Circumcision of Males / Females
Male Circumcision is referred to as Male Genital Mutilation (MGM)
Female Circumcision is referred to as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
Circumcision of Males / Male Genital Mutilation (MGM)
It is the position of the Canadian Children's Rights Council that "circumcision" of male or female children is genital mutilation of children.
The statistics show more Canadians parents are not having their infant sons circumcised ( genitally mutilated ). The rate for male infants in Canada has dropped from about 50% in 1998 to about 20% in 2000. The overall incidence of male circumcision for all of Canada declined to about 13.9 percent for the year 2003.
Rates of male infant circumcision in the province of Quebec dropped from about 30% in 1971 to a rate of less than 3% in 2003. The rate in the province of Ontario, Canada's most populous province, dropped from about 60% in 1971 to about 18% in 2003. Western provinces generally dropped the same rate to about 20-25% in 2003. Newfoundland had a 1971 rate of about 7% and has dropped to about .6% at most in 2001. Nova Scotia had a 1971 rate of approximately 53% and has dropped to a 2001 rate of 1.5%.
In 2003, the rate of male circumcision in the United States of America was about 55.9% with a rate of about 77.8% in the midwest.
In South Korea, boys 10-13 years old are routinely circumcised mistakenly "for medical reasons". More ..
About Male Circumcision / Genital Mutilation
At birth, the foreskin is normally fused to the underlying glans, protecting that delicate organ and, also, the urinary meatus. As the child gets older, the foreskin very gradually loosens and becomes retractible.
The practice of circumcision, as performed during the time of Abraham, involved "cutting off the protruding tip of the typical infant foreskin with a single cut," leaving most of the foreskin intact. No attempt was made to loosen the foreskin prematurely, so the penis was able to develop normally. Modern circumcision, however, forcibly detaches the protective foreskin from the glans and removes what would eventually become a third or more of the adult's total penile skin covering. Once the foreskin is removed, the "exquisitely sensitive" glans penis comes in direct contact with feces, urine and abrasive diapers. Infant's screams, as well as changes in heart rate and respiration, transcutaneous p02, adrenal cortical hormone secretion, sleep, and behaviour patterns, testify to the pain caused during and after circumcision. It takes 10 to 14 days for the area to heal.
Circumcision often causes an ulceration at the urethral opening (meatal ulceration), affecting 20% to 50% of all circumcised infants. In many cases, the opening narrows (meatal stenosis), although it may take years for the condition to be noticed. The normal urinary stream in the male is a spiraling ribbon. The urinary stream in meatal stenosis is needle-like, prolonged and frequently associated with discomfort.
Circumcision also affects sexual pleasure. The inner layer of the foreskin produces smegma, which keeps the glans soft. Without its protective and moisturizing cover, the sensitive glans becomes dry and leathery, resembling skin instead of a mucous membrane. In addition to maintaining glans sensitivity, an intact, mobile foreskin also provides indirect stimulation during intercourse.
During intercourse with an intact penis, the male's mobile sheath is placed within the woman's vaginal sheath. It is impossible to imagine any better mechanical arrangement for non-abrasive stimulation of the male and female genitalia than this slick 'sheath within a sheath.'
The belief that circumcision is necessary in order to make the penis easier to clean and to prevent infection simply isn't true. As long ago as 1971, the American Academy of Pediatrics stated, "There is no absolute medical indication for routine circumcision of the newborn....
A program of education leading to continuing good personal hygiene would offer all the advantages of routine circumcision without the attendant surgical risk. Therefore, circumcision of the male neonate cannot be considered an essential component of adequate total health care.
Nevertheless, some doctors continue to promote circumcision, exerting considerable influence on parents' decision. One such pro-circumcision doctor at Northwestern Hospital in the U.S.A. who tells parents that "his own sons are circumcised and he wouldn't 'run the risk' of being intact." That hospital's circumcision rate of 87.7% is well above the state average of 63%. Also in the U.S.A., Vermont's Gifford Memorial Hospital, on the other hand, does not promote circumcision and will not perform the operation until the baby is at least 24 hours old. That hospital has Vermont U.S.A.'s lowest circumcision rate, only 4%.
Third-party reimbursement, also encourages circumcision. Not surprisingly, circumcision rates are higher in U.S.A. states where doctors receive more from Medicaid for doing them. When circumcision was categorized as cosmetic surgery by England's health system in 1948, and the system no longer reimbursed physicians, circumcision rates fell to below 0.5%--without an increase in infections or corresponding increase in cervical cancer among women.
What is viewed as a simple, accepted practice has significant long-term consequences that both men and women need to understand.
We provide educational information on this website including current medical association positions, Canadian law, statistics, articles from newspapers, articles from religious sources or other information to assist with a better understanding of this issue.
The position of the Canadian Children's Rights Council
The Canadian Children's Rights Council position is that there is no medical benefit to the routine genital mutilation (circumcision) of any children (defined by U.N. as those under 18 years of age). Further, all Canadian children, both male and female, should be protected by the criminal laws of Canada with regards to this aggravated assault. Currently, the protection provided by the Criminal Code of Canada includes only genital mutilation (circumcision) of female children.
Our position is that all children should be protected from all forms of genital mutilation (circumcision of all types) including but not limited to, circumcision that doesn't affect sexual function or that may be viewed by others as sexual enhancement surgery. Male circumcision does affect sexual function.
Canada and many other countries have responded positively to the U.N. initiatives to stop female genital mutilation (FGM), so female genital mutilation in Canada is all but non existent and is by law considered to be aggravated assault, an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada.
It is unfortunate that the feminist groups which sought the protection of female children did not seek the protection of male children. Their lack of concern and effort to protect male children has been viewed by some as a control and misandry issue of the western radical feminist movement
There is much evidence in the various articles and documents on this website and elsewhere that suggests that the radical western feminists' groups have unfairly blamed the female circumcision (genital mutilation) issue as being some form of male dominance or control over women in countries that previously practiced female genital mutilation. The evidence is substantially to the contrary.
A tragedy is occurring in Canada right now. Canada's health services have recognized that they shouldn't be paying for circumcision. It has no value as a health measure. Parents, out of medical ignorance, or who wrongly believe their religious obligations necessitate genital mutilation of their male children are asking that it be done.
The medical evidence we have examined in detail provides substantial proof that the penis head, when protected by an intact foreskin, provides normal sexual stimulation during sexual intercourse for all ages of males, while those males that have had their foreskins removed by means of circumcision feel less sensitively , especially among men over 40 years of age. In numerous countries in which male circumcision is virtually non-existent, such as in Japan, men more frequently use condoms because of the increased sensitivity with an intact foreskin which itself is full of nerves and protects the penis head and keeps it in its normal condition.
If "medical necessity" is claimed, we suggest that such a claim is invariably fraudulent. Since in Finland, and in other countries, which have a zero rate of male circumcision at birth, and the risk of needing one later is one in sixteen thousand, six hundred and sixty-seven (1/16,667), every claim for "medical necessity" should fully investigated.
Female Circumcision / Genital Mutilation
What about parents who take their daughters to other countries for this "medical procedure"?
Some of this "circumcision" doesn't affect sexual function. Canadian's who take their female children to other countries to have them circumcised are committing a Criminal Code of Canada criminal offence and will be prosecuted upon discovery after returning to Canada. Male children deserve the same protection as female children.
There are a multitude of human rights and international law issues involved when Canadian law extends Criminal Code offences to those Canadian Citizens who commit such acts outside of Canada when Canadian child citizens are victims of female genital mutilation.
Such good intentioned laws contravene international law by infringing on other countries sovereignty.
Journal of the American Medical Association, 1910
Rapid circumcision of males and females
A new device for "bloodless" circumcision
In 1910, the Journal of the American Medical Association published an article by S.L. Kistler MD, of Los Angeles, on the need for circumcision in both males and females, along with a vigorous advocacy his own patent bloodless method. Like Hiram Yellen and Aaron Goldstein 25 years later, he had invented a special clamp for the purpose.
"Rapid bloodless circumcision of males and females
Circumcision, one of our most common minor operations, is bunglingly done in many instances, notwithstanding its simplicity. This operation, though an old one, is still interesting, and means have long been sought whereby it could be more easily and quickly performed and be attended with less hemorrhage, and consequently meet with less objection on the part of parent and patient.
Many a surgeon has lost his best clients, and likewise many a good prospect has gone glimmering because of the unfortunate outcome of this little operation. " More ..
Journal of the American Medical Association
Study of Male Infant Circumcision - University of Alberta 1997
The University of Alberta 1997 study in question involved performing non-essential surgery ( circumcisions ) on non-consenting persons, helpless infant males. All of the subjects suffered pain; some were traumatized to the point of danger. The study was halted prematurely after one of the subjects vomited, went into shock and stopped breathing for more than 25 seconds.
It is the opinion of the Canadian Children's Rights Council that the study did not adhere to the principles governing research on humans? Specifically, the study did not comply with the provisions of the following instruments:
- Nuremberg Code;
- Declaration of Helsinki;
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
- United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child;
- Tri-Council Policy Statement on Ethical Standards for Research Involving Humans.
- Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
To read the University of Alberta 1997 study on male genital mutilation click here
Circumcision "the unkindest cut of all"
The London Times, UK, by David Baker, March 24, 2008
Barbaric, mutilation, child abuse, freaks, nutters, obsessives. The language on both sides of the debate about infant male circumcision is not always temperate. Put together new-born boys, their penises, knives and two of the world's oldest religions and passions are likely to run high.
While last month saw the fifth International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation, marking a fairly united global campaign against the practice in females, the arguments about the removal of a male infant's foreskin seem mired in misinformation, accusations and despair.
What is clear is that there are very few medical indications nowadays for choosing circumcision over other procedures. More..
Canada's largest national daily newspaper
Boy raised as a girl suffered final indignity
The Globe and Mail, By GRAEME SMITH, May 11, 2004 - Page A1
WINNIPEG -- Most of David Reimer's tragedies have been well-documented: how his penis was burned off during a botched circumcision, how doctors tried surgery and hormones to make him a girl and how the experiment went horribly wrong.
But only his friends knew the 38-year-old Winnipegger was agonizing over yet another personal catastrophe in the months before he committed suicide last week. More ..
We have about 35 major links on our "Links" web page dealing with male and female genital mutilation.
Take note of our policy: The Canadian Children's Rights Council has a policy of considering all important views on children's rights issues. To meet this objective, you will find some linked websites with directly opposing views but are provided to better understand those positions and viewpoints.
Be very suspicious of medical claims made by religious organizations which are used for the purpose of justifying their religious positions.
To go to our genital mutilation section of our links page. click here
Doctors Re-examine Circumcision, by Thomas Ritter, M.D. and George Denniston, M.D. , University of Washington
The Joy of Uncircumcising, by Jim Bigelow Ph.D.
Circumcision, The Hidden Trauma, by Ronald Goldman Ph.D.
Questioning Circumcision, A Jewish Perspective, by Ronald Goldman Ph.D.
PBS (Public Broadcasting System) U.S.A.
$2.3M awarded in suit over botched circumcision
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Altanta Georgia, USA, by TY TAGAMI, Monday, March 30, 2009
A Fulton County jury has awarded $1.8 million in damages to a boy whose penis was severed in a botched circumcision.
The state court jury gave another $500,000 to the boy’s mother in the decision rendered Friday.
The case involves a child, identified only as D.P. Jr., who was born at South Fulton Medical Center in 2004. In a suit filed two years later, his mother contended that the doctor who circumcised him removed too much tissue and that his pediatrician failed to respond when a nurse complained of excessive bleeding.
The tip of the penis was placed in a biohazard bag and might have been reattached if a urologist had attended to the boy within eight hours, one of the mother’s lawyers, David J. Llewellyn of Atlanta, said.
The jury found that both the pediatrician, Dr. Cheryl Kendall, and the physician who performed the circumcision, Dr. Haiba Sonyika, were negligent. South Fulton Medical Center was absolved of liability. More..
BodyBark-clad monster guards Senegal circumcision rite
Reuters, U.S.A., By Rose Skelton, Friday, November 4, 2005
ZIGUINCHOR, Senegal (Reuters) - Dressed head-to-toe in a costume of deep red tree bark and with a large knife in each hand, the monster-like figure turns the corner of a quiet street, screeches and strides after a group of fleeing women.
Trampling plastic buckets beneath its oversized bark-clad feet, it slashes at wooden market stalls where minutes before vendors were lazily swatting flies from piles of fish.
Petrified children cry and women scream as they flee the "Kankouran," a mysterious figure believed to be endowed with special powers who appears in the villages of Senegal's southern Casamance region during annual circumcision rites.
During the August-November rainy season, young boys are circumcised during elaborate three-week ceremonies celebrated by the Manding people of Casamance. Celebrants dressed as the Kankouran play a key role in these rites. More ..
After 13 years, justice for boy left brain-damaged after circumcision
Betrayed by doctors and lawyer, family finally wins case
A Washington couple has finally won justice for their son, 13 years after he was left brain-damaged after his circumcision.
When Jacob Sweet was born at Providence Hospital in Anchorage, Alaska, U.S.A. in January 1986, it was a dream come true for his parents. But Beverly and Gary Sweet's dream took a nightmarish turn only nine days later when they took him back to the hospital for treatment of an infected circumcision and the hospital returned a severely brain-damaged and blind child. The nightmare continued for 13 years - but a major settlement was announced today between the family, now of Bothell, Washington, and the Alaska law firm that handled the Sweet's medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital and the pediatrician who treated Jacob. More ..
Pediatricians turn away from circumcision
The United States is the only country that routinely circumcises baby boys for non-religious reasons
CNN, U.S.A., March 1, 1999, From Parenting Correspondent Pat Etheridge
ATLANTA (CNN) -- American pediatricians are turning away from the practice of routine circumcision, concluding that doctors have no good medical reason to perform the procedure.
The United States is the only country in the world that routinely removes the foreskins of infant boys. Critics of circumcision got additional ammunition Monday from the American Academy of Pediatrics, a leading medical organization.
The academy concluded the benefits "are not compelling enough" for circumcision to be routinely administered. And if doctors do go ahead with the practice, the pediatricians' group recommended the use of pain relief for the child afterward -- the first time it has made that recommendation. More ..
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, By Jon Delano Tuesday, March 16, 1999
It was a tough week for American boys.
First, the Academy of Pediatrics issued its latest circumcision policy statement, advising, too late for most of us, that there is no real medical evidence to justify tampering with male genitals in the United States.
Then, contrary to the old saw that infants don't feel pain, the baby docs declared that when it comes to this little surgery, yikes, it hurts. The Academy says that hospital circumcision accompanied by tears and increased rates of heartbeat, blood pressure and oxygen levels should now include local anesthesia to reduce some of the surgical stress on a day-old boy.
Finally, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that a Boston bio-engineering company is "harvesting" foreskins to make a quasi-synthetic skin for burn victims and folks with skin disorders. While this may be a medical advancement, the notion of people walking around with someone else's foreskin is a bit bizarre, especially if it wasn't necessary to remove it from the kid in the first place! More ..
CHBC Okanagan Valley Television, A CanWest company, B.C., July 14, 2004
An Okanagan incident is being cited as new guidelines for BC doctors suggest that male circumcision may amount to abuse. More..
Medical Post, to all Canadian MDs., By Lynn Haley, July 6th, 2004
VANCOUVER Opponents of circumcision are applauding a new policy statement issued by the B.C. College of Physicians and Surgeons. More..
Five-week-old infant died after he was circumcised at Penticton hospital
The Province (British Columbia, Canada), Jason Proctor, Thursday, August 29, 2002. More..
Canadian Press, CTV and various newspapers across Canada, February 21, 2002 More..
Reuters, June 2001. More..
Toronto Sun, July 6, 1998 More..
Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are rare, and mainly occur in the first year of life. They are several times commoner in girls than boys (but of course surgery is never considered for girls).
They are painful, and women's experience of them is a powerful inducement to have sons circumcised, if they imagine that this will protect them. In fact, a significant proportion of boys contract UTIs even though they are circumcised. A study in Israel found they mainly occured in girls at four months, but in boys soon after they were circumcised.... Now an Australian study suggests circumcision may cause urinary problems.
The supposed correlation between intactness and UTIs was only discovered in 1982, long after the custom of circumcision was well-established in the US. (Yet today it is commonly presented as the first reason, illustrating how circumcision is a "solution" looking for a problem - constantly looking, as each new problem is disposed of.)
Ironically, all the 1982 paper did was quite casually note that "95% of the [male] infants [with UTI] were uncircumcised." without mentioning that virtually no babies born at that hospital (Parkland in Dallas, Texas) were circumcised. The paper went on: "All infants responded promptly to antimicrobial therapy." More..
By Lisa Braver Moss, Midstream magazine, 1992 .
In the medical world, circumcision is the subject of fierce controversy. Its proponents say the practice is safe and painless, and that it dramatically reduces the risk of medical problems ranging from urinary tract infections to AIDS. Its opponents, on the other hand, have called circumcision a painful mutilation of the body, an unnecessary medical risk, and a violation of the child's rights.
From the perspective ofhalacha (Jewish law), medical arguments for and against circumcision are irrelevant, because brit milah is simply "the covenant of circumcision"--the sign of the agreement between God and the Jewish people. Nonetheless, evidence of the possible benefits of circumcision is often seized upon in the Jewish community as proof of the rite's continuing appropriateness. More..
From the website of The 1911 Encyclopaedia Love to Know
CIRCUMCISION (Lat. circum, round, and caedere, to cut), the cutting off of the foreskin. This surgical operation, which is commonly prescribed for purely medical reasons, is also art initiation or religious ceremony among Jews and Mahommedans, and is a widespread institution in many Semitic races. It remains, with Jews, a necessary preliminary to the admission of proselytes, except in some Reformed communities. The origin of the rite among the Jews is in Genesis (xvii.) placed in the age of Abraham, and at all events it must have been very ancient, for flint stones were used in the operation (Exodus iv. 25; - Joshua v.2). The narrative in Joshua implies that the custom was introduced by him, not that it had merely been in abeyance in the Wilderness. At Gilgal he rolled away the reproach of the Egyptians by circumcising the people.
This obviously means that whereas the Egyptians practised circumcision the Jews in the land of the Pharaohs did not, and hence were regarded with contempt. It was an old theory (Herodotus ii. 36) that circumcision originated in Egypt; at all events it was practised in that country in ancient times (Ebers, Egypt en und die Bucker IvIosis, i. 278-284), and the same is true at the present day. But it is not generally thought probable that the Hebrews derived the rite directly from the Egyptians. As Driver puts it (Genesis, p. 190): it. is possible that, ~ts Dillmann and Nowack suppose, the peoples of N. Africa and Asia who practised the rite adopted it from the Egyptians, but it appears in so many parts of the world that it must at any rate in these cases have originated independently. In another biblical narrative (Exodus iv. 25) Moses is subject to the divine anger because he had not made himself a bridegroom of blood, that is, had not been circumcised before his marriage. More..
The Jerusalem Post, February 28, 2000, By Patricia Golan
(February 28) - A Ben-Gurion University study on the psychosocial impact of female circumcision among Negev Beduin shows that the women suffer a range of traumatic responses, including difficulties in mother-daughter relationships and trust.
The pilot study was carried out by Rachel Lev-Wiesel and Alean Krenawi, researchers in the BGU Department of Social Work. Twenty-four women were interviewed - 12 who had experienced the ritual and 12 who had not, but who had witnessed or been told about it in their extended families.
The researchers did not examine how widespread the practice is in Israel, nor the precise physical act - which is carried out between the ages of 9-14 - but concentrated on the perceptions of the women who had undergone circumcision, and their emotional reactions to the ritual. More..
Canadian Jewish News, January 25th, 2001
February 8th, 2001 -
I would like to clarify one of the statements ascribed to me in Paul Lungen's article "Rights body denies issuing policy on circumcision" (CJN, Jan. 25).
Mr. Lungen wrote, "Antonopoulos suggested the discussion [regarding circumcison] could prove 'troublesome' to Jews who practise circumcision for religious reasons." More..
Mother afraid child faces female circumcision in Nigeria
Government reviewing application on humanitarian grounds
The Toronto Star, Maureen Murray, Staff Reporter, March 16, 2004
Joy Bernard has no memory of when she was circumcised by a village elder in her native Nigeria.
But she dreads the same fate befalling her 7-year-old Canadian-born daughter if they return to Bernard's homeland.
"It happened to me. Definitely it is going to happen to her, too, if I go back there," she said. "The environment is not going to be good for her." More..
Male circumcision may be abuse, new B.C. doctors' guidelines suggest
Canadian Press NewsWire. Toronto: Jul 13, 2004. p. n/a
Unkindest cut of all could be human rights issue;
CanWest News. Don Mills, Ont.: Jul 13, 2004. p. 1
Male circumcision may be abuse, new B.C. doctors' guidelines suggest; [Final Edition 1]
Daily Bulletin. Kimberley, B.C.: Jul 14, 2004. p. 5
Male circumcision may be abuse, new B.C. doctors' guidelines suggest; [Final Edition]
Daily Townsman. Cranbrook, B.C.: Jul 14, 2004. p. 5
Circumcision human rights abuse?; [Final Edition]
Edmonton Journal. Edmonton, Alta.: Jul 14, 2004. p. A.7
British Columbia: Circumcision may be abuse: doctors; [Final Edition]
Examiner. Barrie, Ont.: Jul 14, 2004. p. A.8
Circumcision rights violation: new guidelines; [Final Edition]
Prince George Citizen. Prince George, B.C.: Jul 14, 2004. p. 5
Doctor says circumcision could be abuse under new guidelines; [Final Edition]
Sault Star. Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.: Jul 14, 2004. p. B.10
Circumcision may be abuse: new doctors' guidelines; [Final Edition]
Standard. St. Catharines, Ont.: Jul 14, 2004. p. B.6
Docs fear circumcision violates human rights; [FINAL C Edition]
Ethan Baron. The Province. Vancouver, B.C.: Jul 14, 2004. p. A.19
Male circumcision may be abuse, new B.C. doctors' guidelines suggest; [Final Edition]
Daily Press. Timmins, Ont.: Jul 15, 2004. p. B.6