Exploring ways of preventing unnecessary circumcisions

This abominable practice has to be stopped.

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– and that exactly what it is – say there is little medical reason to circumcise an infant and that it should be withdrawn from Medicare coverage unless found to be medically necessary.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:

For media enquiries contact Glen Poole at The Men’s Network on 07981 334222 or email:

Hat tip: Bill Murray (Australian report)


62 responses to “Exploring ways of preventing unnecessary circumcisions”

  1. Daz says:

    Rereading what I said above, I think I should say I certainly didn’t mean to imply that because FGM is worse, we shouldn’t be concerned with male circumcision. It’s just that idiots like Glen Poole, above, who try to make it a menz Vs womenz contest of some sort, really get up my nose.

  2. Moneymaker says:

    If it is illegal to ink someone before 16, circumcision should be illegal for a child no adult should hav the right to mutilate a child on any cultural or religious grounds… Britain should only advocate on law for all no exceptions!

  3. Peter Ball says:

    All children must have equal protection from non-therapeutic surgery to their genitals whether they are male, female or intersex. There can be no exceptions on the grounds of custom, religion or parental desires. Circumcision interferes with normal sexual function and is potentially crippling and even fatal.

  4. Matt Westwood says:

    @Daz: Calm down, calm down …

    To some extent it is a menz-v-wimminz thing. There are plenty of women who prefer circumcision on aesthetic grounds, and consider male circumcision a trivial thing, but vomit when presented with FGM. And I’d be prepared to bet that many male babies get circumcised mainly because their mothers want it done. What research has been done on that one? Anyone care to investigate?

  5. David Smith says:

    I want to echo the comments made by Glen Poole that people are commenting that female circumcision is worse than male. Both remove essential tissue but whereas people throw their hands up in horror at even a ritual nick of a girls genitals very few people seem to care about men’s genitals. Even a ritual nick on a girl is illegal but boys genitals are not protected by law and male circumcision is not as innocent a procedure as even some people who have responded here seem to think. That is what needs to be challenged and I hope will be done at Keele.
    I would also like to challenge the comment made by David B that at least male victims are not rendered utterly devoid of sexual pleasure, as seems to be the case in many victims of FGM.
    I am the manager of NORM-UK a charity founded by Dr John Warren in 1995 to help men damaged either physically or psychologically by circumcision. Any circumcision removes essential tissue and always affects sexual pleasure. Many men have so much tissue removed that even an erection is painful. I can confirm that our records confirm that many men are indeed rendered utterly devoid of sexual pleasure.
    I urge you all to continue this debate in person at Keele.

  6. Daz says:

    There are plenty of women who prefer circumcision on aesthetic grounds…

    And some people have a fetish for amputees. Which says nothing either way about the morality of sawing babies’ legs off. If the supply of circumcised men was lesser, I’m fairly sure these women would be happy enough with uncircumcised men.

    …and consider male circumcision a trivial thing, but vomit when presented with FGM.

    Which, their minor fetish notwithstanding, rather reinforces how much worse FGM is, especially the more drastic forms.

    Both are barbarous, and the OP is specifically about male circumcision, but let’s at least stick to facts. FGM is, in general, more dangerous at the time of surgery, and has a much greater risk of later medical complications, up to and including greater risk of the death to newborns, due to complications during childbirth.

  7. remigius says:

    Totally agree. Aesthetics is no reason for circumcision. Some women have a fanny like a badly made kebab but that would not be a valid excuse for FGM

  8. Glen Poole says:

    More on the ‘Men vs Women’ thing

    As one of a growing body of men and women who are campaigning for boys to given the same protection against medically unnecessary genital cutting as girls, the notion that we are trying to turn this into a Men v Women is nonsense

    if boys and girls were given equal protection in UK law we wouldn’t be having this debate

    If people didn’t try to defend that inequality by saying – ah yes but FGM is worse – we wouldn’t need to compare the two

    Unfortunately the law in the UK is that we take a zero tolerance approach to ALL FGM – even nicking the clitoral hood – and we say ALL male circumcision is fine until a baby bleeds to death and then we might charge you with manslaughter – but we’re not charging you because you did it – but because you did it badly

    In 2009, 91 young men died in South Africa alone from ritual circumcision with a spear. How is surviving FGM worse than dying?

    Meanwhile in Indonesia – the world’s biggest muslim population, FGM is typically performed at birth, or before a girl is five years old, and is mostly “symbolic” with a small cut on the clitoris, or rubbing the clitoris with tumeric root

    More recently, the Indonesian government has promoted a “medically safe” form of FGM by directing health professionals not to cut a girl’s genitals but to “scrape the skin covering the clitoris, without injuring the clitoris”

    When we think about FGM we’ve been trained to imagine the most severe form (Type 3) which accounts for about 10% of FGM and just 1% of all male and female mutilation, cutting and circumcision

    And then there’s the other 99% of cases that cover a wide range of practices – including Type IV FGM where the genitals are ‘nicked’ and no flesh is removed

    Anyone who makes the sweeping statement FGM is worse than male circumcision is basically saying that nicking the clitoral hood without removing flesh is worse than chopping off the entire foreskin (male prepuce) – which is nonsense – you wouldn’t say nicking the clitoral hood is worse than chopping off the clitoral hood (female prepuce) – so why say u nicking the clitoral hood is worse than chopping off the male prepuce?

    male circumcision is different an in many cases worse than fgm
    fgm is different an in many cases worse than male circumcision

    Debates like this only become a man v woman thing when people treat men and women unequally – and when we give boys equal rights to girls in this area – and stop defending the status quo, then we’ll be able to move on from this debate

    I’m not interested in a man v woman thing, I want everyone to have equal protection

  9. Joseph4GI says:

    It’s real funny how the people saying “don’t compare; FGM is much, much worse” turn around and accuse US of turning it into a battle of the sexes…

  10. Raja says:

    Everyone should have the same equal rights under the law protected from any and all surgical cutting or removal of anything from a living human being, especially a baby.
    This burns me up to no end the tortures we inflict upon our children in the name of religion or mistaken ideas of healthcare.

    Circumcision is not necessary unless that choice is made because of too tight a foreskin, which can cause a real health problem forsome men.

    I’ve neverheard of a woman choosing removal of anything on themselves unless itis those Beverly Hills plastic surgeriestrying to create the perfect vagina. That is their choice. Choice is really what it is all about.
    Thanks, Roger in Stockholm

  11. Keith says:

    According to the Offences Against the Person Act of 1861, it is a crime to deliberately injure another person. Therefore MGM is a crime, but nobody has yet had the backbone to prosecute the criminals who promote, perform, or incite others to cut the foreskin from a male child.

  12. […] under a month ago I drew readers’ attention to a conference taking place place in the UK next month to discuss the issue of unnecessary circumcision. It is to […]