Saturday, December 21, 2013

SWEDEN: Province proposes circumcision age-restriction

The Jewish Daily Forward
December 19, 2013

Swedish Province Will Ban Circumcision for Boys

Latest Salvo as Bris Battle Spreads Across Europe
A county in Sweden is planning to ban non-medical circumcision of boys, its commissioner said.

Per-Ola Mattsson, commissioner of Blekinge County, said he would move ahead with plans to ban ritual circumcision by bringing the subject up in February with the county's health board, according to an article published Thursday by the Sydöstran Daily.

According to Dagens Medicin, Mattsson, who is also chairman of the Public Health Board of Blekinge, said he opposed the practice because minors "have no possibility to say no to the surgery and therefore the county should not perform these procedures."

Located in southern Sweden, Blekinge County has a population of about 150,000.

In Sweden, nonmedical and medical circumcision may be performed only by licensed professionals, as per legislation from 2001.

Under the legislation, Jewish ritual circumcisers, or mohelim, in Sweden receive their licenses from the country's health board, but a nurse or doctor must still be present when they perform the procedure. Representatives of the country's Jewish community told JTA they are pleased with the arrangement as it does not prevent them from performing the ritual.

In recent years, Scandinavian countries have seen an intensification of efforts to ban [no, to age-restrict] ritual circumcision by activists who say it violates children's rights and by anti-immigration nationalists who seek to limit the effect that Muslim presence is having on Swedish society.

In September, the rightist Sweden Democrats Party submitted a motion in parliament in favor of banning ritual circumcision.

In October, the children's ombudsmen of all Nordic countries - Finland, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden and Norway - released a joint declaration proposing a ban [age-restriction] on circumcision.

QUEBEC: More botches surface

CBC News
December 18, 2013

Botched circumcision allegations against Quebec doctor grow

A Montreal doctor accused of botching more than 30 infant circumcisions is facing another complaint about his medical conduct.

The investigative unit with Quebec's Collège des Médecins has already filed a complaint against the family doctor, documenting 31 cases in which boys who underwent circumcisions performed by Dr. Raymond Rezaie required corrective surgery.

The dates of the cases in that complaint range from July 2010 to October 2013. The matter is now before before the college's disciplinary council.

Now another mother, identified only as Nadia to protect the identity of her son, has added her name to the list of worried parents.

The boy's mother asked that the family's last name and the name of her son not be published because they do not want him to be associated with Rezaie and complaints against him.

Nadia told CBC’s Daybreak that Rezaie circumcised her three-month-old son this fall. She said she trusted the doctor because members of her mosque had recommended him.

But after the procedure, Nadia said her son was in pain for weeks.

An infection developed under some of the skin left behind after the procedure, and it started to bleed, she said.

Nadia said she returned to the doctor’s office several times for advice, but her son’s condition continued to worsen.

That’s when she took her son to the Sainte-Justine hospital, where she was told her son would need to see a surgeon.

“Three days later, I saw surgeon and he was like, ‘Wow what's that?’” Nadia told Daybreak.
Her son has since received corrective surgery and is recovering from the ordeal. Nadia filed her own complaint with the college of physicians this week.

“This is not fair. The babies suffer,” she said. 

Rezaie was not available for comment when he was contacted by CBC yesterday.

A decision on whether Rezaie can continue to perform circumcisions while he awaits the college's disciplinary council ruling is expected later this month.

ISRAEL: Court stays forced circumcision

December 17, 2013

Israel's top court halts rabbinical decree forcing woman to circumcise son

Israel's Supreme Court issued an temporary injunction freezing a rabbinical court's recent decree ordering a woman to circumcise her year-old son against her wish.

Acceding to the woman's appeal, Judge Yoram Danziger halted the decision and ordered the father to provide his response by January 2. The Supreme Rabbinical Court and Netanya's Regional Rabbinical Court will be issued a week later.

There is no law in Israel making circumcision obligatory for Jews, but a rabbinical court that was presiding over the woman's divorce case ruled that she must fulfil her husband's wish in the matter.
It fined her 500 shekels ($142) a day until she did so.

In their ruling last month, the presiding rabbis said the woman was using her refusal to circumcise her son as leverage against her husband.

The couple began divorce proceedings when the baby was one month old and in the time that has passed, the ruling said, the woman has been standing in the way of her husband, who wants to fulfil one of the most important Jewish edicts.

But the mother says circumcision is tantamount to physical abuse. "I don't believe in religious coercion," she told Channel 2 News last month, facing away from the camera so her identity was not revealed.

Earlier story

Friday, December 13, 2013

UGANDA: Prisoners forcibly circumcised

the Monitor (Uganda)
December 13, 2013

Former inmates decry forced circumcision

by Ronnie Layoo
Gulu- Former inmates at Gulu Main Prison have accused the authorities of circumcising them against their will.

The inmates say the prison wardens force them to get circumcised, saying the move is to enhance good sanitation and health living.

Speaking to the Daily Monitor recently, Mr Richard Okello, 22, who was remanded in the prison for alleged assault for three months, said the prison warders forced him to get circumcised.

“The wardens came in the hall and announced that those who have not circumcised should get on the line, no one could resist it,” Mr Okello said.

He said he was exposed to infection since they did not provide him treatment.

Another former inmate, Mr David Ojok, who claimed he was also forced to circumcise, said proper sanitation, which should guarantee proper healing, was not provided.

However, the regional prison commander, Mr Kenneth Mugabiirwe, dismissed the allegations.

“Nobody can be forced to get circumcised; it’s voluntary,” he said. Mr Mugabiirwe acknowledged overcrowding and poor sanitation as the challenges facing the prison due to poor facilitation.

The officer in-charge of Gulu Main Prison, Ms Orik Obonyo, said a committee was recently set up to carry out investigations.

GERMANY: Circumcision law has failed

Deutche Welle
December 12, 2013

German circumcision law still under fire

A year ago Germany, after a long and heated debate, passed a controversial new circumcision law. It was meant to be a Solomonic solution, but critics say that the new rules do not guarantee children's well-being.

A ruling by a Cologne regional court in the spring of 2012 set off a fierce debate over the Jewish and Muslim ritual of circumcision. The court decided that non-medical circumcision amounted to bodily harm. Both supporters and critics of the practice discussed the issue at length on television and op-ed pages, employing both medical and ethical arguments. The main question remained: how to reconcile freedom of religion and parents' rights to choose how to raise their children on the one hand, with the children's well-being on the other.

A law was passed that was meant to answer that question. Paragraph 1631d of the code of civil law declared that the circumcision of a male child is legal and must be done in accordance with "the rules of the medical profession" - as safely as possible and with appropriate and effective pain relief. Parents need to be informed of the procedure's potential risks, it must not pose a danger to the child's well-being, and the wishes of children old enough to express them also need to be taken into account. Representatives of Germany's Jewish and Muslim communities said they were satisfied with these conditions.

Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, who introduced the bill, said the regulation re-established what was regarded as the status quo before the Cologne court's ruling.

But a year after coming into effect, the law is now a complete failure - at least according to critics, who say circumcision represents a violation of a child's physical integrity. Boys, critics said, often do not undergo the procedure under safe conditions and without appropriate pain relief.

"This law has legalized many questionable means of children's foreskin amputation," said Christian Bahls, head of the Mogis association, which advocates the physical integrity and sexual self-determination of children.

Bahls refers to a case in Berlin in which the Jewish method of Metzitzah B'Peh was carried out - where the circumciser sucks the wound with his mouth, and not with a pipette or a small tube. Because of the danger of infection, the Israel Ambulatory Pediatric Association (IAPA), among other associations, has already rejected the practice.

Mogis pressed charges against the boy's father, a rabbi, as well as his wife and the circumciser. But prosecutors dropped the case because no criminal responsibility could be proven against the parents, and the circumciser lived abroad and so was outside German jurisdiction.

Bahls says this outcome shows that the new law does not protect children's well-being properly. Prosecutors, he claims, dropped the case on the grounds that applying a painkilling bandage after the circumcision was enough to ensure medical safety. "So clearly it is permissible to amputate a child's foreskin without an adequate anesthetic," said Bahls. "That is what the law allows."

Wolfgang Gahr, general secretary of Germany's academy for children and young people's medicine (DAKJ), has also heard reports of circumcisions being carried out under hygienically questionable conditions and without anesthetic. "They are individual cases," he said. "We don't have any figures." The DAKJ is against non-medical circumcisions in general, but if they can't be avoided, "they should at least take place under medical supervision and be painless."

But this last condition is certainly not stipulated by the law, according to which children under six months are allowed to be circumcised by someone nominated by the religious community - in other words, a circumciser, who in most cases is not a doctor. That means he is not qualified to administer an anesthetic, says Gahr.

The Justice Ministry, on the other hand, cites what it claims is evidence that the law protects children's well-being - for instance a ruling made by a Higher Regional Court in September, which forbade a Kenyan woman from circumcising her six-year-old son because parents and doctors had not consulted the child, and because the parents had failed to properly inform themselves.

Germany's Constitutional Court has also had to address the law, after a man brought a lawsuit because he had been circumcised by someone without medical training, in 1991, when he was aged six. The judges dismissed his case because he was not currently directly affected by the new law. In other words, the court avoided addressing the new law itself.

FLORIDA: Doctors charging "circumcision deposit" before sex is known

Some doctors are charging expectant parents a "circumcision deposit" long before they know the sex of their child, and even if the plan to leave a boy intact. This is unethical, and increases the risk of unwanted circumcisions.

What to expect
November 2010

From: MommyFeathers
Has anyone else had to do this? We recently moved and I chose a dr based on several great recommendations, but I called today and made an appt and was told that I have to pay $200 before my first appt for "possible circumcision"! First, I'm what, 7 weeks? no clue as to whether we're even having a boy or girl, and Second, even if we do have a boy he won't be circumcised. But when I tried to explain that, the receptionist told me that it didn't matter, everyone had to pay it and then they would refund the money after the birth...just sounds crazy to me...he better be as good a Dr as I've been told!

The Whole Network Facebook, December 11, 2013 Fan Question: I am pregnant with my second child and my regular OB (who delivered my daughter) started a new policy that forces patients to pay a "circ deposit" before their first prenatal visit. Apparently this is a growing trend among doctors. Whether or not you are having a boy or if you want to keep him intact you have to pay and if you don't use it the money will be refunded after you are discharged from the hospital. I tried fighting it but they told me it won't be done unless I sign a consent form at the hospital. Since it is a new policy I am worried that the staff at the hospital will see that I paid and do it anyway assuming I wanted it done. I just found out that I am having a boy so I need to decide what to do now. Even though they are promising that I will have a say in the end, it makes me really uncomfortable and I'm not sure how safe my son will really be. I am thinking about switching to a new OB over this but I have medicaid so my options are limited. Would it be worth switching over? I am also not sure how to find an intact friendly OB so i was wondering if you could help point me in the right direction. I didn't search for a doctor with my daughter because he was my regular GYN. I'm in Melbourne FL. There are no birthing centers around here.

HELSINKI: Court rules Muslim circumcision "legal"

Helsinki Times
December 12, 2013

Court: Circumcisions of Muslim boys not an offence

The Helsinki Court of Appeal recommends that laws on male circumcisions be drawn up.

A PERSON convicted for performing circumcision on two Muslim boys has been acquitted of assault charges by the Helsinki Court of Appeal. The court also acquitted the parents of the boys of incitement to assault.

With the appeals court ruling that the grounds for the District Court of Helsinki’s ruling in 2011 were incorrect, the decision marks a fundamental shift in Finnish judicial practice concerning the issue of boys’ circumcisions.

District prosecutor Eija Velitski has voiced her bemusement with the verdict and affirmed that she will seek leave to appeal with the Supreme Court. “Since all the charges were rejected, I will naturally seek leave to appeal,” she stated.

In 2011, the District Court of Helsinki found an Iranian-Turkish person guilty of assault for performing circumcisions on two school-aged Muslim boys. In addition, the court convicted the boys’ parents of incitement to assault but, deeming the act forgiveable, opted not to impose penalties on them.

The person who performed the operations with a cautery in the homes of the boys has performed several circumcisions in both Turkey and Iran. The incision of one of the boys, however, became infected, forcing the boy to miss school and seek medical attention.

In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled that, if performed in an appropriate manner, a circumcision performed on a boy for religious reasons does not constitute an offence. However, citing the subsequent ratification of the Council of Europe’s Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine as justification, the district court deemed the circumcisions unlawful.

Both the prosecutor and the defendants lodged an appeal against the ruling – the defendants demanding that the charges be dismissed and the prosecutor that the practitioner and parents be sentenced to probation orders for aggravated assault.

In its ruling, the Helsinki Court of Appeal then concluded that the convention cited by the district court in sentencing applies only to organ transplants, not to circumcisions. [The convention refers only to tissue "removal", not to what the removed tissue is to be used for. When the removed organ is to be thrown away instead of being used to save life, the conditions attending its removal should be stricter than for donation, not more lax. The spririt of the convention is clearly designed to protect donors from harmful and unnecessary tissue removal, and should be interpreted in that light, not so as to protect other parties and customs to which the "donor" has not agreed.] The appeals court also referred to judicial practices elsewhere in Europe, pointing out that boys’ circumcisions have not been banned by any European country on grounds of the Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine.

In addition, the court viewed that Finnish laws do not prescribe that circumcisions must be performed by licensed medical practitioners and that the person who performed the operations had acted with due diligence.

The surgical site infection in one of the boys, the court elaborated, had been caused by insufficient after-care rather than the operation. The person who performed the circumcision used surgical gloves, sterilised the instrument used, applied local anaesthesia and provided the parents with instructions for after-care, the court added. Accordingly, in addition to acquitting them of charges, the appeals court relieved the person who performed the circumcision from liability for damages. Similarly, the briefcase and instrument used in the operation were returned to the defendant.

Finally, the court recommended that laws on male circumcisions be drawn up to eradicate any judicial ambiguities. Despite having mulled over such legislative revisions for some time, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health stated earlier this autumn that no revisions are likely to be adopted in the near future.

Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine
Article 20 – Protection of persons not able to consent to organ removal

No organ or tissue removal may be carried out on a person who does not have the capacity to consent under Article 5.

Exceptionally and under the protective conditions prescribed by law, the removal of regenerative tissue from a person who does not have the capacity to consent may be authorised provided the following conditions are met:
  • there is no compatible donor available who has the capacity to consent;
  • the recipient is a brother or sister of the donor;
  • the donation must have the potential to be life-saving for the recipient;
    [None of these exemptions are applicable where there is no recipient]
  • the authorisation provided for under paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 6 has been given specifically and in writing, in accordance with the law and with the approval of the competent body;
  • the potential donor concerned does not object.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

QUEBEC: Doctor who botched 30 circumcisions "studied best methods"

CBC News
December 11, 2013

Quebec doctor accused of botching circumcisions

A Quebec doctor could be prohibited from performing circumcisions after Quebec's Collège des Médecins received a complaint that he'd performed more than 30 procedures resulting in complications that required further surgery to fix.

Dr. Raymond Rezaie will have a hearing before the college’s disciplinary council, after its investigative unit documented 30 cases in which boys who underwent circumcisions performed by the doctor required further corrective treatment under general anesthetic at Montreal's Sainte-Justine Hospital.

In one additional case noted in the complaint, a boy underwent corrective surgery at the Montreal Children's Hospital.

It is alleged that the doctor performed in an “inadequate and inappropriate way, a surgical circumcision under local anesthesia on a child.”

The disciplinary council has not yet set a date to hear the complaint, but earlier this week, internal investigators asked the college to ban Rezaie from performing circumcisions until a hearing can be held.

The disciplinary council is expected to make a decision on that request before the end of December.
Rezaie is a family doctor who began practising in Quebec in 2006.

On his website, Rezaie says he travelled across Canada researching the best infant-circumcision techniques by experienced doctors.

“Furthermore, he developed his own approaches to these surgeries, combining the most effective elements of what he learned,” the site reads.

According to the website, the doctor performs circumcisions at four clinics in the Montreal area.


A decision on the doctor’s conduct could take months.

ZIMBABWE: 90,000 circumcised

Nehandra Radio
December 10, 2013

90 000 males circumcised in Zimbabwe

Close to 90,000 males in Zimbabwe have been circumcised so far this year, still short of the 2013 target of 115,000 but a remarkable increase from the 40,755 who underwent the procedure last year, says a health official.

The rise has been attributed to the increase in facilities offering the operation with male circumcision now performed at provincial, district and mission hospitals as well as at stand-alone centres dedicated for the process, says AIDS and Tuberculosis Unit Director at the Ministry of Health Dr Owen Mugurungi.

He added Monday that at least 87,858 males had been circumcised across the country from January to October this year.

“This year’s output marks a significant increase as compared with 2012, when a total of 40,755 males were circumcised,” he said.

Bulawayo had the highest number of males who were circumcised with 18 per cent compared with 5.0 per cent in Midlands, Mashonaland Central, and Mashonaland West provinces. The increase in Bulawayo was a result of a number of initiatives employed in raising awareness on the advantages of voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC).

[But how voluntary is it? How much peer pressure? How much coercion? How much blackmail of the form "We will provide your football team with kit, but only if you all get cut"? Actual force?]

Dr Mgurungi said the government would be increasing the number of teams trained to provide VMMC in provinces with low percentages of circumcised males. The Zimbabwe government introduced VMMC as a way of reducing HIV and other sexually-transmitted diseases after evidence had demonstrated that circumcision reduced chances of men contracting HIV by 60 per cent.

[While in Zimbabwe, more of the circumcised men have HIV than the non-circumcised.]

Zimbabwe: more of circumcised have HIV

The government is targeting to circumcise 217,800 people next year and 1.3 million by 2017. Male circumcision also reduces the transmission of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) that causes cervical cancer among women with sexual partners who are not circumcised.

 [Or rather, some strains of HPV are associated with cervical cancer, whether the women's partners are circumcised or not. One reason to circumcise is never enough, is it? It's a marketting ploy, like the "free gifts" that come with mail-order goods. The HPV claim is also dubious.]

SUSSEX: Doctor charged with female cutting

West Sussex County Times
December 9, 2013

Medic accused of genital mutilation

A doctor will go before medical watchdogs today accused of carrying out female genital mutilation on a patient. Dr Sureshkumar Vallabhdas Pandya, who practises in London, is said to have undertook the procedure, sometimes called female circumcision, which has been outlawed in the UK for the past 28 years. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is carried out for cultural, religious and social reasons and some traditions believe it will reduce a woman's libido and discourage sexual activity before marriage. It is prevalent in some Muslim countries where a high value is placed on a woman's chastity and modesty. It has been estimated that more than 20,000 girls under 15 are at risk of FGM in the UK each year, and that 66,000 women in the UK have undergone the procedure. But the true extent is unknown due to the "hidden" nature of the crime. No one has ever been prosecuted for FGM in the UK. Dr Pandya, who will go before the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service sitting in Manchester later today, is also alleged to have provided inadequate pre and post operative care and his advice to the patient was misleading and dishonest. It is also alleged that Dr Pandya's record keeping did not meet the required standards.

ZIMBABWE: Children indoctrinated about circumcision

Brainwashing? Indoctrination?

December 8, 2013

Zimbabwe government takes circumcision into the classroom

by Phyllis Mbanje
OFFICIALS from the Ministry of Health and Child Care have been going around schools in the country disseminating information on procedures and benefits of male circumcision to pupils, some as young as 12 years old, courting the ire of some parents.

The officials however said they were targeting pupils in higher grades in both primary and secondary schools. For anyone below the age of 18, consent for circumcision has to be sought from the parent or guardian.

But some parents felt that the issue of circumcision was being introduced too early and might be harmful to the pupils.

Ministry of Health and Child Care national male circumcision (MC) coordinator, Sinokuthemba Xaba said the exercise was meant to furnish the pupils with information which they would share with their families and help them make a decision.

“The exercise is merely for giving out information. We do not expect the pupils to then make decisions but the parents, if they so wish, will then consent in writing,” he said.

Xaba said in some instances the schools had invited them to either give the lectures to the teachers who would in turn filter the information down to the pupils, or address the children directly.

“It differs with schools; some allow us to interact directly with the pupils while some prefer the officials to address teachers. Bottom line is that it is all about disseminating the right information,” he said.

An official from Population International Services (PSI) said there was nothing wrong with disseminating information about circumcision to pupils. He however admitted that some parents had reservations about the exercise.

“Even if the children do not immediately put the information to use, it might help them as young adults to know and appreciate the benefits of circumcision,” he said.

[No mention of risks or harms, of course, nor any doubts about the HIV claims.]

Last month, Xara said the programme faced a myriad of challenges which included limited demand for the services among older men, inadequate human resource and limited government funding.

This is despite the belief that if the exercise is successfully rolled out, 212 449 infections would be averted by 2025 while HIV prevalence would decrease to 4,4% by 2025 compared to an anticipated 7,3% if MC is not scaled up.

[These figures are Just Made Up, based on mathematical models that assume the protection supposedly given to 73 men after 5,400 were circumcised in clinical trials can scale up to mass-circumcision in the real world. ]

Parents who were attending a graduation ceremony at a preschool in Meyrick Park in Harare recently expressed mixed feelings over distribution of information about circumcision to pupils.

“I do not see anything wrong with the ministry giving information to the children as long as they are mindful of the language they use and do not try to manipulate the children,” said Sheila Hove from Harare’s Westgate suburb.

However, Robert Gwata from Richwell Gardens in Mabelreign had this to say: “Surely, that is a preserve of parents and guardians. Why should these guys go to schools and try to sweet talk our children to have the procedure done. We will have problems when they come home with their heads full of things that they have no control over.”

SAN FRANCISCO: "Dr Edgar Duckema" greets AAP delegates

Eider know, but this quacks me up...

December 8, 2013

Duck! Here comes quack Dr Duckema to confront baby cutters

''Dr Edgar Duckema'' welcomes AAP delegates
Click for video

Something eggstraordinary went, um, down at the Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco yesterday. A strange ducklike figure was greeting members of California Chapter 1 of the American Academy of Pediatrics as they arrived for a meeting at the hotel.

He was "Doctor Edgar J. Duckema", reportedly a circumcision enthusiast and American Academy of Pediatrics Circumcision Task Force member, quacking and holding a sign saying "Welcome Circumcisers!"

Others, members of the Bay Area Intactivists, carried signs saying "Circumcision Anguish" and "Circumcision? Only Quacks Cut Healthy Children".

Only one question: where should the doctor send his bill?

INDIA: Orphanage case falls through - parents' gave "verbal" consent

The Shillong Times (India)
December 8, 2013

Circumcision case deadlock

SHILLONG: The inability of the police to act on the alleged circumcision case in NEIGRIHMS [the North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Science], following the refusal of the parents of the 11 boys to file an FIR in this regard has put this case in a deadlock with the District Administration proposing to discuss the matter with the East Khasi Hills Superintendent of Police.

In a magisterial report on the case which was submitted to the State Government recently, the magistrate has mentioned that the consent of the parents was not taken by the Meherbaan Orphanage in Laban prior to the circumcision.

Whereas, the police mentioned that the case could not go ahead as the parents themselves had refused to lodge a complaint in this regard stating that they had embraced Islam few years back.

“I have already forwarded the report to the Police and let the SP take a call on this,” East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner, Sanjay Goyal said adding that the report will be a reference for the police to handle the case.

When informed that a case was not registered in this regard, Goyal said, “Referring to the report, I will discuss the matter with the SP and see if we can take up separate actions.”

According to the magisterial report which was submitted to the State Government recently, out of the 11 boys, four were Muslim by birth while seven were Christian and all had embraced Islam few years back. [Or rather, their parents had.]

The report, however, ruled out the angle of forced circumcision stating that “the parents of the inmates had already embraced Islam few years ago and willingly sent their children to Maherbaan orphanage to ensure that the children get proper education.”

Earlier, the Shillong Muslim Union running this orphanage has also denied of carrying out the procedure in a hush-hush manner stating that the parents had given their consent ‘verbally’.

Earlier story...

NEW YORK: Hypospadias - rabbi botches circumcision

Courthouse News Service
December 5, 2013

Mom Claims Rabbi Botched Circumcision

by Nick Divito
BROOKLYN (CN) - A rabbi botched the bris of an infant who had a birth defect involving his penis, and then failed to preserve the foreskin, the boy's mother claims in Kings County Superior Court.

Rabbi Eliyahu Shain performed the bris on Benjamin Altman in December 2009 at New York University Medical Center's Pediatric Associates of New York City.

But the boy's mother, Staci H. Altman, says the mohel failed to recognize that the boy had hypospadias, a medical condition where the urethra develops [no, emerges] on the underside of the penis.

[Hypospadias is an absolute contraindication for circumcision.]

Since then, the boy's permanent injuries have caused him to suffer "great physical pain and mental anguish and loss of enjoyment of life," according to the lawsuit.

The circumcision was allegedly performed "outside of a hospital or appropriate medical facility," ...

The boy's mother seeks unspecified actual and punitive damages for negligence.


INDIA: 11 boys circumcised without parents' consent

Some people just like to circumcise...

Znews (India)
December 5, 2013

Circumcision of tribal boys illegal, says Magisterial inquiry

Shillong: A magisterial inquiry into the 'ritual circumcision' of 11 tribal boys at a state-run super specialty hospital near here, has declared it illegal.

The report said that the 11 boys from Ri-Bhoi and East Jaintia Hills districts who were in an orphanage were circumcised at the North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Science (NEIGRIHMS) on October 4, 5 and 6 without obtaining prior consent from their parents.

The matter became known after a youth organisation, Seng Samla Shnong Shilliang Umkhen, raised a hue and cry over it alleging misuse of power by a senior doctor for conducting 'religious rituals' at the institute.

This led the state government to order a magisterial inquiry.

The report by the East Khasi district magistrate was submitted to the state government last Saturday.
The report recommended that NEIGRIHMS chief A G Ahanger constitute further inquiry against the circumcision to ascertain if it was done by medical officers at the institute at the personal request of doctors and colleagues.

"The Director of NEIGRIHMS should ascertain whether the operations were as per procedure laid down by the hospital administration, rules and procedures," the report said.

It sought punitive action against the secretary of the orphanage, Kursheed Thabah, for failing to consult the parents of the boys before the 'ritual circumcision'.

Thabah had signed the consent forms for the 11 boys and informed the parents only after the operations were performed, it said.

The orphanage also was yet to register itself and attracted legal provisions for not adhering to the rule of law, the report added.

KENYA: 8 girls in hospital with FGC complications

Daily Nation (Kenya)
December 4, 2013

Girls taken to hospital after undergoing circumcision

by Wanjiru Macharia
Eight girls are undergoing treatment at the Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital after developing complications related to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

The girls aged between 16 and 20 years had secretly undergone the ritual at Teret area of Mau Narok on Monday night, December 2, 2013.

Three of them were pregnant while several others had young children and were breastfeeding the children who accompanied them to hospital.

The hospital Medical Superintendent Dr John Murima confirmed the girls had been brought to the hospital and were still undergoing check-up.

“The girls are here and they came in accompanied by police officers but I cannot comment on their conditions because they are still being analysed,” said Dr Murima.

He said he could only comment on their conditions after doctors at the hospital had conducted checks on all of them for a detailed report.

The girls arrived at the provincial hospital wrapped in blankets and with no other clothes on.

Ms Mary Tinga, a volunteer with Loreto Sisters Against FGM who took the girls to the hospital said the girls were found by the area chief and Administration Police officers following a tip off.

She said some of the girls had already been married off and were forced to undergo FGM by their husbands and other older women.

“The girls told me that their husbands insult them all the time telling them that their food is not cooked while older women chase them away when they go to fetch water from the river,” said Ms Tinga.

She said there were increased cases of FGM in the area and attributed this to the cultural belief that uncircumcised women cannot make good wives.

Ms Tinga said men who marry uncircumcised girls force them to undergo the dangerous exercise following pressure from their mothers and the community.

Some of the girls at the hospital said that they willingly underwent the operation to save their marriages since they already had children.

Ms Tinga said the circumcisers and the people who had taken the girls for the ritual fled when the chief and AP officers arrived at the scene.

She called on the government to make sure the people responsible are arrested and prosecuted.

KENYA: Boy circumcised without mother's consent / ISRAEL: Plea from mother

November 28, 2013

Circumcision without consent - two heartfelt complaints

From Kenya:
"I'm a very irritated man today.
"I've been away from home for some time now.I went home today,and was shocked to find that my 10-year old nephew was circumcised last Friday. I was infuriated, boarded a vehicle to the clinic to seek clarification from the doctor who took him from school together with other young boys for the cut. My mother did not sign the consent form, his mother did not sign the consent,and I was away. The child is now in pain, and could not even answer the questions I asked him today when I went home. I'm really saddened by this,because my conversation with the mutilator did not yield any fruitful outcome.My mother says there's nothing we can do about it!...

While in the clinic yard, I saw them ferry boys into the compound using their pickup trucks. Some had just undergone the operation. I couldn't help being their. I had my camera, but couldn't take any picture. The clinic is Ober Health Centre. Really, I'm lost for words to describe my anger. I talked to two of the doctors, one could not stay longer during the conversation because I could see my facts were a bu[r]den to him so he walked away into one of the pickups and drove away. The one who carried on the conversation, later offered to give me a job with the Nyanza Reproductive Society saying that I should report to their offices tomorrow. He gave me his phone number!... "

- from a Kenyan Intactivist on Facebook.

The Secretary of the Board of the "Nyanza Reproductive Health Society" is Dr Robert Bailey, who led one of the three trials claiming to show circumcision protects against HIV. Also connected is Prof Kawango Agot, whose name appears on several papers promoting circumcision. It's basically a front for circumcisionism, and a job with it would not be at all secure.

From Israel:
Elinor Daniel, the mother of a boy ordered to be circumcised by a rabbinic court, writes:
"Help!!! I'm asking for the help of the public!!! I am a mother to a baby. The Rabbinical Court is forcing me to cut my year old son against my will (circumcise him) while subjecting me to heavy financial sanctions daily!!!

After my exposure to the information regarding circumcision, I refuse to mutilate my baby. I don't have the right and I do not agree! He was born whole and he will stay whole! His integrity is his full right! The Religious Court has no right to do that! No one in the whole world is authorized to force me to mutilate my son, to cut his penis!

What kind of a state is this?!!! What is this??? Where do we live??? Could the Religious Court force upon me anything during the divorce? In particular, religious oppression, unnecessary cutting of the penis of an helpless baby??? A non-reversible surgical operation!!! A foreskin does not renew itself! The baby can not express his own will. The right to decide is his alone. It is his body!! The right, is not mine, nor anyone else's in the entire world, but his own only!!!

I am pleading for help!!! I love my son very much!!! I do not want to hurt him!!! Please pass this message on to anyone possible so it won't be a precedent for future divorce cases in the Rabbinical Court which authorizes itself to force religious oppression upon a nonreligious divorcing person! Why does the religious court take advantage of its monopoly on marriage???!! It's a degrading abuse of power, used for religious oppression!!! Religion has to be voluntary from the heart, not by force and financial penalties!

Where do we live??? Where is the supervision??? Where is the government???!!! I am crying for help!!! Unfortunately, here, in the state of Israel!!! Mother"
- Elinor Daniel

Donate to support Elinor
Israeli women demonstrate in support of Elinor:
Israeli women demonstrate for the right to refuse circumcision
"Find alternative requirements" "Rights of the man over his body!" "Iran [theocracy] Is Here and Now!"
"[Hands off the] penis of my boy!"

Haaretz: No to forced circumcision: Civil courts need to send an important message that individual rights take precedence over religious customs, however widespread they are....

An interview with Elinor

Earlier story