 2013)

Circumcision Consent Form

Ritual Jewish circumcision with direct oral suctioning (metzitzah b'peh) can only be performed after a parent has given written permission.

The consent form needs to be signed by both the mohel and at least one parent.

Download the Circumcision Consent Form.

Consent to perform oral suction during circumcision

Printed first and last name of individual performing circumcision:________________________________

Date of infant's birth (month/day/year): _________________________

I understand that direct oral suction will be performed on my child and that the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene advises parents that direct oral suction should not be performed because it exposes an infant to the risk of transmission of herpes simplex virus infection, which may result in brain damage or death.

Printed first and last name of parent: __________________________________________

Signature of parent:________________________________________

Date of signature (month/day/year): ____________________________

A copy of this signed consent form shall be provided to the parent or legal guardian of the infant.

[logo] NYC

[The mohel does not need to sign the form, or give any contact details. Only one parent needs to sign it, even if the other bitterly disagrees with metzitzah or even circumcision. The form is not kept on file anywhere. There is no mechanism for ensuring that either parent sees it or signs it.]

Earlier story


The Jakarta Post
January 22, 2013

Muslim body pushes Indonesian govt to circumcise girls

The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) is bucking a United Nation's campaign to ban female circumcision, demanding that the government keep the practice legal.

MUI deputy secretary-general Amirsyah Tambunan told reporters at a press conference on Monday that the government should continue to allow female circumcision, calling it a constitutional right.

"Circumcision is a part of the Islamic teachings that were recommended for Muslims, both male and female," Amrisyah said at MUI headquarters as quoted by Antara news agency. "The MUI and Islamic organisations in the country firmly stand against any efforts to ban female circumcision."

Female circumcision performed by licensed doctors, nurses or midwives was legalised by a Health Ministry regulation issued in 2010 that defined the practice as "incising the skin that covers the front part of clitoris, without harming the clitoris".

Last month, the UN approved a non-binding resolution urging its 193 member states to enforce legislation prohibiting female genital mutilation.

According to the World Health Organisation, female genital mutilation can cause urination problems, severe bleeding and complications during childbirth.

In Indonesia the practice ranges from the symbolic - a small tap with a bamboo stick - to slicing the clitoris off with scissors.

The National Commission on Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan) has consistently urged that the 2010 ministerial regulation be revoked, claiming it violated women's reproductive rights.

Meanwhile, Huzaemah, a member of MUI's fatwa commission, said that female circumcision was a religious obligation that should be done to control women's sexual desire.

Separately, the executive director of the Wahid Institute, Ahmad Suaedy, disagreed, saying that the practice was based on fiqih (Islamic jurisprudence) that could be interpreted differently by different ulemas.

"Female circumcision is not in the sharia. Maybe, the MUI drew their conclusions from a fiqih that was applied in a particular context and region," he told The Jakarta Post.

Meanwhile, Enrico Renaldi, a physician from the Indonesian General Practitioners Association, said that local medical schools did not teach female circumcision procedures.

"I also have never heard of female circumcision training for doctors. Traditionally, this practice is only performed by midwives," he told the Post.

Earlier story


Jakarta Globe
January 21, 2013

Rights Groups Push for Female Circumcision Ban

The National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) spoke out against the Ministry of Health’s refusal to ban female circumcision on Monday, calling the practice, which is tolerated in some communities, a form of gender discrimination. [How is that, when male genital cutting is allowed?]

Rural Indonesian Muslims have historically tolerated a form of female circumcision where a small cut is made to the clitoris of a young girl by a dukun (shaman) shortly after birth.

The Ministry of Health banned health workers from performing female genital cutting in a 2006 decree. But in 2010, Health Minister Endang Rahayu Sedyaningsih issued guidelines that instructed health workers to “scrape the skin covering the clitoris, without injuring the clitoris” in an effort to provide a measure of safety in the widely unregulated industry.

Women's rights groups criticized the decree, arguing that the regulation was a tacit approval of female circumcision. Now, three years later, women’s rights groups are pushing for Health Minister Nafsiah Mboi to ban the practice.

“Strange the Ministry of Health, as an institution, can be directed by the MUI [the Indonesian Ulema of Council],” Komnas Perempuan commissioner Ninik Rahayu, told the Indonesian newspaper Tempo.

Nafsiah said the ministry approved of health workers performing female circumcision under the existing guidelines.

“If [women] would like to get circumcised please make an inquiry to a health agency so a medical officer can handle [the procedure],” Nafsiah told Tempo. “Do not go to a dukun [shaman] because [circumcisions done by shamans] are prone to infection.”

Nafsiah said that female circumcision did not cause any negative side effects if the clitoris isn’t cut.

Komnas Perempuan questioned the ministry’s decision.

“What standards?” Ninik said. “Our medical officers have never been trained to perform female circumcision.”

The MUI rejected any efforts to ban the practice on Monday. MUI chairman Ma’ruf Amin instead urged all hospitals and health centers in Indonesia to service those who want their daughters circumcised.

“What we reject is the ban. If there is a request [to perform a female circumcision], don’t turn [the parents] away,” Ma’ruf said.

The MUI considers circumcision an act of religious devotion. The MUI issued a fatwa five years ago, saying that female circumcision is a religious service.

But Ninik argued that, under Islamic law, female circumcision is considered a tradition, not a religious order.

Earlier story


January 17, 2013

Sheffield circumcision cuts spark backstreet op fear

Funding for male circumcision for non-medical reasons in Sheffield is to be cut, sparking concerns there will be a rise in backstreet operations.

About 200 circumcisions are carried out for religious reasons in Sheffield each year, at a cost of £200,000.

NHS Sheffield's Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is looking to make savings and has proposed making families pay for the procedure.

Members of the city's Islamic community have complained about the decision.

Community worker Wahid Nazir said Muslim and Jewish communities would be affected.

"If these proposals go ahead these people that are doing these circumcisions in the backstreets, people that are not medically qualified, are going to become more prominent... and there's going to be more problems and young children are going to be put at risk.

Circumcision in the UK

  • Most circumcisions in the UK are done for non-therapeutic reasons (religious)
  • Currently no formal qualifications are required to perform the operation
  • Jewish boys are circumcised when they are eight-days-old by a Mohel - a Jewish person trained in the practice of brit milah, the covenant of circumcision [So the NHS is not involved.]
  • Most Muslim boys and some Christians are also circumcised as babies. [Circumcision has no place in Christianity]

    There is no equivalent of a Jewish Mohel in Islam or Christianity with procedures usually carried out by doctors

  • Some medical experts have called for religious circumcision to be offered on the NHS to minimise the risk of post-operative complications

"In Sheffield it was advertised and people were encouraged to go to the NHS and get things done properly and it was very successful. So we're taking a backward step."

The move would bring Sheffield in line with national guidelines from the Department of Health, which say circumcisions should not be funded when they are requested for non-medical reasons.

In a statement, the CCG said: "Nationally, the NHS does not fund routine or religious circumcisions but despite this, Sheffield continues to spend £200,000 a year on these operations.

"As a CCG, we have to review what is the best use of funding for the half a million people who live in our city and as we only carry out around 200 circumcisions a year, we can assume that many parents are already using non-NHS funded services.

"As a CCG we are keen to ensure that all services we fund are medically necessary and appropriate whilst also providing the best value for money for all."

Earlier story


Renewed effort to age-restrict infant genital cutting

January 15, 2013

American Effort to Ban Circumcision of Minors Kicks into High Gear

Genital integrity activists from across the country are demanding that lawmakers ban the practice of circumcising boys. Popularly known as “intactivists”, these children’s rights advocates submitted the Male Genital Mutilation (MGM) Bill proposal to more than 2,000 legislators this week in an effort to require gender neutrality in federal and state laws that regulate genital cutting.

As director of MGMbill.org’s Indiana state office in Indianapolis, Jeff Cowsert wants all boys to be able to grow up with their genitals left intact. “When I was eight years old, my religious friends told me about circumcision,” said Cowsert. “I was silently outraged, and for the remainder of my childhood I mourned the fact that I didn't have a complete body. I would not have chosen to be cut if given the choice, and I strongly feel that infant circumcision needs to be banned so that men can make their own choices about their own bodies when they are mature adults.”

Ending male circumcision is a goal shared by many women, as well. Shelley Wright-Estevam is a mother and business owner who serves as the group’s state office director in Selbyville, Delaware. “You shouldn’t have to be born female to be protected from genital cutting,” said Wright-Estevam, who has frequently been spotted spreading her message of intactivism on the boardwalk in nearby Rehoboth Beach. “I have heard some people argue that parents should be the ones to make that decision, but violence against a child is not a private matter. Circumcision is not just unnecessary; it also removes a male’s most sensitive body part. It's unethical, painful, harmful, and occasionally even fatal.”

Male circumcision was one of the top issues for lawmakers around the world in 2012. It started in January when a Helsinki district court convicted a man of assault and battery for circumcising two Muslim boys. The following month, the Swedish Pediatric Society issued a statement calling circumcision an “assault” that should be banned. Then, in June, the Centre Party in Norway called on the Red-Green coalition government to grant boys legal protection from circumcision.

Two months later in August, the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute recommended that the state impose a general prohibition on circumcision while Denmark opened an investigation to determine if circumcision violates its health code. And in October, Finland’s largest opposition party promised to introduce a bill that would criminalize circumcision of boys.

But the biggest news came out of Germany over the summer, when a Cologne district court ruled that circumcision of male children is a crime. Although Germany’s parliament later overrode the decision by passing a new law, the German Pediatric Association called for that law to be rejected, stating that boys have “the same basic constitutional legal rights to physical integrity as girls”.

Circumcision was a hot topic in America, as well, when children’s rights groups slammed an American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement that sanctioned parental access to newborn circumcision. New York City also implemented disclosure and consent rules regarding the practice of ritual circumcision after two baby boys died from contracting herpes during the procedure. And with H.R. 2400 (the “Religious and Parental Rights Defense Act of 2011”) failing to get past the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the path is now clear for state governments to prohibit circumcision of male minors within their own borders.

Matthew Hess, president of MGMbill.org, said lawmakers can’t hide from the issue forever. “There are too many people speaking out against circumcision now,” said Hess. “What once was a trickle of condemnation has now become a tidal wave. Modern parents are armed with information on the harmful effects of foreskin amputation, and circumcised men are much more willing to speak out against what was done to them as infants. I think the days of legalized childhood circumcision in this country are numbered.”

In addition to submitting the MGM Bill proposal to every member of the 113th Congress, the group’s representatives submitted similar bills to every state lawmaker in California, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington.

Earlier story


the New York Times
January 10, 2013

Consent Rule May Proceed for a Circumcision Ritual

by Sharon Otterman

New York City health officials may proceed temporarily with a plan to require parental consent before an infant may undergo a particular Jewish circumcision ritual, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

City officials say 12 cases of herpes simplex virus have likely resulted from the procedure, known as metzitzah b’peh, since 2000, including one Brooklyn case reported this week. Two infants died, and two suffered permanent brain damage. Most Jews no longer practice metzitzah b’peh, in which the circumciser uses his mouth to suck blood from the wound, but it remains common among some ultra-Orthodox communities.

Citing the risk of infection, health officials in September introduced a regulation that would require parents to provide written consent stating that they were aware of the health risks.

But the Central Rabbinical Congress of the United States and Canada, Agudath Israel of America, and the International Bris Association sued in October to stop the rule from taking effect, calling it an infringement of their constitutional rights. They also denied the procedure posed a risk and asked a federal court to put the rule on hold while the litigation proceeded.

In denying the request for a preliminary injunction, Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald of the United States District Court for the Southern District wrote that the risks were clear.

“In light of the quality of the evidence presented in support of the regulation, we conclude that a continued injunction against enforcement of the regulation would not serve the public interest,” she wrote.

City lawyers said they were gratified by the ruling, but Andrew Moesel, a spokesman for the plaintiffs, said the groups would appeal. “We continue to believe that this case is a wrongful and unnecessary intrusion into the rights of freedom of religion and speech,” he said.

Earlier story


National Secular Society
January 10, 2013

Sheffield hospitals plan to charge for non-medical circumcision

Hospitals in Sheffield carry out about 200 non-medical male circumcisions a year, costing the Health Authority in the region of £170,000. Now, in an attempt to save money, the NHS Sheffield's Clinical Commissioning Group has proposed to make families who want their sons circumcised pay for the procedure. Each operation costs about £1,000.

But Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, who is a director at the Pakistan Muslim Centre in Sheffield, is worried about the potential knock-on effects.

He told Postcode Gazette: "I'm very concerned. Whilst it may seem like an easy saving, this could lead to a serious increase in backstreet operations. This is a dangerous path to tread and as a result may actually lead to parents seeking emergency treatment and actually increase burden on the NHS."

[This argument is never used to justify state funding of female genital cutting.]

Dr Margaret Ainger, a GP from Page Hall medical practice on Owler Lane and lead for children's services in the NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "We understand that for some, circumcisions are an important part of their religion and therefore our doctors are working with our key community groups on how best we could make advice and guidance available to those who need it. Conversations with these groups are planned and we are keen to get people involved in tailoring this advice."

The cut is set to come into force in the 2013/14 financial year. The commissioning group has been in discussions with Sheffield Children's Hospital about the possibility of instead providing a private service at the hospital.

A report to be presented at a council meeting next week states: "(The team is) exploring the potential to develop a service which will provide care under local anaesthetic on a private basis and paid for by the children's parents."

Dr Ainger added: "No decision has been made as of yet but we are exploring what options would be available to the Sheffield public by working in partnership with both the Children's Hospital and local authority to make sure that any family wishing to circumcise their sons have the best possible advice and guidance available."

Male circumcision, which is the surgical removal of the foreskin, is often carried out for non-medical reasons such as religious beliefs or personal preferences. It is common in both the Muslim and Jewish communities.

According to national guidelines from the Department of Health, circumcisions should not be funded when they are requested for non-medical reasons. The proposals bringSheffieldinto line with this national guidance.

Dr Ainger said: "Non-therapeutic circumcisions are not clinical interventions and as a group, we would not want anybody to undergo a medical procedure if there was no specific clinical need."

Terry Sanderson, President of the National Secular Society, commented: "This is yet another example of public money being used for religious purposes. There is absolutely no need for children to be subjected to such a procedure – in fact there are plenty of arguments why they shouldn't be. The idea that scarce NHS funding is being used for something that has only religious and no medical significance is scandalous.

"There is however a real danger that those seeking circumcisions will turn to practitioners without medical qualifications. We call on the Government to amend Child protection legislation to make it unlawful for anyone other than qualified medical staff to circumcise minors for any reason. This is just a first step, though. We believe that non-therapeutic circumcision should not be permitted until the boy is old enough to give informed consent.

"Non-therapeutic infant circumcision is a breach of children's rights and it's time legislators reconsidered the current carte blanche afforded to infant circumcision on the basis that the parents' freedom of religion is the only consideration. This approach has already been taken by a Cologne Court and is backed by reputable medical bodies including the Royal Dutch Medical Association."


Govtrack US
January 2, 2013

"Boxcutter circumcision" Bill dies

A bill that would have prohibited banning infant male circumcision in the United States, has died without being enacted.

In fact, H.R. 2400 (112th): Religious and Parental Rights Defense Act of 2011, would have allowed anyone, trained or not, to circumcise any male up to the age of 18, so long as one parent consented.

The bill was proposed by Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) in June 2012 and co-sponsored by nine others. It was referred to the Senate's Energy and Commerce Committee, but lapsed in the new year.

Earlier story


H R 4310
January 2, 2013

Taking girls outside US for genital cutting now illegal

A federal amendment to criminalize transporting girls out of the country for circumcision was signed into law on Wednesday as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013.

The new statute, introduced by Mary Bono Mack (), reads:

SEC. 1088. TRANSPORT FOR FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION. Section 116 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

"(d) Whoever knowingly transports from the United States and its territories a person in foreign commerce for the purpose of conduct with regard to that person that would be a violation of subsection (a) if the conduct occurred within the United States, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both."

Earlier story


Africa Review
January 2, 2013

Museveni sticks to position on circumcision

by Agatha Ayebazibwe

Uganda's President Museveni has reaffirmed his earlier stand against safe male circumcision in eliminating HIV, saying the campaigns in favour of the method are misleading Ugandans into unchecked sexual behaviour. [He's right.]

In his end of year message to the nation on Sunday, the President said there was need to revisit the earlier strategy of Abstinence, Being faithful and Condom use (ABC) strategy if the current trend of HIV is to be reversed.

The 2011 Uganda Aids Indicator Survey figures show that the prevalence of HIV among adults has increased from 6.4 per cent in 2005 to 7.3 per cent in 2011. Ministry of Health figures also indicate that new infections increased by 11.5 per cent between 2007/8 and 2010/11.

The President said Ugandans should return to morality and sexual discipline if HIV\Aids is to be fought effectively, adding that HIV/Aids is not a medical but a moral problem that should be treated as such.

Mr Museveni had made the same call in Rakai during the World Aids Day celebrations on December 1, 2012.

The President’s call is in disagreement with that of [some] scientists who advocate for safe male circumcision as another preventive measure which offers [only men] up to 60 per cent protection from the HIV virus that is yet to have a cure.


Officials of the Aids Control Programme (ACP) at the Ministry of Health received the news with criticism, saying HIV is a big problem in Uganda that cannot be tackled with a single strategy but rather a combination of all scientifically-proven preventive measures, including circumcision.

“Currently, the scourge is on the rise despite the fact that the ABC campaign has existed for several years now,” said Dr Alex Ario, the ACP programme manager. Dr Ario added: “Other methods cannot be excluded at a time when we have to ensure that the rate of infection is brought down.”

He, however, said the government should acknowledge that there is a problem so it can adopt all the available preventive measures. “We are not telling people to go on rampage because they are circumcised. [They can do that without being told.] We will continue to use a combination of preventive measures until that time when we will get one method that offers 100 per cent protection against HIV.”

The UNAIDS Country Representative, Mr Musa Bungundu, said the ABC strategy is not enough to reduce the increasing HIV infection rate and therefore should be used alongside other measures.

He said if the President thinks that circumcision is not effective, the government should ensure that policies against mother-to-child transmission of HIV are implemented beyond paper to check the more than 15,000 children who are born infected every year.


Holy Foreskin, Robin, when will the insanity stop?

Hurriyet Daily News (Turkey)
January 2, 2013

Child's penis cut off in circumcision feast, family claims two million TL compensation

The family of a 3-year-old child whose penis was cut off during a collective circumcision feast in the southeastern province of Batman has demanded 2 million Turkish Liras [$US 1,120,000] in compensation from the Ministry of Health by applying to the Council of State.

The family of the boy sued the ministry in Batman's administrative court after the incident two years ago, with the local court awarding 600,000 Turkish Liras [$US 337,000] in damages.

However, not satisfied with this amount, the family is claiming that the boy may require further treatment, including treatment abroad. It is also claimed that the circumcision was not performed by a qualified doctor, but rather an unqualified member of hospital personnel.

To earlier news (headlines)

Back to the Intactivism index page.