Monday, March 29, 2010

Excerpts from Strategic Approach to end Circumcision in Canada

Check out the whole article at the Dr Momma website - I bow to the master of great research.  She makes me humble. :)
Interesting excerpts:
This approach went into effect 2 years ago. As of today, Canada has drastically reduced their rate of MGM so that now about 9% of baby boys born nation wide are cut at birth. This compares to about 49% of baby boys born in the United States who continue to be subjected to circumcision surgery at birth.  

The practice of neonatal circumcision has come under increasing fire lately for two reasons:
  1. Scientific studies have shown that circumcision removes specialized sexual tissue.
  2. Canadians are becoming increasingly aware of the need to promote and protect human rights.
The case against infant male circumcision is not being given a fair hearing by the authorities. This document outlines a strategic approach to obtaining such a hearing in court.


The debate over circumcision has focused on medical pros/cons, parental preferences, and religious beliefs. Our goal is to direct attention to the ethical, legal, and human rights issues raised when part of a normal organ is summarily removed from a person who has no medical need for surgery and who is legally incapable of giving informed consent. For the most part, these critically important issues have been ignored.
Work done in Canada to date suggests that none of the agencies involved in regulating infant male circumcision (colleges of physicians and surgeons, human rights commissions, children's advocates, children's aid societies, ministers of health, ministers of justice, solicitors general) are prepared to show leadership on this issue. Consequently we believe the only way to bring about change is through the judicial system.
We propose a legal challenge to section 268 of the Criminal Code of Canada on the grounds that this section is insufficient in scope. Section 268 prohibits all forms of female genital mutilation (FGM). The basis of the challenge would be that section 268, as written, fails to protect males from genital mutilation and thus contravenes at least one provision of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms—namely, section 15(1), which guarantees equality between the sexes. It is highly probable that section 268, as written, also contravenes section 7 of the Charter, which guarantees security of the person. 

*For measures being taken in the United States to end legalized MGM (male genital mutilation) of infant boys, see FGM (female genital mutilation) continued in the United States until it became illegal and punishable as a crime with the FGM Bill in 1996.
*One man who sued and won tells his story here.

Excerpts from

Circumcision: A Male RN's Perspective by Chris, author of The Man-Nurse Diaries

Before having my first son, we were presented with the decision (at least in the United States) of whether or not to circumcise him. While we were initially assuming we would, we did some research. We began finding that not only is male infant circumcision almost never medically necessary, but it's not even performed in most of the developed world. The majority of European countries never began circumcising in the first place. The United Kingdom doesn't pay for it; it's an out-of-pocket expense. The United States is the only secular country that routinely circumcises males.
Never once did I encounter an adult male patient who had ever had a medical problem due to being intact.

Excerpts from the comments section (good stuff!):
Katie Anne said:  As a peds nurse who has also witnessed the horrors of infant circumcision, I appreciate others standing up and speaking. It really does take us within the 'system' to make change happen. I feel a responsibility to my patients (I work alongside OBs in Labor & Delivery) to give new parents whatever information I have at my disposal. For me, it is that I have seen many, many babies damaged by circumcision surgery. Some cannot or will not nurse after. Some lapse into coma from the pain and become withdrawn, sleeping full days. Most never have their parents aware of what they have experienced (and why they are now 'different') because we make sure they are stable before taking them back to the parents waiting in the other room. Like Chris, I also spent time in training working with elderly men - both in a nursing homes and in the hospital. Many were intact because they were born before the surge of genital cutting in the United States. NEVER did I witness someone with complications or issues (or all these fears) from being intact. Foreskins do not cause 'problems' in men anymore than the clitoris/labia cause 'problems' in women. I noticed this other post from a nurse-in-training: I can certainly appreciate why she would withdraw from the program. Sometimes it is almost too much to bear. But I also applaud those, like Chris, who are working within the system to invoke change. We CAN bring awareness to parents that we meet, and slowly bring an end to something that (as Chris said) only happens in such a way in the U.S. These comments all remind me of the clear horrors captured on camera by Patti Ramos not many months ago during a Plastibell circumcision procedure... Thank you to all the doctors and nurses speaking up on behalf of our children.


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