To more recent news
News items are copied to Circumstitions News blog (which takes comments)
- thanks to Joseph4GI
June 16, 2016
Denmark defends circumcision as a human right - even though 75% are against it
by Vilhelm Carlström
Even though a large majority of Danes are against the circumcision of boys, and even though the circumcision of girls is strictly prohibited in Denmark, the government has now officially accepted that it's a human right for parents to circumcise their sons.
The Local reports that a YouGov survey from 2014 showed that 74% of Danes were against the circumcision of boys, while only 10% supported the practise. Despite that, about 1000-2000 boys ar circumcised each year in Denmark, according to the CPH Post.
Since 2014, the matter has been reviewed but without much to show for it.
In 2015, Denmark decided to delete its registry of circumcised individuals, reports the Local. Now, in a report to the United Nations the Danish government officially accepts an Egyptian convention which recognizes circumcision as a human right, writes CPH Post.
The basis is that circumcision of boys is rarely associated with medical complications, when performed under medical supervision [this is equally true of the "circumcision" of girls in Indonesia and Malaysia], and that it's viewed as a religious expression and therefore falls under the freedom of religion right.
Circumcision of boys will therefore remain legal as it complies with Danish law and is carried out by a doctor.
Male circumcision can lead to a more problematic sex life.
Contrary to claims that circumcision in males is unproblematic, however, a Danish study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology in 2011 finds that circumcision leads to frequent orgasm difficulties in Danish men. The study also finds that women who are the sexual partners of circumcised men also have significantly higher orgasm difficulties, more problems with painful intrcourse (dyspareunia), and more often feel a sense a incomplete fulfillment of sexual needs.
June 3, 2016
Two recent cases [of] herpes in babies following Brit Milah
by Jeremy Sharon
The Schneider Children’s Medical Center for Israel in Petah Tikva has reported two recent cases in which baby boys have been infected with the herpes virus following their brit mila.
The infections are believed to be the result of ritual circumcisions in which the metzitza ba’peh procedure was used, whereby the mohel, or person performing the circumcision, uses his mouth to suction blood off the penis after the foreskin has been cut off.
This practice is mentioned in the Talmud and codifications of Jewish law, but is now uncommon outside of the haredi community because of the risk of infection, and suction is achieved instead by means of a sterile plastic tube.
According to Schneider, one baby was released last week after having been infected with herpes, while another baby was admitted to the hospital two months ago with the same disease.
“Both children were quickly examined, treated appropriately and released in excellent condition. Both of them will continue to receive oral treatment until the age of six months,” Schneider said.
The hospital reiterated its backing of suction via a tube instead of by mouth “to avoid this difficult infection.”
According to Rabbi Moshe Marciano, director of the circumcision division of the Chief Rabbinate, the infected babies did not have the same mohel.
In one case, the mohel was the father of the infected baby, and is not an authorized mohel, while the second family refused to give the details of the mohel who performed the circumcision.
The Health Ministry confirmed that only one mohel had been identified, but did not indicate that is was the father of the baby.
Marciano said metzitza ba’peh is an approved practice for mohels authorized by the Chief Rabbinate, but added that parents can request that it not be used and the mohel is obliged to conform.
He also said that rabbinate guidelines state if the mohel has any wound or infection in his mouth he must not do metzitza ba’peh.
Metziza ba’peh has caused controversy in recent years,
most notably in New York where at least 17 cases of herpes have been
reported since 2000, resulting in two deaths.
June 2, 2016
Female Genital Mutilation Results In Death Of 17-Year-Old Egyptian Girl Maya Mohamed Mousa
by Lindsay McCane
Maya Mohamed Mousa, a 17-year-old Egyptian girl, has died after undergoing an illegal procedure known as female genital mutilation, or female circumcision.
According to Reuters, Mousa and her twin sister arrived at the private El Canal Hospital in Suez to undergo female circumcision on Sunday. Although the procedure was performed under anesthesia, Mousa died after experiencing heavy bleeding. Thankfully, Maya’s sister survived.
Sedkhi Sidhom, an official from Egypt’s health ministry, said the hospital has since been shut down, and Egyptian prosecutors are investigating Mousa’s death.
“Not all cases of female circumcision are reported across Egypt. There are cases of circumcision where the women die and are then buried without a word being mentioned,” Sidhom said.
While there are thousands of deaths due to FGM each year, many go without being acknowledged. However, there are some that make headlines like Mousa’s. Last year, Raslan Fadl, a medical doctor, was convicted of manslaughter in Egypt’s first female genital mutilation trial after a 13-year-old girl died during a botched procedure. Suad Abu-Dayyeh, Middle East and North Africa consultant at rights group Equality Now, said Fadl was sentenced to more than two years in prison, but has yet to serve time behind bars.
“It is incredible that the Egyptian police are not taking a tough line on ending FGM in a country where over 27 million have been affected,” Abu-Dayyeh said in a statement. “The death of the 17-year-old should be yet another shocking wake up call for Egypt.”
May 19, 2016
House passes bill protecting circumcision, ritual slaughter as religious freedoms
WASHINGTON (JTA) — A bill unanimously approved by the U.S. House of Representatives would extend religious protections to advocates of circumcision and ritual slaughter as well as atheists, addressing what its sponsors describe as an increase in religious persecution in recent years.
The bill, passed Monday, would broaden the definition of “violations of religious freedom” in the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 to include the persecution of advocates of male circumcision or ritual animal slaughter. [Does that include any opposition to male genital cutting or ritual slaughter?] Atheists would become a new protected class.
The measure, which moves to the Senate for
named for retired Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., a longtime champion of human
rights who authored the 1998 law.
“The world is experiencing an unprecedented crisis of international religious freedom, a crisis that continues to create millions of victims; a crisis that undermines liberty, prosperity and peace; a crisis that poses a direct challenge to the U.S. interests in the Middle East, Russia, China and sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere,” Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., who authored the bill, said in a statement.
There have been increasing calls in recent years in northern European countries for an end to circumcision and ritual slaughter, spurred in part by anti-Muslim hostility [but mainly by a well-founded concern for human rights], U.S. government and European Jewish officials have said. [And that constitutes "persecution of advocates" how?]
The bill’s tier system for how well or poorly countries protect religious freedom would be similar to the one used in the annual State Department report on human trafficking. That report is influential, and countries seeking the good graces of the United States strive to improve their ranking by cracking down on the practice.
Smith is the chairman of the House subcommittee on human rights, and as a co-chairman of the Helsinki Committee, the congressional panel that monitors human rights overseas, has made the resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe a focus.
Smith’s office, announcing the passage of the bill, headlined the statement “Combating Persecution of Christians and Anti-Semitism,” although many of its protections would extend in the current climate to moderate Sunni Muslims and non-Sunni Muslim sects in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Myanmar.
Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., the bill’s lead Democratic sponsor, said in the same statement that the bill would “better address the religious freedom and violent extremism problems being experienced in the 21st century.”
The bill integrates the 1998 law’s protections into U.S. national security priorities, mandating that the ambassador at large for religious freedom – currently Rabbi David Saperstein, a veteran Reform movement leader — report directly to the secretary of state. It also adds new requirements for presidential reporting to Congress on religious freedom violations and training for diplomats in identifying violations of religious freedoms.
Manica Post (Zimbabwe)
May , 2016
Circumcision goes terribly wrong. . . as boy dies during procedure
by Samuel Kadungure, Senior Reporter
A 14-YEAR-OLD boy, Ashley Matsvaire, died while undergoing voluntary medical male circumcision at Triangle Hospital in Chiredzi, on Tuesday, The Manica Post can reveal.
The incident left the boy’s parents seething with anger and alleging negligence on part of the hospital staff.
Mr Daniel Matsvaire, the boy’s father, said they had since requested an independent pathologist to ascertain the actual cause of his death.
The Matsvaires have since met the medical team whose explanation for Ashley’s death was internal secretion which resulted in water being leaked into his lungs.
His mother, Mrs Tendai Jamela, said her son was in a jovial mood when she escorted him to the hospital for circumcision around 6am.
“There is an element of negligence on the part of the team involved because when he returned from the theatre, he was lifeless. I was called in to look at him, but his body was very cold. I asked Dr Ziki why he was lifeless, but he told me that he had injected him with another injection to stop the pain. I insisted again after some time as he remained in that state of unconsciousness and again the doctor told me not to worry,” said Mrs Jamela.
She said the boy was given an epileptic tablet and water as they prepared him for surgery.
“Ashley was epileptic and they gave him some medication as they prepared him for theatre. They went on to inject him to cause him to sleep while they perform the process, but he never regained consciousness,” said Mrs Jamela, who said she never left the hospital premises and became suspicious when the process dragged for nearly two hours.
Mr Daniel Matsvaire, the boy’s father, said he met the hospital authorities late Wednesday afternoon where he was advised by one Dr Ziki that they had opted to inject the child due to his epileptic condition.
“The doctor said the circumcision surgery was successful and at some point the boy showed signs of life, but became unconscious again. Their explanation was that he developed an internal secretion and released water into the lungs and died.
We are requesting a second specialist opinion from an independent pathologist because their explanation does not add up....
Masvingo police spokesperson, Inspector Charity Mazula, said ...“I ... have tasked someone in Chiredzi to investigate the matter[.]”...
April 22, 2016
Secular medics welcome religious circumcision ruling
A High Court judge has ruled against a devout Muslim who wanted his children circumcised, finding that the boys should be able to make the choice themselves in a judgement welcomed by the Secular Medical Forum.
Dr Antony Lempert of the SMF described the ruling as a small but "welcome" step "towards safeguarding children from forced genital cutting."
Religious requirements "should not be allowed to override a person's most fundamental right to grow up with an intact body and to make their own choices about permanent bodily modifications," he said.
"It is a procedure that permanently removes healthy, erogenous and functional tissue from the most intimate part of a person's body without that person's consent and for no medical reason.
"That it should take a parental disagreement in court for a child to be protected from forced genital cutting remains a serious concern from a child safeguarding perspective."
The judge said that the boys' mother was "resolutely opposed" to having the children circumcised and ruled that "There is no guarantee that these boys will wish to continue to observe the Muslim faith with the devotion demonstrated by their father, although that may very well be their choice."
She added: "They are still very young and there is no way of anticipating at this stage how the different influences in their respective parental homes will shape and guide their development over the coming years."
James Chegwidden, who acted as junior counsel for the mother in the case, said that while he could not comment on the specifics of the case, the ruling was "an encouraging step towards the legal protection every child deserves."
He said that the decision was "a reminder that, together with the freedom to practise a religion or philosophy for oneself, comes the necessary obligation not to impose that religion or philosophy on others."
But he warned that the case revealed "just how limited our current legal protection of our children is."
"Bodily autonomy is a right of every child – it cannot be reduced or ignored simply because both its parents happen to be religious. For a right so fundamental as bodily autonomy for a child to depend totally on the whim of an adult is simply unacceptable.
"The court has still yet to classify infant circumcision as 'significant harm', despite the significant evidence that male genital cutting is at least as invasive as some forms of FGM."
The father, an Algerian-born Muslim who has lived in England for fifteen years, is now separated from the boys' mother, whom he had met ten years ago and subsequently lived with. He entered the UK using false travel documents but was subsequently given a British passport.
The couple separated after the mother, from Devon, and the two boys had to flee their home when he violently attacked her in 2012. He was described as "an increasingly controlling and violent individual who sought to impose restrictions on how she lived her life." He had previously "threatened many times that he will abduct the children to Algeria" and was "violent, threatening and controlling towards the mother."
Mrs Justice Roberts said ..."There are risks, albeit small, associated with the surgery, regardless of the expertise with which the operation is performed.
"There must be clear benefits which outweigh these risks which point towards circumcision at this point in time being in their best interests before I can sanction it as an appropriate course at this stage of their young lives."
The judge's warning about the risks of circumcision came as a medical tribunal heard the case of Dr Muhammad Chaudhary, a doctor accused of bungling a circumcision on a two month old baby, who then allegedly tried to bribe the child's family into dropping a claim against him.
He reportedly told the Muslim family that "Litigation in Muslim culture is not usually a route to adopt especially in ritual matters" in an attempt to stop action being taken against him.
Dr Chaudhary failed to repair the damage he had caused during four further surgeries. After he failed to fix the damage he had caused in the initial operation, he advised the family to "treat him [their son] like the Quran and be gentle."
The child was finally referred to a specialist surgeon, the Mirror reported, and had to endure three additional operations in a hospital.
Doctor Lempert said these cases occurred with "nauseating regularity."
There are practically no restrictions on who can perform forced genital cutting on young (male) children in the UK. The procedure is almost wholly unregulated in the UK. The reality is that we simply don't know the extent of harm caused to young children by ritual circumcision. We do know that many such children turn up in A&E and some need treatment in paediatric Intensive Care Units as a direct result of non-therapeutic circumcision.
"Dr Chaudhary is being investigated because he is a doctor who is alleged to have behaved dishonestly. Ironically, should Dr Chaudhary be removed from the medical register, he would no longer be required to satisfy even the limited requirements of the GMC in this matter and would be free to continue cutting young boys' genitals."
April 18, 2016
Muslim father loses circumcision court battle over sons
A Muslim father has failed to persuade a judge to rule his sons should be circumcised.
The man argued that circumcision would be in accordance with his religious beliefs.
But the boys' mother, who is separated from their father, disagreed.
At a Family Court hearing in Exeter, Mrs Justice Roberts said the boys, who are six and four, should first reach an age where they can make the decision for themselves.
The man had argued that it would be "in the children's best interests to allow them to be circumcised" in accordance with his "Muslim practice and religious beliefs".
His former partner "opposes that course until such time as the children have reached an age where they are competent to give consent to such a procedure," the judge added.
"There is no guarantee that these boys will wish to continue to observe the Muslim faith with the devotion demonstrated by their father, although that may very well be their choice.
"They are still very young and there is no way of anticipating at this stage how the different influences in their respective parental homes will shape and guide their development over the coming years."
Mrs Justice Roberts said she was deferring that decision "to the point where each of the boys themselves will make their individual choices once they have the maturity and insight to appreciate the consequences and longer-term effects of the decisions which they reach."
Cutting destroys foreskin sensitivity
by Hugh Young
The foreskin is more sensitive to touch than other sites on the penis, a study at Queens University, Ontario, has found.
It further implicitly found that the foreskin is infinitely more sensitive than its absence.
But that is not what the headlines would have you believe. Quite the reverse.
Psychology student Jennifer Bossio, her tutor Caroline Pukall and urologist Stephen S. Steele studied the sensitivity of the penises of 62 men, 32 intact and 30 cut. The men, aged 18 to 37, were excluded if they had sexual dysfunction. (Thus it was impossible to establish whether cutting has any effect on sexual dysfunction.)
The men were asked about their sexual functioning in
erectile function, intercourse satisfaction, orgasmic function, sexual
desire, and overall satisfaction. Genital cutting is likely to
impact on ability to withhold orgasm until ready, pleasurable
sensations during intercourse and before orgasm, and the quality of
those sensations . The cut men of course could only rate their own
satisfaction, not compare it with anyone else's.
The researchers measured touch sensitivity, touch pain threshhold, warmth detection and heat pain threshhold on four sites, two on the shaft, one on the glans and one on the outside of the foreskin, if any. (They also made the same measurements at a point on the forearm as a control.)
It is not clear why heat pain was studied. Few couples use painful heat as part of their lovemaking. (The notion that pain is an integral part of sex may be an artifact of male genital cutting.)
They established that the
outside of the
foreskin is no less sensitive to the pain of pricking, to
to heat pain than the other sites of the penis (or to the
on the forearm). Thus its removal can only negatively impact on sexual
sensation, just as the removal of the rest would. But they express this
finding as a lack of greater
sensitivity, thereby stacking the deck.
They confirmed the finding of Sorrells et al. that
"the foreskin was the most sensitive
to tactile sensation stimuli."
They comment that "given the high prevalence of fine-touch pressure
receptors (Meissner corpuscles) in the preputial mucosa, this finding
was not unexpected" and thereafter ignore it.
None of the many reports of this study picked up on this
omission. Instead, under headings like:
- they promoted a finding quite the reverse of what the study actually established.
These misleading headlines and more have been collected by Circwatch.
The study has been thoroughly rebutted in the Huffington Post by Brian D. Earp
The Circumcision Debate: Beyond Benefits and Risks
by Andrew L. Freedman and M.D. Faap
April 7, 2016
Mexico discourages infant male genital cutting
México desalienta la mutilación genital masculina infantil
Today April 7, 2016, Mexico adopted the official standard for the care of women during pregnancy, childbirth and around it, and the newborn person.
El día de hoy 7 de abril de 2016, se aprobó en México la norma oficial para la atención de la mujer durante el embarazo, parto y puerperio y de la persona recién nacida.
This law fixed, in a nutshell, the minimum criteria for care during pregnancy, childbirth and puerperium of the woman and her baby; which will be of obligatory observance a day after its publication (from April 8, 2016) in all Mexico for all the public and private facilities that provide care to pregnant women and their babies before and after birth.
Esta ley fija, en pocas palabras, los criterios mínimos para la atención durante el embarazo, parto y puerperio de la mujer y su bebé; la cual será de observancia obligatoria un día después de su publicación (a partir del 8 de abril de 2016) en todo México para todos los establecimientos públicos y privados que brindan atención a mujeres embarazadas y sus bebés antes y después del nacimiento.
5.7.13 "avoid circumcision as a routine practice, since there is no scientific evidence proving a direct benefit to the newborn person".
5.7.13 "Evitar como práctica rutinaria la circuncisión, toda vez que no existe evidencia científica que compruebe un beneficio directo a la persona recién nacida"
Dispatch Live (South Africa)
March 25, 2016
Stricken teen ends his life after penile amputation due to circumcision complication
by Lulamile Feni
Instead of celebrating his grandson’s passage to manhood, a grieving archbishop now has to bury him.
Next Monday, Zion Methodist Church’s Archbishop Sipho Dlanaye will lay 16-year-old Minentle to rest at Ntsonyini village in Ngqeleni.
Minentle was found hanging by a rope at his grandfather’s house in Mchoncho village in Ngqeleni last Wednesday after a 10-month battle with a circumcision complication that saw him having a penile amputation.
The teenager had lived with his grandparents because his parents work in Johannesburg.
Dlanaye, who is also a police lieutenant, and his wife Noluthando Dlanaye spent months trying to counsel the stricken teen.
At an initiation school in May last year Minentle was ill-treated, assaulted with sticks and burnt on his buttocks.
He was treated in hospitals in Mthatha and Libode for complications following the circumcision.
“He could not take it any more. It was too heavy for him to deal with it and he could not see a future as a man after he had a penile amputation following the illegal circumcision that went horribly wrong,” said Dlanaye.
...Noluthando told the Daily Dispatch her grandson had shown no sign of suicidal tendencies during their weekly visits to him in hospital.
It was only last Monday that they realised he was looking drained and feeling frustrated.
“He denied that there was something worrying him. But two days later Minentle committed suicide,” said the grandmother.
She said she spoke to him on the phone an hour before he took his life and “he sounded happy”.
March 18, 2015
Pair given jail time over genital mutilation of young sisters
by Jayne Margetts and staff
A mother and former midwife convicted over the genital mutilation of young girls have been sentenced to a maximum 15 months' imprisonment in a case believed to be the nation's first successful prosecution over female genital mutilation.
Former midwife Kubra Magennis, 72, and the mother of the victims, who cannot be named, were convicted in November of mutilating two sisters in separate procedures during religious ceremonies at homes in Wollongong and Sydney's north-west between 2009 and 2012.
The girls were about seven at the time.
A third offender, senior community leader Shabbir Mohammedbhai Vaziri, was found guilty of acting as an accessory after the fact by directing community members to lie to police about the practice.
He was also sentenced to 15 months' imprisonment.
The procedure, known as "khatna", involves nicking or cutting a girl's clitoris in the presence of several female elders and is considered a rite of passage by some members of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community.
Supreme Court Judge Justice Peter Johnson said these kinds of cases were "difficult to prosecute" because of their "unusual and novel circumstances".
He said the mother of the two girls requested that the former nurse and midwife carry out the procedure.
"I am satisfied KM affected injury to the clitoris of each child instructed by A2" and "used a metal instrument for the purpose of cutting," Justice Johnson said.
The court heard the girl's mother had been subjected to the same procedure as a child in Kenya.
The judge said A2 was a qualified pharmacist and an, "intelligent and well-educated woman".
One of the girls, known only as C1, told police "it hurt" when the procedure was carried out.
Justice Johnson said she was "told by her mother not to discuss it with anyone ... this is a big secret. Never tell anyone".
The judge found no significant physical injury had been inflicted on either child but there were "likely to be some adverse psychological effects".
During a sentencing hearing in the New South Wales Supreme Court, crown prosecutor Nanette Williams said the girls were "effectively voiceless" in the face of their mother and Magennis.
She said none of the offenders had shown any remorse and they had only given "qualified, ambiguous and self-serving" apologies.
All three offenders will be assessed for their suitability for home detention.
Op left teen without tip of penis
by Zelda Venter
PRETORIA: It was meant to be a routine circumcision, but the procedure left a Pretoria teenager without the tip of his penis.
His mother had taken him to the Soshanguve Community Health Care Clinic on May 2, 2014 for the circumcision. The mother said when they arrived, her 16-year-old son was taken to a room where a doctor was to perform the procedure. However, the doctor mistakenly amputated the tip of the penis during the operation.
Thereafter, the tip was placed on ice in a plastic bag and taken to the Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital, along with the boy. There doctors tried to reattach the tip without success.
The botched circumcision has resulted in a R1.1 million [$US72, 180] damages claim against the Gauteng MEC for Health.
The teenager’s mother, who is unemployed and lives in North West, instituted the R1.1m damages claim in the high court of Pretoria on behalf of her son.
According to the mother, it took three months for the private part to heal and doctors have told the boy that it is still too early to do reconstructive surgery.
The series of operations required will cost around R150 000 [$US9,840], the court heard.
The mother is blaming the doctor for her son’s deformity, saying the doctor was negligent.
She also charges that had the reaction been quicker, and the tip of the penis placed on ice and delivered to another hospital sooner, it was possible it could have been reattached. She said the doctor took his time in placing the penis tip on ice and arranging for her son to be taken to hospital.
If the tip and her son were rushed to hospital, his private part could have been saved, she said. Aside from the disfiguration, the boy suffered severe psychological shock and trauma, and had lost out on one of the “amenities” of life. She claimed R380 000 for his future medical expenses and R600 000 for trauma.
His lawyer, Greyling Erasmus, said the matter had been postponed to a date still to be determined.
To earlier news (headlines)
Back to the Intactivism index page.