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Home > Health - Child Circumcision > Item

International Coalition for Genital Integrity

Media Release

Santa Cruz, CA,
August 28, 2000

Contact: Rio Cruz, 831-423-3285
For Release: August 28, 2000, 4:00 p.m. PDT.
E-Mail: info@icgi.org



SANTA CRUZ, CA--The American Medical Association (AMA), in a statement published on its website August 17, 2000, slammed neonatal circumcision calling it a "non-therapeutic" procedure which is performed for social reasons.

The AMA said the risks and adverse effects "mitigate" any possible slight medical benefit from neonatal circumcision. The AMA does not recommend circumcision and is now aligned with other medical organizations.

The AMA cited world medical opinion, which rejects neonatal circumcision as a beneficial operation. It said neonatal male circumcisions are uncommon in Europe, South and Central America, and Asia.

The AMA said a majority of boys in the U.S. still undergo non-therapeutic circumcisions. The AMA called the incidence of non-therapeutic neonatal circumcisions in the U.S "high" and called for doctors to provide complete information about the risks and adverse effects of neonatal circumcision and anesthesia to parents so that they can make a better informed decision. The AMA cited studies that show that doctors frequently do not provide adequate information and when they do it is often too late to be helpful to the parents in reaching an informed decision.

The AMA said most doctors (55%) still do not use anesthesia in spite of "clear evidence" of "brisk pain responses," and called for procedural anesthesia whenever a circumcision is performed.

Dr. Rio Cruz, an official of the ICGI, said, "The ICGI welcomes the support of the AMA in the struggle against male circumcision. The AMA's efforts to upgrade U.S. medical practice to world standards are commendable and bring us one step closer to the eventual demise of non-consented non-therapeutic genital alteration of children.

"Regrettably, the AMA has failed to provide information about the nature and physiological functions of the foreskin, and it has ignored bioethics and legal considerations. The AMA Committee on Ethical and Judicial Affairs should address this important issue at an early date."

Marilyn Fayre Milos, RN, executive director of the National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers, commented, "It is going to be helpful to have the power and prestige of the AMA behind our efforts and, with their help and influence, we should be able to secure the genital integrity of infants and children and significantly reduce the rate of non-therapeutic genital cutting in the United States."

J. Steven Svoboda, Esq., executive director of Attorneys for the Rights of the Child observed,"Circumcision guarantees injury to the penis by removal of about 50 percent of the erogenous skin and mucosa. It looks as though the AMA is attempting to shift the liability from the surgeon who wields the scalpel to the parents. I don't think this is going to work because courts in various states have ruled that parents do not have the power to consent to the removal of healthy functional tissue from a minor. Moreover, a principle of pediatric bioethics states that �eath care providers have legal and ethical duties to their child patients to render competent medical care based on what the patient needs, not what someone else expresses."

The new AMA policy statement, Neonatal Circumcision, may be viewed online at: www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/article/2036-2511.html


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