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Home > Health - Child Circumcision > Article

Routine Circumcision

Quotes from the Medical Profession

  • "Whatever is done to stop the terrible practice of circumcision will be of tremendous importance. There is no rational medical reason to support it. It is high time that such a barbaric practice comes to an end." --Dr. Frederick Leboyer, author, Birth Without Violence Negative Aspects of Routine Infant Circumcision

  • "Children will likely continue to be governed by the viewpoint of their parents, but a new era of human rights and children's rights brought a new variable into the equation. The physician who performs circumcisions may someday find himself subject to legislative action or even charged with sexual assault. A May 1994 decision of the Supreme Court of Canada placed the best interests of the child above parental rights.
    "In the 1990s, circumcision clearly can no longer be regarded as a routine procedure." --Canadian Medical Association Journal, 152:11, pp. 1873 et seq., 1 June 1995

  • The Virginia Urologists Association voted unanimously that routine neonatal circumcision is unnecessary.

  • The American Cancer Society says, "Research suggesting a pattern in the circumcision status of partners of women with cervical cancer is methodologically flawed, outdated, and has not been taken seriously in the medical community for decades.

    "Penile cancer rates in countries which do not practice circumcision are lower than those found in the United States. Fatalities caused by circumcision accidents may approximate the mortality rate from penile cancer. " --ACS letter to AAP

  • "Scientists used to think that the wives of uncircumcised men were more likely to get cervical cancer, but modern research has disproved this." --Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care, 1992.

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics, The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and The Pediatric Urologists Association all say routine circumcision is unnecessary.

  • The Canadian Pediatric Society says, "...there is no medical indication for circumcision during the neonatal period." --Circumcision Information Center
    After a more recent review of medical data, including HIV and other STD rates, UTI, penile and uterine cancer rates, and circumcision complication risks, the CPS has taken a stronger stand against neonatal circumcision. The recommendation statement has now been revised to "Circumcision of newborns should not be routinely performed." --Fetus and Newborn Committee, Canadian Pediatric Society, Canadian Medical Association Journal, vol 154, no. 6 [March 15, 1996: pp. 769-780]

  • "...(From) the very beginning of life, a child's sexuality is an integral part of its being. In my opinion, any crippling interference with children's normal bodily functions is a form of emotional as well as physical abuse." --Mary Calderone, MD, MPH, Sex Education and Information Council of the United States, Fetal Erection and its Message to Us, SEICUS Report, May-July 1983. p9-10. Negative Aspects of Routine Infant Circumcision

  • Paul M. Fleiss, MD, MPH; Frederick Hodges, American Medical News, vol. 38, no. 26 (July 17, 1995): page 16.
    Nontherapeutic Circumcision Should not be Performed
    "The prepuce is a highly innervated and vascularized genital structure. It is entirely lined with the peripenic muscle sheet. Specialized ecoptic sebaceious glans on the inner preputial surface produce natural emollients and lubricants necessary for normal sexual function. The primary orgasmic triggers are found in the prepucutial orifice and frenulum. When unfolded, the prepuce is large enough to cover the length and circumference of the erect penis and acts as a natural sheath through which the shaft glides during coitus. Only the presence and functions of the prepuce allow for physiologically normal coitus to occur as designed by nature.
    "Males and females alike have an inherent human right to the integrity of the reproductive organs with which nature provided them." --Circ Info Network 951202

  • "It cannot be ethical for a doctor to amputate normal tissue from a normal child."
    Warren J et al., Letter: Circumcision of Children, British Medical Journal Volume 312, 377, 10 February 1996

  • Taddio A., Goldbach M., Ipp M., Stevens B., Koren G. THE LANCET, VOL 345(8945):291-2, 4 Feb 1995;
    Effect of Neonatal Circumcision on Pain Responses During Vaccination in Boys.
    Institution Department of Pediatrics, Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Canada.
    Abstract: Using data from one of our randomised trials, we investigated post-hoc whether male neonatal circumcision is associated with a greater pain response to routine vaccination at 4 or 6 months. Pain response during routine vaccination with diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus (DPT) alone or DPT followed by Haemophilus influenzae type b conjugate (HIB) was scored blind. 42 boys received DPT and 18 also received HIB.
    After DPT, median visual analogue scores by an observer were higher in the circumcised group (40 vs 26 mm, p = 0.03). AFTER HIB, CIRCUMCISED INFANTS HAD HIGHER BEHAVIOURAL PAIN SCORES (8 VS 6, P = 0.01) AND CRIED LONGER (53 VS 19 S, P = 0.02). THUS NEONATAL CIRCUMCISION MAY AFFECT PAIN RESPONSE SEVERAL MONTHS AFTER THE EVENT. --D. Evans, Evans Industries

  • Letter, THE LANCET, VOL 345, P. 927, 8 Apr 1995 Circumcision
    Sir-Taddio and colleagues (Feb 4, p. 291) are to be commended for their study showing the permanent psychological damage inflicted on infants subjected to unanesthetised penile reduction surgery--i.e., circumcision. It is both instructive and frightening that the severe and unalleviable pain of circumcision permanently alters the neural pathways in an adverse fashion.
    ... Stang et al (1) found that an injection of lignocaine hydrochloride reduced the plasma cortisol concentration slightly, but left the babies with a concentration of 331 nmol/L, whereas a contented child at rest has a plasma cortisol concentration of 28-138 nmol/L. Benni et al (2) found that EMLA (lignocaine/prilocaine local anaesthetic cream) could only reduce the circumcised child's heart rate from 180 to 160 beats a minute. No infant's heart should beat at 160 beats a minute, nor should his plasma cortisol concentration be 331 nmol/L. These rates are consistent with torture. With or without anaesthesia, circumcision will cause the psychoneural damage found by Taddio et al. --Circ Info Network 950412

  • The April issue of Pediatrics journal published a new study on pain control for circumcision. The study concluded that "circumcision of the newborn causes severe and persistent pain," and that acetaminophen (Tylenol) was not found to "ameliorate either the intraoperative or the immediate postoperative pain of circumcision." --Circ Info Network 941228

  • Cohen HA., Drucker MM., Vainer S., Ashkenasi A., Amir J., Frydman M., Varsano I. Clinical Pediatrics, 31(6):322-4, June 1992.
    Postcircumcision Urinary Tract Infection
    Department of Pediatrics, Hasharon Hospital, Golda Medical Center, Petach Tikva, Israel. Abstract: The possible association of urinary tract infection (UTI) with ritual circumcision on the eighth day of life was studied by analyzing the epidemiology of urinary tract infections during the first year of life in 169 children with UTI (56 males and 113 females) born in Israel from 1979 to 1984. Forty-eight percent of the episodes of UTI occurring in males appeared during the 12 days following circumcision, and the increased incidence during that period was highly significant. The median age of the males at the time of the UTI was 16 days, compared with seven months in females. CIRCUMCISION AS PRACTICED IN ISRAEL MAY BE A PREDISPOSING FACTOR FOR UTI DURING THE 12-DAY PERIOD FOLLOWING THAT PROCEDURE. --D. Evans, Evans Industries

  • Infectious Urology, 8(4), 111, 114-120, 1995.
    Urinary Tract Infection in Childhood
    60% of children with UTI's have anatomic abnormalities in their urinary tracts.... In older children, UTI's are significantly more common in girls and become as much as 50 times more common in girls by the age of five years. 0.3% to 1.2% of all infants will develop symptomatic UTI's during the first year of life.

  • Chessare JB. Clinical Pediatrics, 31(2):100-4, Feb. 1992.
    Circumcision: Is the Risk of Urinary Tract Infection Really the Pivotal Issue?
    Abstract: Recent information regarding the increased risk of urinary tract infections in the first year of life for uncircumcised boys has created confusion regarding the appropriate guidance to be given to parents confronting the circumcision issue. A decision model was built that addressed the question of whether or not to circumcise a newborn male considering the probability of a non-circumcised boy having a UTI in the first year of life (0.041), the probability of a circumcised boy having a UTI in the first year of life (0.002), and the likelihood of renal scarring from a UTI (0.075).
    After considering the morbidity associated with the procedure, all possible outcomes were ranked from worst to best (circumcised-renal pathology to uncircumcised-no infection) and given a value on a 0 to 1 scale. For the set of values assigned to the outcomes, the choice of no circumcision yielded the highest expected utility. FOR THE SET OF ASSIGNED UTILITIES, SENSITIVITY ANALYSIS SHOWED THAT UNLESS THE PROBABILITY OF A UTI IN THE FIRST YEAR OF LIFE FOR AN UNCIRCUMCISED MALE WAS GREATER THAN OR EQUAL TO 0.29, THEN NON-CIRCUMCISION WAS STILL THE PREFERRED CHOICE. THE DECISION WAS MOST SENSITIVE TO THE DEGREE OF AVERSION TO THE MORBIDITY ASSOCIATED WITH THE PROCEDURE (PAIN, BLEEDING, INFLAMMATION). --D. Evans, Evans Industries

  • " ...baby girls have a higher UTI rate than the intact or circumcised boys. I'm sure that if you removed a bunch of tissue from their external genitalia they would probably show a lower UTI rate. But instead of doing that we simply treat their UTIs with antibiotics.
    "Dr. Martin Altschul analyzed data on all infants with UTI admitted to Northwest Region Kaiser Foundation hospitals from 1979 to 1985. Altschul observed a UTI rate of 0.12% among intact male infants, 0.06% among circumcised male infants and 0.84% among female infants." --Franc Garcia, posted to NOHARMM list 951102

  • "Rather than play devils advocate, I prefer to look at the data from studies and the way the studies were structured. One in particular is telling. There was a study showing high urinary tract infections in uncircumcised neonates during the first several years of life. What the study did not say was that the uncircumcised cohort was composed of premature boys from neonatal intensive care units. (Not exactly a normal population since they have health problems up to whazoo and have had everything other than the kitchen sink hung on them or put in them during their stays in NICU, including catheters, a prime source of recurrent UTIs.) The circumcised cohort was normal deliveries and normal hospital stays post partum - no health problems, no catheters, nothing unusual. Talk about study bias. I hear that study cited several times a month." --Dr. S. Lucus, pathologist

  • "Despite the obviously irrational cruelty of circumcision, the profit incentive in American medical practice is unlikely to allow science or human rights principles to interrupt the highly lucrative American circumcision industry. It is now time for European medical associations to condemn the North American medical community for participating in and profiting from what is by any standard a senseless and barbaric sexual mutilation of innocent children." --Paul M. Fleiss, MD, 1824 North Hillhurst Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027, USA. Circ Info Network 950412

  • Aaron Kipnis, Ph.D. ReSource, Summer 1992, p1.
    Male Privilege or Privation?
    Institutionalized child abuse like circumcision, which in this country legitimizes the sexual abuse of about 60% of male infants, is in my opinion, one of the primary causes of unconscious male rage and violence. --Negative Aspects of Routine Infant Circumcision

  • "Most physicians in the U.S. would not perform female circumcisions. Indeed Rep. Pat Schroeder of Colorado has a bill in Congress to outlaw it. Yet the majority of infant males in this country become sexual amputees (an average of 12 sq. in. of erogenous tissue is lost in the adult male) without their consent." --Leo Sorger, M.D. Circ Info Network 941130

  • Circumcision makes baby boys far more sensitive to pain than girls and their non-circumcised counterparts, a Hospital for Sick Children study suggests.
    And circumcised males may continue to be less tolerant of injuries and painful ailments in youth and adulthood, said Dr. Gideon Koren, whose study was published in this week's issue of the British medical journal The Lancet. --Circ Info Network 950211

Halt Routine Circumcisions, Nurses Urge

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The on-line magazine for men with families.

The Medical Basis for Routine Circumcision
A quest for official medical authorities of the western world that advocate child circumcision. The historical basis of the procedure.

Child Circumcision
Why was it once popular in the US? Why is it in such rapid decline today?

Protect Your Son
How a father discovered, too late, that circumcision is not a good thing.

Jews and Circumcision

The Role of Circumcision in the Islamic World
by Sami Aldeeb

Self-Test for Sexual Sensitivity
How much of your sexual sensitivity has been cut away?

Do Not Promote Circumcision for Cancer Prevention
says the American Cancer Society

Reduction Surgery
Quotes from the medical profession.

Sexual Mutilation
Quotes from internet resources.

Boy's Death Highlights New Dangers of Neonatal Circumcision
Infants experiencing circumcision are more subject to Hypovolemic Shock and Methicillin Resistant Staphyloccus Aureus (MRSA).

Horror Stories
Many live with problems resulting from involuntary circumcision.

The Circumcision Decision
Answers to your questions about infant circumcision.

Care of Intact Boys
Answers to your questions about your young son's personal care.

Listing of Publications and Organizations
Support for parents who want to protect their family from involuntary genital alteration.

Glossary of Related Terms

Non-surgical foreskin restoration.

External links:
Circumcision Decision Maker
Avoid a circumcision mistake! Learn more about this permanent decision.

Anatomy and Mechanics of Intercourse
The physical function of the foreskin.
by Geoffrey T. Falk