Exploring ways of preventing unnecessary circumcisions
I WAS horrified to learn earlier this month that “a group of senior medical experts” in Australia are advocating circumcision for infant boys, claiming there is now strong evidence that circumcision reduces risk of infectious diseases and cancer.
The Circumcision Foundation of Australia, whose members include several professors of medicine, is led by Sydney University medical scientist, Brian Morris. He has written to State and Federal health ministers appealing for an end to the ban on elective male circumcision in public hospitals, and for a substantial increase in the Medicare benefit for the operation.
The Federal Government withdrew Medicare benefits for circumcision in the 1980s but quickly restored them after an outcry from the Jewish community. The Government is now considering whether the procedure should continue to qualify for Medicare payments.
The Foundation claims that about half of uncircumcised boys will suffer “an adverse medical condition as a result of their foreskin over their lifetime”, but those opposed to genital mutilation – and that exactly what it is – say there is little medical reason to circumcise an infant and that it should be withdrawn from Medicare coverage unless found to be medically necessary.
I now learn that a conference is to take place in the UK in July to discuss the issue of unnecessary circumcision. Delegates from child protection, health, equality and diversity, human rights, medical ethics and legal backgrounds will gather at the conference on Thursday, July 26 at Keele University, Staffordshire to explore how boys might be protected from being unnecessarily damaged by the practice.
According to a press release issued by Glen Poole, Strategic Director of The Men’s Network, a baby boy from Oldham bled to death after a religious circumcision. “The fatality,” the statement said, “raises major concerns for everyone working to safeguard children in the UK.”
The Oldham death will now be the subject of a manslaughter trial later this year
Meanwhile, an Oxford report revealed that 45 percent of botched circumcisions at an Islamic school led to complications, and that research from the charity NORM-UK reveals that as many as 9 out of 10 therapeutic circumcisions could be avoided.
The statement added that:
There are growing concerns that the unequal rights of boys and girls in the UK to be protected from unnecessary genital cutting, could compromise local, national and international initiatives to work with circumcising communities to protect girls from female genital mutilation.
The “How To Prevent Unnecessary Male Circumcision” one-day workshop and mini-conference is hosted by the charity Genital Autonomy.To find out more about the conference and to book a ticket see: http://www.genitalautonomy.org
For media enquiries contact Glen Poole at The Men’s Network on 07981 334222 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hat tip: Bill Murray (Australian report)