Saturday, February 7, 2015

NORWAY: Doctors defy law, refuse to cut

News in English (Norway)
January 22, 2015

Doctors defy new circumcision law

by Nina Berglund Since January 1st, all of Norway’s state-run hospitals have become legally obliged to offer circumcision of newborn baby boys. A majority of doctors all over the country, however, have been refusing to perform the operation that’s often part of religious rituals, claiming it’s an unnecessary surgical procedure on otherwise healthy infants.

Only one hospital in all of southeastern Norway is officially offering to circumcise newborns, according to an internal document obtained by newspaper Dagsavisen. In a response to the state health ministry’s request for a status report on circumcision, state agency Helse Sør-Øst (Health Southeast) wrote on January 16 that only the hospital in Kristiansand (Sørlandet Sykehus) offered to circumcise newborn baby boys. A few others offered circumcision only to boys more than a year old.

Strong opposition
At Akershus University Hospital (Ahus) northeast of Oslo, fully 13 of its 15 urologists have submitted written statements reserving themselves against performing circumcision. “The opposition to this emerged before the law on circumcision was approved,” Dr Anja Løvvik, leader of the urology department at Ahus, told Dagsavisen this week. “The fact that many (doctors) want to reserve themselves against this should not be unexpected.” Her colleague Dr Frode Steinar Nilsen at Ahus called circumcision “a surgical operation with no health advantages and one that, as with all surgery, carries with it a risk and a burden for the child. That’s why we don’t want to perform it.”

Doctors, however, have no right to reserve themselves against the procedure in the new law, making their resistance potentially illegal, according to state secretary Cecilie Brein-Karlsen at the health ministry. She told newspapers VG and Dagsavisen that Norway’s public health system must now offer the procedure to parents who want their baby boys circumcised. The Parliament approved the new law last year after reports that babies in Norway risked being seriously injured during circumcision rituals performed outside the health care sector. One baby boy died in Oslo in 2012.

The law was approved by a large majority in Parliament but not without controversy. Doctors’ and nurses’ professional organizations opposed it as did many individual Members of Parliament, but they followed their parties’ lines. In addition to fearing that circumcision would continue to be performed by non-health professionals in Norway, party leaders didn’t want to be seen as being either anti-Jewish or anti-Muslim, since circumcision is traditional in the Jewish and Muslim communities. Others pointed to how millions of men around the world are circumcised including a majority of American men regardless of religious persuasion.

Fending off any ‘fear of foreigners’
“I think many (MPs) were afraid to be accused of anti-Semitism or fear of foreigners,” Jenny Klinge, an MP for the Center Party, told Dagsavisen. She unsucessfully proposed offering hospital circumcision only to males over the age of 18, when they could decide themselves if they wanted to be circumcised. Klinge added that she could understand the health care professionals’ opposition to performing circumcision: “It is in principle wrong for the state to carry out such surgery on babies. One shouldn’t cut into small children in the name of God.”

US health authorities view male circumcision positively, but their Norwegian counterparts don’t. Some doctors’ attempts to reserve themselves against performing abortions also have sparked controversy, not least last winter, but Nilsen of Ahus is adamant: “If (politicians) think they can force an entire profession to perform surgery they feel is wrong both medically and morally, I think that’s remarkable.”

Brein-Karlsen told Dagsavisen that she also understands “that this is a difficult issue.” She said hospitals should take the doctors’ objections into consideration, “but the regional health agencies are still responsible for making sure that an offer (of circumcision) is there.”

Ahus, located in Lørenskog, has estimated that parents of as many as 400 babies a year may request circumcision, and worry they won’t have the capacity to perform it. “Children who need other operations are already having to wait,” Løvvik said. “If we have to offer circumcision, they may need to wait even longer.” Ahus has told expectant parents that it will only offer the procedure after the child is a year old, at the earliest. Hospitals in Bærum, Drammen and Ringerike have set an age limit at two years, while Oslo University Sykehus was expected to start offering ritual circumcision next month, for boys over one year of age.


Earlier story

SWAZILAND: Ingatja Men Reject Circumcision on Cultural Grounds


The Times of Swaziland
January 22, 2015

Ingatja: Circumcision against Swazi culture

by Siusiso Shange
 NGABEZWENI – While the Church Forum and other organisations have embraced circumcision, some members of Ingatja have not.

In an interview, some members of Ingatja, who were found debating about the subject while they waited to be dispersed by the King, said circumcision was against culture. They said the removal of the foreskin was not good for them because it was necessary to ensure that the traditional attire attire known as imvunulo stayed on. “Ideally, when a man dons traditional attire, there is no need for him to wear underwear,” they said.

“Nawulijaha uyancwadza futsi nebetemphilo bayakukhutsata kushaywa ngumoya. Ngaphandle kwemvunulo kufana nekutsi uhamba ngcunu, pho ungahlalaphi nasesisokile,” wondered Bheki Mnisi, who was found buying a product to make umncadvo, which is worn as underwear by males in traditional regalia..

TURKEY: $250,000 payout for botched cut

The Guardian
January 20, 2015

Record award for family of Turkish boy whose circumcision was botched

Boy who was taken to mass circumcision ceremony for disadvantaged children lost large portion of his penis and health ministry ordered $255,000 payment

A Turkish court has approved a record compensation payment for the family of a boy who had a large portion of his penis removed and burnt off in a botched circumcision operation, media reported.

The boy, who is now six, underwent the operation when he was one year old in a mass circumcision ceremony for boys from disadvantaged families in the south-eastern city of Batman.

The upper portion of the penis was mistakenly cut and burnt off during the operation, and the boy was still receiving care for his wounds, private Dogan news agency reported.

On Tuesday, a Batman court ordered the health ministry to pay the boy’s family a record 600,000 Turkish liras ($255,000) in damages, Dogan said.

The family of seven claimed that the operation was carried out only by a health technician because no qualified doctor was present during the circumcision.

The boy was sent home with burn creams and was told to “have some rest to heal properly”.
The parents, however, are not satisfied with the amount, saying that their child might require further treatment, including care abroad.

They are still seeking more than 2 million more Turkish liras ($850,000) in damages, Dogan said.
Circumcision is widely practised in all Islamic countries, including predominantly Muslim but staunchly secular Turkey.

It is an expense that many families find difficult to afford, with the operation costing hundreds of dollars and the ensuing celebrations even more.

As a result, many parents choose to pay unskilled circumcisers or barbers, who perform the operation with unsterilised instruments.

MIAMI: Proposed cutting of 4-year-old spurs protests

Yahoo! News
January 20, 2015

Fla. boy's circumcision spurs lengthy legal battle, protests

By Matt Sedensky

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. (AP) — An estranged Florida couple's fight over whether to circumcise their son has become a rallying cry for those who denounce the procedure as barbaric.

The dispute between Heather Hironimus, the mother opposing circumcision, and Dennis Nebus, the father favoring it, has sparked a prolonged court battle, protests and the rapt attention of a movement of self-proclaimed "intactivists."

Judges have ruled in favor of the father, meaning the surgery is likely to happen, but the possible closure of the legal chapter has done little to mute the case's most passionate followers. Though many [other people] still choose to remove their sons' foreskins at the suggestion of a doctor, for religious or cultural reasons, or out of habit, opponents have been bolstered by the overall waning popularity of circumcision, and the fact this fight has gone on so long the boy at its center is now 4 years old.

"I couldn't speak when I was cut, but I can speak now," said Thomas Frederiksen, a 39-year-old machinist who traveled from Orlando to protest, wearing a red beret and "I (Heart) My Foreskin" T-shirt and speaking breathlessly about the issue.

Volumes of court filings tell the story: Hironimus and Nebus had a six-month relationship that resulted in a pregnancy, the birth of a boy named Chase, and a fight over nearly everything since. Nebus sued to prove his paternity and to get partial custody of the boy and the couple whittled out a parenting plan outlining everything from his surname to his legal address, to whom he calls mommy or daddy and, notably, what becomes of his penis.

In that document, the circumcision of the child was agreed to by both parents. When it came time to schedule the procedure, though, the mother resisted, having researched the subject further. The matter wound its way through circuit court, which ruled in Nebus' favor, then to the Fourth District Court of Appeal, which refused to overturn the lower court's ruling. Hironimus could ask for a rehearing in the appellate court, but has made no further legal filings.

"Just the normal thing to do," the father said of circumcision, according to the court files. "To me, it's not worth it to put my son's life at risk for a cosmetic procedure," the mother said.

The parents entered an agreement on Dec. 24 to not talk to the press and to avoid any other campaigns or actions that might exploit the child. There is no indication in the court documents the circumcision is being done for religious reasons. The attorney that had represented the mother, who lives in Boynton Beach, is no longer being retained and has not been replaced, the lawyer's office said. The attorney for the father, who lives in Boca Raton, did not respond to requests for comment.

Though circumcision rates have fallen in the U.S., a majority of boys still undergo the removal of their foreskin. ... Meantime, a bubbling anti-circumcision movement has grown.

They have made the boy at the center of this case their cause celebre, as evidenced by one of several small sidewalk protests here featuring signs including "Let Chase Keep His Foreskin," ''Don't Cut Chase's Penis," ''Don't You Dare Circumcise Chase!" and "Ethics 101: No Disease, No Consent, No Circumcision." Some passing motorists honked or gave gestures of support; some looked puzzled or shouted "Who's Chase?"

Jonathan Friedman, 27, who organized the demonstration as part of his "Saving Chase" campaign, traveled from Chicago for the event and makes anti-circumcision advocacy the focus of his life. He wore a "Children Never Forget Trauma" T-shirt and said he became vocal on the issue when he realized the harm of his own circumcision, which he blames for bleeding, chafing and painful erections.

What has driven supporters to his side, Friedman says, is the age of the boy in this case.

"People are not OK with a 4-year-old boy being circumcised — a conscious, articulate boy. That's just not OK," Friedman said. "Not everyone is against circumcisions, but I think everyone is against a 4-year-old's circumcision."

...

Gathered quietly near the office of a pediatric urologist who examined the boy and who may be chosen for the surgery, [the protesters] said the circumcision should be put off until adulthood, when the patient could decide for himself. To those who view the procedure as minor, they gave a list of reasons they believe shows it is not — from loss of sensation to unseen psychological damage.

"They think it's just a little snip and it's not," said Jennifer Blanchard, 34, of Miami. "It's a big deal."

Earlierstory

LONDON: Doctor charged with cutting woman after childbirth

BBC
January  19, 205

Doctor 'performed FGM on new mother in hospital'

A British doctor performed female genital mutilation on a young mother after she gave birth in hospital, a court has heard.

Dhanuson Dharmasena, 32, is accused of carrying out the illegal procedure at the Whittington Hospital in north London.

The doctor, of Ilford, London, denies the charge in what is the first prosecution of its kind in the UK.
A second man, Hasan Mohamed, 41, denies encouraging and abetting the offence.
...
Carrying out female genital mutilation carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison.

'Encouragement' The mother-of-two, who cannot be identified, first underwent FGM aged six in Somalia, London's Southwark Crown Court heard.

She was 24 and living in Britain when she give birth to her first child in November 2012.

The court heard that during labour, her FGM stitches were torn and Dr Dharmasena, a junior registrar in obstetrics and gynaecology, sewed her back up in a procedure that amounted to FGM.

The prosecution alleges the doctor did so at Mr Mohamed's "insistence or encouragement".

Kate Bex, prosecuting, told jurors that FGM was "very dangerous for a woman's health and psychological well-being"....

"It increases the risk of death in childbirth to both mother and baby."

Jurors heard the woman would have been most exposed to these side-effects when the surgery was first performed when she was six.

Dr Dharmasena's stitches would not have carried the same risks, but should not have been sewn at all "unless medically necessary", Ms Bex said.

'Changed tack' The hospital trust launched an investigation into the incident within a few weeks.

In a statement, Dr Dharmasena said he had carried out the procedure because he thought the woman wanted him to. He also said Mr Mohamed had urged him to do so.

He said: "At no point in time did I intentionally or deliberately want to cause any harm to the patient. I had obeyed all of the patient's wishes."

But jurors were told he had changed his justification when he was interviewed by police in August 2013.

Ms Bex said: "It would seem that Dr Dharmasena had familiarised himself with the law and you may feel that he changed tack as a result."

Ten months after the operation, he raised the possibility that it had been "medically justified", she told the court.

Dr Dharmasena denies one count of female genital mutilation.

Mr Mohamed denies one count of aiding or abetting the procedure, and one count of intentionally encouraging or assisting the commission of an offence.

The trial continues.

TANZANIA: Girls cut after leaving refuge - one father arrested


Tanzania Daily News
January  19,2015

Tanzania: Police Confirm Single Arrest Over Forced FGM in Tarime

Tarime — POLICE have arrested a man here for allegedly forcing her daughter to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM) at a village in Tarime, Mara Region .

The single arrest came in the wake of shocing reports that dozens of girls who escaped the cut and camped at Termination of Female Genital Mutilation(TFGM) Masanga Centre in the critical months of November and December when FGM was widely conducted in area, are now being subjected to forced circumcision.

More than 600 most school girls refused the cut and sought shelter at the rescue centre, which operates under the Roman Catholic Church of Musoma Diocese with the support of several partners, including United Nations Population Fund(UNFPA) and Children's Dignity Forum(CDF), a nongovernmental organisation, which has of late enhanced the battle against FGM in the area.

... The girls left the centre early this month in a colourful function officiated by Minister for Labour and Employment, Ms Gaudensia Kabaka.

Tanzania Media Women's Association (TAMWA) Executive Director Ms Valerie Msoka described the report about the girl who was forcibly cut in Tarime as "shocking and humiliation of the highest order".

She called for immediate new effective measures that will help to save girls from the outdated harmful culture. FGM is illegal according to the law. "
...

KENYA: Wife sends whole village to publicly cut husband

Diaspora Messenger (Kenya)
January 17, 2015

Wife sends a whole village to circumcise her husband in broad daylight

A man was forcefully circumcised in Chwele Market Bungoma county after his wife reported him to the elders.

A 39-year-old man woke up to the shock of his life when he found thousands of people gathered outside his house waiting to circumcise him.

The father of 11 is said to have had an argument with his wife when she decided to go and expose him to the elders on his state of manhood.

He was drugged out of his house and circumcised in front of a large multitude in Chwele market.

He was later awarded gifts and is expected to stay in isolation for four months before elders teach him on how to be a man, according to the Bukusu culture.

Social media was awash with critics some condemning the act while other praised the act under #GoCutMyHusband