News items are copied to Circumstitions News blog (which takes comments)
- thanks to Joseph4GI
May 22, 2017
Circumcised men at twice the risk for cancer-causing HPV, study shows
Circumcised men should be as vigilant in preventing oncogenic HPV infection as those who are uncircumcised, new research suggests. [Real takeaway message: another excuse for cutting babies bites the dust.]
Circumcised participants in a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association were twice as likely as their uncircumcised counterparts to have either of two HPV strains associated with penile cancer, researchers said. Their findings are not consistent with previous research.
“Classically, circumcision has been shown to be protective against HPV infection [Science does not deal in classics: the claim was made in earlier studies, some very bad: this one refutes them] and ... we’re not completely sure why, but there was a higher rate of these higher-risk HPV infections in men who are circumcised,” study researcher Mickey Daugherty, MD, a urology resident at the State University of New York Upstate Medical University, told Infectious Disease News.
Daugherty said the high proportion of men in the United States who are circumcised could account for the prevalence of HPV in that population. Nonetheless, he said, the results show that circumcision alone is not a preventive measure [which was self-evident].
Daugherty and colleagues analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2013 and 2014 on 1,520 men aged 18 to 59 years who had complete information on HPV infection and circumcision status.
The men provided penile swabs, which were tested for 37 HPV strains. The researchers stratified two strains of low-risk HPV linked to genital warts, HPV 6 and 11. They also stratified two strains of high-risk HPV linked to penile cancer, HPV 16 and 18.
Reflecting previous NHANES data, 45.2% of participants had some strain of genital HPV. In all, 2.9% were infected with one of the two low-risk strains, while 5.8% had one of the high-risk strains.
Most participants (77.8%) were circumcised [so that's 1,183 cut, 337 intact] . The higher risk for high-risk HPV was evident (OR = 2; P = .03), but there was no significant increase in risk for low-risk HPV in circumcised men (OR = 1.05; P = 0.9).
May 20, 2017
Religious defense planned in landmark Detroit genital mutilation case
by Tresa Baldas
Lawyers plan to claim genital cutting is allowed as a religious right. But legal experts say the First Amendment doesn't bend that far.
On paper, the law seems clear: Cutting any part of a young girl's genitalia is illegal — and no custom or ritual can be used to justify it.
The law has been on the books for 21 years, unchallenged.
But in a federal courtroom in Detroit, a landmark case involving the centuries-old taboo ritual is about to put that law to the test for the first time.
And perhaps more historic, a question will be raised in the American legal system that has never been raised before: Does the U.S. Constitution allow for genital cutting, even if it's just a minor nick or scraping, in the name of religion?
Defense lawyers plan to argue that religious freedom is at the core of the case in which two physicians and one of their wives are charged with subjecting young girls to genital cutting. All three are members of the Dawoodi Bohra, a small Indian-Muslim sect that has a mosque in Farmington Hills.
The defense maintains that the doctors weren't engaged in any actual cutting — just a scraping of the genitalia — and that the three defendants are being persecuted for practicing their religion by a culture and society that doesn't understand their beliefs and is misinterpreting what they did.
First Amendment scholars across the country — liberal and conservative alike — are closely following the case, noting that the fate of the accused will largely rest with scientific evidence.
The key question for jurors to answer will be: Were children harmed physically? If they were, experts say, the religious freedom defense doesn't stand a chance.
But if the defense can show that it was just a nick and caused no harm, some experts believe, the defendants could be acquitted on religious grounds.
May 14, 2017
Mother to sue GP for circumcision 'assault' on son: Case could open floodgates for a new wave of 'male genital mutilation' complaints
by Lois Rogers
A British GP is to be prosecuted by an outraged mother for assault after circumcising her baby boy without her consent.
It is the first time legal aid has supported such an action and, if successful, campaigners claim the case could open the floodgates for a new wave of ‘male genital mutilation’ complaints from men who say they were subjected to the procedure as children, before they could decide for themselves.
The operation took place when the baby, whose parents are separated, was taken to visit his father’s family.
A spokesman for Nottinghamshire police said last week they had concluded there was insufficient evidence for a successful prosecution, while the GMC said that it could not comment on its investigation.
In recent years, doctors’ groups in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Holland, Iceland and Australia have spoken out against circumcision, while last December the Danish Medical Association declared that it should not be carried out on boys under 18 who could not give informed consent.
The assault claim is being pursued by human rights lawyer Saimo Chahal QC. ...[who] said: ‘This mother clearly did not consent to her son undergoing the circumcision procedure, which could constitute a criminal offence.
‘While some people with religious beliefs see circumcision as normal, there are others who see it as an unnecessary assault which can be physically and psychologically harmful.’
Tim Alford of the pressure group Men Do Complain, which is supporting the woman’s case, says there is a growing backlash against the ‘male genital mutilation’ involved in circumcision.
John Warren, 74, a retired physician from Harlow, Essex, who has been campaigning against child circumcision for 20 years, said: ‘A lot of men say they feel mutilated.’
David Smith of pressure group Genital Autonomy, which also represents angry circumcised men, added: ‘We’re hoping the case will open the floodgates for other complaints and a clarification that circumcision of non-consenting children is a human rights abuse.’
The British Medical Association says that it is revising its ethical guidelines on circumcision, which currently say: ‘It is for society to decide what limits should be imposed on parental choice.’ The new document is expected to be published sometime in the next year.
Dr Balvinder Mehat declined to comment.
May 2, 2017
I-Team: Lawmakers consider banning intersex surgeries on children
by Vanessa Murphy
LAS VEGAS - Born with the traits of both a boy and a girl. It's called intersex. Some doctors say they can fix the condition, but there's a movement to ban those surgeries on children.
Georgiann Davis was a little girl before her life changed after doctors made a discovery about her body.
"They wheeled me down into the operating room as a 17-year-old and told me that they were removing malignant ovaries," Davis said.
She found out the real reason why in her early 20s.
she learned was intersex.
"I think it's time for U.S. doctors to wake up and realize that these surgeries that are meant to help people are harming them," Davis said.
Whether the bill passes should be known by June.
May 7, 2017
Norwegian ruling party votes to ban circumcision for men under 16 years old
Anti-immigrant party is third largest in country and works in coalition with Norwegian government
by Rachael Revesz
A political party in Norway has voted to ban the ritual circumcision of boys under the age of 16 and [take] several other measures which have been blasted as an attack on minorities.
In its national annual conference over the weekend, the anti-immigrant and libertarian Progress Party (FrP) voted to also ban hijabs in public schools, as well as forbidding the religious ritual of circumcision for young men.
Advocates claimed that circumcision resulted in mental and physical harm to children and was a serious violation of human rights.
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg heads a coalition between the Conservatives and the Progress Party, which is the third largest party in the country with 29 of the 169 seats in parliament.
The party leader, Siv Jensen, told the Aftenposten newspaper that she was against forbidding circumcision.
The reportedly last-minute and chaotic voting schedule meant that the proposed compromise - banning state funding for circumcision - failed.
Ms Jensen insisted the move was not designed to target minorities and that her party had consistently defended Israel.
The vote in Norway comes a day after Belgium’s Parliament of Wallonia voted in favour of banning ritual slaughter, which would affect Jewish kosher and Muslim halal rituals. It comes into effect in September 2019.
“This is very sad,” Ervin Kohn, a Jewish community leader in Norway, told Aftenposten.
“They [the Progress Party] must know they won’t get a majority for this in Parliament. It seems like they want to send a signal that we are unwelcome in the country.”
He tweeted encouragement for Norwegian voters to support “any other party” in the election this autumn.
Another opposing voice came from Rabbi Menachem Margolin, general director of the European Jewish Association. He wrote a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to call for collaboration between European Jewish organisations and government to prevent the proliferation of anti-Jewish legislation.
“I have no doubt that the State of Israel – the state of the Jewish people – cannot remain indifferent to it, and I call on you to exert all your political influence in order to prevent the exclusion of Jews from life in various European countries,” the letter read.
At its national conference, the Progress Party also voted against the wearing of hijabs in public schools. The move follows the party’s third deputy, Aina Stenersen, calling last September for the ban of full-body swimsuits worn by some Muslim woman.
FrP’s former leader, Carl Hagen, wants to ban municipal employees in Oslo from wearing the hijab and other religious symbols.
The party also voted in favour of dual citizenship, and is assured of a majority vote in favour of the measure in Parliament. If someone holds dual citizenship and is found to have violated asylum or immigration regulations, the party argued it would be easier to strip that person of Norwegian citizenship and deport them.
April 29, 2017
NHS pays out millions to patients of surgeon convicted of needless breast operations
by Alexandra Topping
The NHS has been forced to pay out almost £10m in compensation to more than 250 patients of a rogue surgeon found guilty of carrying out needless breast operations on patients who were left traumatised and scarred.
Consultant surgeon Ian Stuart Paterson, 59, was convicted on Friday of 17 counts of wounding with intent, relating to nine women and one man. He was also convicted of three further wounding charges.
Jurors at the seven-week trial at Nottingham crown court decided the surgeon carried out “extensive, life-changing operations for no medically justifiable reason” on the 10 patients between 1997 and 2011.
He could have more than 1,000 additional victims, among them hundreds of private Spire Healthcare patients who may never be compensated for botched and unnecessary surgery.
Paterson, described in court by one victim as being “like God”, lied to patients and exaggerated or invented the risk of cancer to convince them to go under his knife.
The jury at Nottingham crown court heard the surgeon, who saw hundreds of patients a year, carried out the operations for “obscure motives”, which may have included a desire to earn extra money.
Judge Jeremy Baker released the surgeon on conditional bail ahead of sentencing in May, telling him he faced a custodial sentence. The maximum sentence for wounding with intent is life.
One patient who gave evidence in the trial had 27 biopsy cores taken from her healthy right breast, which one expert told the court were random, and had “absolutely not” received medical best practice.
In tears, Frances Perks told the jury Patterson had conned her into thinking she was high risk and that he had destroyed her life. “He’s a psychopath. Why would anyone in their right mind do operations to people knowing that they didn’t need them?” she said, adding that she hoped he would rot in hell.
A number of Paterson’s former patients have died since being treated by him. Concerns were raised about his practice of carrying out so-called “cleavage-saving mastectomies”, which left behind tissue. This method meant that the chances of a relapse within five years doubled. One patient, Michelle Flavelle, died five years after Paterson treated her when her cancer spread to her liver, though it was not possible to establish a definitive connection.
Paterson denied misrepresenting patients’ test results to dupe insurers into paying for surgery, but other former patients have told the Guardian he exaggerated or invented the risk of cancer and, in some cases, claimed payments for more expensive procedures than those he had carried out.
Ch Supt Mark Payne called Paterson a “controlling bully, who played God with people’s lives so he could live a luxurious lifestyle”. “The procedures carried out by Ian Paterson on vulnerable patients were unnecessary and caused physical suffering, scars and wounds to the patients,” he said.
“Also, as a result of his greed and arrogance, many of the patients have suffered psychologically, believing they needed to undergo the procedures because they were at risk from breast cancer.”
Paterson was employed by the Heart of England NHS trust in 1998 despite having previously been suspended from Good Hope hospital in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham. He also practised at Spire Healthcare hospitals in the Midlands over a 13-year period.
The NHS has so far paid out around £18m including £9.5m
damages, settling 256 cases, with 25 outstanding, the Guardian has
learned. Hundreds of Paterson’s private patients may never see a penny
after his insurance company, the Medical Defence Union, said its cover
was “discretionary” and had been withdrawn.
At a recent coffee morning for former Paterson patients, many described the consultant’s “brilliant” bedside manner. “He was so lovely, I thought I was so lucky. I thought I was being looked after,” said Elaine Diskin, whom Paterson operated on eight times in as many years.
Her husband, Mike, also respected for the surgeonto the extent that when he had a pain in his chest, he went to Paterson and did not hesitate when he said he suspected lipoma and that they “had to get it out”.
“Sinister was the word he used,” Mike Diskin said. “I had no reason to doubt him because he was looking after Elaine so well.”
They trusted Paterson so much that they also recommended his care to a friend, who went on to have a lump removed. “We used to joke that we’d paid for his skiing holidays,” Elaine Diskin said.
April 21, 2017
Second Michigan Doctor, His Wife Charged in Female Genital Mutilation Procedures
by Safia Samee Ali
Authorities have charged a second doctor, along with his wife, with assisting a physician who was arrested in Michigan last week for performing female genital mutilation procedures on several young girls.
Dr. Fakhruddin Attar, 53, and his wife, Farida Attar, 50, were arrested on charges of "conspiring to perform female genital mutilations on minor girls out of Fakhruddin Attar's medical clinic," authorities said Friday.
The couple allegedly "arranged and assisted" the procedures performed by Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, who was the first individual to be charged with violating federal law that bans the practice where part or all of the genitalia is removed.
Attar, who owned the Burhani Medical Center in Livonia, Michigan, lent his medical office to Nagarwala to perform the procedure on girls, aged 6 to 9, while Farida Attar held their hands "to comfort them," the complaint alleges.
Federal officials launched an investigation after being tipped off that Nagarwala performed the procedure on two 7-year-old girls from Minnesota who were brought by their families to Michigan for the procedure, according to the complaint.
Phone records and surveillance tapes linked the families of the girls to Nagarwala as well as both Fakhruddin and Farida Attar.
The Minnesota girls told authorities they came to Detroit on a "special girl's trip" to see a doctor for a procedure that would "get the germs out," the complaint said.
A medical examination on the girls showed abnormal genitalia, and one of the girls said "her parents told her that the procedure is a secret and she is not supposed to talk about it," the complaint alleges.
Further investigation found other children in Michigan underwent the illegal procedure at Attar's office from 2005 to 2017, according to the complaint. Some of the parents of those children have admitted to having the procedure done at the Michigan office.
During a phone call intercepted by authorities, Farida Attar allegedly told one of the parents who came to the office for the procedure to "completely deny the allegation, and to say that nothing has happened," if asked by investigators, according to the complaint.
Fakhruddin Attar did admit to authorities that Nagarwala used his clinic after hours "five or six times a year" to treat children for genital problems, "including genital rashes," the complaint stated.
He also admitted that Nagarwala never "charged patients" when she saw them at his office.
During a hearing on Monday, Nagarwala's lawyer told a judge that she did not cut but actually "removed the membrane from the girls vaginal parts and gave it the girls' parents, who would then bury it following a custom practiced by a small sect of Indian Muslims known as the Dawoodi Bohra," according to the Detroit Free Press. [See below for what was actually cut.]
Federal investigators have said the families of the Minnesota girls also belong to the sect.
"The allegations against the defendant in this investigation are made even more deplorable, given the defendant's position as a trusted medical professional in the community," said Special Agent in Charge Steve Francis in a statement last week.
The couple is scheduled to appear in front of a federal judge on Friday.
April 19, 2017
Surgeon who cut off four-year-old's penis while carrying out circumcision as the boy's father took photographs is CLEARED of negligence
by Kelly McLaughlin for MailOnline
The child had turned towards his father when the surgeon sliced through his penis which then fell to the floor of the operating room in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Swiss doctor who carried out the procedure in July 2014 was accused of causing serious bodily harm through negligence.
But the 59-year-old has since been cleared after a trial
after defence lawyers ruled the doctor could not be responsible for the
'unforeseeable act' of the boy turning to pose for photos. [Oh really? It was "unforseeable"
that a boy would not stand still while part of his penis was
cut off? In what mad universe?] The
happened in July 2014, when Algerian refugees in Geneva, who have not
been publicly named, brought their son to the surgery to be
In many religions, a circumcision ceremony is celebrated, which was the case with the young boy and his family, who are believed to be Muslim.
As the doctor was making his incision, the boy's father raised his hand to take a photo. His son turned toward him, moving his pelvis and causing the surgeon to slice off his penis, which fell to the floor.
The boy's penis was finally re-attached, and three years after the procedure, is continuing to recover, it has been reported.
In the months after the surgery, the boy couldn't urinate normally, with the spray splitting 'into two or three' streams, his mother said, according to Le Matin.
She said that his penis shape is 'satisfactory' but 'a bit dented', adding that he's suffered loss of 'substance' in the glands.
The boy has to wait until he's 18, however, to see if
procedures on his reattached penis will be necessary.
Prosecutor Judith Lévy Owczarczak had claimed that the doctor wanted to cover up what he had done, and spent hours 'running around Geneva trying to find a catheter' instead of taking the boy to the hospital, according to Tribune de Geneve.
Defence lawyer Charles Joye, however, said that the
doctor told the
father to immediately take his son to the hospital. At the time of the
operation, the doctor had performed 700 circumcisions, and since the
incident, the number has increased to 2,500.
April 13, 2017
Michigan doctor charged with carrying out female genital mutilationJumana Nagarwala is accused of performing FGM on girls aged between six and eight for the past 12 years from a medical office in the Detroit suburb of Livonia
by Jon Swaine in New York
A doctor in Michigan has been charged with carrying out female genital mutilation on young girls, in what is thought to be the first prosecution of its kind in the US.
Jumana Nagarwala, an emergency room physician in Detroit, is accused of performing the procedure on girls aged between six and eight and then lying to investigators when confronted.
Nagarwala, 44, faces a sentence of up to life in prison if convicted of all the charges against her. She was scheduled to appear in federal court in Detroit on Thursday afternoon.
Prosecutors alleged in a complaint filed to court that Nagarwala had been carrying out female genital mutilation procedures for the past 12 years from a medical office in the Detroit suburb of Livonia.
Justice department officials said on Thursday that the charges were believed to be the first ever brought under a US law against female genital mutilation that was passed in 1996 and amended in 2013.
“Female genital mutilation constitutes a particularly brutal form of violence against women and girls. It is also a serious federal felony in the United States,” acting US attorney Daniel Lemisch said in a statement. “The practice has no place in modern society and those who perform FGM on minors will be held accountable under federal law.”
The FBI and Department of Homeland Security’s investigations division (HSI) acted after receiving a tip-off that Nagarwala was performing FGM, according to the court filing. Nagarwala is charged with female genital mutilation, transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and lying to a federal agent.
Investigators interviewed and examined two seven-year-old girls from Minnesota who appeared to have undergone FGM by Nagarwala in February this year. Telephone records, hotel bills and surveillance video are said to show that the girls traveled to Michigan with their mothers.
One of the girls said that she had been told she was going to see a doctor “to get the germs out” of her. She said Nagarwala had “pinched” her genitals and that she was given a pad to place in her underwear.
The second girl said she had screamed in pain after the procedure, and that afterwards “she could barely walk, and that she felt pain all the way down to her ankle”. A glove belonging to the second girl was later found in the clinic. Her parents told investigators they had taken the girl to see Nagarwala in Michigan for a “cleansing”.
Both girls identified Nagarwala from a photograph as the
they had seen and said that they were warned not to discuss the
procedure, according to the complaint. Two other parents confirmed to
investigators that Nagawala performed procedures on their daughter’s
genitals, according to the complaint.
Yet in an interview on Monday this week with an agent from the HSI, Nagarwala allegedly said that she had never performed FGM on children and knew that it was illegal in the US.
David Gelios, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Detroit office, said in a statement that US authorities would do whatever necessary “to bring an end to this barbaric practice”.
Jaha Dukureh, an Atlanta-based FGM survivor and leading campaigner against the practice, welcomed the prosecution, saying that it “sets an example” and reminds the public of an ongoing problem.
“We don’t want to have to prosecute – we want to prevent,” Dukureh said. “This shouldn’t be happening. Not in the US, not anywhere.”
April 2, 2017
Bellevue Hospital accused of botching infant's circumcision
by Kathianne Boniello
A botched circumcision at Bellevue Hospital filled a Manhattan infant’s first months with pain, a mom claims in court papers.
An intern circumcised Karina Collado’s baby boy without asking a day after his February 2015 birth, she said in a Manhattan Supreme Court filing.
In 10 visits over 18 months, Collado “was assured that her son’s penis was going though the normal healing process,” according to court documents.
In January, Collado took her son to Mount Sinai Medical Center and learned he had a urinary tract infection that would require surgery.
The boy’s “deformed” penis has two holes on either side of his urethra and “significant” foreskin still attached, the mom charges.
“It’s a matter that’s under investigation,” said Collado’s lawyer, Eric Schwarz.
The city declined to comment on the claim.
April 2, 2017
Woman charged with child abuse for circumcising her 4-year-old son
Defendant claims the procedure is normal in her Eritrean culture
by Rachael Revesz
An Eritrean asylum seeker in Israel is facing a charge of child abuse and 14 years behind bars after she performed a circumcision on her four-year-old son.
The unnamed woman, who works as a hotel cleaner and has been in Israel for over a decade, carried out the circumcision at her home in March 2016 and did not use the traditional instruments used in Jewish rituals.
The woman, known only as “A”, told the court: “This is my son, my baby. After so many requests I made to all sorts of places about how to do it, I took it upon myself and cut. In Ethiopian culture, Eritrean culture, anyone who knows how can do the circumcision.”
Doctor cut off boy's penis during circumcision
Her lawyer, Moshe Serogovich, argued that no law regulates the work of mohels, who normally perform circumcisions, and A acted “according to her cultural heritage”, as reported by Haaretz.
“For us, a man with a beard and kippa says a few blessings and performs the bris for an 8-day-old baby, and that seems to be the most natural thing in the world to us,” he said.
“But if the boy is a bit older and the instruments are different, the same act is suddenly considered abuse that needs to be punished severely.”
Prosecutors replied that the cultural defence argument could be used a way to cover up abuse, similar to cases where men accused of beating their wives claim it is normal or acceptable in their culture.
Circumcisions are not regulated by law and there is no requirement for a doctor to be present. The question debated in court is what is the definition of circumcision, who can perform it and when.
According to the indictment, “The defendant held the complainant in her hands and instructed him to sit in silence,” and “The defendant did not respond to the complainant’s crying and appeals, and continued to cut his skin in the upper part of the sexual organ.” A’s lawyer said this description could be applied to any circumcision.
The indictment also stated that the child had “minor swelling” three days afterwards and he might need surgery in the future, yet an urologist who examined the child said there was “no need for urgent intervention”.
Prosecutors claimed A hurt her son as punishment for defecating in bed, but the charge was strongly denied by both A and her lawyer.
According to experts, circumcisions are often performed by women in rural areas among the Eritrean Orthodox Church, and it is still a common practice when the child is a few years old.
The defendant took her son to nursery school three days after the incident, and asked him to lower his trousers so she could explain what happened to the teacher. The teacher, who noticed he allegedly had a limp and was injured, alerted authorities. He was taken to hospital and handed over to foster care the same day
Authorities went to A’s home and took away her two daughters. Police charged her with interfering with an officer in the line of duty as she physically resisted.
Her daughters were returned to her partner several months later and the boy remains with a foster family.
If the court rules in A’s favour, it would set an important legal precedent.
Past attempts to regulate male circumcision have been defeated.
In 2013 the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe called on member states to implement restrictions on circumcision, and the resolution also covered female genital mutilation and the coercion of children into getting body piercings or tattoos. The resolution was not welcomed within the Israeli government and the Council dropped its attempt to legislate against male circumcision in 2015.
March 30, 2017
De Blasio Admits Failure To Stop Mohels With Herpes From Performing Snip-N-Suck [Ugh!] Circumcisions
by Ben Yakas
Six babies have developed herpes following circumcisions since Bill de Blasio became mayor, and his administration is now changing course on the issue in an attempt to stop mohels who have infected babies with herpes from performing the metzitzah b’peh ritual.
Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said yesterday that two of the six mohels who infected the babies have been identified and ordered to stop performing the ritual. Yet the administration won't release the names of the mohels: "We have defended the department's decision in court not to make these names available. People are entitled to their privacy," she said. As a result, the City will rely on parents to ask their mohel if they have been banned by the health commissioner.
The ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in NYC has been criticized for failed attempts to police itself in the past, so it's an open question whether what amounts to the honor system will make a difference this time. But at least de Blasio is acknowledging the current policy is a failure: "We tried a new policy. It didn’t work either — which I’m very unhappy about,” de Blasio said at a press conference in Queens yesterday. "I don’t think those community leaders did all they could have done. So now we’re going in a different direction."
"We’re going to do a much more intensive effort to educate parents, particular mothers, as to the dangers of this practice," he continued. "And we’re going to say to them, it’s important to ask the mohel—if you choose to engage in this practice, that’s your right, and we respect religious freedom—but ask the mohel if they are infected with herpes. And if they are, you should find a different mohel. It’s as simple as that."
The "metzitzah b'peh" ritual is the circumcision practice in which a mohel sucks the blood from a freshly snipped [it's not snipped] foreskin of a baby boy. Outside of the ultra-Orthodox community, the ritual is shunned by Jews, and is considered by many to be an ancient tradition based on "a long-discredited medical theory from the Iron Age before the dawn of the Common Era."
Under the Bloomberg administration, the Board of Health ruled that "parents need to be aware of the opinion of experts," and unanimously passed circumcision consent forms that required Orthodox Jewish parents to sign a waiver before their infant could undergo the procedure. The City was immediately sued by ultra-Orthodox Jewish groups who claimed their First Amendment rights were violated.
When he was first running for office, de Blasio criticized the Bloomberg administration for not reaching out to the community, but stopped short of promising to dispose of the consent forms. He later used the consent forms as a way to win over ultra-Orthodox Jewish voters and further separate himself from Bloomberg, saying, "I would start over and change the policy to find a way to protect all of our children but also respect religious tradition."
As Failed Messiah put it at the time, "Bill De Blasio Promises Satmar That In Exchange For Votes, He Will Repeal Informed Consent For Dangerous Haredi Circumcision Practice." The ultra-Orthodox Jewish factions generally vote in blocs—Failed Messiah notes that this Aharonite Satmar faction alone is worth 10,000+ votes. On election night in 2013, one ultra-Orthodox Jewish voter in South Williamsburg bluntly told us, "I don't know the meaning of democracy, I just vote what they tell me to do, because maybe they've made deals with the politicians."
De Blasio made good on that promise in 2015, with the Board of Health nixing the consent forms. The city instead directed health officials to distribute a brochure to ultra-Orthodox Jewish parents titled, "Make a safe bris for your baby."
Over 20 babies in NYC have been infected with herpes since 2000 because of the ritual, and at least two have died because of it. Israeli doctors studying the herpes infection also believe it may be the cause of the noticeably higher number of learning disabled children in Hasidic communities.
March 29, 2017
Doctor faces trial for cutting off 4yo boy's penis during circumcision
A doctor is facing trial in Switzerland after severing a four-year-old's penis during a circumcision operation and ‘wasting time’ before sending him to hospital. The medico is accused of inflicting serious bodily harm through negligence.
The tragic incident occurred on July 2014, when the boy's parents took him to the doctor's office in Geneva.
The parents had confidence in the physician, who had at the time performed 700 circumcisions, according to Le Matin newspaper.
Once the procedure was underway, the boy's father, an Algerian refugee, began taking photos of the event, which many families believe to be a ritual worthy of celebration.
However, when the boy's father raised his hand to take a photo and his son turned towards him, the child moved his pelvis. This reportedly caused the doctor to sever the penis, which subsequently fell to the floor.
The doctor then tried to reattach the penis, but did not have a catheter of the correct size, according to the prosecution.
Instead of sending the family to a hospital, the doctor simply told them to remain in his waiting room, according to prosecutor Judith Lévy Owczarczak.
The doctor then wasted time “running around Geneva trying to find a catheter” in an effort to cover up what he had done, the family's lawyer said, as cited by La Tribune de Genève.
Owczarczak also claimed the doctor had not taken enough precautions to ensure the boy did not move during the procedure.
However, defense lawyer Charles Joye says the doctor told the boy's father to take him to the hospital immediately. He added that his client should not be held responsible for the “unforeseeable act” of the father taking photos.
It took several surgeries to reattach the penis, but a surgeon told the court that the boy will have to wait until he is 18 years old to know if any further procedures will be needed.
The surgeon responsible for the circumcision-turned-amputation continued practicing after the incident, and has since conducted an additional 1,800 circumcisions.
The court will give its verdict at a later date which has not yet been announced.
March 18, 2017
Norwegian left-wing party split on proposal to ban [age-restrict] circumcision
Plan would propose 15 years as the minimum age for non-medical circumcision of boys, pending their consent
A proposal to support a ban on ritual circumcision and label it child abuse is splitting the leadership of a liberal party in Norway that supports outreach to Muslim immigrants.
Socialist Left secretary Kari Elisabeth Kaski will push for language supporting the ban in the party’s official platform during a general assembly meeting this weekend, the Klasse Kampen far-left news site reported Thursday.
The plank would propose 15 years as the minimum age for non-medical circumcision of boys, pending their consent. Jews typically have boys circumcised at 8 days old in a ritual called brit milah. The Muslim variant typically occurs later in life but before the age of 13.
Party leaders Audun Lysbakken and Snorre Valen oppose the plan.
“For Norwegian Jews, such a ban would be difficult to deal with,” Lysbakken said. “From the minority’s perspective, this proposal therefore is deeply troubling and I hope those promoting it will reconsider.”
The debate within the party, which has seven of 169 seats in parliament, is part of a larger dilemma facing left-wing parties in Europe, which often struggle to balance their stated commitment to minority rights with a secularist agenda that is perceived as intolerant by many members of faith groups.
Many European secularists regard circumcision on minors, which is performed by Muslims and Jews, as a cruel violation of children’s rights. [And men's.] A similar debate is occurring across Europe and in the continent’s north about the issue of ritual slaughter of animals, which devout Jews and Muslims require be performed on conscious animals.
In an interview published Friday by the NTB news agency, Ervin Kohn, the leader of the Jewish Community of Norway, offered criticism that is rarely expressed in Norway against politicians from progressive parties like the Socialist Left. [Because it's wrong.]
“Those who seek a ban operate with intolerance and ethnocentrism of the worst kind,” he said. “They put themselves on a pedestal and maintain the notion that 2 billion of the world’s population are wrong.” [The fallacy of argument ad populem - appeal to numbers. All of the world's population has been wrong on many other issues - why not this one?]
In addition to left-wing initiatives to ban non-medical circumcision of boys and ritual slaughter, Europe and northern Europe especially have seen similar efforts by center-right and far-right populists. Proponents often appeal to children’s [and men's] rights and animal welfare, although some appear to be specifically targeting Muslim or Jews.
March 17, 2017
Man claimed on Facebook he ran a circumcision service — from his 'cabin in the woods'
Mother says Josh Chubbs offered to perform operations on her young son
by Geoff Bartlett, Krissy Holmes
A Newfoundland and Labrador man has been charged with practising without a medical licence after a woman reported him to police, saying he asked her inappropriate questions about her son's penis and suggested he could perform circumcisions at his rural home.
Carbonear resident Josh Chubbs, 23, was charged on Feb. 20 under the Medical Act after a mother — whom CBC News has agreed not to identify — called police to report that he had written to her last December, after she made a routine post on Facebook that mentioned her children.
The mother, who lives in the Conception Bay North area, said Chubbs wrote to her to inquire whether her son, who is under 10, was having any issues with his genitals, such as infections that might require a medical procedure like a circumcision or a frenulectomy, which involves the removal of tissue around the head of the penis.
Circumcision is often performed a few days after birth before discharge from hospital or at specialized outpatient clinics. However, because it's considered cosmetic, the surgery cost of $300 to $500 isn't covered by provincial insurance plans.
The mother described Chubbs as an acquaintance and said she knew he had worked at Noel's Funeral Home in Carbonear in 2015. She said he explained to her that he also had training in pediatric urology and could do surgical operations like circumcisions.
According to Facebook messages seen by CBC News, Chubbs asked if her son had been circumcised, how he cleaned his penis and several other questions that she felt were inappropriate.
"He said, 'I don't want you to think I was a creep, I am trained,'" she said.
After pressing Chubbs further, she said he went on to explain how he never finished his urology training because he fell into the funeral business.
He told her he had training in pediatric urology and had "dealt with lots of boys who have had issues."
"I did finish my course, got all my papers, it's not illegal, I am trained," he told her, and added: "I just don't work for the hospital, which is why I don't broadcast, but it's legal."
In the messages, he claimed he had performed circumcisions for his adult friends on the side and that he had all his papers. He added he could do the procedure right in his home — which she described as little more than a cabin in the woods near the town of Freshwater.
...According to the woman, Chubbs claimed to have completed more than 50 procedures already, and even referred her to a mutual adult friend who had a frenulectomy operation successfully done by him. The friend confirmed it, and went on to say Chubbs seemed professional and that there were no complications from the work.
..Chubbs is scheduled to appear in Harbour Grace provincial court on April 12.
He's charged with engaging in medical practice while not licensed under the Medical Act from June 1 to Oct. 15, 2016. He is also being charged by promoting those services to people between Dec. 1 and 16, 2016.
March 14, 2017
Father Imprisoned for Genital Cutting Is Deported to Ethiopia
by Daniel Victor
A man who in 2006 became the first person in the United States to be convicted of female genital cutting was deported on Monday to his home country, Ethiopia, after serving 10 years in prison, federal authorities said.
The man, Khalid Adem, 41, used scissors to remove the clitoris of his 2-year-old daughter in his family’s Atlanta-area apartment in 2001, prosecutors in Gwinnett County, Ga., said. He was convicted of aggravated battery and cruelty to children.
The case led to a state law prohibiting the practice, which was already prohibited by a federal law and is a common social ritual in parts of the world but is broadly condemned.
“A young girl’s life has been forever scarred by this horrible crime,” Sean W. Gallagher, a field office director for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said in a statement on Tuesday.
“The elimination of female genital mutilation/cutting has broad implications for the health and human rights of women and girls, as well as societies at large.”
The World Health Organization has estimated that more than 200 million girls and women have been cut in 30 countries, mostly in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. The procedure, which involves the removal of parts of the genitalia, is typically performed on girls before they turn 15 and leads to a wide range of lifelong health consequences, including chronic infection, childbirth complications, psychological trauma and pain during urination, menstruation and intercourse.
The practice is far from unheard-of in the United States. Though it is illegal under federal law, about half a million women have undergone the procedure or are likely to be subjected to it, according to a 2012 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Cutting has presented new challenges for doctors as the number of African immigrants in the United States has grown. In 2013, lawmakers extended the federal ban to include “vacation cutting,” in which American-born girls are sent to other countries to have the cutting performed.
I.C.E. has arrested at least 380 people and has deported 785 known or suspected human rights violators since 2003, the agency said.
In 2016, Unicef said the rate of cuttings had declined over three decades, with adolescents about one-third less likely to be cut than 30 years ago.
Customs are changing in some counties where the practice used to be widespread. In 2015, a doctor in Egypt became the first person in that country to be convicted of the practice. Somalia’s prime minister signed a petition in 2016 that called for his government to ban it. The country of Georgia outlawed genital cutting in January.
The Times Leader (Pennsylvania)
February 24, 2017
Lawsuit: Doctor cut off ‘significant portion’ of newborn’s penis
by Joe Dolinsky
WILKES-BARRE — A pediatrician cut off a “significant portion” of a newborn’s penis during a circumcision procedure last summer at Lehigh Valley Hospital Hazleton, permanently scarring and disfiguring him, according to a lawsuit filed this week by the boy’s parents. [Infant male genital cutting always cuts off a significant portion of a newborn's penis, and always permanentlly scars and disfigures him.]
The lawsuit, filed in Luzerne County Court, further alleges the boy’s parents were told medical staff had failed to transfer the partially amputated portion of their son’s penis on ice, and attempting to reattach it was “unlikely to succeed and could result in additional complications.”
The Times Leader Media Group is not identifying the victim or his parents due to the nature of the allegations.
The parents, from Nesquehoning, Carbon County, allege the hospital provided Dr. Stephen R. Glicken to perform the procedure on July 20, 2016, three days after their son was born. Glicken cut off a 0.3-inch portion of the newborn’s penis and had him transferred to Geisinger Medical Center in Danville for further care, according to the lawsuit.
The amputated portion, however, allegedly wasn’t packed in ice for transfer.
A urologist at the medical center informed the newborn’s parents that the condition of the amputated portion of the penis — five hours old at that point — would make reattaching it unlikely.
Subsequent to the “partial traumatic amputation of his penis, (the newborn’s parents) have been informed his penis will never have a normal appearance” and “will never achieve the size it would have otherwise achieved.”
The lawsuit names Glicken, Lehigh Valley Hospital Hazleton, Lehigh Valley Physician Group Hazleton, and the Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network as defendants, and seeks damages for negligence in excess of local limits.
A hospital spokesperson did not immediately return a message left Friday seeking comment.
February 20, 2017
Charges dropped against Boynton mom who fought son’s circumcision
by Daphne Duret
The case of the Boynton Beach mother arrested after she took her son on the run rather than let his father have him circumcised is now officially over.
Prosecutors dropped criminal charges against 32-year-old Heather Hironimus weeks ago after she completed an 18-month program to keep the state from pursuing the case that could have landed her in prison for up to five years.
Hironimus became the subject of national attention after Florida’s 4th District Court of Appeal upheld a ruling forcing Hironimus to go through with a 2012 agreement she had signed allowing the boy’s father, Dennis Nebus of Boca Raton, to have their son circumcised. When she later changed her mind about the agreement, Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Jeffrey Gillen ruled to enforce the agreement anyway.
Hironimus took her then 4½-year-old son away in early 2015, a violation of a civil court order requiring her to turn him over to Nebus.
Authorities reunited the boy with his father after Hironumus was arrested in May of that year.
By then, Hironimus had won the praise of anti-circumcision groups around the country, who sparked a small protest outside Joe DiMaggio Children’s hospital after her arrest, when word leaked that Nebus may have taken the boy there to be circumcised. It is unclear when the boy was circumcised.
In July 2015, defense attorney Richard Tendler worked out an agreement with prosecutors on Hironimus’ behalf for her to enter a pretrial intervention program that included a mental heath evaluation, a four-hour parenting course and other provisions.
Assistant State Attorney Craig Williams filed a notice with Circuit Judge Glenn Kelley on Jan. 17 stating that Hironimus has successfully completed the program, so prosecutors would be dropping the single felony charge of interference with custody.
Daily Mail (via NZ Herald)
January 18, 2017
Teen attempts circumcision with machete after being teased
A teenager was rushed to hospital in Zimbabwe when he attempted to circumcise himself using a machete after his friends mocked his penis.
The teen attempted the DIY circumcision using the nearest sharp object he could find after his friends told him he would not get a girlfriend because he still had his foreskin in tact.
The boy was rushed to St Luke's Mission Hospital in the country's Lupane District, where he spent two days recovering from the botched procedure, according to the Daily Mail.
Staff at the clinic also carried out the circumcision operation that the boy had attempted on himself.
A doctor said he did not understand why the boy had tried to circumcise himself as healthcare workers would have visited his house to perform the routine op.
Dr Nyasha Masuka, medical director of Matabeleland North Province, told news website My Zimbabwe: "It seems the other boys were laughing at him for not being circumcised so he used a machete to circumcise himself and he injured himself in the process.'
"He was rushed to St Lukes Hospital where the health staff circumcised him." [Would they have done that if he had attempted to cut any other part off?]
Dr George Mature, medical officer for Lupane district, said other patients at the hospital were 'shocked' that the boy had had the courage to take the weapon to his own penis. [No shock at the cowardice of the bullies who drove him to it?]
He said: "The patients who were admitted with him were wondering how he managed to do it.
"The good thing is that he wounded the outer layer of foreskin. So we had to keep him at the hospital to monitor him as he had used a clinically inappropriate tool so we were worried that it could have caused an infection."
The incident comes less than a month after a 10-year-old boy had the tip of his penis chopped off after a routine circumcision operation went horribly wrong.
The boy, who has not been named, was rushed to a hospital in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, after the incident at a clinic in a local suburb, which it is believed the surgeon's laser scalpel might have slipped.
January 11, 2017
Chilean officials oppose intersex children ‘normalization’ surgery
by Michael K. Lavers
The Chilean government has urged doctors in the South American country to no longer perform surgeries that “normalize” the sex of intersex children.
Undersecretary of Health Jaime Burrows and Undersecretary of Assistance Networks Gisela Alarcón in a document the Chilean Ministry of Health released last week expressed its opposition to “unnecessary ‘normalization’ treatments of intersex children” that include “irreversible genital surgeries until they are of a sufficient age to make decisions about their bodies.”
Camilo Godoy Peña, a Chilean LGBT rights advocate, on Jan. 8 noted on his Facebook page that the document, which is dated Dec. 22, also contains a series of recommendations for each branch of the country’s public health system. These include the creation of a round table of endocrinologists, gynecologists, psychiatrists and other specialists to determine “which action to take in each case” of an intersex child.
Godoy said this document is the first time the Chilean government has provided “clear instruction” on the treatment of intersex children.
“From this point forward there is a concrete tool to use to enforce the human rights of a group of people who have ‘been made invisible,’” he wrote on his Facebook page. “For decades they have been victims of violence, torture and ignorance.”
The Chilean government released its recommendations less than three months after Godoy presented a letter to President Michelle Bachelet that urged her government to do more to protect the rights of intersex people.
U.N. report critical of ‘involuntary genital normalizing surgery’
Opposition to what advocates have described as Intersex Genital Mutilation has increased in recent years.
The U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture in 2013 issued a report that notes intersex children who undergo “involuntary genital normalizing surgery” face “permanent, irreversible infertility” and “severe mental suffering.” The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights are among the other international bodies that have expressed concern over the treatment of intersex people.
Lawmakers in Malta last year approved a bill that bans doctors from performing “surgical intervention on the sex characteristics of a minor” until he or she can provide “informed consent.”
A Maryland law that allows intersex people to legally change the gender on their birth certificates without surgery took effect last October. German parents since 2013 have been able to designate the gender on their children’s birth certificates as “indeterminate.”
An Irish law that allows transgender people to legally change their gender without medical intervention took effect last September. Advocates have criticized the statute because it does not include intersex people.
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