“Royal Dutch Medical Association (KNMG) to discourage non-therapeutic circumcision of male minors
Utrecht, 27 May 2010 – The official standpoint of KNMG and other related medical/scientific organisations is that non-therapeutic circumcision of male minors is a violation of children’s rights to autonomy and physical integrity. KNMG is urging a strong policy of deterrence.
The reason for the adoption of an official standpoint regarding this matter is the increasing emphasis on the protection of children’s rights. Contrary to popular belief, circumcision can also cause complications – bleeding, infection, urethral stricture and panic attacks are particularly common. Full or partial penile amputations have also been reported as a consequence of complications.”
“A new paper by David Shaw in Clinical Ethics this month argues that non-indicated circumcision performed by a physician is unethical. The paper states that an ethical doctor will object to conducting a clinically unnecessary operation on a child who cannot consent simply because of the parent’s desires or religious beliefs.”
“To be intact, as nature intended, is best. The vast majority of males who are given the choice value their wholeness and keep their foreskins, for the same reason they keep their other organs of perception. Parents in Europe and non-Muslim Asia never have forced their boys to be circumcised. It would no more occur to them to cut off part of their boys’ penises than it would to cut off part of their ears. Respecting a child’s right to keep his genitals intact is normal and natural. It is conservative in the best sense of the word.
A circumcised father who has mixed feelings about his intact newborn son may require gentle, compassionate psychological counseling to help him come to terms with his loss and to overcome his anxieties about normal male genitalia. In such cases, the mother should steadfastly protect her child, inviting her husband to share this protective role and helping him diffuse his negative feelings. Most parents want what is best for their baby. Wise parents listen to their hearts and trust their instinct to protect their baby from harm. The experience of the ages has shown that babies thrive best in a trusting atmosphere of love, gentleness, respect, acceptance, nurturing, and intimacy. Cutting off a baby’s foreskin shatters this trust. Circumcision wounds and harms the baby and the person the baby will become. Parents who respect their son’s wholeness are bequeathing to him his birthright-his body, perfect and beautiful in its entirety.”
“The universal declaration of human rights state that every man, woman and child should have equal rights without discrimination (United Nations, 1948). These rights should have meaning within our everyday lives and aim to protect all people from injustice.”
“Strictly speaking, it is not the opponents of routine male circumcision who need to make a case against the procedure, but its supporters who must prove its necessity: they need to explain why a natural part of the human body, and one common to all primates, is so dangerous that it must be amputated before a baby can talk, crawl or do anything much except scream.”
“A while back, I wrote an essay on the ethics of routine male circumcision. During my search for sources in writing this paper, I found very few pro-circumcision sources because so few doctors recommend the procedure today.
Despite that, many Americans are still very much for Routine Infant Circumcision. This is my page outlining both the pro and con arguments for the procedure, followed by a brief on the truth of the situation.”
“In a society that puts so much belief on freedom of choice and individual liberty, should not boys be left to make their own decision when they are old enough to understand the full implications of what a circumcision involves?”
According to the literature, you served on the AAP Committee on Bioethics, which issued a 1995 statement “Informed Consent, Parental Permission, and Assent in Pediatric Practice.” (1) This Committee approved the 1999 Circumcision Policy Statement.(2) There appear to be conflicts between these documents, and I request your assistance in clarifying some ethical concerns. Given the importance of the circumcision issue to many people, clarification of these points would help us to accurately educate others about the AAP recommendations.
Citing the Bioethics Policy, the Circumcision Policy states that parents must make choices about health care for infants and young children because infants and young children are not capable of making their own decisions.(3) However, these decisions are related to diagnosis and treatment for an ailment.(4) Non-therapeutic circumcision is genital surgery performed on a child with no ailment, and circumcision is not treatment.”