Intactivism News
April - June 2006

To more recent news

(More recent items first)


This news item raises the question, "Exactly what does the mohel do with his mouth to put the baby at risk?"

Crain's Health Pulse
June 15, 2006


Settling a debate that pitted religious tradition against public health, the New York State Department of Health and the Central Rabbinical Congress of the USA and Canada have agreed on new protocols to protect newborns getting Orthodox circumcisions by mohels. The rabbis must now wipe their mouths with a sterile alcohol wipe and wash their hands with soap and hot water for at least two minutes before performing the procedure, and must use a mouthwash for at least 30 seconds within five minutes of concluding it. The full agreement is on the DOH Web site. The controversy began after an infant died in 2004 of herpes contracted from a mohel.

Earlier story


Not just gay Jews

Dear Abby:

The Arizona Republic:
Homosexuality 'cure' doesn't cut it
Jun. 9, 2006 12:00 AM

Gay teen needs acceptance, not circumcision as a 'cure'

I have reason to believe that a young man in my family may be gay. (He is 15.) I have been thinking a lot about it lately, and have been wondering if circumcision would cure it. What do you think?

Grandmother in Missouri

Homosexuality is not an illness, and therefore there is no need for a "cure." I predict that your family will be happier if you accept your relative exactly the way he is, love him, support him, and stop trying to think of ways to cure him.

P.S. Circumcision is a sacred rite of the Jewish religion. If your theory were valid, then there would be no Jewish homosexuals. And yet, among the successful, gay, Jewish men who are "out" are Harvey Fierstein, Michael Feinstein, Barney Frank and David Geffen -- to name a few. (Oops! And let's not forget Isaac Mizrahi.)
Send letters to Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069, or .

Abby ignores the many millions of circumcised gay gentile Americans. (She also confuses prevention with "cure" - though circumcisioin does neither, of course.)


One small step ... but it wouldn't have saved David Reimer

CBC Manitoba

St. B. Hospital cuts circumcisions

Last Updated May 19 2006 03:46 PM CDT

Circumcisions will no longer be performed on newborn boys at St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg, hospital officials announced Friday.

The move comes in response to the investigation into the case of a boy who was mistakenly circumcised at the hospital last November.

Hospital officials said the identities of two baby boys on the same ward got mixed up. The family of the boy who was circumcised had not yet made a decision about whether to have the procedure done.

Hospital and regional health officials investigated the incident and released a series of recommendations to ensure the identities of infants were confirmed and reconfirmed before the procedure took place.

Since receiving the review, the chief medical officer at St. Boniface has decided not to reinstate the program, which was suspended after the incident.

Dr. Bruce Roe, the hospital's chief medical officer, said it was "more appropriate" for circumcisions to take place in outpatient clinics after the family has been released from the hospital.

Officials at the hospital say the patient identity recommendations – including a series of verification checklists – will now be completed before any procedures are carried out on babies to prevent similar errors in the future.

A parent will also be required to accompany the child to the procedure room, and the doctor must verify the identity of the child.

The Canadian Pediatric Society does not recommend routine circumcision of male infants. Some parents, however, have the procedure done for personal, religious or cultural reasons.

Radio Canada

Plus de circoncision sur les nouveaux nés

Mise à jour le samedi 20 mai 2006, 14 h 16 .

L'Hôpital général Saint-Boniface ne procédera plus à des circoncisions sur des nouveaux nés. La direction de l'établissement de santé a pris cette décision après qu'un bébé ait été circoncis sans le consentement de ses parents.

En novembre 2005, l'équipe médicale s'était en effet trompée. Elle avait pratiqué l'intervention sur un bébé qui se trouvait dans la section de la pouponnière réservée aux enfants qui doivent être circoncis, mais auquel ses parents n'avaient pas encore accordé leur consentement écrit.

Pour éviter qu'une telle erreur ne se reproduise, l'Office régional de la santé de Winnipeg et l'hôpital recommandent une série de mesures concernant les interventions médicales. Avant de procéder, il faudra vérifier deux fois l'identité du patient, et pour les enfants, s'assurer qu'on a en main le consentement des parents. Les équipes médicales devront également consulter toutes les pièces au dossier et confirmer par écrit avoir procédé aux vérifications.

Malgré la mise en place de ces nouvelles mesures, l'Hôpital général Saint-Boniface a décidé de ne plus pratiquer la circoncision sur des nouveaux nés.

These measures would not have protected David Reimer. In 1965, aged seven months, Bruce (as he was called then) and his twin brother Brian were set down for circumcision at St Boniface for "medical reasons". Bruce had his entire penis destroyed, and was raised as a girl (Brenda) until his early adolescence, when he reverted to a male identity. Brian's circumcision was called off after Bruce's disaster, and he recovered without further treatment, underlining the fact that it was unnecessary for either of them. The memory of that tragedy may have helped motivate the hospital's decision.


But only for boys ...

The Herald, Glasgow
April 10, 2006

Children in wait for NHS treatment

HELEN PUTTICK, Health Correspondent

CHILDREN face longer waits for operations because of a massive backlog of religious circumcisions.

Requests for the procedure represent one in 10 referrals to surgeons at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Yorkhill, Glasgow. Hundreds of [boy] infants are on a waiting list for the procedure, a rite for Jewish and Muslim families.

Consultants fear it is becoming near impossible for them to deal with the workload, saying the queue of 400 would occupy a surgeon for a year.

There is also concern that, if the hospital abandoned the procedure, it would be done in the community by people without medical training. Every year Yorkhill is said to treat a handful of infants [some of them girls] suffering complications after circumcisions which have been performed outside the hospital. [ - yet there is no suggestion that girls be circumcised in hospital]

Peter Raine, who retired as a general paediatric surgeon from Yorkhill hospital a week ago, said: "Most of us are a bit concerned that we are being less than totally clear about what we are doing. We are saying, 'Yes, we will put you on a waiting list', but thinking it can never be done.

"We are agreeing to something that we cannot see ourselves doing. That is quite serious. We might be storing up quite a lot of bad feeling there."


Religious circumcisions are one of a number of non-urgent procedures excluded from waiting time guarantees but this system is being scrapped from the end of next year. By then, the Scottish Executive expects waiting times for all procedures to be cut to 18 weeks.

Mr Raine said: "There are so many of these (religious circumcision) cases that we would be perpetually dealing with those at the expense of medically driven cases. There is no alternative if circumcision cases are not given some sort of exclusion."

Surgeons based at Yorkhill have written to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde about the issue and are said to be frustrated at the lack of response.

Mr Raine said the paediatric surgeons did not want to encourage anyone else to do the operation. He said: "We see a handful a year where the circumcision has been done outside the hospital and the child turns up with an infection or bleeding or an unsatisfactory result. There are people whose lives have been ruined by having a badly done circumcision in childhood."


A spokesman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: "This procedure is a matter of low clinical priority.

"However, circumcisions are still being carried out and we have increased capacity at Yorkhill to ensure any [boy] child waiting for this procedure will receive treatment by December 2006."

While members of the Jewish community believe that the procedure should be carried out shortly after birth, the Muslim community is less strict about this.

[They wouldn't dream of capitulating to irrationality like this if the children were girls. Why are boys not equal?]


Yet we can have anyone lopping off a foreskin ...

March 31, 2006

3 N.C. Men Charged With Performing Castrations in Sadomasochistic 'Dungeon'

Friday, March 31, 2006
Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Three men have been arrested on charges of performing castrations on apparently willing participants in a sadomasochistic "dungeon" in a rural house, authorities said Friday.

"It's extremely bizarre," District Attorney Michael Bonfoey said in a telephone interview. "It's incredible the amount of ways that people can find to run afoul of the law."

Sheriff's investigators said Richard Sciara, 61, Danny Reeves, 49, and Michael Mendez, 60, admitted performing at least eight surgeries, including castrations and testicle replacements, on six consenting clients over the past year. None of the three is licensed to practice medicine, officials said.


Each man faces 10 felony counts — five each of castration without malice and conspiracy to commit castration without malice — as well as eight misdemeanor counts of performing medical acts without a license. Each felony carries a maximum three years and three months in prison, Bonfoey said.

"Assuming that the victims consented to this — and we don't know that for sure yet — that doesn't make it a defense," Bonfoey said. "We can't have people who are not medical doctors lopping off limbs and other body parts."

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