Category Archives: Uncategorized

Negligent penis cutter CLEARED of negligence

Just a couple of weeks ago we mentioned the case of the Swiss doctor who cut the penis of a 4 year old child during a circumcision. The doctor claimed that as he was making his incision, the boy’s father started to take a photo, causing his son to turn toward him, causing him to severe the penis.

The 59-year-old doctor was cleared in trial after defense lawyers ruled that he “could not be responsible for the ‘unforeseeable act’ of the boy turning to pose for photos”. (See Daily Mail)

Now, I wonder if those defense lawyers have ever seen a circumcision, particularly one of a child who is not a neonate.

Children fight it off, children kick, scream, cry, move. Are you going to tell me that this doctor was operating on a conscious, unrestrained child?

Not only that. Circumcision is a far more involved process than just “making an incision”. If one is not using a clamp (and it’s not likely they were using a clamp on a 4 y/o), the process involves a separating the glans from the foreskin in case there are still remaining adhesions, followed by a delicate circular cut of the skin around the penis (something that you don’t do in a quick movement) followed by cutting the inner mucous membrane, and finalized by suturing together the two remaining edges. It is not a quick process. So, how was this doctor doing this without holding the penis, that a movement from the child would have sufficed for him to severe the whole penis?

The whole process had to be negligent. There is no way around it. You don’t cut through the genitals of a child expecting the child to remain perfectly still. If you feel that the child is moving, you don’t continue cutting through. This just does not make sense at all.

But again, I guess it’s easier to blame the victim, and cutting a child’s penis is an acceptable risk as long as you can perpetuate the ritual of genital cutting of male minors.

In the meantime, let’s see the face of Dr. Stephan R. Glicken, pediatrician in Hazleton, Pennsylvania and affiliated with Lehigh Valley Hospital-Hazleton, who we also mentioned in our  recent post, as the doctor who “cut off a significant portion of the penis” of a newborn baby and then failed to transfer the partially amputated portion of their son’s penis on ice, and as a result, attempts to reattach it were “unlikely to succeed and could result in additional complications.”

This is what a man who cuts the penis of a baby looks like:

Dr. Stephan Glicken pediatrician  Hazleton, Pennsylvania affiliated with Lehigh Valley Hospital-Hazleton - who cut the penis of a newborn baby

Dr. Stephan Glicken pediatrician Hazleton, Pennsylvania affiliated with Lehigh Valley Hospital-Hazleton – who cut the penis of a newborn baby

Metzitzah b’Peh – 6 babies infected with herpes after oral suction during circumcision following NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s repeal of existing regulations

[New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio,] asked directly if it was ever appropriate for an adult to suck the penis of an infant, the mayor demurred.

“This is religious tradition and look I’m keenly aware of our Constitution,” he said.


[But religious tradition is not above the law. For example, the 1996 law against FGM provides no religious or cultural exceptions]

[de Blasio also said:] “And we’re going to say to [parents], it’s important to ask the mohel — if you choose to engage in this practice, that’s your right, and we respect religious freedom — but ask the mohel if they are infected with herpes. And if they are, you should find a different mohel. It’s as simple as that.”


[But Mayor De Blasio, the person "engaged" in this practice is not the parent. It's a BABY, an individual who does not have the maturity or the legal competence to consent to this practice, someone who did not "choose to engage" in the practice, so this is nothing short of sexual assault of a minor!

Putting the genitals of a person who did not consent, inside the mouth of another person, is sexual assault. When this person is a minor, this is sexual assault of a minor.

To do it in the context of a religious ritual then also becomes ritual abuse of a minor.]

Context:

Previous Mayor Bloomberg “regulated” this practice by requiring parents to sign a “consent form” where they acknowledge the risks of the procedure. The measure was not enforced, and the consent form would only be requested when there were any complaints. The rabbis objected angrily calling it an infringement on their religious freedom. In a couple of cases of herpes infections, it was found that no consent form was signed.

Democratic candidate Bill de Blasio promised to repeal this regulation, and did so once he became mayor. Since then, 6 babies have become infected with herpes as a consequence of the ritual.

The health commissioner Mary Bassett said the city has identified two of the six mohels involved in those cases, but would not identify them because they “entitled to their privacy” (it’s not like sucking the penis of a non-consenting minor and infecting him with a sexually transmitted disease could be seen as a criminal action, right?).

These two mohels have been “banned” of practicing the ritual (just the oral suction part, not circumcisions per se – even though they are not medical doctors… isn’t that practicing medicine without a license?), but they are not being named, so the city relies on them to “comply on their own”. The community has no way of knowing who they are to verify compliance.

Since 2000, there have been 24 confirmed cases of herpes infection following DOS, according to the health department. Two of the 24 babies died, and at least two others suffered brain damage.

March 10, 2017 First Baby In 2017 Is Diagnosed With Herpes After Oral Suction Circumcision

March 29, 2017 NYC bars two men from practicing Jewish circumcision after infants contract herpes

March 9, 2017 More infant herpes cases linked to Jewish circumcision ritual found since de Blasio’s new policy with community

Feb 24, 2015 Mayor de Blasio Is Set to Ease Rules on Circumcision Ritual

Cutting off children’s penises… an acceptable risk?

In 2012, following the lead of Germany, hospitals in Austria and Switzerland briefly banned circumcisions on male minors after the Cologne court ruling that it could amount to bodily harm. Unfortunately it was only briefly.

Unfortunately, I said, because in 2014, a doctor in Geneva severed a four-year-old’s penis during a circumcision and ‘wasted time’ before sending him to hospital. The doctor now faces trial accused of inflicting serious bodily harm through negligence.

The father blames the doctor, who he says ran looking for a catheter and told him to wait in the operating room, and who also failed to properly restrain the boy. The doctor, through his lawyer, blames the father, because he was taking photos and the boy turned to face him, resulting in the act of severing his penis, and also states that he told the father to go to the hospital immediately.

It took several surgeries to reattach the penis, but further procedures will be needed once he becomes an adult. The surgeon continued practicing after the incident, and has since conducted an additional 1,800 circumcisions.

Every year we hear about a some boys losing part or the totality of their penises during circumcision. For a recent American example, Dr. Stephen R. Glicken from Hazleton, PA, on July 20, 2016 circumcised a newborn baby and “cut off a significant portion of the penis” and then failed to transfer the partially amputated portion of their son’s penis on ice, and as a result, attempts to reattach it were “unlikely to succeed and could result in additional complications.”

And in the meantime, circumcision fanboy Brian Morris PhD, who has in the past claimed that the benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks (which in his words are “predominantly minor”) 100 to 1, now claims the actual benefit to risk ratio is 200 to 1. How did this rate doubled up in a couple of years, I wish someone would ask Mr. Morris.

Now, Morris, and I know you are reading this, can you help us understand how this 200 to 1 benefit ratio applies to the very real and individual boys who suffer traumatic injuries such as the ones here described?

Perhaps a few boys are considered an acceptable risk for the medical community, but it’s not an acceptable risk for the families and boys who suffer such horrible loss.

In the meantime, in Denmark, where most of the population is in favor of banning the circumcision of male boys, the government claims that circumcision is “a human right” – and part of the reason is that it “is rarely associated with medical complications, when performed under medical supervision, and that it’s viewed as a religious expression and therefore falls under the freedom of religion right.” Tell that to the unnamed Swiss boy – or the also unnamed American baby.

 

Growing Together Pediatricians

“At Growing Together Pediatrics we perform circumcisions in the friendly, clean, low-stress environment of our office. The decision to have your newborn boy circumcised is a completely personal one that is made either before or shortly after your child’s birth. This decision is usually based on your religious, social, cultural and medical beliefs.”

What exactly are “medical beliefs”? What about the “PERSONal” opinion of your child once he grows up? Or is your baby not a person? How can a circumcision be performed in a “low-stress, friendly environment”?

Growing Together Pediatrics, at 5164 S. Conway Rd. Orlando, FL 32812 – (407) 770-1414, another joint where the human rights of American male babies are routinely violated thanks to obsolete “medical beliefs”.

At Growing Together Pediatrics we perform circumcisions in the friendly, clean, low-stress environment of our office. The decision to have your newborn boy circumcised is a completely personal one that is made either before or shortly after your child's birth. This decision is usually based on your religious, social, cultural and medical beliefs.

Bright Pediatrics in Dalton Georgia joins the Hall of Shame

As reported by intactivist Brother K, a Georgia mom “got kicked out of our pediatric practice for telling the Dr not to touch my sons penis after he insisted on retracting…. I tried to talk and he told me not to say anything and to just get out.”

Dr. Saad Hammid MD FAAP from Bright Pediatrics in Dalton, Georgia

Dr. Saad Hammid MD FAAP from Bright Pediatrics in Dalton, Georgia

Our IntactWiki page tried to share the American Academy of Pediatrics page about the care of the uncircumcised penis with Dr. Saad Hammid MD FAAP from Bright Pediatrics, but the comment was promptly deleted by not-so-Bright Peds.

The AAP’s page on care for an uncircumcised penis states: “As a boy becomes more aware of his body, he will most likely discover how to retract his own foreskin. But foreskin retraction should never be forced. Until the foreskin fully separates, do not try to pull it back. Forcing the foreskin to retract before it is ready can cause severe pain, bleeding, and tears in the skin.

Thus, Dr. Saad Hammid MD and Bright Pediatrics of Dalton, Georgia, join CircWatch’s Hall of Fame for trying to injure normal babies by forcefully retracting their foreskin, and refusing to accept information about proper intact care.

Our short lived attempt to provide information about proper intact care to Bright Pediatrics of Dalton

Our short lived attempt to provide information about proper intact care to Bright Pediatrics of Dalton

hall-of-shame

 

 

Doug Diekema and Brian Morris join forces – who made the biggest mistake?

One of our not-so-favorite pedoethicists, Dr. Doug Diekema, in cahoots with our favorite punching bag, Brian J. Morris Ph.D, emeritus (or retired) professor of the University of Sydney, just published a new paper called “critical evaluation of Adler’s challenge to the CDC’s male circumcision recommendation”. Other co-authors are Beth Rivin, Anna Mastroianni, John Krieger and Jeffrey Klausner.

The paper obviously intends to be a response to Peter Adler’s  “The draft CDC circumcision recommendations: Medical, ethical, legal, and procedural concerns”, Int. Children’s Rights 24 (2016), 239–264. It seems that many publications consider Brian Morris the go-to person to review circumcision papers, which also gives him the chance to write lengthy diatribes as response to any paper that oppose the circumcision of children. That way, in the future, Morris can claim that “experts (himself and anyone willing to lend his or her name as co-author) challenged this paper”, always ignoring any response to his response. Man, he can get really tiring.

This is typical Brian Morris’ modus operandi, but recently Mr. Morris has taken to have one of the coauthors appear as the first listed author. Nevertheless, the corresponding author is Mr. Morris.

Once you read the paper, it is nothing but a rehash of Morris’ usual arguments. But before we go into it any deeper, let’s consider the meaning of having Diekema as a co-author:

  • Diekema is one of the 8 members of the AAP Task Force on circumcision that authored the AAP Policy statement on circumcision of 2012.
  • The Policy Statement and accompanying Technical Report did not make reference to any publication by Mr. Morris
  • The members of the AAP Task Force characterized the policy statement as neutral. Diekema himself said to the New York Times We’re not pushing everybody to circumcise their babies, this is not really pro-circumcision. It falls in the middle. It’s pro-choice, for lack of a better word.”
  • Recently (April 2016), a fellow member of the AAP Task Force, apparently a more rational Dr. Andrew Freedman (in spite of circumcising his own baby on his parents’ kitchen table for religious reasons), wrote: “we have to accept that there likely will never be a knockout punch that will end the debate. It is inconceivable that there will ever be a study whose results are so overwhelming as to mandate or abolish circumcision for everyone

But, when we read this new “critical evaluation”, we find a position that is far more extreme than what the AAP has ever presented. It’s difficult to understand how Diekema decided to lend his name to this paper. Let’s see how some of the typical Brian Morris’ arguments develop in this paper:

  • Adler’s criticisms depend on speculative claims and obfuscation of the scientific data

    [Morris seems to think that anyone who opposes circumcision is obfuscating data, and that the decision to circumcise depends only on data, and not on the rights, desires and interest of the patient]

  • Adler’s central argument that circumcision in infancy should be delayed to allow a boy to make up his own mind as an adult fails to appreciate that circumcision later in life is a more complex  operation, entails higher risk, is more likely to involve general anaesthesia and presents financial, psychological and organisational barriers

    [To this argument we counter that since 2007 there are some circumcision devices invented with the purpose of making adult circumcision more simple, less expensive and painful, such as the FDA approved PrePex, so it’s up to the medical community to pick up on the new technology and offer those devices – which will likely reduce the cost of adult circumcision to the same levels of neonatal circumcision. It’s likely that the medical community is reluctant to do so because of the reduced profit though. But it’s unscientific to deny that such technology exists and is available at a fraction of the current costs. Besides, a circumcision CHOSEN by one person is less likely to induce psychological harms than one FORCED upon a person when they are too young to remove themselves from the situation]

  • Benefits of male circumcision include

    [Morris’ typical lethany… ]

  • Circumcision does not impair sexual function or pleasure.

    [To claim this, one would have to define sexual function, and would have to find an accurate way of measuring pleasure. Second, science can’t claim it “does not”. At most it can say “it does not appear to”. Third, far too numerous people know that it in facts alters sexual function and causes sexual difficulties which vary with different people. Brian Morris intended to erase this with a meta-analysis a few years back, but the argument is far from over. Morris himself has said that “The foreskin is an absolute requirement for a mutual masturbation practice amongst homosexual men known as "docking", in which the penis is placed under the foreskin of the male partner” – so if the foreskin an “absolute requirement” for this, then sexual function and pleasure are impacted, at least for this population. Docking is also possible between a male and some females, as long as the male has not been circumcised, so it is not something exclusive of the homosexual population, and even if it was, it would still be within their rights to make an autonomous decision.

  • Since the benefits vastly outweigh the risks, each intervention is in the best interests of the child.

    [This statement is particularly troublesome considering Diekema’s involvement on this article; the AAP specifically said: the benefits outweigh the risks (not “vastly”), “but the benefits are not great enough to recommend universal newborn circumcision” and “The true incidence of complications after newborn circumcision is unknown”. Fellow task forcer Andrew Freedman described circumcision as having "some modest benefits and some modest risks". So how Diekema could lend his name to the previous statement is really problematic.

  • From that point on, Morris states: “Below, we summarise the scientific and legal evidence that contradicts each of Adler’s arguments”

    [At this point however, I will quote Andrew Freedman, referenced above: “there likely will never be a knockout punch that will end the debate. It is inconceivable that there will ever be a study whose results are so overwhelming as to mandate or abolish circumcision for everyone”]

  • At the end of 3.4.1. Morris claims: “As noted above, the CDC found that benefits of IMF (infant male circumcision) exceed risks by ‘100:1’

    [No, the CDC did not find that. The CDC quoted one paper by Brian Morris where he claims this number, so this is just a circular reference to himself. BTW, this number really has no meaning, it's just an emotional argument disguised as a number.]

Brian Morris is selective as always in what he presents as evidence. For example he claims that “Early circumcision also greatly reduces the risk of penile cancer (Daling et al., 2005; Larke et al., 2011) and prostate cancer (Wright et al., 2012).” On prostate cancer, Wright himself explained to Reuters: “I would not go out and advocate for widespread circumcision to prevent prostate cancer. We see an association, but it doesn’t prove causality.”  That, however, doesn’t matter to Mr. Morris.

Most of the discussion though is really irrelevant. Everyone can find a reference to support their opinion, thus leading to the belief that such opinion is “scientific”. And then ignore any other reference which opposes that opinion, as “unscientific”. But the real argument is not one of science or not. It’s one of body ownership.

Trying to contradict this argument, Morris brings up a YouGov survey: “A recent survey found 29 per cent of uncircumcised men wished they had been circumcised, compared with only 10 per cent of circumcised men who wished that they had not been (YouGov, 2015)” It doesn’t matter to Morris that this is a non-scientific, non-peer reviewed, online survey. As long as it fits his views, he will claim it. However, it is important to notice that such comparison is not symmetric, since any uncircumcised man who wishes he had been circumcised could still opt for adult circumcision, particularly demanding the medical community makes available those devices such as the PrePex which would make adult circumcision more simple and less expensive, without the requirement of general anesthesia; however, any percent of men circumcised during childhood who wishes they had not been circumcised, are largely at loss, since the medical community has nothing to offer in the sense of foreskin regeneration, which once again becomes an argument to support delaying any decision until the person can offer informed consent.

It is important to recognize that scientists, even bioethicists (such as the Benatars, Arora and Jacobs, or Diekema himself) are not immune to religious and cultural bias. The Benatars and Jacobs are of Jewish faith and they make the fact that they consider infant circumcision vital to their Jewish identity (which not all Jewish people agree) clear; Jacobs along with Arora, just like Diekema, have gone as far to defend some forms of female genital cutting of minors as parental rights, something that Morris fails to mention.

On the topic of female genital cutting of minors, Diekema defended the ritual nick explaining that “[It] would remove no tissue, would not touch any significant organ but, rather [it] would be a small nick of the clitoral hood which is the equivalent of the male foreskin – nothing that would scar, nothing that would do damage” – again, a fact missed by Morris in his decision to call Diekema to join hands in this paper.

Diekema himself wrote: “The real art of bioethics is convincing other people why something is right or something is wrong and why something shouldn’t be done or should be done. Many people aren’t going to pay attention to you if that argument is crafted purely in religious language. One of the things that I’ve had to do is craft arguments in the language of the world, which I have not found to be particularly difficult. The reality is that medical ethics has its roots largely in theological ethics, so the basic principles that many people who are not religious subscribe to actually have very strong roots in the Bible and in religious belief.” For the open minded reader I ask, are those the arguments of a scientist or a theologian?

Finally, let’s just remember a few of Diekema’s faults (see IntactWiki for references):

  • Clearing the “Ashley treatment” – where a severely disabled girl was subjected to removal of her breast buds, hysterectomy, appendectomy and growth attenuation, a treatment later declared illegal without the order of a court. Dr. Daniel F. Gunther, a doctor involved in this case, committed suicide shortly after for unclear reasons
  • Defending the AAP’s policy statement on “Ritual genital cutting of female minors” and the ritual nick.
  • Defending parents who allowed a teenage son to die without medical treatment because he believed in faith healing.
  • Misrepresenting the death of baby Joshua Haskins in a radio interview (during the presentation of the 2012 policy statement). In this interview Diekema claimed that this case “involved a very sick baby that was likely to die anyway and his parents wanted him circumcised before his death” – when in fact the parents had been fighting along with the baby for his life, and they were told that their baby was now strong enough to tolerate the circumcision – but then allowed to bleed for several hours from the circumcision site, leading to the baby’s cardiac arrest and death.
  • Diekema and fellow task force Michael Brady were shamefully defeated in a debate, by Attorneys for the Rights of the Child member Steven Svoboda and his staff, a debate in which Brady declared:  “I don’t think anybody knows the functions of the foreskin. Nobody knows the functions of the foreskin.” One of Svoboda’s staff members was able to point to his experience as intact male, and how his foreskin is part of his sexual life on a regular basis.

After the release of the 2012 statement, Intaction offered Diekema the “Mengele award”, one that Diekema didn’t make a speech for.

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Intaction member Anthony Losquadro offers Doug Diekema the “Mengele award”
Photo by James Loewen.

 

So, after all this, I don’t know who made a more questionable mistake here, Brian Morris by enlisting the questionable Doug Diekema as a coauthor, or Doug Diekema, by lending his name to extreme pro-circumcision arguments that are not even compatible with those of the Policy Statement that he and his fellow AAP Task Force members presented. What do you think?

Jonathon Conte’s vanishing obituary

On May 9th, our friend, intactivist Jonathon Conte committed suicide. While I tried, I couldn’t bring myself to post here. I paid my respects privately and silently.

Last week we became aware that the Tampa Bay Times had published an obituary – including a guestbook. Many noticed that the obituary made no mention of Jonathon’s selfless work in pro of the rights of children – or of his surviving partner.

Jonathon Conte's obituary on the Tampa Bay Times

Jonathon Conte’s obituary on the Tampa Bay Times

Many comments were added to the guestbook- including one that I submitted. One intactivist paid a fee to keep the obituary active.

Today we learn that the obituary – and all comments- have suddenly vanished.

The link to the obituary page returns a 404 error (not found), and the link to the guestbook returns a 200 error.

The guestbook was originally set to be online until 7/3/2016 – before an intactivist paid to make it permanent. So why was it deleted? Who is censoring Jonathon’s work past his death?

Jonathon Conte's obituary guestbook

 

Update on the Frank Wolf Int’l Religious Freedom Act (HR 1150)

It is important to clarify that HR 1150 is not a law yet. It has been approved in the House of Representatives, now it moves to the Senate.

Please contact your senator this week and express your concern. Religious freedom does not apply to another person’s body.

You can find the contact information for your state senators here: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

 

 

 

The Frank Wolf Int’l Religious Freedom Act (HR 1150) protects ritual abuse of babies

As a person who was once a baby, I feel offended by the idea that my body could be used as accessory to my parents’ religious beliefs, particularly if their religious beliefs call for the permanent alteration of my sexual organs.

Notice that if you are in the United States, the sex of the writer of the above paragraph would be paramount to know if the described act is legal or not. A female writer who expresses dismay over the idea of her sexual organs being permanently altered by her parents would be simply criticizing the odious custom of female genital mutilation. A male writer however, would be considered to be “whining” over the most common surgery in the world -never mind that it is one practiced without medical need- and could probably be labeled as antisemite or islamophobe for claiming ownership of his own body.

Notice also that if your family happens to be an ultra orthodox Jewish family in the North East, it is likely that an old man sucked your penis immediately after cutting part of it with his knife. And in spite of laws protecting children from the actions of pedophiles, this man did so under the guise of religious freedom – and currently protected by NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio.

Do you feel dirty now?

Well, given that some organizations such as the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe have raised concerns over ritual circumcision of male children as a procedure that violates the physical integrity of children, that numerous European medical and political associations oppose circumcision of children, that a 2012 ruling in Cologne, Germany, led to a temporary ban in circumcision of children followed by the urgent approval of an unconstitutional law to protect circumcision, our beloved American politicians have seen in the best interest of the world to create a new bill to protect religious freedom internationally. They have, of course, mixed the language including references to organizations such as ISIS.

So, this new 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. Thus, males of the future will have no resource but to surrender their most private organ to be mutilated and carved for the appeasement of their parents’ religious beliefs, enshrining the routine ritual abuse of male babies.

It remains to be seen if the aforementioned bill will extend the same courtesy to those religious groups which practice the genital alteration of female minors -even when it is not written on their main religious book, or how the bill will deal with the distinctions between religious and cultural practices, and which practices are not protected by it.

For the time being, we can thank Chris Smith, R-N.J. and a hundred or so co-sponsors (including also Marco Rubio, no surprise there), for turning the United States into the religious police of the world, and all the male minors of the world into accessories devoid of personhood, to be sexually used during the parents’ religious practice.

Additionally, in his address in 4/20/2016, Rep. Chris Smith commented on The Strategy to Oppose Organ Trafficking Act (H.R. 3694), saying “we have evidence that organs continue to be harvested without consent from some Falun Gong detainees and other prisoners in China“. Well, Rep. Smith, please let me tell you that infant circumcision allows American doctors to continue to harvest genital tissue without consent from American baby boys, for the profit of the biomedical industry. Will you do something to protect those baby boys?

Read more:

JTA - House passes bill protecting circumcision, ritual slaughter as religious freedoms

World – House passes religious freedom reform bill