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“A Human Rights Violation on a Massive Scale”

October 11, 2012

I need your help.

Last week, the Huffington Post published “First, Do No Harm,” an article I wrote in response to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recent endorsement of routine infant circumcision. I am so grateful for the supportive and heartfelt feedback I’ve received from so many.

Judging from the dozens of  comments posted publicly and sent to me privately, it seems that my statement calling circumcision a “human rights violation on a massive scale” was a consciousness-raising tipping point for both readers new to the issue, and those already familiar with it.

I want to ask all of you— if you haven’t already done so—to share your thoughts directly on the Huffington Post’s website, which reaches millions of readers. In addition to me wanting to know what’s on your mind, it’s really important for the media, Huffington Post in this case, to see firsthand the breadth of conviction and the diversity of support that exists for keeping baby boys intact. Of course, your positive comments also serve as important information and validation for casual readers who are newcomers to the intactivist cause.

After you’ve commented, I’m hoping you’ll show your support in another way: by donating to Intact America. On October 20, I will be flying to New Orleans with Intact America staff members Amy Callan and Joe Jensen to join other intactivists for the AAP’s annual conference.

We’re working on an Open Letter for the New Orleans Times Picayune, which costs beaucoup bucks, as well as educational handouts and fliers, banners, and much more.

We need your help to carry all of this off. Thanks to a matching pledge from a prominent intactivist, all gifts will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $10,000. This means your donation will have twice the impact. I know money is tight—but it is really critical that we have a strong presence in New Orleans.

Both the Intact America booth inside the Convention Center and the activities taking place outside promote the intactivist message in a whole new way, featuring the photos and stories of brave men who are speaking from their hearts about how circumcision has affected them. Here is the awesome, 10-foot banner that doctors will see when they walk by our booth. To those men who sent photos for this (ongoing) project: thank you, thank you, thank you!

This is why we have to be in New Orleans—to give voice to all the babies who are at risk of being cut, and to protect the bodies and rights of these babies and the men they will become.

Thank you so much.

Georganne Chapin

34 Comments leave one →
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  3. Adam Fisher permalink
    October 14, 2012 4:34 pm

    You should have a very good look at a paper published by Professor Short in Melbourne
    It should be compulsory reading for all anticircs Millions of HIV particles stained
    by fluorescent antibodies present inside langerhans cells which line the inner foreskin
    The main portal of entry for the virus This is the reason why WHO is circumcising millions of men and boys in sub Saharan Africa

    No it is only the uncircumcised who have these giant cells present on their penis They accumulate the virus and connect it to the bloodstream

    • Dan permalink
      November 7, 2012 4:30 am

      “Adam Fisher
      No it is only the uncircumcised who have these giant cells present on their penis They accumulate the virus and connect it to the bloodstream”

      Nice try Adam. Now, what about all the females? They too have the SAME CELLS and in more abundant numbers in their genitalia. Are you seriously claiming that females should also be circumcised? It would seem so.

      The point that you seem to have missed is that those langerhans cells are the first line of defense against HIV/AIDS. No, they do not “accumulate” HIV. They fight off infections and provide a barrier.

      Only those indulging in unsafe sexual practices are at risk, and that risk exists whether they are circumcised or intact. THE issue that needs to be addressed is the HUMAN RIGHT of a boy to his whole body and whether anyone has the right to violate his body based on their own beliefs.

    • Björn Lindström permalink
      April 13, 2013 9:07 pm

      Hey Adam, and everyone else.
      I’m a Swedish guy intact, instead of lining up facts and arguments, I would tell about some youtube videos describing my opinion in a good way.

      Check the videos and please write a comment what you think about films and if you come to a new conclusion after seeing them.

      //Björn Lindström

      Ken McGrath, Senior Lecturer in Pathology at the Faculty of Health, Auckland University of Technology and Member of the New Zealand Institute of Medical Laboratory Scientists discusses his research into the neural anatomy of the human penis and the physical damages caused by circumcision.

      What is the Structure & Function of The Foreskin?

      Circumcision and Sexual Function Difficulties

      The Sanctity of Foreskin

      How Circumcision Affects Women, my take on it

      Our family’s story regarding circumcision

      I attach a link to an article about what experts in Europe responded to på AAP’s 2012 Technical Report on male Circumcision:
      http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2013/03/12/peds.2012-2896.full.pdf

      Circumcision: the AAP’s reply to its 38 eminent European critics is disma….

  4. Adam Fisher permalink
    October 14, 2012 3:48 am

    The Langerhans giant cells which line the inner lining of the foreskin can accumulate millions of lethal viruses SCIENCE HAS PROVED IT !!

    The anticircs could not care less about people dying from AIDS and cervical cancer which could have been saved by circumcision

    Time to move on You are wasting my valuable time

    • M Anderson permalink
      October 14, 2012 3:38 pm

      Unless I understand this incorrectly, because most circumcisions leave at least an inch of inner mucosa, i.e. the part between the head and the circ scar, aren’t most of these Langerhans cells stil present? I always had heard that Langerhans cells were present to prevent diseases from entering into the body.

      I travel all over Asia, and many areas in India and China have severely substandard sanitary conditions in their daily lives. They are nearly all intact. I have never heard of any rampant diseases occuring forcing a stampede to the hospital. Quite the opposite. In US where our obsession for cleanliness is almost to a fault, we have the highest incidence of AIDS. This is not science, this is a fact. Sounds more like the conclusion should be that circumcision enhances HIV transmission.

      Time to let the public know the real truth and stop this barbaric practice.

    • Petit Poulet permalink
      October 15, 2012 5:48 pm

      Adam, you must have gotten your hands on some very potent mind-altering substances. I reviewed the medical literature and failed to find any studies that found an association between circumcision and cervical cancer, let alone that it prevents cervical cancer. Likewise, circumcision has failed to prevent AIDS in at least a dozen countries, including the United States. The article by Short you refer to was labeled as an opinion piece, and should be taken as such. There are Langerhans cells on all surfaces of the body. They collect lethal viruses and then kill them. The Langerhans cell theory is still unproven speculation. Write back when you have some actual science behind you. Using your logic, to avoid HIV infections we need to remove all of the skin and all of the mucosal surfaces.

    • oceanblue20@optusnet.com.au permalink
      October 17, 2012 5:20 am

      Mate There are photographs of millions of HIV particles lining the foreskin and inside the Langerhans cells SO MUCH FOR AN OPINION PIECE !! GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT

      The SCIENCE does not lie

      This is exactly why the anticircs have ZERO CREDIBILITY

      The anticircs should pack up and go home and stop telling lies because there will always be scientists like me who will expose them every time The game is up !! Do you even know what a PCR and FAb test is ? I VERY MUCH doubt it Time to go to molecular biology school

      Adam

    • N. Trudell permalink
      May 16, 2014 1:51 pm

      Has anyone considered the profits of condoms and spermicidal lubricants? A condom fits on a circumcised member more securely. Also, many spermicides have included a compound known as N-9. It has been shown to increase the likeliness of cancer cells to be produced. The compound has been in use for decades. Have we thought that alot of the cervical cancers could be coming from the use of spermicides containing N-9 which inhibits cell reproduction?
      Also, the foreskin does alot more than increase or decrease sexual pleasure. The foreskin tension helps regulate the temperature of the testicles. The front tension in the foreskin is directly connected to the distance the testicles are from the body. When it’s cold the foreskin is tight, and so are the testicles. When it’s hot the foreskin is loose, and so is the scrotum. Plus, the temperature of the glans is a feed back device for the body to regulate the temperature of the testicles. The glands, when covered, give protection for extreme hot and cold temperature changes. Male hormones are directly related. Would I give up all this benefit in foreskin to prevent myself from possibly dying in the future due to some virus? I will trust the body before I trust western medicine.

  5. Adam Fisher permalink
    October 13, 2012 3:07 pm

    Dan watch the number of circumcisions surge worldwide as a direct result of the scentifically based policy by the AAP and CDC

    Yes the HIV HPV and HSV2 viruses are present on and in the foreskin and SCIENCE has proved it !!

    How are the anticircs going to disprove that ? The truth is they cant They are up the river without a paddle and fast approaching rapids

    Europe is irrelevant and the laughing stock of the world because the trillions and trillions they owe They are now paying interest on interest because of unbridled greed over decades They also started two world wars and have been directly responsible for numerous examples of racism genocide and apartheid Not my opinion Recorded historical facts

    • Dr. Ron permalink
      October 13, 2012 5:57 pm

      Viral pathogens may be present on penile shaft skin of a circumcised penis as well, which of course you know but fail to mention. You are doing exactly what the AAP did in “cherry picking” data to support their unethical position.

      And what does the economic status of European countries have to do with this discussion other than provide a distraction. Health statistics in Europe, where universal healthcare is the norm, are far better than those in the U.S.

    • Dan permalink
      November 7, 2012 4:42 am

      Adam,
      What about the HUMAN RIGHT of a person to their own body. THAT is the FIRST thing that should be considered. Circumcision being performed on an unwilling person is a violation of their Human Rights when there is no immediate and existing condition and is in violation to medical ethics currently included in the “Standard of Care”. I hope you are not trying to claim that all foreskins harbor HIV because that would be ludicrous. As a Human Being, we have rights to our own body, and infant circumcision violates that right.

  6. Howard. permalink
    October 12, 2012 11:08 pm

    Good luck in New Orleans! I think the AAP has finaly shot itself in the foot, and that their credibility is waning. There is no other logical outcome from their stupidity.

  7. Petit Poulet permalink
    October 12, 2012 7:03 am

    The AAP report is an act of pathetic desperation, the last gasp to support a dying practice. The move is afoot in Europe to either ban circumcision or to enforce the child abuse laws that apply to circumcision. The national medical associations and political parties of several European countries have already called for circumcision to be banned. Since Uganda has moved away from using the ABC approach to HIV infections (which decreased the incidence of HIV in half there) to rolling out a circumcision program, the incidence of new HIV infections is going up. This is what failure looks like. Expect to see more examples as the circumcision roll out takes more and more money away from condoms and ARTs. After billions of dollars poured into it the interest in the voluntary medical male circumcision across Africa has been anemic with less than 5% uptake in most countries. Selling circumcision to prevent HIV infection in Africa has also failed, so the VMMC has been rebranded as “Reshape Your Foreskin” and men are being told that circumcision will improve their sex life, even though nearly all of the studies have indicated that the opposite is true. This is another desperate act that is only a ticking time bomb. Failure has been met with shouting louder and more shrilly and hoping no one will look closely at the facts. The AAP has stepped in it and now they are hoping that no one will notice the smell or the stain on carpeting.

  8. Adam Fisher permalink
    October 12, 2012 4:37 am

    Riding for a fall ? It is the anticircs who have been blown out of the water !!!

    Try Scientific Evidence Objectively obtained and infinently Reproducible

    Not emotional diatribe as spun by the anticircs who have absolutely NO DEFENCE against the scientific evidence

    Time for the anticircs to go to molecular biology school !!!

    Your will be shocked at specificity and sensitivity of the tests now available

    • October 12, 2012 8:03 am

      Brian Morris – Your comments are absurd. You continue to cite only writings by yourself and a small group of other circumcision fetishists as “evidence” that circumcision prevents all kinds of horrors. Where is the epidemiological evidence showing that in modern countries with low rates of circumcision men are suffering and dying from dread diseases caused by having an intact foreskin? Are Danish and German and French and Norwegian and Spanish and Italian and Swedish and Finnish and Dutch and Argentine and Chilean and Colombian and Chinese and Japanese and English and Irish and Scottish (to name a few) babies and men dropping like flies from foreskin-caused pathology? Where is that evidence? Where is the evidence that penile cancer rates and UTIs and HIV and other problems are higher in western Europe than in North America? Where is the evidence that countries with intact babies and men are spending more money on medical care than the U.S., with its high circumcision rate? You can’t cite that evidence, because it isn’t there. If you insist on continuing to post on this blog, I insist that you use your real name, Brian Morris. The fact that you go from one pseudonym to another only serves to emphasize your lack of credibility and ethics.

  9. Lugolb permalink
    October 11, 2012 10:12 pm

    In Europe, the position of the AAP seems just ridiculous. Look for exmple extracts of this article in a major French weekly Le Nouvel Observateur :

    «
    “It is healthy for boys to be circumcised. And insurance should pay the circumcision. ” This position does not come from a community lobby but the very serious American Academy of Pediatrics. If the AAP takes this long-standing debate in favor of circumcision, it is because of medical but also economic arguments weigh in the balance.
    The medical side, the American learned society brandishes studies in Africa.
    (…)
    But the demonstration is not convincing frankly overseas. Professor Willy Rozenbaum, co-discoverer of the AIDS virus, said he was “surprised” by the American position. “Recommend to everyone circumcision and support by social security would not be of interest in France and in all Western countries. Circumcision provides a cost-effective benefit in countries where HIV prevalence is high, such as in Africa. ” However, to date, no serious study has been conducted in a Western country. Which led to the National AIDS Council in its 2007 opinion on circumcision, that it was “a questionable method of reducing the risk of HIV transmission.”
    The World Health Organization is also on the same wavelength. It certainly leads campaigns in favor of circumcision in some African countries, encouraging them to provide care, “free or at a cost as low as possible considering the potential benefits that the expansion of male circumcision services could have on public health. ” Indeed, a new HIV infections would be avoided for every 5 to 15 circumcised men … but only in areas where HIV prevalence exceeds 15%.
    “These data are clearly not replicable in the West,” says urologist Desgrandchamps François, chief of urology at the Saint-Louis Hospital. And suddenly, the economic argument does not in his eyes.
    »

    http://pourquoi-docteur.nouvelobs.com/Le-remboursement-de-la-circoncision-ne-se-justifie-pas-1125.html

  10. Adam Fisher permalink
    October 11, 2012 8:58 pm

    Dan youre dreaming !!! The tipping point has been reached More than 1000 scientific papers published on the preventative health benefits of circumcision over the past 10 years

    This work has now been acknowledged by the AAP and CDC

    The anticircs were never going to beat SCIENCE !!

    • Lugolb permalink
      October 11, 2012 9:51 pm

      The position of the APP is not science, it’s buessness. Another association of pediatricians, the Royal Dutch Medical Association, analyzed the same research papers in the same period. The conclusion is quite different :

      The official viewpoint of KNMG and other related medical/scientific organisations is that non-therapeutic circumcision of male minors is a violation of children’s rights to autonomy and physical integrity. Contrary to popular belief, circumcision can cause complications – bleeding, infection, urethral stricture and panic attacks are particularly common. KNMG is therefore urging a strong policy of deterrence. KNMG is calling upon doctors to actively and insistently inform parents who are considering the procedure of the absence of medical benefits and the danger of complications.

      The position of the AAP just seems profoundly ridiculous.

    • Frank permalink
      October 11, 2012 9:56 pm

      Science? Why aren’t we looking at science on whether female circumcision can reduce hiv infections? Why are the researchers focused more on circumcision (60%) than condoms (99%)? If condoms were effective only 60% of the time it would be taken off the shelves. Vaccines with 60% efficacy would not pass tests. Circumcision is quackery.

    • Lugolb permalink
      October 11, 2012 10:16 pm

      You must read the report (http://www.cns.sante.fr/spip.php?article278&lang=en) of the French National AIDS Council, led by Willy Rozenbaum, THE CO-DISCOVERER OF THE HUMAN IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS :

      “Report on Male Circumcision: an Arguable Method of Reducing the Risks of HIV Transmission”

      http://www.cns.sante.fr/spip.php?article278&lang=en

    • October 12, 2012 8:58 am

      Brian, aka Adam, you don’t understand the concept of tipping point. I’m not talking about your little ivory tower world of publish or perish, but the real world where the circumcision rate has continued to drop despite all your studies, citations and references. You keep bailing while not noticing that your ship is sinking.

  11. Adam Fisher permalink
    October 11, 2012 8:25 pm

    It is you anticircs who are denying HUMAN RIGHTS !! The right of people to live without fear of HIV or HPV You are prepared to sit by and watch millions of people die from these diseases because you REFUSE to acknowledge the scientific findings which have been accurately summarised in the recently announced AAP policy

    SHAME ON YOU !!!!

    • Lugolb permalink
      October 11, 2012 10:03 pm

      The greatest scientists in the world have criticized the position of the PAA. Many stressed that it is primarily motivated posistion for economic reasons.

      For example, Willy Rozenbaum, THE CO-DISCOVERER OF THE HUMAN IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS and the current president of the French National AIDS Council, is said to be “surprised” about the report of the AAP :

      “recommend circumcision for everyone and should be supported by social security would not be of interest (…) in all Western countries. Circumcision provides a cost-effective benefit in countries where HIV prevalence is high, such as in Africa”

      François Desgrandchamps, renowned pediatrician, head of the urology department at the Hôpital Saint-Louis, sees him as a decision more political than medical : “which underlies all this is about money. The idea is that pediatricians who promote circumcision for problems hygienists see coverage of this procedure is not supported by medical insurance.”

      (http://pourquoi-docteur.nouvelobs.com/Le-remboursement-de-la-circoncision-ne-se-justifie-pas-1125.html)

      An extract from an article in Nature :

      “Rowena Hitchcock, president of the British Association of Paediatric Urologists, says that she is disappointed with the AAP policy because it recommends an “irreversible, mutilating surgery”. She says that her organization is considering a review of its current policy, which recommends circumcision for infants who are at severe risk of urinary tract infections, because the evidence of medical benefit is not definitive.”

      (http://www.nature.com/news/doctors-back-circumcision-1.11296)

    • October 12, 2012 3:12 am

      “The right of people to live without fear of HIV or HPV”? Anyone who thinks infant circumcision confers freedom from either of those fears is crazy – and riding for a fall.

      The scientific findings have not been at all accurately summarised by the AAP. That is why its claims are nowhere borne out in the real (developed) world, in terms of reduced rates of any of the diseases circumcision is supposed to be good against.

      See http://tinyurl.com/aapanno

    • Dan permalink
      November 7, 2012 4:58 am

      “Adam Fisher permalink
      October 11, 2012 8:25 pm

      It is you anticircs who are denying HUMAN RIGHTS !! The right of people to live without fear of HIV or HPV You are prepared to sit by and watch millions of people die from these diseases because you REFUSE to acknowledge the scientific findings which have been accurately summarised in the recently announced AAP policy”

      There you go, trying to play the “fear card”. And yet, in the circumcised US, AIDS is at a much higher rate than intact Europe with similar medical and social customs. Fear has been used to dominate people all over the world by capitalizing on their ignorance. I am not saying that AIDS isn’t serious, it is. But I completely fail to understand any logic that would allow the torture and mutilation of infants without a dire and immediate need. Please be advised that I am acutely aware of how torturous it is to an infant. I know that is feels like being skinned alive. To use the term “pain” to describe it is an understatement. It is WRONG.

  12. cosmopolite permalink
    October 11, 2012 1:20 pm

    The tipping point will be reached when a very smart and very funny Jewish woman author or celebrity comes out against it, emphasising that for gentiles to circumcise their babies is crazy. (George Wald made this point in the 1970s.) She will reveal that she bonked intact men in college, and saw that as a learning experience, not a gross-out. She will say that it makes no sense to circumcise a Jewish boy if his parents don’t believe in a personal God, in the Jews as God’s Chosen People, and in a Covenant binding the Jews to God. She will bluntly say that most people who have their son’s foreskin cut off, do it for no other reason than that they think the foreskin is icky, and fear that intact men have trouble marrying nice women. In other words, parents who circumcise are projecting their sexual insecurities on the next generation. Her parting shot: instead of hacking up the male body, we should emphasise personal hygiene, condoms, and standing up to bullies.

    • Bettie permalink
      October 11, 2012 11:07 pm

      Hmmm. Interesting point of view, and you may be correct. I would add that the tipping point could be reached, too, when intact baby organizations admit that religious and gentile/secular circumcision are two different issues and must be dealt with separately, with the Jewish activists working on their own people to not choose circumcision. No Jew or Moslem is going to take advice from anyone other than their own kind, nor should they be expected to.

      Friends, do you think for one moment that the Jews or Moslems are going to let a ban occur? I say, give them the assurance that their ritual is safe forever, legally speaking.

      I want to see a ban on secular/gentile circs. (And I want to see the Moslems & Jews happily choose to let an ancient practice die, though it’s hardly any of my business.) Continue to lump the medical surgery with the religious ritual and you are dead in the water.

    • October 12, 2012 9:00 am

      You may be right!

  13. Dr. Ron permalink
    October 11, 2012 1:06 pm

    I just sent off a letter to the ACLU, an organization that says it supports equal rights for all and protects the most vulnerable members of society. My letter pointed out that in taking a stand in California to support infant circumcision by joining with religious groups to protect their “freedom of religion”, the ACLU has in fact defended the violation of the most basic of human rights for baby boys–a human rights violation on a massive scale. The ACLU should either seek equal protection from genital surgery for both girls and boys, and seek to protect the most vulnerable members of society, like infant boys, or they should rewrite their mission statement to exclude baby boys from the group of citizens to which they think the U.S. Constitution applies.

    • October 11, 2012 4:27 pm

      Great point! Not just that but we need compensation for ourselves too. Our bits are sold to biotech companies without our approval or reimbursement.

      The primary reason this practice exists is not because of some religious or public health concern, its about the money, as we all know about americans is that they will stop at NOTHING to get money, which is the reason not even infants get any mercy. We need to emphasize not the concern of religion but the concern over profit pursuits and the attitude that is taken to aquire it. By making it difficult to acquire a circumcision for adults its best to publicly emphasize the nature of the operation as a cosmetic one. By doing this, insurance companies will have more reason not to cover it as its a cosmetic one. Most low income families will not want to pay it and forget about it. Some insurance companies have done this hence the decreased number of infants being cut lately. You CANNOT reason with American institutions, you must only attack it by at the heart and that is profits. Religious implications are only one front, yes a provided progressive and valid idea is nice but the reinforcements of fallacious claims will always suture itself. Historical documents are dead, rights mean nothing nowadays, we have to accept that, doesnt mean we cant change some of our own conditions, its just that we have to use a different approach.

  14. adam permalink
    October 11, 2012 12:54 pm

    I just don’t understand it. It does no good to stand there and strap a infant to a table and just go cutting away my son wasn’t done just for the fact there’s no risk of keeping his forskin but a bigger one of getting it cut off the skin can grow back wrong it can get infected and cause massive childhood problems

  15. Dan Bollinger permalink*
    October 11, 2012 12:41 pm

    You mention a tipping point. I think that a tipping point of stopping this travesty is on the horizon. Very soon, parents will stop asking for it, and doctors will cease performing it.

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