Intactivism News

August-December 2013

To more recent news


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

- thanks to Joseph4GI


December 30, 2013

Some Call For End To Religious Circumcisions After Baby Injured During Bris

by Marty Griffin

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – There’s strong reaction after a KD Investigation.

KDKA reported on a baby boy, who was seriously injured during a religious circumcision ceremony at a local synagogue.

Now, a growing number of Jews in our area and across the country, are questioning whether the ceremony is even necessary, given the risks.

The incident involving an 8-day-old baby boy, detailed in a recent lawsuit, happened at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill.

The Jewish circumcision ceremony was performed by Pittsburgh Rabbi Mordechai Rosenberg, who is also a mohel.

Sometime during the bris, Rosenberg severed the baby boy’s penis.

The boy was rushed to Children’s Hospital, where doctors performed eight hours of microsurgery, described as successful.

“So, yes,” said Dr. Mark [R]eiss, “one-hundred percent complication rate.”

[This quotation is taken right out of its 2009 context.]

[R]eis[s] is among a small, but growing number of Jewish leaders who, because of complications, believe circumcision for Jewish boys is not necessary. And he claims it’s dangerous.

“There’s no question,” he said. “There is death from circumcision every year. And in the African countries, where medicine is much more primitive, the death rate is much higher.”

Locally, a growing number of Jews want to take a closer look at circumcision, even getting a non-cutting ceremony.

“It’s the fundamental right of a child to keep his healthy body parts,” said Greg Hartley with Intact America.

The group believes that circumcision should be illegal.

“We live in a circumcision culture,” Hartley said. “It’s assumed to be an automatic part of birth. But it’s not. Most of the world doesn’t do this.”

Rabbi Rosenberg did not wish to speak on camera, but did talk to KDKA’s Marty Griffin. He called the incident a “tragic incident” and a “horrible situation,” but he also says he’s trained to do this and continues to perform the procedure.

Earlier story


SABC (South Africa)
December 27, 2013

Burnt initiates taken to hospital

Three initiates who were burnt at an initiation school in Matatiele in the Eastern Cape have been taken to hospital. They were burnt after their makeshift hut caught fire.

Health Department spokesperson, Sizwe Kupelo, says an ambulance was dispatched after reports of a fire at the initiation school.

However, earlier reports indicated that when the ambulance arrived at the school, the initiates' handler refused to release them into the care of the medics.


Meanwhile, a 21-year-old traditional nurse has been arrested for allegedly beating up initiates in Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape.


Police report that 30 people have died so far in the Eastern Cape after botched circumcisions.

The deaths have sparked a premature closure of Eastern Cape summer circumcision season. They are expected to be closed mid-January due to the continuous mushrooming of illegal initiation schools.

The Eastern Pondoland area of the Eastern Cape is notorious for its bogus circumcision schools. In the past 10 years, about 1 000 boys have died in the province and many others have lost their private parts.

Earlier story


So they admit that circumcision does impair sensitivity when there's money in it

December 27, 2013

Innovus Pharma Announces Start of Its CIRCUMserum(TM) Commercial Phase in Morocco With Initial Order of 10,000 Units by Its Partner Ovation Pharma

LA JOLLA, Calif., Dec 27, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE via COMTEX) -- Innovus Pharmaceuticals, Inc., ("Innovus Pharma" or the "Company" [Is this a press release or a legal contract?]) www.innovuspharma.com INNV 0.00% announced today that its topical treatment for reduced penile sensitivity, CIRCUMserum(TM), has received importation and commercialization approval from the Moroccan Ministry of Health. In addition, the Company announced that its partner Ovation Pharma SARL ("Ovation Pharma") placed its first order for 10,000 units of CIRCUMserum(TM) ... Ovation Pharma may pay Innovus Pharma up to approximately $11.25 million ...

Bassam Damaj, President and Chief Executive Officer of Innovus Pharma commented, "We are very excited ... "

About CIRCUMserum and Reduced Penile Sensitivity

CIRCUMserum(TM) is a proprietary daily-use topical cream specifically designed for circumcised men. CIRCUMserum(TM) is a blend of essential botanical oils and other FDA-GRAS ("generally recognized as safe") ingredients and is intended to be part of a [circumcised] man's daily grooming regimen. [Intact men may not use the product, suggesting it would weaken or harm the intact mucosa.] CIRCUMserum(TM) works by making the skin more sensitive with the continuous use of the product ...

Reduced Penile Sensitivity ("RPS") results from a gradual loss of penile sensitivity over time. As a person ages, the dulling effect can increase. RPS can happen at any age and its prevalence is consistent across all ages. According to the CIA world fact book, over 98 percent of Moroccan men are circumcised, representing a group of approximately 15 million individuals. Recent medical studies identify a correlation between circumcision and reduced sensation. The British Journal of Urology International reports that circumcised men can experience up to a 75 percent reduction in sensitivity compared to men who are not circumcised. In a user survey conducted by Centric Research Institute, 75 percent of circumcised participants reported an increase in sensation and greater sexual satisfaction after regular use of the product and 80 percent reported feeling results after just 14 days of using CIRCUMserum(TM). [So much for studies claiming that circumcised men's sex could not be any better....]


[This, like surgical foreskin restoration, is reminiscent of Dr Seuss's "The Sneetches" Like Dr Monkey MacBean, they propose to make money both by circumcising, and by reversing its effects. The existence of CIRCUMserum(TM) raises the question, if it needs to be undone, why do it?]


December 27, 2013

Rabbi Sued After Baby Injured During Circumcision

[Every baby is injured during circumcision....]

by Marty Griffin

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The incident detailed in the lawsuit happened at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill within the last year.

The Jewish circumcision ceremony was performed by Pittsburgh Rabbi Mordechai Rosenberg – who is also a mohel.

Sometime during the bris, according to the lawsuit, Rosenberg severed the baby boy’s penis.

The baby was rushed to Children’s Hospital, where doctors performed emergency microsurgery.

“If your finger, your thumb was cut off and was put back on, that is pretty exciting,” said renowned UPMC plastic surgeon Dr. Joe Losee.

Dr. Losee was not involved in the boy’s treatment and he can’t talk specifics.

But our sources say it took eight hours. The baby needed six blood transfusions and was hospitalized for nearly two months. Sources describe the reattachment procedure as successful.

Dr. Losee says microsurgery advances every day, but it’s risky.

“Sometimes, it doesn’t always work,” he says. “When you’re reattaching a portion where you include nerves, sometimes the nerves don’t heal well beyond where you reattached it. So there are limitations for sure.” [The foreskin included nerves....]

On his website, Rabbi Rosenberg says he is recognized as a “certified mohel by the American Board of Ritual Circumcision.” His site also says “a doctor’s medical circumcision, usually performed in the hospital, is not considered valid according to Jewish law.”

“That is extraordinarily serious and is extraordinarily rare,” said attorney David Llewellyn.

Llewellyn handles cases involving injury during circumcision – injury brought on by both doctors in the hospital and mohels in religious ceremonies.

Your average pediatric urologist probably spends about 20 percent of his or her time repairing children who have been circumcised,” Llewellyn says.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, one in every 500 newborn boys experience significant acute complications as a result of circumcision.

“This is pretty much unregulated,” Llewellyn said.

He says there is no regulated standard for training or certification of mohels, or any place for reporting injuries from circumcision.

“There’s virtually no regulation of this any place in the United States that I know of,” Llewellyn said. “I think the government probably should require some sort of training if this is going to be done.”

Rabbi Rosenberg told KDKA “I am trained in this.” He also called the case a “tragic accident” and a “horrible situation.” But also said he continues to perform circumcisions.

Sources close to the case say, while the baby is recovering, there’s no way to know if he’ll make a complete recovery. [Not until he's a man and using it.] The incident happened about eight months ago.


December 24, 2013

Circumcision doc suspended, for now

by Patrick Lejtenyi

Dr. Raymond Rezaie will not be performing any more circumcisions, at least in the immediate future.

He's accused of botching 31 circumcisions between July 2010 and October 2013 so badly that many of the babies needed corrective surgery.

The complaints against him were brought to the College of Physicians by a fellow doctor at Ste-Justine hospital.

An investigation into the complaints earlier this month concluded that the circumcisions were "inadequate" and "inappropriate."

It also described Rezaie as a danger to the public.

He faces a disciplinary hearing before the College some time in the new year.

In all 31 cases, the corrective surgery had to be performed while the baby was under general anesthetic.

The doctor who made the complainst says she has 80 files on him, and that the hospital received numerous complaints about his work from parents.

Earlier story


the Mail & Guardian
December 24, 2013

Thirty circumcision deaths so far in Eastern Cape

by Andisiwe Makinana

Eastern Cape government revealed on Monday that 30 initiates died in the province since the start of the summer initiation season.

Now the provincial government is calling on the police and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to prioritise the cases that have to do with the abuse and deaths of initiates at initiation schools.

On Monday, MECs of several departments – including those for local government, health, safety and liaison, social development, provincial police and members of Eastern Cape's house of traditional leaders – held an urgent meeting to discuss how to deal with the death of initiates in initiations schools in the province. [A commenter notes that they have been holding urgent meetings about this since 1996.]

"The emergency meeting, called to look at the deaths of the 30 initiates and come up with solutions to prevent further deaths and injuries, took both short term and long term decisions to curb deaths and injuries," reads a statement from the provincial government.

The emergency meeting called on the South African Police Service (SAPS) to move with speed in attending to the cases of 30 initiates who lost their lives during this season.

"The plan is [to have] proper investigations [into] what caused their deaths ... and those found to have acted illegally be prosecuted.

"We are disturbed by the fact that a number of initiates were beaten, physically abused and some burnt while at the initiation schools in the province," said the statement.


Last Thursday, Eastern Cape government announced that 104 initiates were rescued from illegal initiation school in municipalities across the province. At that time, 25 initiates were dead.


"Our interventions in these areas are beginning to bear positive results as we see the decreasing number of deaths during the 2013 summer season as compared with the 2013 winter season."

[This is nonsense. ~80 youths died in the 2013 winter season, but the number of deaths depends on the number circumcised and the climate, as well as many other random factors.]


December 23, 2013

Nigeria: 40 Million Have Hepatitis Virus and May Not Know

by Judd-Leonard Okafor

At least 40 million Nigerians could have traces of the hepatitis virus--which causes inflammation in the liver, according to the Society for Gastroenterology and Hepatology in Nigeria.

[The population of Nigeria in July 2013 was estimated at 174.5 million.]

The survey by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control--with support from pharmaceutical research firm Roche--took blood samples from 150 people in communities in two local government areas each in six states.

The survey found people who had undergone local circumcision were 43% more likely to contract hepatitis B--mostly from using unsafe implements.

It also found people were 17% more likely to contract the virus while getting tribal markings, 15% during blood transfusion, 13% during non sterile surgical procedures and 11% during body piercing.

For hepatitis C, the commonest risk factor was 52% in local circumcision, 21% in body piercing and 19% in unsterile blood transfusion.

But experts note a worrisome increasing incidence, especially among populations of tertiary education on account of increasing social vices, since a common transmission route for the virus is sexual contact and body fluid exchange.

This comes as guidelines for preventing, treating and managing the condition are still shaky.

"Unfortunately not much attention has been given to hepatitis control globally and especially in Nigeria even when the burden of hepatitis is rapidly increasing," said health minister Onyebuchi Chukwu.


Global figures indicate hepatitis is a more serious [no, more prevalent] disease than HIV: some 400 million infection of hepatitis occur every year compared with 34 million for HIV, but while nearly $2,774 is spent on each person living with HIV, only $20 is spent per viral hepatitis patient.


The Jewish Daily Forward
December 19, 2013

Swedish Province Will Ban Circumcision for Boys

Latest Salvo as Bris Battle Spreads Across Europe

A county in Sweden is planning to ban non-medical circumcision of boys, its commissioner said.

Per-Ola Mattsson, commissioner of Blekinge County, said he would move ahead with plans to ban ritual circumcision by bringing the subject up in February with the county's health board, according to an article published Thursday by the Sydöstran Daily.

According to Dagens Medicin, Mattsson, who is also chairman of the Public Health Board of Blekinge, said he opposed the practice because minors "have no possibility to say no to the surgery and therefore the county should not perform these procedures."

Located in southern Sweden, Blekinge County has a population of about 150,000.

In Sweden, nonmedical and medical circumcision may be performed only by licensed professionals, as per legislation from 2001.

Under the legislation, Jewish ritual circumcisers, or mohelim, in Sweden receive their licenses from the country's health board, but a nurse or doctor must still be present when they perform the procedure. Representatives of the country's Jewish community told JTA they are pleased with the arrangement as it does not prevent them from performing the ritual.

In recent years, Scandinavian countries have seen an intensification of efforts to ban [no, to age-restrict]ritual circumcision by activists who say it violates children's rights and by anti-immigration nationalists who seek to limit the effect that Muslim presence is having on Swedish society.

In September, the rightist Sweden Democrats Party submitted a motion in parliament in favor of banning ritual circumcision.

In October, the children's ombudsmen of all Nordic countries - Finland, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden and Norway - released a joint declaration proposing a ban [age-restriction] on circumcision.


CBC News
December 18, 2013

Botched circumcision allegations against Quebec doctor grow

A Montreal doctor accused of botching more than 30 infant circumcisions is facing another complaint about his medical conduct.

The investigative unit with Quebec's Collège des Médecins has already filed a complaint against the family doctor, documenting 31 cases in which boys who underwent circumcisions performed by Dr. Raymond Rezaie required corrective surgery.

The dates of the cases in that complaint range from July 2010 to October 2013. The matter is now before before the college's disciplinary council.

Now another mother, identified only as Nadia to protect the identity of her son, has added her name to the list of worried parents.

The boy's mother asked that the family's last name and the name of her son not be published because they do not want him to be associated with Rezaie and complaints against him.

Nadia told CBC’s Daybreak that Rezaie circumcised her three-month-old son this fall. She said she trusted the doctor because members of her mosque had recommended him.

But after the procedure, Nadia said her son was in pain for weeks.

An infection developed under some of the skin left behind after the procedure, and it started to bleed, she said.

Nadia said she returned to the doctor’s office several times for advice, but her son’s condition continued to worsen.

That’s when she took her son to the Sainte-Justine hospital, where she was told her son would need to see a surgeon.

“Three days later, I saw surgeon and he was like, ‘Wow what's that?’” Nadia told Daybreak.

Her son has since received corrective surgery and is recovering from the ordeal. Nadia filed her own complaint with the college of physicians this week.

“This is not fair. The babies suffer,” she said.

Rezaie was not available for comment when he was contacted by CBC yesterday.

A decision on whether Rezaie can continue to perform circumcisions while he awaits the college's disciplinary council ruling is expected later this month.

Earlier story


December 17, 2013

Israel's top court halts rabbinical decree forcing woman to circumcise son

Israel's Supreme Court issued an temporary injunction freezing a rabbinical court's recent decree ordering a woman to circumcise her year-old son against her wish.

Acceding to the woman's appeal, Judge Yoram Danziger halted the decision and ordered the father to provide his response by January 2. The Supreme Rabbinical Court and Netanya's Regional Rabbinical Court will be issued a week later.

There is no law in Israel making circumcision obligatory for Jews, but a rabbinical court that was presiding over the woman's divorce case ruled that she must fulfil her husband's wish in the matter.

It fined her 500 shekels ($142) a day until she did so.

In their ruling last month, the presiding rabbis said the woman was using her refusal to circumcise her son as leverage against her husband.

The couple began divorce proceedings when the baby was one month old and in the time that has passed, the ruling said, the woman has been standing in the way of her husband, who wants to fulfil one of the most important Jewish edicts.

But the mother says circumcision is tantamount to physical abuse. "I don't believe in religious coercion," she told Channel 2 News last month, facing away from the camera so her identity was not revealed.

Earlier story


the Monitor (Uganda)
December 13, 2013

Former inmates decry forced circumcision

by Ronnie Layoo

Gulu- Former inmates at Gulu Main Prison have accused the authorities of circumcising them against their will.

The inmates say the prison wardens force them to get circumcised, saying the move is to enhance good sanitation and health living.

Speaking to the Daily Monitor recently, Mr Richard Okello, 22, who was remanded in the prison for alleged assault for three months, said the prison warders forced him to get circumcised.

“The wardens came in the hall and announced that those who have not circumcised should get on the line, no one could resist it,” Mr Okello said.

He said he was exposed to infection since they did not provide him treatment.

Another former inmate, Mr David Ojok, who claimed he was also forced to circumcise, said proper sanitation, which should guarantee proper healing, was not provided.

However, the regional prison commander, Mr Kenneth Mugabiirwe, dismissed the allegations.

“Nobody can be forced to get circumcised; it’s voluntary,” he said. Mr Mugabiirwe acknowledged overcrowding and poor sanitation as the challenges facing the prison due to poor facilitation.

The officer in-charge of Gulu Main Prison, Ms Orik Obonyo, said a committee was recently set up to carry out investigations.


Deutche Welle
December 12, 2013

German circumcision law still under fire

A year ago Germany, after a long and heated debate, passed a controversial new circumcision law. It was meant to be a Solomonic solution, but critics say that the new rules do not guarantee children's well-being.

A ruling by a Cologne regional court in the spring of 2012 set off a fierce debate over the Jewish and Muslim ritual of circumcision. The court decided that non-medical circumcision amounted to bodily harm. Both supporters and critics of the practice discussed the issue at length on television and op-ed pages, employing both medical and ethical arguments. The main question remained: how to reconcile freedom of religion and parents' rights to choose how to raise their children on the one hand, with the children's well-being on the other.

A law was passed that was meant to answer that question. Paragraph 1631d of the code of civil law declared that the circumcision of a male child is legal and must be done in accordance with "the rules of the medical profession" - as safely as possible and with appropriate and effective pain relief. Parents need to be informed of the procedure's potential risks, it must not pose a danger to the child's well-being, and the wishes of children old enough to express them also need to be taken into account. Representatives of Germany's Jewish and Muslim communities said they were satisfied with these conditions.

Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, who introduced the bill, said the regulation re-established what was regarded as the status quo before the Cologne court's ruling.

But a year after coming into effect, the law is now a complete failure - at least according to critics, who say circumcision represents a violation of a child's physical integrity. Boys, critics said, often do not undergo the procedure under safe conditions and without appropriate pain relief.

"This law has legalized many questionable means of children's foreskin amputation," said Christian Bahls, head of the Mogis association, which advocates the physical integrity and sexual self-determination of children.

Bahls refers to a case in Berlin in which the Jewish method of Metzitzah B'Peh was carried out - where the circumciser sucks the wound with his mouth, and not with a pipette or a small tube. Because of the danger of infection, the Israel Ambulatory Pediatric Association (IAPA), among other associations, has already rejected the practice.

Mogis pressed charges against the boy's father, a rabbi, as well as his wife and the circumciser. But prosecutors dropped the case because no criminal responsibility could be proven against the parents, and the circumciser lived abroad and so was outside German jurisdiction.

Bahls says this outcome shows that the new law does not protect children's well-being properly. Prosecutors, he claims, dropped the case on the grounds that applying a painkilling bandage after the circumcision was enough to ensure medical safety. "So clearly it is permissible to amputate a child's foreskin without an adequate anesthetic," said Bahls. "That is what the law allows."

Wolfgang Gahr, general secretary of Germany's academy for children and young people's medicine (DAKJ), has also heard reports of circumcisions being carried out under hygienically questionable conditions and without anesthetic. "They are individual cases," he said. "We don't have any figures." The DAKJ is against non-medical circumcisions in general, but if they can't be avoided, "they should at least take place under medical supervision and be painless."

But this last condition is certainly not stipulated by the law, according to which children under six months are allowed to be circumcised by someone nominated by the religious community - in other words, a circumciser, who in most cases is not a doctor. That means he is not qualified to administer an anesthetic, says Gahr.

The Justice Ministry, on the other hand, cites what it claims is evidence that the law protects children's well-being - for instance a ruling made by a Higher Regional Court in September, which forbade a Kenyan woman from circumcising her six-year-old son because parents and doctors had not consulted the child, and because the parents had failed to properly inform themselves.

Germany's Constitutional Court has also had to address the law, after a man brought a lawsuit because he had been circumcised by someone without medical training, in 1991, when he was aged six. The judges dismissed his case because he was not currently directly affected by the new law. In other words, the court avoided addressing the new law itself.


Some doctors are charging expectant parents a "circumcision deposit" long before they know the sex of their child, and even if the plan to leave a boy intact. This is unethical, and increases the risk of unwanted circumcisions.

What to expect
November 2010

From: MommyFeathers
Has anyone else had to do this? We recently moved and I chose a dr based on several great recommendations, but I called today and made an appt and was told that I have to pay $200 before my first appt for "possible circumcision"! First, I'm what, 7 weeks? no clue as to whether we're even having a boy or girl, and Second, even if we do have a boy he won't be circumcised. But when I tried to explain that, the receptionist told me that it didn't matter, everyone had to pay it and then they would refund the money after the birth...just sounds crazy to me...he better be as good a Dr as I've been told!

The Whole Network Facebook, December 11, 2013

Fan Question: I am pregnant with my second child and my regular OB (who delivered my daughter) started a new policy that forces patients to pay a "circ deposit" before their first prenatal visit. Apparently this is a growing trend among doctors.. Whether or not you are having a boy or if you want to keep him intact you have to pay and if you don't use it the money will be refunded after you are discharged from the hospital. I tried fighting it but they told me it won't be done unless I sign a consent form at the hospital. Since it is a new policy I am worried that the staff at the hospital will see that I paid and do it anyway assuming I wanted it done. I just found out that I am having a boy so I need to decide what to do now. Even though they are promising that I will have a say in the end, it makes me really uncomfortable and I'm not sure how safe my son will really be. I am thinking about switching to a new OB over this but I have medicaid so my options are limited. Would it be worth switching over? I am also not sure how to find an intact friendly OB so i was wondering if you could help point me in the right direction. I didn't search for a doctor with my daughter because he was my regular GYN. I'm in Melbourne FL. There are no birthing centers around here..


Helsinki Times
December 12, 2013

Court: Circumcisions of Muslim boys not an offence

The Helsinki Court of Appeal recommends that laws on male circumcisions be drawn up.

A PERSON convicted for performing circumcision on two Muslim boys has been acquitted of assault charges by the Helsinki Court of Appeal. The court also acquitted the parents of the boys of incitement to assault.

With the appeals court ruling that the grounds for the District Court of Helsinki’s ruling in 2011 were incorrect, the decision marks a fundamental shift in Finnish judicial practice concerning the issue of boys’ circumcisions.

District prosecutor Eija Velitski has voiced her bemusement with the verdict and affirmed that she will seek leave to appeal with the Supreme Court. “Since all the charges were rejected, I will naturally seek leave to appeal,” she stated.

In 2011, the District Court of Helsinki found an Iranian-Turkish person guilty of assault for performing circumcisions on two school-aged Muslim boys. In addition, the court convicted the boys’ parents of incitement to assault but, deeming the act forgiveable, opted not to impose penalties on them.

The person who performed the operations with a cautery in the homes of the boys has performed several circumcisions in both Turkey and Iran. The incision of one of the boys, however, became infected, forcing the boy to miss school and seek medical attention.

In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled that, if performed in an appropriate manner, a circumcision performed on a boy for religious reasons does not constitute an offence. However, citing the subsequent ratification of the Council of Europe’s Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine as justification, the district court deemed the circumcisions unlawful.

Both the prosecutor and the defendants lodged an appeal against the ruling – the defendants demanding that the charges be dismissed and the prosecutor that the practitioner and parents be sentenced to probation orders for aggravated assault.

In its ruling, the Helsinki Court of Appeal then concluded that the convention cited by the district court in sentencing applies only to organ transplants, not to circumcisions. [The convention refers only to tissue "removal", not to what the removed tissue is to be used for. When the removed organ is to be thrown away instead of being used to save life, the conditions attending its removal should be stricter than for donation, not more lax. The spririt of the convention is clearly designed to protect donors from harmful and unnecessary tissue removal, and should be interpreted in that light, not so as to protect other parties and customs to which the "donor" has not agreed.] The appeals court also referred to judicial practices elsewhere in Europe, pointing out that boys’ circumcisions have not been banned by any European country on grounds of the Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine.

In addition, the court viewed that Finnish laws do not prescribe that circumcisions must be performed by licensed medical practitioners and that the person who performed the operations had acted with due diligence.

The surgical site infection in one of the boys, the court elaborated, had been caused by insufficient after-care rather than the operation. The person who performed the circumcision used surgical gloves, sterilised the instrument used, applied local anaesthesia and provided the parents with instructions for after-care, the court added. Accordingly, in addition to acquitting them of charges, the appeals court relieved the person who performed the circumcision from liability for damages. Similarly, the briefcase and instrument used in the operation were returned to the defendant.

Finally, the court recommended that laws on male circumcisions be drawn up to eradicate any judicial ambiguities. Despite having mulled over such legislative revisions for some time, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health stated earlier this autumn that no revisions are likely to be adopted in the near future.

Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine

Article 20 – Protection of persons not able to consent to organ removal

No organ or tissue removal may be carried out on a person who does not have the capacity to consent under Article 5.

Exceptionally and under the protective conditions prescribed by law, the removal of regenerative tissue from a person who does not have the capacity to consent may be authorised provided the following conditions are met:

  • there is no compatible donor available who has the capacity to consent;
  • the recipient is a brother or sister of the donor;
  • the donation must have the potential to be life-saving for the recipient;
    [None of these exemptions are applicable where there is no recipient]
  • the authorisation provided for under paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 6 has been given specifically and in writing, in accordance with the law and with the approval of the competent body;
  • the potential donor concerned does not object.


CBC News
December 11, 2013

Quebec doctor accused of botching circumcisions


A Quebec doctor could be prohibited from performing circumcisions after Quebec's Collège des Médecins received a complaint that he'd performed more than 30 procedures resulting in complications that required further surgery to fix.

Dr. Raymond Rezaie will have a hearing before the college’s disciplinary council, after its investigative unit documented 30 cases in which boys who underwent circumcisions performed by the doctor required further corrective treatment under general anesthetic at Montreal's Sainte-Justine Hospital.

In one additional case noted in the complaint, a boy underwent corrective surgery at the Montreal Children's Hospital.

It is alleged that the doctor performed in an “inadequate and inappropriate way, a surgical circumcision under local anesthesia on a child.”

The disciplinary council has not yet set a date to hear the complaint, but earlier this week, internal investigators asked the college to ban Rezaie from performing circumcisions until a hearing can be held.

The disciplinary council is expected to make a decision on that request before the end of December.

Rezaie is a family doctor who began practising in Quebec in 2006.

On his website, Rezaie says he travelled across Canada researching the best infant-circumcision techniques by experienced doctors.

“Furthermore, he developed his own approaches to these surgeries, combining the most effective elements of what he learned,” the site reads.

According to the website, the doctor performs circumcisions at four clinics in the Montreal area.


A decision on the doctor’s conduct could take months.

It has been confirmed on a radio show (Benoit Dutrizac of 98.5 fm) that there were at least 87 complaints over the three-year period, not only the 31 reported here.


Nehandra Radio
December 10, 2013

90 000 males circumcised in Zimbabwe

Close to 90,000 males in Zimbabwe have been circumcised so far this year, still short of the 2013 target of 115,000 but a remarkable increase from the 40,755 who underwent the procedure last year, says a health official.

The rise has been attributed to the increase in facilities offering the operation with male circumcision now performed at provincial, district and mission hospitals as well as at stand-alone centres dedicated for the process, says AIDS and Tuberculosis Unit Director at the Ministry of Health Dr Owen Mugurungi.

He added Monday that at least 87,858 males had been circumcised across the country from January to October this year.

“This year’s output marks a significant increase as compared with 2012, when a total of 40,755 males were circumcised,” he said.

Bulawayo had the highest number of males who were circumcised with 18 per cent compared with 5.0 per cent in Midlands, Mashonaland Central, and Mashonaland West provinces. The increase in Bulawayo was a result of a number of initiatives employed in raising awareness on the advantages of voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC).

[But how voluntary is it? How much peer pressure? How much coercion? How much blackmail of the form "We will provide your football team with kit, but only if you all get cut"? Actual force?]

Dr Mgurungi said the government would be increasing the number of teams trained to provide VMMC in provinces with low percentages of circumcised males. The Zimbabwe government introduced VMMC as a way of reducing HIV and other sexually-transmitted diseases after evidence had demonstrated that circumcision reduced chances of men contracting HIV by 60 per cent.

[While in Zimbabwe, more of the circumcised men have HIV than the non-circumcised.]

Zimbabwe: more of circumcised have HIV

The government is targeting to circumcise 217,800 people next year and 1.3 million by 2017. Male circumcision also reduces the transmission of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) that causes cervical cancer among women with sexual partners who are not circumcised. [Or rather, some strains of HPV are associated with cervical cancer, whether the women's partners are circumcised or not. One reason to circumcise is never enough, is it? It's a marketting ploy, like the "free gifts" that come with mail-order goods. The HPV claim is also dubious.]


West Sussex County Times
December 9, 2013

Medic accused of genital mutilation


A doctor will go before medical watchdogs today accused of carrying out female genital mutilation on a patient. Dr Sureshkumar Vallabhdas Pandya, who practises in London, is said to have undertook the procedure, sometimes called female circumcision, which has been outlawed in the UK for the past 28 years. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is carried out for cultural, religious and social reasons and some traditions believe it will reduce a woman's libido and discourage sexual activity before marriage. It is prevalent in some Muslim countries where a high value is placed on a woman's chastity and modesty. It has been estimated that more than 20,000 girls under 15 are at risk of FGM in the UK each year, and that 66,000 women in the UK have undergone the procedure. But the true extent is unknown due to the "hidden" nature of the crime. No one has ever been prosecuted for FGM in the UK. Dr Pandya, who will go before the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service sitting in Manchester later today, is also alleged to have provided inadequate pre and post operative care and his advice to the patient was misleading and dishonest. It is also alleged that Dr Pandya's record keeping did not meet the required standards.


Brainwashing? Indoctrination?

December 8, 2013

Zimbabwe government takes circumcision into the classroom

by Phyllis Mbanje

OFFICIALS from the Ministry of Health and Child Care have been going around schools in the country disseminating information on procedures and benefits of male circumcision to pupils, some as young as 12 years old, courting the ire of some parents.

The officials however said they were targeting pupils in higher grades in both primary and secondary schools. For anyone below the age of 18, consent for circumcision has to be sought from the parent or guardian.

But some parents felt that the issue of circumcision was being introduced too early and might be harmful to the pupils.

Ministry of Health and Child Care national male circumcision (MC) coordinator, Sinokuthemba Xaba said the exercise was meant to furnish the pupils with information which they would share with their families and help them make a decision.

“The exercise is merely for giving out information. We do not expect the pupils to then make decisions but the parents, if they so wish, will then consent in writing,” he said.

Xaba said in some instances the schools had invited them to either give the lectures to the teachers who would in turn filter the information down to the pupils, or address the children directly.

“It differs with schools; some allow us to interact directly with the pupils while some prefer the officials to address teachers. Bottom line is that it is all about disseminating the right information,” he said.

An official from Population International Services (PSI) said there was nothing wrong with disseminating information about circumcision to pupils. He however admitted that some parents had reservations about the exercise.

“Even if the children do not immediately put the information to use, it might help them as young adults to know and appreciate the benefits of circumcision,” he said.

[No mention of risks or harms, of course, nor any doubts about the HIV claims.]

Last month, Xara said the programme faced a myriad of challenges which included limited demand for the services among older men, inadequate human resource and limited government funding.

This is despite the belief that if the exercise is successfully rolled out, 212 449 infections would be averted by 2025 while HIV prevalence would decrease to 4,4% by 2025 compared to an anticipated 7,3% if MC is not scaled up.

[These figures are Just Made Up, based on mathematical models that assume the protection supposedly given to 73 men after 5,400 were circumcised in clinical trials can scale up to mass-circumcision in the real world. ]

Parents who were attending a graduation ceremony at a preschool in Meyrick Park in Harare recently expressed mixed feelings over distribution of information about circumcision to pupils.

“I do not see anything wrong with the ministry giving information to the children as long as they are mindful of the language they use and do not try to manipulate the children,” said Sheila Hove from Harare’s Westgate suburb.

However, Robert Gwata from Richwell Gardens in Mabelreign had this to say: “Surely, that is a preserve of parents and guardians. Why should these guys go to schools and try to sweet talk our children to have the procedure done. We will have problems when they come home with their heads full of things that they have no control over.”


Eider know, but this quacks me up....

December 8, 2013

Duck! Here comes quack Dr Duckema to confront baby cutters

''Dr Edgar Duckema'' welcomes AAP delegates
Click for video

Something eggstraordinary went, um, down at the Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco yesterday. A strange ducklike figure was greeting members of California Chapter 1 of the American Academy of Pediatrics as they arrived for a meeting at the hotel.

He was "Doctor Edgar J. Duckema", reportedly a circumcision enthusiast and American Academy of Pediatrics Circumcision Task Force member, quacking and holding a sign saying "Welcome Circumcisers!"

Others, members of the Bay Area Intactivists, carried signs saying "Circumcision Anguish" and "Circumcision? Only Quacks Cut Healthy Children".

Only one question: where should the doctor send his bill?


The Shillong Times (India)
December 8, 2013

Circumcision case deadlock

SHILLONG: The inability of the police to act on the alleged circumcision case in NEIGRIHMS [the North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Science], following the refusal of the parents of the 11 boys to file an FIR in this regard has put this case in a deadlock with the District Administration proposing to discuss the matter with the East Khasi Hills Superintendent of Police.

In a magisterial report on the case which was submitted to the State Government recently, the magistrate has mentioned that the consent of the parents was not taken by the Meherbaan Orphanage in Laban prior to the circumcision.

Whereas, the police mentioned that the case could not go ahead as the parents themselves had refused to lodge a complaint in this regard stating that they had embraced Islam few years back.

“I have already forwarded the report to the Police and let the SP take a call on this,” East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner, Sanjay Goyal said adding that the report will be a reference for the police to handle the case.

When informed that a case was not registered in this regard, Goyal said, “Referring to the report, I will discuss the matter with the SP and see if we can take up separate actions.”

According to the magisterial report which was submitted to the State Government recently, out of the 11 boys, four were Muslim by birth while seven were Christian and all had embraced Islam few years back. [Or rather, their parents had.]

The report, however, ruled out the angle of forced circumcision stating that “the parents of the inmates had already embraced Islam few years ago and willingly sent their children to Maherbaan orphanage to ensure that the children get proper education.”

Earlier, the Shillong Muslim Union running this orphanage has also denied of carrying out the procedure in a hush-hush manner stating that the parents had given their consent ‘verbally’.


Courthouse News Service
December 5, 2013

Mom Claims Rabbi Botched Circumcision

by Nick Divito

BROOKLYN (CN) - A rabbi botched the bris of an infant who had a birth defect involving his penis, and then failed to preserve the foreskin, the boy's mother claims in Kings County Superior Court.

Rabbi Eliyahu Shain performed the bris on Benjamin Altman in December 2009 at New York University Medical Center's Pediatric Associates of New York City.

But the boy's mother, Staci H. Altman, says the mohel failed to recognize that the boy had hypospadias, a medical condition where the urethra develops [no, emerges] on the underside of the penis.

[Hypospadias is an absolute contraindication for circumcision.]

Since then, the boy's permanent injuries have caused him to suffer "great physical pain and mental anguish and loss of enjoyment of life," according to the lawsuit.

The circumcision was allegedly performed "outside of a hospital or appropriate medical facility," ...

The boy's mother seeks unspecified actual and punitive damages for negligence.



Some people just like to circumcise....

Znews (India)
December 5, 2013

Circumcision of tribal boys illegal, says Magisterial inquiry

Shillong: A magisterial inquiry into the 'ritual circumcision' of 11 tribal boys at a state-run super specialty hospital near here, has declared it illegal.

The report said that the 11 boys from Ri-Bhoi and East Jaintia Hills districts who were in an orphanage were circumcised at the North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Science (NEIGRIHMS) on October 4, 5 and 6 without obtaining prior consent from their parents.

The matter became known after a youth organisation, Seng Samla Shnong Shilliang Umkhen, raised a hue and cry over it alleging misuse of power by a senior doctor for conducting 'religious rituals' at the institute.

This led the state government to order a magisterial inquiry.

The report by the East Khasi district magistrate was submitted to the state government last Saturday.

The report recommended that NEIGRIHMS chief A G Ahanger constitute further inquiry against the circumcision to ascertain if it was done by medical officers at the institute at the personal request of doctors and colleagues.

"The Director of NEIGRIHMS should ascertain whether the operations were as per procedure laid down by the hospital administration, rules and procedures," the report said.

It sought punitive action against the secretary of the orphanage, Kursheed Thabah, for failing to consult the parents of the boys before the 'ritual circumcision'.

Thabah had signed the consent forms for the 11 boys and informed the parents only after the operations were performed, it said.

The orphanage also was yet to register itself and attracted legal provisions for not adhering to the rule of law, the report added.


Daily Nation (Kenya)
December 4, 2013

Girls taken to hospital after undergoing circumcision

by Wanjiru Macharia

Eight girls are undergoing treatment at the Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital after developing complications related to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

The girls aged between 16 and 20 years had secretly undergone the ritual at Teret area of Mau Narok on Monday night, December 2, 2013.

Three of them were pregnant while several others had young children and were breastfeeding the children who accompanied them to hospital.

The hospital Medical Superintendent Dr John Murima confirmed the girls had been brought to the hospital and were still undergoing check-up.

“The girls are here and they came in accompanied by police officers but I cannot comment on their conditions because they are still being analysed,” said Dr Murima.

He said he could only comment on their conditions after doctors at the hospital had conducted checks on all of them for a detailed report.

The girls arrived at the provincial hospital wrapped in blankets and with no other clothes on.

Ms Mary Tinga, a volunteer with Loreto Sisters Against FGM who took the girls to the hospital said the girls were found by the area chief and Administration Police officers following a tip off.

She said some of the girls had already been married off and were forced to undergo FGM by their husbands and other older women.

“The girls told me that their husbands insult them all the time telling them that their food is not cooked while older women chase them away when they go to fetch water from the river,” said Ms Tinga.

She said there were increased cases of FGM in the area and attributed this to the cultural belief that uncircumcised women cannot make good wives.

Ms Tinga said men who marry uncircumcised girls force them to undergo the dangerous exercise following pressure from their mothers and the community.

Some of the girls at the hospital said that they willingly underwent the operation to save their marriages since they already had children.

Ms Tinga said the circumcisers and the people who had taken the girls for the ritual fled when the chief and AP officers arrived at the scene.

She called on the government to make sure the people responsible are arrested and prosecuted.


November 28, 2013

Circumcision without consent - two heartfelt complaints

From Kenya:

"I'm a very irritated man today.

"I've been away from home for some time now.I went home today,and was shocked to find that my 10-year old nephew was circumcised last Friday. I was infuriated, boarded a vehicle to the clinic to seek clarification from the doctor who took him from school together with other young boys for the cut. My mother did not sign the consent form, his mother did not sign the consent,and I was away. The child is now in pain, and could not even answer the questions I asked him today when I went home. I'm really saddened by this,because my conversation with the mutilator did not yield any fruitful outcome.My mother says there's nothing we can do about it!...

While in the clinic yard, I saw them ferry boys into the compound using their pickup trucks. Some had just undergone the operation. I couldn't help being their. I had my camera, but couldn't take any picture. The clinic is Ober Health Centre. Really, I'm lost for words to describe my anger. I talked to two of the doctors, one could not stay longer during the conversation because I could see my facts were a bu[r]den to him so he walked away into one of the pickups and drove away. The one who carried on the conversation, later offered to give me a job with the Nyanza Reproductive Society saying that I should report to their offices tomorrow. He gave me his phone number!... "

- from a Kenyan Intactivist on Facebook.

The Secretary of the Board of the "Nyanza Reproductive Health Society" is Dr Robert Bailey, who led one of the three trials claiming to show circumcision protects against HIV. Also connected is Prof Kawango Agot, whose name appears on several papers promoting circumcision. It's basically a front for circumcisionism, and a job with it would not be at all secure.

From Israel:

Elinor Daniel, the mother of a boy ordered to be circumcised by a rabbinic court, writes:

"Help!!! I'm asking for the help of the public!!! I am a mother to a baby. The Rabbinical Court is forcing me to cut my year old son against my will (circumcise him) while subjecting me to heavy financial sanctions daily!!!

After my exposure to the information regarding circumcision, I refuse to mutilate my baby. I don't have the right and I do not agree! He was born whole and he will stay whole! His integrity is his full right! The Religious Court has no right to do that! No one in the whole world is authorized to force me to mutilate my son, to cut his penis!

What kind of a state is this?!!! What is this??? Where do we live??? Could the Religious Court force upon me anything during the divorce? In particular, religious oppression, unnecessary cutting of the penis of an helpless baby??? A non-reversible surgical operation!!! A foreskin does not renew itself! The baby can not express his own will. The right to decide is his alone. It is his body!! The right, is not mine, nor anyone else's in the entire world, but his own only!!!

I am pleading for help!!! I love my son very much!!! I do not want to hurt him!!! Please pass this message on to anyone possible so it won't be a precedent for future divorce cases in the Rabbinical Court which authorizes itself to force religious oppression upon a nonreligious divorcing person! Why does the religious court take advantage of its monopoly on marriage???!! It's a degrading abuse of power, used for religious oppression!!! Religion has to be voluntary from the heart, not by force and financial penalties!

Where do we live??? Where is the supervision??? Where is the government???!!! I am crying for help!!! Unfortunately, here, in the state of Israel!!! Mother"

- Elinor Daniel

Donate to support Elinor

Israeli women demonstrate in support of Elinor:

Israeli women demonstrate for the right to refuse circumcision

"Find alternative requirements" "Rights of the man over his body!" "Iran [theocracy] Is Here and Now!"
"[Hands off the] penis of my boy!"

Toronto Star

Haaretz: No to forced circumcision: Civil courts need to send an important message that individual rights take precedence over religious customs, however widespread they are....

An interview with Elinor

Earlier story


NY TImes
November 26, 2013

Gynecologists May Treat Men, Board Says in Switch

by Denise Grady

A professional group that certifies obstetrician-gynecologists reversed an earlier directive and said on Tuesday that its members were permitted to treat male patients for sexually transmitted infections and to screen men for anal cancer.

The statement from the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology eased restrictions announced in September, which said that gynecologists could lose their board certification if they treated men. Exceptions were made to allow certain procedures, ...

The ABOG website says:

In addition, to remain certified by ABOG the care of male patients is prohibited except in the following circumstances:

  • Active government service,
  • Evaluation of fertility,
  • Genetic counseling and testing of a couple,
  • Evaluation and management of sexually transmitted infections,
  • Administration of immunizations,
  • Management of transgender conditions,
  • Emergency, pandemic, humanitarian or disaster response care,
  • Family planning services, not to include vasectomy,
  • Newborn circumcision, and
  • Completion of ACGME-accredited training and certification in other specialties (see below).

    [Which raises the question, if not vasectomy, which protects women against pregnancy, why newborn circumcision? It looks as though the answer is "because it is there".]

... but screening men who were at high risk for anal cancer was not permitted, so the September decision left some gynecologists struggling to find colleagues in other specialties to treat their male patients and to track those who were enrolled in studies.

Like cervical cancer, anal cancer is usually caused by the human papillomavirus, or HPV, which is sexually transmitted. This type of cancer is rare, but its incidence is increasing, especially among men and women infected with H.I.V.

Experts in anal cancer asked the board to reconsider its position, and some started letter-writing campaigns. Patient advocacy groups expressed worry that the prohibition would interfere with research and make it harder for male patients to find screening and treatment.

The board had said it wanted to protect the profession as a female specialty and limit the nongynecological work performed by its members. But Dr. Kenneth L. Noller, the board’s director of evaluation, said board members had reconsidered and realized that gynecologists had a long tradition of treating sexually transmitted infections in both men and women, and that HPV and problems related to the virus fell into that category.



November 21, 2013

Babies Seem To Know Themselves Soon After Birth

by Thomas Andrew Gustafson

Understanding you exist as a person happens a lot sooner than you might think.

A study involving 40 cute, pudgy babies found that they were aware of their bodies — and even displayed a sense of ownership of them — less than two days after being born.

Both of those qualities are key ingredients in realizing your own existence, says the study's lead author, Maria Laura Filippetti, a doctoral candidate specializing in cognitive development at Birkbeck College, University of London.

"Body awareness refers to the feeling of being alive," she told Shots. "Body ownership refers to the feeling of having a body, the sense that this body belongs to me."

Past studies reveled how important these two aspects of human life were for infants, but this study was the first to discover it in newborns at birth.

How did the researchers figure it out? Filippetti and her colleagues tested the infants' ability to recognize themselves using a test similar to the old rubber hand illusion.

That test tricks the mind into thinking a fake rubber hand actually belongs to a person's body. Researchers lightly stroke a person's real hand with a paintbrush while it's hidden from his or her view. Simultaneously, the researchers stroke a rubber hand that's in plain sight. Stroking the two at the same time and in the same places means the person feels the paintbrush while seeing the action elsewhere.

Normally, a person's brain associates the feeling of one's hand with the sight of the hand. But the brain can be confused by a trick like this and start to think the rubber hand is the one it should pay attention to.

For the infants, the test was very similar. Again, a paintbrush was used, but this time the researchers stroked the babies' cheeks as they watched a video of the same thing happening to another baby.

The researchers tested how the babies behaved when the paintbrush was touched at different times and at the same time on their faces. Since babies can't talk, their researchers gauged the babies' reactions by measuring how long they looked at the baby in the video, Filippetti says.

"A longer looking time for a stimulus compared to another one is a measure of discrimination and preference for that stimulus," she tells Shots.

The newborns did watch the other baby in the video longer when the paintbrush strokes on both happened simultaneously, rather than at different times, or not at all. That response to simultaneous stimulation shows a sense of body awareness and ownership, the researchers say. Here's a of how the test went.

The researcher also performed a second experiment with a twist: They showed the babies the same video turned upside down. The babies tested didn't respond to the simultaneous paintbrush strokes.



The Phoenix
November 20, 2013

'Intactivists' take to the streets in Providence

by Steve Ahlquist

Brother K protesting circumcision in Providence RI

“The destruction to the male genitals is absolute,” says Brother K. “Total. You’re left with a fraction of what God and nature intended. It’s appalling.”

It’s Sunday morning on Hope Street in Providence and cars are whizzing by. Some honk their horns in solidarity; others carry passengers clearly confused as to the necessity of a demonstration against circumcision featuring men in white jumpsuits with large red bloodstains on their crotches


Rest of story. Has this link failed?


BBC News
November 17, 2013

Circumcision doctor in GMC investigation to quit NHS

by Nicola Dowling

A doctor under investigation by the General Medical Council after circumcising a child says he is resigning from the NHS.

Dr Muhamad Siddiqui, a hospital surgeon, had conditions imposed on his GMC registration after a complaint by the parents of the toddler.

The doctor, who carried out the procedure at the child's home, denies all the allegations.

Dr Siddiqui operated his own mobile circumcision service outside the NHS.

The GMC investigation was launched after a complaint by Kelly Braiha and her husband Ghali, from Littlehampton in West Sussex.

They claim their 23-month-old son Najem was left traumatised and suffered an infection because Dr Siddiqui, who works at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, did not take hygienic precautions.

Mrs Braiha says she believes home circumcisions should now be banned.

Dr Siddiqui is also accused of failing to obtain indemnity insurance for his private work and of carrying out regulated procedures without the necessary Care Quality Commission registration.

He denies all the allegations against him.

After an initial investigation by the GMC, the case has been referred to a fitness-to-practise hearing.

In the meantime, the GMC issued an interim order banning Dr Siddiqui from carrying out circumcisions anywhere other than in a hospital or clinical setting.

Regulatory loopholes
But when researchers from the BBC Radio 5live Investigates programme contacted him this week, days after the interim order came into force, he said he would be happy to carry out a circumcision at a private address in Southampton.

After the arrangements for the procedure were agreed, the programme contacted Dr Siddiqui again and told him the call had been made by a researcher posing as the father of a boy he wanted circumcised.

Dr Siddiqui said he wanted to continue performing home circumcisions but he was in the process of resigning from his NHS job and surrendering his GMC registration.

This would mean he would not be able to practise as a doctor but because of regulatory loopholes he would be able to carry on performing circumcisions privately.

[In fact anyone at all, with no qualificaitons whatsoever, may genitally cut a boy.]

Asked why he had agreed to carry out a home circumcision when there was a GMC order preventing him from doing so, he said he would not have carried out the procedure until his resignation had been formalised.

Dr Siddiqui said: 'I don't agree with the limitations the GMC has imposed on me. I don't want to be at odds with the GMC."

Healthcare workers have to be registered with the CQC if they want to perform home circumcisions but Dr Siddiqui felt he did not have to be.

Those who have no formal medical training, however, are not required to be registered with any of the regulators.

5live Investigates has also spoken to consultants who have told the programme they are concerned about the number of children they are seeing with medical complications after some home circumcisions.

They are now calling for tighter controls.

'Children have died'
Consultant surgeon Feilim Murphy, secretary of the British Association of Paediatric Urologists, said: "The biggest issue is there are a number of children who are circumcised by people who are not experienced and don't understand what is required, and there can be significant complications with that."

He said this could include bleeding, which is particularly dangerous for babies, pain, damage to the penis and loss of the top of the penis.

[Circumcision always causes damage to the penis....]

He added: "Unfortunately children have died in the last number of years in Britain and Ireland from circumcision-related complications.

"It does make sense that everybody should register, that everybody should be on the same playing field.

"It makes sense for the child it makes sense for the family it makes sense for everyone."

[What would make sense for the child is not being genitally cut before they could give informed consent.]


November 15, 2013

Ky. high court turns away penis amputation lawsuit

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) -- A Kentucky man who sought damages from a doctor who removed a cancer-riddled section of his penis during what was scheduled to be a simple circumcision has lost his final appeal.

The Kentucky Supreme Court opted not to take up the case of Phillip Seaton of Waddy. The court did not comment on its reasons for turning down the case.

Seaton sued Dr. John Patterson over the amputation.

A jury in Shelby County ruled in favor of Patterson at trial. The Kentucky Court of Appeals upheld that decision, finding that the jury correctly concluded that Seaton consented to allow Patterson to perform any procedure deemed necessary during the Oct. 19, 2007, surgery.

The Seatons also sued Jewish Hospital, where the surgery took place. The hospital settled with the couple for an undisclosed amount.

Earlier story


November 14, 2013

18-day-old baby's organ partially cut off during circumcision

An Arab doctor accidentally cut off the top of the genital organ of an 18-day-old Saudi boy during circumcision, prompting the hospital to call a well known pediatric surgeon for an urgent operation, a newspaper in the Gulf Kingdom reported on Thursday.

The doctor tried to correct his mistake by stitching the severed part but the bleeding did not stop and the boy could not stop screaming of pain, Sabq said.

“The hospital then called a pediatric surgeon from King Abdul Aziz Hospital for an urgent surgery…the doctor managed to stop the bleeding and restore the severed part,” the paper said in a report from the western Saudi town of Taif.


There are lies, damned lies, and statistics.

Health News Digest
November 13, 2013

Circumcisions in Older Boys and Related Costs Skyrocket in Florida

(HealthNewsDigest.com) - GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Circumcisions in Florida boys over the age of 1 have increased dramatically in recent years, doubling costs to the state, a study by University of Florida Health surgical researchers shows.

Saleem Islam, M.D., an associate professor in the College of Medicine department of surgery's division of pediatric surgery, said he and his study collaborators believe the state's decision to terminate Medicaid funding for routine circumcisions in babies under 1 month old has led to the increase in circumcisions for older boys. The study was published in the September issue of the journal The American Surgeon.

[Is anyone surprised? More intact babies means more boys available to be circumcised later. It would be surprising if a fall in newborn circumcisions did NOT lead to a rise in later circumcisions.]

Islam said families should decide for themselves whether to have their sons circumcised, but emphasized that circumcision in the newborn period is preferable for several important reasons.

[NOT circumcising at all is preferable to either early or late - especially to the penis's owner - for several important reasons.]

"The benefits are that the child does not have to undergo general anesthesia, there is much less cost to public monies, it's safer for the kids to get it done [Ther is no evidence for this] and that's the right age, as well," he said.

[Not circumcising has all those benefits and more. And what does "the right age" mean?]

Because newborns require only local anesthesia for a circumcision, newborn circumcisions are safer and much less expensive. They also have a lower risk of complications. Circumcising older boys requires general anesthesia to ensure the patient remains still during the procedure. [Yes, a baby can simply be strapped down.]

Florida was one of numerous states to stop Medicaid coverage for routine newborn circumcisions after a 1999 report from the American Academy of Pediatrics said the procedure may not be medically necessary.

[May not be? 2,000,000,000 happily intact males in the world prove it IS not medically necessary.]

Islam explained that circumcisions can increase hygiene in the penis, and some uncircumcised males suffer from recurrent urinary tract or penile infections. Some parents will choose circumcision because of these potential problems or for religious or cultural reasons. Islam said he does not take a firm stance either for or against circumcision, but prefers for parents to decide.

The state cut off Medicaid coverage for the procedure in 2001. Many insurance companies also stopped paying for newborn circumcisions after the report. Funding remains available for circumcisions in older males when the procedure is deemed medically necessary, such as when repeated infections occur.

In 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics reversed its stance on routine newborn circumcisions, citing research indicating they may help protect against HIV and provide other benefits. [They did not reverse their stance, nor recommend it, they just shifted their collective bottom on the fence.]

UF Health researchers' study of data from 2003 to 2008 shows publicly funded circumcisions increased at a rate more than six times greater than the increase in privately funded circumcisions. They also cost approximately $111.8 million over the five-year time period, an amount estimated by medical facility charges during the study period. Fees for health care providers were excluded from the study, meaning the actual amount paid for the procedures was probably greater. The study results also showed that circumcisions in boys over age 1 were more common each year than those performed on newborns.

[What's missing here is, what proportions of babies and older boys were circumcised before and after funding was ended? When funding is ended and fewer boys are circumcised, the vast majority never need to be circumcised, saving public funding. (Even fewer are ever circumcised where circumcision has not been customary for more than a generation, doctors or their partners have foreskins and they know its value, they are taught more about the foreskin than how to cut it off, and their anatomy texts actually show the foreskin.)]

By 2008, yearly Medicaid costs for circumcision in boys through age 17 reached $33.6 million, compared with $14.9 million in 2003. Meanwhile, private charges for circumcisions in Florida rose from $9.3 million to $14.1 million. Circumcisions in 2008 accounted for 30 percent of the estimated total costs for the procedure during the five-year window.

Islam said the increase in circumcisions among older boys likely stemmed from parents, supported by referring physicians, who had hygiene or medical concerns, but were unable or unwilling to pay for the procedure during the newborn period. UF Health pediatric surgeons noted they had talked with some of their own patients' parents about the decision to have an older boy circumcised and found that many parents would have opted for newborn circumcision if public funding were available.

[So what? Doubtless many parents whose son's DIDN'T have issues would have opted to cut them if the taxpayer paid for it.]

The American Academy of Pediatrics' new stance on the issue may lead states and insurance companies to restore funding for the procedure in newborns, a change Islam would welcome.

"It would make a lot of sense to offer it (newborn circumcision) to families who otherwise perhaps may not be able to afford it," he said, "and then say, ‘Here, we are offering it to you when your child is a newborn. You have a choice to make here. If you choose to get it done now, there are a lot of benefits over having it done later.'"

[And he says he's not pro-circumcision....]


The Tablet
11 October, 2013 (This article is now archived behind a paywall.)

Knights' former sacristan charged

A former sacristan for the Knights of Malta [and prominent advocate of infant circumcision] has been charged with a dozen counts of sexual offences against children dating from 1966 to 2011.

Vernon Quaintance, of Upper Norwood, south-east London, has been charged with one count of indecent assault against a 10-year-old boy in 1966, the same offence against an 11-year-old in 1976, and a single count of sexual assault against a boy aged 11.

He is further accused of three counts of inciting a boy aged under 16 to commit an act of gross indecency. Charges against him also include the possession of 1,285 indecent images of children.

A police spokesman said Mr Quaintance appeared at West London Magistrates Court in August and a case management hearing was due at the end of this month.

Mr Quaintance, who was made a companion of the Order of Malta, had been serving at the order's weekly Mass at the Church of the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth in north London. He was first introduced to the church in 2007 and stopped serving in 2011.

An inquiry this year found that three senior members of the Order of Malta were found to have failed to report alleged concerns about Mr Quaintance. ...

Earlier story

Emeritus Professor Brian Morris recently removed the "circumcision humor" page from his personal website, circinfo.net, including a verse by "Vernon Quantance". He has also removed the links to circumcision fetish sites. A list of "possible circumcisers in Australia and New Zealand" is still prefaced by Vernon Quaintance's Gilgal Society logo. A nearly identical list is published by Professor Morris's "Circumcision Foundation of Australia".

The Gilgal Society has published a sheaf of leaflets by Morris and a fetishistic video of an adult circumcision. Its website continues to advertise his leaflets, though "major computer failure" prevents it from selling them. Soon after Quaintance's conviction, Professor Morris removed the Gilgal logo from his leaflets in English, and later from the French and German versions.

Earlier story


November 12, 2013

Norway to introduce new regulations on circumcision

(JTA) — Norway will promote new legislation to “regulate ritual circumcision,” the country’s health minister said.

Bent Hoie said the new legislation on non-medical circumcision of boys under 18 will be introduced before April 20, according to a report by the Norwegian daily Aftenposten.

“We will review submissions on the matter before we can decide what should be the government’s position. We aim to present a bill before Easter,” Hoie told Aftenposten last week. He did not say whether the regulations would introduce new restrictions.

His announcement follows renewed calls by Norway Children’s Ombudswoman Anne Lindboe to ban non-medical circumcision of minors without their consent, which she says violates their rights.

“This is not due to any lack of understanding of minorities or religious traditions, but because the procedure is irreversible, painful and risky,” Lindboe told Aftenposten.

The Center Party, which won 5.5 percent of the vote in Norway general elections earlier this year, is in favor of banning non-medical circumcision of underage boys. The country’s largest party, Labor, has not yet formulated an official stance but several of its lawmakers support a ban.

Ervin Kohn, president of the Jewish community in Oslo, told JTA that he considers the issue “an existential matter” for the Jewish community of about 700 members.

Each year, approximately 2,000 Muslims and seven Jewish newborns undergo non-medical circumcision in Norway, according to Aftenposten.

In France, meanwhile, President Francois Hollande strongly affirmed his support for the protection of Jewish rights to circumcision in an Oct. 30 letter to the Consistoire, which oversees religious services for the Jewish community.

“There is no question whether this practice in Judaism, and other religions, is performed in accordance with existing laws in France,” he wrote. [... but he is happy to regulate what Muslim women may wear...]


The Jewish Week
12 November, 2013

On Circumcision, Scalia Surprises

by Gabe Kahn

Longest-serving justice and interlocutors agree on most issues at YU conversation between former classmates.

A hero to many in the Orthodox community on matters relating to the separation of church and state, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s comments on circumcision at a Yeshiva University forum last Wednesday night may have come as an unpleasant surprise to those who think the justice’s opinions flow from his own religious beliefs.

How would he have ruled, he was asked by attorney Nathan Lewin, had a 2011 attempt to criminalize circumcision in San Francisco succeeded and eventually made its way to the high court?

If the practice is something that society does not want, and it’s not intended to discriminate against Jews in particular, I think the law is perfectly valid,” he said to a crowd somewhat mystified by how incongruous the remark seemed in the context of Scalia’s other church-state comments.

[Not just a practice "that society does not want", infant circumcision flies in the face of international conventions on human and children's rights, and international and national law.]


Scalia and Lewin did not agree on the legality of a ban on circumcision, however. ...

Shuli Karkowski, a graduate of Harvard Law in attendance, said she was impressed by Scalia’s honesty, especially considering that not all of his opinions were popular with the audience.

“Even when I don’t agree with Justice Scalia, I think he takes both a consistent and principled approach,” she said. “I’m surprised that he said how he would rule in the bris case. Most justices are disinclined to speak on any matter that could possibly come before the court.”



November 10, 2013

Zimbabwe Buys Into Controversial Israeli Style Circumcision

At at time when government is struggling to provide bath and drink water for women in maternity wards across the country, the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) has embarked on an expensive and controversial Israeli style pilot programme to circumcise young boys a few days after being born under the hope of stopping the spread of HIV AIDS.

This comes as women were being told to bring their own water to bath soon after giving birth as they were informed the hospitals have no money to drill boreholes; a time when the latest statistics reveal that at least 1000 pregnant women die in every 100 000 pregnant women in Zim hospitals because of inadequate money.

The ministry’s program will see over 500 babies between the ages of 10 and 60 days in Harare being circumcised voluntarily at the government’s own expense.

[There is no evidence that infant circumcision has any effect on HIV. And of course, no baby ever volunteers for anything.]

The state media reports that the programme is meant to assist Government in determining the best age at which to start conducting male circumcision, which is said to reduce the likelihood of contracting HIV by approximately 60percent albeit amid protest from other independent practitioners that this is untrue.

MoHCC male circumcision co-ordinator Dr Sinokuthemba Xaba said ... “Parents are the ones who are giving us the consent to circumcise their boys using the accucirc method,” he said.

“When phase one of the pilot program was initiated last year in December we set a target of circumcising 150 babies using two methods which were the accucirc and morgan clap [Mogen clamp] methods. [Never mind that the Mogen clamp is no longer made in the USA after the Mogen Company went bankrupt, having lost millions in lawsuits to the families of boys who lost parts of the heads of their penises in Mogen clamps.]

“After reaching the target in May this year, the assessment clearly showed that most parents preferred the accucirc method which is why we have embarked on the second phase of our pilot programme.

“We now want to see the strength and weakness of the most preferred method, parents’ responses to the method, their suggestions and also how nurses can handle the procedure.”

Dr Xaba noted that the results of the programme will determine whether the ministry will continue circumcising newborn babies.


“A complete waste of money”

The move by the ministry comes amid criticism from senior practitioners such as Dr Timothy Stamps who says that the very same studies undertaken on circumcision on which the United Nations body relies upon had on the contrary proven that countries such as the US with a higher number of circumcised men had a high HIV prevalence rate.

“Instead of channelling funds towards circumcision, the money must be used to save pregnant mothers who die in huge numbers in this country,” he said.

“When we are losing 960 mothers for every 100 000 pregnancies, should circumcision be a priority?” Stamps added.

Other investigations have have found that circumcised men actually contracted HIV after going through the surgical procedure.



Is anyone surprised?

The Standard (Zimbabwe)
November 10, 2013

Circumcised men indulge in risky sexual behaviour

SOME circumcised men are contracting HIV and Aids after ditching the use of condoms, under a misguided belief that male circumcision (MC) would prevent them from getting infected, The Standard has heard.

This revelation comes at a time when the national programme is battling for recognition and relevance as an effective preventive tool for HIV and Aids in the country.

Sex workers who spoke to The Standard last week said some circumcised men were no longer using preventive methods, including condoms, because they believed that their chances of getting infected were limited after getting circumcised.

One of the sex workers, who only identified herself as Memory told a United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) media training workshop in Bulawayo last week, that most of her circumcised clients were not willing to use condoms.

“I have problems with circumcised men because they do not want to use condoms. They always argue that because they have been circumcised they did not need to use condoms,” said the heavily pregnant Memory, who is also HIV-positive.

Memory said even after disclosing her HIV status, they still insisted on sleeping with her without any form of protection.

“I even take my antiretroviral drugs in their presence but they do not care and because I have a family to feed, I give in to their demands,” said Memory.

But Ministry of Health and Child Care national male circumcision coordinator, Sinokuthemba Xaba maintained that the procedure reduced chances of getting infected by at least 60%, but urged men not to stop using condoms.

He defended the programme saying it was a pity that some people were under the misguided opinion that by being circumcised they would not be infected.

[More than a "pity" - it's a total disaster.]

“MC is still an effective tool and circumcisions avert HIV-infection but circumcised men can still get HIV,” Xaba said.

According to the 2010/2011 Zimbabwe Health Demographic Survey (ZDHS), 14% of circumcised men in the country between the ages of 15 and 49 years contracted HIV as compared to those uncircumcised.

[Was this deliberately garbled? What is missing is “..as compared to 12% of those uncircumcised.” A 2005 survey found 16.6% and 14.2%.. In other words, circumcision has conferred no protection whatsoever on the men surveyed.]

Zimbabwe: circumcision fails to protect - graph

Critics have dismissed claims that MC prevents contraction of HIV by at least 60% saying it was “exaggerated”.

Meanwhile, the uptake of the MC remains low with most provinces recording less than 10% uptake.



November 7, 2013

Mother claims doctor disfigured son after 'botched' circumcision

by Janice Broach

(WMC-TV) - Circumcision for newborn boys is considered one of the most common medical procedures in the world. [No, it is rare except in the USA and Israel. Most circumcision is done later, and most of the world does not circumcise.] But one Memphis mother says her son was mutilated during the common surgery.

Maggie Rhodes' son Ashton was three months old when she had him circumcised at a local low-cost clinic.

"When he was in the room, he was screaming like life and death like, like there wasn't no tomorrow," she said. "When she pulled back the cloth, like the thing was like gone. She cut up instead of down, instead of cutting around the top of the penis."

Rhodes says her son now screams when he urinates. He will need reconstruction work to correct what she considers a botched procedure.

Ob/Gyn Doctor Kent Lee did not perform Ashton's circumcision nor has he ever met Ashton or his mom. Lee says most circumcisions are safe, but he says mistakes do happen.

"I've been doing this for 20 years, and I have never ever seen anybody with everything completely cut off," said Ob/Gyn Dr. Kent Lee. "Actual penectomy is extraordinarily rare." [Unfortunate choice of words.]

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics 1 in 500 newborn boys experience significant acute complications as a result of circumcision. [Even that figure - wherever they got it - means one significant acute complication of circumcision every 3 hours and 40 minutes in the USA.] The procedure typically takes five to 30 minutes.

Rhodes says her son was in surgery for nearly three hours.

"While he was screaming, I asked her, I kept asking was everything OK?" said Rhodes. "She was like uhh, 'I don't know if he's too large to get did inside the clinic, but I am going to do it anyway.' "

Another Ob/Gyn says some people have their child go through the procedure in the hospital.

"Some people do it within the first week or two," said Dr. Charles Ryan.

Ryan says the sooner a newborn receives the procedure the better, but circumcisions can still be done up to three months after birth with no problems.

Rhodes did not have her son circumcised in the hospital because she was unable to be present for the procedure. Also, her son had a cold during his six-week-checkup. The doctor said wait.

"You try to be the best mom you can be, but it's like the attack of the enemies is always there," said Rhodes. "I feel like I failed my son."

Studies suggest circumcision decreases the likelihood of certain diseases and infant urinary tract infections. but medical opinions vary.

The percentage of newborn boys circumcised in the U.S. dropped to 54 percent last year. Rhodes wishes she had not had her son circumcised and wonders what she will tell him when he gets older.

She is devastated. Rhodes' story is far from over as she is currently talking to a lawyer.

"I feel in my heart, I felt like I couldn't do nothing but cry," she said.



Jewish Press
November 7, 2013

Court Forcing Divorcée to Circumcise Son

by Yori Yanover

A rabbinical court in Netanya this week forced a divorced woman to facilitate the performance of a Jewish circumcision for her son, Behadrei Haredim reported.

During the divorce process, which Israeli Jews contest in rabbinical court, the husband requested that the regional rabbinical court in Netanya, about 20 miles north of Tel Aviv, to compel his wife to give their son a legal circumcision. The court accepted his request.

The woman argued that the rabbinical court does not have jurisdiction over her son, and may not decide on what constitutes a dangerous medical procedure for him, especially since the boy is not a party to the divorce procedure. She argued that the authority to decide on this matter belongs exclusively in family court.

But the rabbinical judges, Rabbis Michael Amos, Sheur Pardes and Ariel Yanai, rejected the woman’s argument and determined that when a couple is in a dispute over the treatment of their son, the dispute may be resolve either in family or in rabbinical court. “The circumcision,” wrote the judges, “is a simple surgery which is conducted on every Jewish baby eight days or older, around the world, for thousands of years. Therefore, when one of the parents demands it, the other party may not prevent it unless a medical danger can be proven.”

The judges added: “The minor’s entire educational construct depends on the performance of the Brit Milah-circumcision; therefore the mother’s claim that the circumcision is unrelated the child’s guardianship and education is refuted and rejected. “The circumcision is the sign, the mark, the distinguishing detail of the Jewish identity of every Jew wherever he may be, and whatever his spiritual state. An uncircumcised Jew’s Jewish identity is incomplete and defective.”

Therefore, the mother’s request was rejected and the court ordered her to have the circumcision be performed within seven days, or suffer a financial penalty.


Another study finds no link

Brown Daily Herald
October 30, 2013

Link between HIV and HPV risk confirmed in men

by Phoebe Draper

While the link between human papillomavirus infection and human immunodeficiency virus has been studied in females in the past, a new study by University researchers in the Department of Epidemiology has found this link in males as well.

Examining data on 2,519 circumcised and uncircumcised men, researchers found HPV infection was associated with increased risk of HIV infection in males. Men who had recently had an HPV infection, or had persistent HPV infection, were at higher risk of HIV. Circumcision status was not found to have an effect.

The findings suggest that HPV should be an integral component of future HIV prevention measures, highlighting the need for future research into the specific mechanism by which HPV augments HIV risk, according to the study’s abstract.


Science News
October 30, 2013

Early pain changes the brain

A new study has found that rats subjected to pain soon after birth undergo changes in their brains.

This may permanently alter their reaction to stress and pain in adulthood, Dr Anne Murphy of Georgia State University has found



Australian Senate/OII
October 30, 2013

Senate Committe: "Avoid unnecessary surgery on children"

An Australian Senate Committee has recommended that medical interventions on intersexed children should wherever possible wait until the person themself can give their informed consent.

The Community Affairs References Committee report on "Involuntary or coerced sterilisation of intersex people in Australia" has accepted many of the submissions of Organisation Intersex International (OII) Australia.

It recommends the terms "intersex" or "differences of sexual development" rather than "disorders of sexual development".

The committee recommends that all medical treatment of intersex people take place under guidelines that ensure treatment is managed by multidisciplinary teams within a human rights framework. The guidelines should favour deferral of normalising treatment until the person can give fully informed consent, and seek to minimise surgical intervention on infants undertaken for primarily psychosocial reasons.

Medical intervention should be deferred wherever possible until the patient is able to freely give full and informed consent; this is known as “Gillick competence”.

OII says the report raises major concerns about medical ethics and the human rights of intersex people in Australia.

"The committee acknowledges that surgeries intend to erase intersex traits from individuals and society, yet the underlying preconceptions are disturbing, and no research has been done to evaluate the benefits of alternatives," OII Australia president Morgan Carpenter said.


Jerusalem Post
October 23, 2013

MKs [Members of the Knesset] to traverse Europe to combat anti-circumcision proposals

by Lahav Harkov

MKs plan to travel through Europe in the coming weeks to battle anti-circumcision legislation.

On Wednesday, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein called in 15 MKs who head caucuses for relations with different European countries to discuss how to fight a resolution that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe passed earlier this month.

The resolution called male ritual circumcision “a violation of the physical integrity of children,” and said states should protect children “against violations of their physical integrity according to human rights standards.”

[And their rebuttal of these almost self-evident facts is...?]

At the meeting, Knesset diplomatic adviser Oded Ben-Hur recommended that the MKs visit European countries and ask their counterparts to sign a new draft resolution written by Israel that would reverse the PACE decision.

In addition, the MKs will check whether there are bills on the dockets of parliaments in Europe that are meant to outlaw circumcision, and work to block them by explaining the importance the ritual has for Jews and Muslims.

“This is a battle that unites religions. [Only religions that want to cut children's genitals...] The PACE decision is scandalous and can set Europe on fire,” Edelstein warned.

The Knesset speaker said that at that moment a European MP could be trying to pass the resolution as law in his or her country, and the MKs must do all they can to stop it.

MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-Ta’al) said that although he did not usually travel with Knesset delegations, he would join this battle.

“I can’t imagine that circumcision will become illegal,” Tibi stated. “We [Jews and Muslims] have a joint interest of the first order, an interest that is supreme and moral. [!] We must fight together.”


IoL News
October 20, 2013

R3m claim for six 'botched' circumcisions

by Amanda Khoza

Durban - The parents of six boys from Dassenhoek who were allegedly circumcised without consent are suing New Start clinic for R3 million [$US 305,000] in damages.

The clinic, which is managed by Society for Family Health and Thatenda Health Care, is a partnership with the Department of Health. It runs six male circumcision centres in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and Mpumalanga.

In May, the Sunday Tribune reported that parents of 19 boys, aged 11 to 19, from Dassenhoek, near Mariannhill, laid charges against New Start over circumcisions.

Some of the boys experienced post-operative complications, swelling or bleeding of the penis or infected wounds. A case of assault with grievous bodily harm was opened.


The boys were picked up in groups by a man in a vehicle bearing the New Start logo from April to May.


Busisiwe Ntiga, 29, was at work when her 11-year-son was circumcised. She alleges the KZN Department of Health offered them money for their silence.

“One official told us we can be paid before the matter goes any further. They tried to silence us with money but we refused,” said Ntiga.

The KZN Department of Health has failed to respond.

Attorney Naheem Rehman, for the parents, said: “In terms of the Children’s Act, consent is required by a health practitioner before undertaking any procedure. Circumcision of children under the age of 16 is strictly prohibited unless it is done for medical or religious purposes. Any one who contravenes this law faces a 10-year jail sentence or will be fined.”

He said the Society for Family Health had until this week to respond to the letter of demand or summons would be issued.

Director of the society’s South African branch, Scott Billy, said the organisation had not received the letter and they were not aware of the claim.

However, the Sunday Tribune has seen a copy of a registered letter signed on behalf of New Start clinic acknowledging the letter of demand


The July edition of the KZN Health Bulletin boasted more than 239 000 KZN men had been successfully circumcised since 2010, with not a single death or botched procedure – even though the Sunday Tribune highlighted the case of the Dassenhoek boys.


Meanwhile, Wentzell Ngidi, 26, the fast food employee from Umlazi whose entire skin was removed from his penis during a botched circumcision on September 21, is recovering at St Aidan’s Hospital and awaiting plastic surgery.

“I am still in a lot of pain,” said Ngidi this week.



Important intactivist news during September

September 10 - October 16 2013

Circumstitions news was suspended. Several important events took place during that time:

  • The Genital Autonomy Symposium at Keele was told by a London QC that infant circumcision is already contrary to the law.

    In a wide-ranging address, London Queen's Counsel James Chegwidden demonstrated how non-therapeutic infant circumcision is in breach of national and international law.

    James Chegwidden QC
    James Chegwidden QC

    He cited cases such as Re A (minors: conjoined twins) in which Lord Walker said:

    "Everu human being's right to life caries with, as an intrinsic part of it, rights of bodily integrity and autonomy - the right to have one's own body whole and intact and (upon reaching an age of understanding) to take decisions about one's body."and Re Marion [sterilisation of an intellectually handicapped girl]

    "Conclusion relies on a fundamental right to personal iviolability existing in the common law, a right which underscores the principles of assault, both criminal and civil."
    McHugh J a member of the majority in that case had more to say:

    The common law accepts that a person has rights of self-control and self-determination in respect of his or her body which other persons must respect. Thus, the legal requirement of consent to body interference protects the autonomy and dignity of the individual and limits the power of others to interfere with that person's body."

    Mr Chegwidden was speaking at the 2013 International Symposium of Genital Autonomy, at Keele University, Staffordshire.

    Only one judicial statement has ever claimed infant circumcision is legal, and that was in passing (in a 1994 case [R v. Brown 1AC 212] of adult men voluntarily wounding each other for sexual purposes), with no reference or precedent, though it has been cited in defence of circumcision many times since.

  • Children's Ombudsmen of five Scandinavian countries, and several Danish political parties came out together against infant circumcision.
  • The Council of Europe condemned infant circumcision as a human rights violation, with a predictible reaction. And on a lighter note,
  • Any British royal circumcision tradition is thoroughly refuted.


Mmegi (Botswana)
August 29, 2013

Japan withdraw circumcision funds

by Onalenna Kelebeile

SELEBI-PHIKWE: A Japanese company JHPEGO, has withdrawn funding for Safe Male Circumcision (SMC) because the country failed to meet the target of 40 males per day. The programme known as SMC/MOVE was a national strategy that started in October 2012 and was supposed to go on for five years. The withdrawal of funding means that the programme stops less than a year after it started. Delivering the Urban Development Committee report recently Selebi-Phikwe District Officer Orishiwa Sitekia said the SMC/MOVE programme stopped due to lack of funds and the team halted work on August 15.

"Funds for this national strategy were withdrawn due to the programme failing to meet the set target of circumcising 40 males a day. "Only 10 males on average were circumcised in a day," she said.

Sitekia said SMC would continue to be done in local health facilities by the district health management teams.She said the SMC/MOVE under the Japanese company had a higher rollout than in the local health facilities Meanwhile, the urban development report shows that there was an insufficient supply of food in the local primary schools during the first quarter of 2013/14 financial year.


Ilajewe FM
August 7, 2013


The United States government through the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has stopped funding Botswana’s Safe Male Circumcision (SMC) programme. Addressing residents of Khuduyamajako in Letlhakeng East recently, the Assistant Minister of Health, the Honourable Gaotlhaetse Matlhabaphiri, said this was due to the unwillingness of men to be circumcised. He pointed out that government planned to have circumcised thousands of men by the end of this year and was concerned about the low turnout they had experienced since the inception of the programme.

“At least during the school vacation, almost 4 000 school going boys were circumcised,” he noted. On other issues, the honourable Matlhabaphiri expressed concern about the growing number of defaulters enrolled on the ARV programme. He was also worried that such patients did not follow doctor’s instructions on how to take their medication.



The Jewish Press
August 29, 2013

Concern: Some Iranian Jews Improperly Circumcised

by Yori Yanover

According to the website Ladaat, there is a concern that Iranian Jews who were circumcised in the city of Shiraz may not be properly circumcised according to Halacha, and may need to undergo a corrective procedure.

This alarming revelation is based on testimony by one Shiraz-born Jewish man, who is 56 today and goes by the name of Motti. In a get-together marking the month of Elul—a time of contemplation and repentance—which included Rabbi Yaron Amit of the Brit Yosef Yitzchak organization, the rabbi shared that there is a growing phenomenon of adult, observant Jews whose circumcision was not done in keeping with Jewish Law.

It turns out that there exists a less invasive method of circumcision, which does not fully remove the foreskin, and so, according to the law, despite the pain the subject of circumcision endures in the process, in the end he is not considered to be circumcised.

Motti, for reasons he does not share in the video, decided to go and be checked by Brit Yosef Yitzchak, and, just as he had suspected, his brit milah required some corrective surgery, which was performed on the spot.

Motti was circumcised at the age of 8 days, like every newborn Jewish baby, but the mohel-ritual circumciser did not finish the job.

According to the website, there has been a similar phenomenon in northern Israel a while back, and some children also required corrective surgery to complete their circumcision.

In Motti’s case the suspects are a father and son team of mohels who worked for years in Shiraz. If this is true, and Motti’s botched circumcision was not the exception, but merely one sample of the Shiraz “style” of circumcision, it could mean that a large number of men in their fifties and sixties from that city may require an examination.

["botched"? On the contrary.]

This is why Motti has gone to the trouble of shooting a video—in Hebrew—to alert his former neighbors to the possibility of the need for a recall.

This reporter inquired with immigrants from Iran, and it appears that the general impression of the Shiraz community is that it is more machmir-stringentin than many in their religious practice, and so the problem with the brit could not have stemmed from rejection of the custom.



How to make a disesease - and a "cure"

by Hugh Young

A forthcoming diagnostic code proposes to make a normal baby's foreskin a "disorder" and its treatment - circumcision - billable.

When a boy is born, his foreskin has usually not separated from his glans (head), and it commonly takes several years to separate, sometimes not until puberty.


Home > 2013 ICD-10-CM Diagnosis Codes > Diseases of the genitourinary system N00-N99 > Diseases of male genital organs N40-N53 > Disorders of prepuce N47-

> 2013 ICD-10-CM Diagnosis Code N47.0

Adherent prepuce, newborn

  • N47.0 is a billable ICD-10-CM diagnosis code that can be used to specify a diagnosis.
  • ICD-9-CM will be replaced by ICD-10-CM beginning October 1, 2014, therefore, N47.0 and all other ICD-10-CM diagnosis codes should only be used for training or planning purposes until then.

ICD-10-CM N47.0 is part of Diagnostic Related Group(s) (MS-DRG v28.0):

  • 727 Inflammation of the male reproductive system with mcc
  • 728 Inflammation of the male reproductive system without mcc
  • 795 Normal newborn

Convert ICD-10-CM N47.0 to ICD-9-CM

The following ICD-10-CM Index entries contain back-references to ICD-10-CM N47.0:

  • Adherent - see also Adhesions
  • prepuce, newborn N47.0

This seems to be an attempt to implement (by stealth?) the AAP Task Force on Circumcision's recommendation that non-therapeutic infant circumcision should regain Medicaid coverage, to stem the decline in unnecessary circumcisions.


Southern Poverty Law Center
August 23, 2013

Federal court says sex-assignment surgery on child could violate U.S. Constitution, refuses to dismiss case


For the first time, a federal court has concluded that a medically unnecessary sex-assignment surgery on a child with an intersex condition could be a violation of the Constitution. This marks an important step forward in seeking justice for “M.C.,” a young man who was needlessly subjected to the procedure as an infant in the care of the South Carolina Department of Social Services.

U.S. District Judge David C. Norton of the South Carolina Charleston Division denied a motion by the defendants to dismiss the case, ruling from the bench following oral arguments late yesterday.

"We applaud the court's decision and we are pleased that the court will have the opportunity to consider the deeply important constitutional issues at stake,” said Alesdair Ittelson, staff attorney for the SPLC. “By removing M.C.'s healthy body parts and trying to make him a girl absent any pressing reason, defendants violated M.C.'s constitutional rights. We look forward to the chance to make our case at trial and bring justice to M.C. and children like him."

M.C. was born with an intersex condition – a difference in reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit the typical definition of male or female. When he was just 16 months old and in the care of the South Carolina Department of Social Services, doctors and department officials decided the child should undergo sex assignment surgery to make M.C. a girl.

The defendants made this decision even though there was no way of knowing, at such an early age, whether M.C. would grow up to be a male or female. Defendants did not even provide a hearing to determine whether the procedure was in M.C.'s best interests. M.C. has since grown into a healthy 8-year-old boy, although he will never get back the phallus and testicle that were removed.

The SPLC and co-counsel, Advocates for Informed Choice and the private firms Janet, Jenner & Suggs LLC and Steptoe & Johnson LLP, filed lawsuits in both state and federal courts in May.

Earlier story


August 23, 2013

Babies' herpes linked to circumcision practice

Two more infants have contracted the herpes virus after undergoing an ultra-Orthodoz Jewish type of circumcision, which has been linked to the spread of the potentially deadly virus to newborn boys, according to CNN.

The site reports the health department says the procedure is dangerous because the contact with the mouth could transmit diseases such as herpes.

“While HSV-1 in adults can cause the common cold sore, HSV-1 infection in newborns is very serious,” a department statement says.

Earlier story


New York Times
August 22, 2013

Circumcision Rates in U.S. Drop Drastically in Western States

by Hope Reeves

¶ The percentage of male newborns who are circumcised in United States hospitals has dropped drastically. Over a 32-year period, the number of male newborns circumcised in the hospital decreased nationally to 58.3 percent in 2010 from 64.5 percent in 1979, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

¶ But while that 10 percent decrease over all is statistically significant, the authors of the report say, what leaps out of the data is a 37 percent drop in the West. In that 13-state part of the country, the rate of newborns receiving routine circumcisions at birth fell to 40.2 percent in 2010, by far the lowest rate in the country, from 63.9 percent in 1979. That decline accounts for virtually all of the shift nationwide.

¶ In the Northeast the overall trend was flat across the 32 years, with a high of 69.6 percent in 1994 and a low of 60.7 percent in 2007. Rates in the Midwest had dropped 3.3 percentage points over the period studied, with a high of 82.9 percent in 1998 and a low of 68.8 percent in 2009. The South’s rate increased 2.6 percentage points and ranged between 66.1 percent in 1995 and 53.8 percent in 1988.

¶ The authors cannot explain why the numbers dropped so precipitously in the West, which comprises Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming, because the analysis did not factor in contextual data. (These figures do not represent circumcisions performed outside of the hospital setting — e.g., ritual circumcisions — or any following discharge from the birth hospitalization.)

¶ “That question is beyond the scope of this report,” Maria Owings, the lead author, said.

¶ But it remains an intriguing question. Why would that part of the country differ so much from the rest? Have parents there developed a new attitude toward circumcision and, if so, why?

[What needs to be explained is not why the rate has fallen in the West, but why it has failed to fall in the rest of the country.]

¶ The high-profile 2010-11 attempt to get a bill criminalizing the procedure on a San Francisco ballot might have provided an opportunity for opponents of the procedure to reach parents. The initiative — called the Prohibition of Genital Cutting of Male Minors — was ultimately quashed, but it did get 12,000 supporting signatures.

¶ “San Francisco is a bastion for new thinking and individual rights, which draws many people to the region; however, the entire West Coast — Washington, Oregon — also have very low infant circumcision rates,” said Lloyd Schofield, the leader of the San Francisco movement. “Certainly much of this comes from basic awareness and less insistence on the procedure from the medical industry.”

¶ Mr. Schofield said that “a huge driver of the decline” was the nonpayment for the procedure by private insurers, “but in particular coverage was removed from Medicaid here decades ago.”

¶ “When the money is gone,” he said, “it no longer serves a purpose … funny thing about that!”

¶ Marc Stern, a lawyer for the American Jewish Committee who worked against the initiative, suggested that, among other things, the larger population of immigrants from countries that do not routinely circumcise could account for the low rates in the West. “Different cultures in Asia and the Americas and different attitudes towards circumcision may help explain the West’s differential,” he said.

¶ Douglas Diekema, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ task force on circumcision and a professor of pediatrics at Seattle Children’s Hospital, echoed Mr. Stern’s theory that the difference in circumcision rates could be a result of demographics, but he had another theory, too.

¶ “The West Coast has more immigrants from populations that don’t circumcise as commonly as we do in the U.S.,” he said. “The Hispanic culture is one of those, and since the West and Southwest are taking on” more Hispanics, one could assume there would be a drop.

¶ At the same time, Dr. Diekema said, West Coast residents tend to be more progressive.

¶“Ever since the founding of this country, the West Coast has attracted people who walk to the beat of their own drummer,” he said. “People here are more likely to question the standard and go a different way.”


New York Times
August 22, 2013

U.S. Circumcision Rates Are Declining

by Nicholas Bakalar

The percentage of newborns who are circumcised in the United States declined to 58.3 percent in 2010 from 64.5 percent in 1979, according to a new analysis from the National Center for Health Statistics. The report is based on annual surveys of about 450 hospitals nationwide.

But rates varied over the period. They went down during the 1980s after a task force of the American Academy of Pediatrics found that there were no medical benefits to the procedure, then rose during the ’90s after the medical group revised its position, claiming there were potential benefits. In 1999, the A.A.P. changed its view again, stating that despite potential benefits, there was insufficient evidence to recommend routine circumcision. That announcement was followed by another slight decrease.

There are regional variations as well. In 2010, about 71 percent of babies in the Midwest were circumcised, 66.3 percent in the Northeast, 58.4 percent in the South, and 40.2 percent in the West.

The lead author of the report, Maria Owings, a health statistician with the center, emphasized that the report includes no explanation for the numbers. “We didn’t factor in any other contextual information that would shed light on the reasons for the regional variations or the variations over time,” she said. And, she added, “The N.C.H.S. doesn’t take an advocacy position.”


Perth Now (Australia)
August 22, 2013

Botched circumcisions on the rise

by Kaitlyn Offer

MORE Perth men are seeking legal advice for botched cosmetic circumcisions, according to one Perth law firm.

Medical law specialist Karina Hafford from Slater and Gordon said so far this year about six men, almost one a month, had come to her for legal advice over male circumcisions gone wrong.

The lawyer of 15 years said it was worrying to see the men looking for help as she had never had an inquiry over male circumcision before. [Perhaps men are becoming more critical as the issue is raised on the Internet.]

“I had never seen these types of issues until this year when I've had a handful of inquiries in as many months,” Ms Hafford said.

She said the jump in inquiries was particularly related to overseas, cosmetic procedures, done in Europe and Asia.

“My advice would be to avoid overseas surgeries – many country’s health industries are not regulated as carefully as Australia,” Ms Hafford said.

“We’ve all seen horror stories in the media about ‘cosmetic tourism’ gone wrong.”

Ms Hafford said there were several reasons why a man might opt for a cosmetic circumcision.

“Men may choose this surgery for health reasons, such as infected piercings, bladder problems, cosmetic appearance, religious reasons, or to fix their original procedure as a child,” Ms Hafford said.

“No matter what the reason, it can be a very complex and emotive health issue for men and they need to be careful when they choose their surgeon.”

WA Department of Health chief medical officer Gary Geelhoed said he was not aware of a rise in the number of cosmetic circumcision procedures being done and it was not performed in the WA public health system except for medical reasons.

“Male circumcision is not generally recommended,” he said.

“Although it is a minor operation, like any surgery it has risks including infection.”

Ms Hafford said men should carefully check their surgeon's credentials and history of investigations or complaints before going ahead with a circumcision.



IoL News (Soth Africa)
August 16, 2013

Child dies after circumcision at hospital

by Vuyo Mkize

Johannesburg - “They killed my child.” These were the pained words of a Germiston father whose son had to be taken off life support on Wednesday evening after he was declared brain dead by two surgeons following a medical circumcision operation a week ago.

Reggie Mokalapa, 39, took his four-year-old son, Gugulethu, to Medicross Germiston for what doctors had assured him would be a “less than two-hour” procedure last Tuesday.

... Mokalapa went to wait outside in their car and, minutes later, his wife Wilhemina joined him.

... An hour later, Wilhemina asked the sister on duty to wake their son as Mokalapa needed to get to work.

“It was at that point they realised he wasn’t breathing,” Mokalapa said.

“His heart had stopped.

“It took them a while to resuscitate him, around 10 to 15 minutes, but eventually his heart started beating again.”

Gugulethu was then transferred to Netcare Sunward Park Hospital, where the attending doctor expressed extreme concern over his condition.

... doctors needed to cool Gugulethu’s body so that if there was any injury to the brain, it did not spread further.

“They did that over four days, and on the fourth day, they started warming him up.... On Sunday, monitors showed that Gugulethu’s brain was not responding, and on Monday he was declared brain dead.

On Wednesday, a second doctor confirmed that Gugulethu was brain dead and the family elected for doctors to take him off life support.

“We are always advised to circumcise our children young, and we did this so that he’d be okay in future. Unfortunately, we took him to a slaughterhouse,” said Mokalapa.

He added that all he wanted from Medicross was acknowledgement of what they did wrong.... Medicross director Dr Oelie van Schalkwyk on Thursday said the doctors and staff at the Germiston centre were “devastated” by what happened to Gugulethu.

“Gugulethu was admitted to Netcare Garden City Hospital after complications following his procedure, and everything humanly possible had been done by the doctors and nurses at Germiston medical centre to assist him.

“We are unable to speculate on the possible factors which may have contributed until it has been fully investigated and conclusively established precisely what transpired.



When just getting circumcised isn't enough....

Standard Digital News
August 6, 2013

Why Turkana residents cross fingers when August sets in

by Lucas Ng'asike

Turkana, Kenya: August is a dreaded month among many fishermen in Turkana. They fear venturing into Lake Turkana, which is one of the world’s rarest desert lake, and is home to nutritious and abundant fish stocks.

But inside the lake, especially in August, death lurks, thanks to foreign militia from neighbouring Ethiopia.

The militia group from Merille community in Ethiopia raids fishermen mostly in August.

During the month, newly circumcised Merille youth are required to kill people from an ‘enemy community’ and bring back their private parts as a sign of heroism.

Both Merille and Turkana live on the border of their two countries. They have staged attacks against each other for years with the worst one being in 2011, which left over 60 Turkana men, women and children dead.

Turkana North OCPD Bernard Nyakwaka said during the 2011 massacre, they recovered bodies that had missing private parts.

“Men are targeted most for mutilation of their private parts and this happens in attacks in August,” he told The Standard.

During the attacks, many locals have been abducted and killed and their bodies are hardly recovered.

Old way of life
Ethiopian elder Lotikori Yarakal confirmed that August marks the season when young men among the Merille graduate into manhood.

“They congregate around River Omo (in Ethiopia) where they are circumcised and conditions set before they graduate to become men,” he said.

Yarakal, who refused to be photographed for this story, said the Merille are still steeped in tradition and old way of life.

“One of the mandatory requirement is that they go out and kill their ‘enemies’ and bring back their private parts,” he said. Yarakal also said the new initiates are required to steal from their victims by raiding villages for livestock.

“They arm themselves to the teeth and plan before staging a surprise attack on land or in the lake,” he revealed.

Yarakal said abducting the ‘enemy’ is a plus for the youth but when time does not allow, they kill and leave the bodies but chop off private parts and disappear with them.

On August 1, the Merille militia struck, abducting four Turkana fishermen, who are now feared dead. ...

The over 60 Turkana locals were killed after they were tricked into crossing to Ethiopia to get food following drought on the Kenyan side. ...

An Ethiopian source said militiamen who kill are asked to choose beautiful girls to marry.

They get the girls after showing private parts of those they killed. Turkana leaders have condemned the long-standing assault by the militia and are now calling on the international community to intervene.

The leaders, among them Turkana Senator John Munyes and Turkana North MP Christopher Nakuleu described the killings as illegal human sacrifices.

“They are not only barbaric acts but are gross human rights violations by the militia group, which must be held accountable,” said Munyes.


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