Janet R. Weber – teaching nurses how to harm babies

Sometimes the ignorance of some statements makes your head hurt. When a respected teacher makes mistakes which will result in harm to innocent babies for generations, you can only shake your head in disbelief.

But that is what just happened.

intactivists on facebook shared a graphic about Dr. Janet R. Weber, RN, MSN, EdD, author of the “Nurse’s Handbook of Health Assessment, 8th Edition, 2013″, where she is quoted explaining that “An unretractable foreskin in a child older than 3 months suggests phimosis. Paraphimosis is indicated when the foreskin is tightened around the glans penis in a retracted position.”

We verified the quote by going to Amazon, observing that the inside of the book can be previewed, and running a search for “unretractable” which brought up page 613.


janet_r_weberWhile the data on normal age of retraction has changed over the years, it is in general accepted that less than 10% of the boys are capable of retracting their foreskins before the age of 1. In fact, it is accepted that the age of retraction greatly varies from child to child, with a high percentage of boys not becoming retractable until puberty, and some until late adolescence.

Used with artist's permission.

Used with artist’s permission. Source:  http://circumcisiondecisionmaker.com/foreskin-facts/development/

It is also accepted that trying to retract the foreskin of a baby can result in pain, bleeding, infections and scarring. The foreskin and the glans start as a single structure during the fetal development and separate slowly, as the epithelium keeping them attached desquamates. Forceful retraction hurts this epithelium and can result in iatrogenic damage.

So what is Janet Weber teaching her students? That a normal condition (unretractable foreskin during infancy) indicates an abnormality and is an indication for surgery. In lack of further information, students can construe this information to mean that they need to attempt retraction in order to assess the genitalia of infants, harming their normal genitals in the process.

And this from a professor of nursing who holds a Master. My head hurts.


Her book will pass in history as further evidence of the American ignorance of the normal development of the male genitalia, and will hopefully serve as evidence of malpractice.

Follow up

On August 29th, Brother K posted on his facebook that after another activist contacted Mrs. Weber, she replied: ”Thank you so very much for your concern and this will be changed in the next printing. Janet Weber ”.

CircWatch will keep an eye on future printings of the book.

What the AAP says:

“Most boys will be able to retract their foreskins by the time they are 5 years old, yet others will not be able to until the teen years. 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.”


Additional resources

Normal Development of the Foreskin

Development of retractile foreskin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Comments Protected by WP-SpamShield Spam Blocker