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.

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
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 ´┐Żeath 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: