Intactivism News

February 2013

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News items are copied to Circumstitions News blog (which takes comments)

- thanks to Joseph4GI


Brisbane Times
February 28, 2013

Indonesian mum kills son over penis size

An Indonesian woman has drowned her nine-year-old son in the bath, claiming she was worried that his "small penis" would affect his prospects for the future, police say.

The 38-year-old woman from Jakarta told police her son had had a small penis prior to being circumcised, but that it appeared to shrink further after the operation, police spokesman Rikwanto told AFP. [This can happen when a tight circumcision causes a "buried penis"]

"She told police investigators that she killed him as he would have a bleak future with his small penis," Rikwanto said.

"She drowned her son in a bathtub filled with water. She then dressed him and laid him on a bed. After that, she went to a nearby police office to report her crime."

Rikwanto said the woman was fully conscious of what she had done, but police ordered a psychological test to assess her mental condition.


Inlander (Spokane, Wash)
February 27, 2013

Circumcision protester targets South Hill pediatrics clinic

by Leah Sottile

At around 3 pm today, a bearded man dressed from head to toe in white clothing stood in the crosswalk at Wall and Riverside Avenue in downtown Spokane. Above his head he thrusted a sign that read "CIRCUMCISION CRUELTY TO BOYS."

But it wasn't his sign that every passing car or pedestrian was staring at. It was the giant red stain at the crotch of his pants.

The man, whose legal name is Brother K ("K stands for kind," he says), drove here from Sacramento, Calif., to lead an anti-circumcision demonstration at Grand Pediatrics, a South Hill children's clinic, tomorrow morning. Brother K, 65, says he first became aware of the Spokane clinic after seeing a Facebook post from a nurse practitioner there that read, "Did my first circumcision on Friday … watch out boys … here I come."

''Watch out boys

Brother K says that post went viral — attracting ire from anti-circumcision activists from around the globe — before it was removed.

"It’s like she’s gloating. She’s enjoying it," he says. "She has no appreciation that she’s ripping open a human penis."

Brother K says he fundamentally objects to circumcision practices — a practice that is becoming more and more controversial among new parents.

"Right now if you did to a girl what you did to a boy, it would be a major, major felony. You would go to jail."

Brother K has been part of the long-running anti-circumcision movement since the 1970s. And after seeing the Spokane nurse's post, he felt impassioned to travel here to demonstrate at the clinic tomorrow. He says the nurse's post enraged him because of "the fact that we see a woman who is preparing a lengthy career in circumcising boys."

Though Brother K was holding his sign silently and only standing in the crosswalk when the light was red, he was certainly getting attention. Drivers slowed to take photos. As we talked, a tall young man walked up and said, frankly, "I kind of agree with you!"

He says he will attend a large-scale protest of circumcision practices in late March for Genital Integrity Awareness Week. Outfits like his — all white with just a red spot at the crotch — are what he and his fellow protestors wear, he says.

For now, it looks like he and 11 others have RSVP'd to the Facebook event for tomorrow's protest.

The Inlander contacted Grand Pediatrics to speak with the nurse, who they say is currently on vacation. An office manager says she was aware of the original posting, which has since been removed. The clinic was not aware of any demonstration plans.

As we wrapped up our conversation with Brother K, a girl with pink hair walked past, muttering "your dick's red, by the way."

He shrugged her off.

"We’re gonna hold the circumcisers' feet to the fire," he says. "People are outraged."


February 27, 2013

Parents accused of taking baby girl, 1, to Bali for 'circumcision'

A PERTH couple accused of arranging the illegal genital mutilation of their baby daughter will stand trial in the WA District Court.

The couple aged in their 40s, who cannot be named for legal reasons, are alleged to have taken [no, attempted to take] their one-year-old daughter to Bali to have her circumcised.


Their bail was renewed and they are due to make their first appearance in the District Court on May 24.

Earlier story


February 26, 2013

A victory for intersex babies in Germany

by Mattia Rosini

There has been a small revolution for intersex babies in Germany. Born with a genetic [or other] condition that means they cannot be defined exclusively as male or female, because they have characteristics of both sexes, a new law allows their gender to remain unspecified on the birth certificate. The German government unanimously approved the amendment to the law on recording personal data at birth. Previously, the baby’s parents could choose which gender would appear on the birth certificate. However, the amendment doesn’t go far enough, according to the Ethical Council of Germany. It believes that parents of intersex children need more support and that gender reassignment surgery should be avoided.


February 24, 2013

German prosecutor drops anti-circumcision charges against mohel


Court says Hof chief rabbi, David Goldberg, who was charged in 2012 after a Cologne court ruled circumcision illegal in Germany, satisfies child welfare requirements.

A statement by the Hof prosecutor on February 21 said that Rabbi David Goldberg of Hof satisfied all requirements regarding child welfare “which are not jeopardized by the circumcision,” the Jewish-German publication Jüdische Allgemeine reported.

“Circumcisions which are applied with the consent of parents or custodians are not subject to criminal liability,” the prosecutor added. [The prosecuter seems to interpret the new law retrospectively.]

Charges were brought against Goldberg last year after a court in Cologne ruled that circumcision was illegal in Germany. Goldberg, who has been working as a mohel in Germany since 1997, said he was very pleased the case was now closed and that there was clarity on the issue.

“I never had any doubts, I still performed circumcisions,” he said. "But I think this is very good news for parents who did have doubts, and for the entire Jewish community.”

The German parliament has since passed a new law allowing circumcision, with some restrictions.

Earlier story


They just don't give up, do they?

Jewish Daily Forward
February 22, 2013

Federal Court Refuses To Block New York Circumcision Consent Form Law

Rejects Metzitzah B'Peh Motion Filed by Orthodox Groups

by Seth Berkman

Proponents of metzitzah b’peh, the controversial circumcision ritual, were denied a request for an emergency stay in the enforcement of a recent New York City law that regulates the procedure. The decision was handed down by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

The motion, filed by the Central Rabbinical Congress of the USA & Canada, Agudath Israel, the International Bris Association and a group of rabbis, failed “to meet requisite standards,” according to the court.


Recent studies by the New York City DOHMH have revealed 12 area infants who have contracted herpes after circumcision, with two of the infants dying soon after.

Earlier story


Jakarta Post
February 21, 2013

Toddler with hemophilia bleeds after circumcision

by Panca Nugraha

Haikal Syafi’i, a three-year-old with hemophilia, has been receiving repeated treatment in hospital for severe bleeding from a circumcision wound.

Haikal from Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), was taken to Gerung Hospital in Lombok Barat after a mass circumcision event last month . He continued to suffer constant bleeding so his parents took him to Bhayangkara Hospital in Mataram, NTB.

“After receiving treatment in those two hospitals, his bleeding continued; so, he was brought to NTB General Hospital (RSUP) on Monday. We found that Haikal is suffering from hemophilia, a disorder in the blood clotting process,” the hospital’s Lalu Ahmadijaya, told The Jakarta Post, on Thursday.

Hemophilia is a genetic disorder that affects mainly boys, famously prevalent in the royal families of Europe.

“This should be a lesson for our people that they should check the health conditions of their children before circumcision.” said Ahmadijaya.

Speaking to the Post, Haikal’s mother, Sanemah, said that her boy attended a mass circumcision with seven other boys from their kampung on Jan.27 to commemorate the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday.

“After being circumcised, he had no complaints. But four days after the procedure, he began bleeding from his circumcision wound,” she said.

“Hemophilia treatment can be costly. Koate, for example, costs around Rp 10 million (US$1,030) per injection and Haikal needs three injections to stop his bleeding,” Ahmadijaya said, adding that Haikal’s treatment would be covered by the government-fund health coverage scheme Jamkesmas. (ebf)


Canadian Family Physician (also on this site)
February, 2013

Father's status influences circumcision decision

by Hugh Young

A study in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, has found that regardless of the reasons parents give to circumcise, the father's status is an important factor in the decision.

Medical student Chris Rediger and his supervisor Dr Andries Muller surveyed 230 people at prenatal classes in the Saskatoon Health Region over a 3-month period.

Of all parents responding who were expecting children, 56.4% indicated they would consider pursuing elective circumcision if they had a son; 24.3% said they would not. They were asked before any prenatal classes, which may have changed their final decision.

The reasons they most often gave for supporting male circumcision were hygiene (61.9%), prevention of infection or cancer (44.8%), and the father being circumcised (40.9%). The reasons most commonly reported for not supporting circumcision were it not being medically necessary (32.0%), the father being uncircumcised (18.8%), and concerns about bleeding or infection (15.5%).

But when the expecting father was circumcised, 81.9% of respondents were in favour of pursuing elective circumcision. When he was not circumcised, only 14.9% were in favour of pursuing elective circumcision. The result was statistically significant.

Father's status and circumcision preference - Rediger

The father's circumcision status also influenced whether parents-to-be thought circumcision was safe. 82.2% with a circumcised father-to-be thinking circumcision by an experienced medical practitioner was a safe procedure for all boys, and none thinking it unsafe, compared to 64.1% of couples with an intact father-to-be thinking it safe and 7.8% thinking it unsafe.


Canberra Times
February 17, 2013

Unkindest cut: Restrictions placed on doctors

by Phillip Thomson

Several doctors have had restrictions placed on them by the ACT Medical Board.

THE national watchdog has slapped restrictions on more than 40 Canberra health practitioners to ‘‘protect the public’’.

Those with restrictions placed on them include one practitioner under scrutiny for the way he performs circumcisions, with the regulator stating he is not to perform circumcisions without the use of adequate pain relief and that he must use the correct equipment during these procedures. [So what equipment was he using?]

Until the end of 2013, the doctor must list for the ACT Medical Board each circumcision he has performed and the anaesthetic used in each procedure.

The doctor’s future use of analgesics during circumcisions must be in line with the Royal Australian College of Physicians guidelines and he must see a psychiatrist paid for and appointed by the medical board.

He has been allowed to choose his own mentor who was to supervise him for six months and write a report for the board.

The doctor declined to comment when contacted



February 14, 2013

Male circumcision tied to less sexual pleasure

by Andrew M. Seaman

(Reuters Health) - Men circumcised either as children or adults report less intense sexual pleasure and orgasm than their uncircumcised counterparts, according to a new study from Belgium.

"We're not saying less sexual activity or satisfaction, but sensitivity," said the study's senior researcher Dr. Piet Hoebeke, from Ghent University Hospital.

The new study surveyed 1,369 men over the age of 18, who responded to leaflets handed out in train stations across Belgium.

The men were asked whether they were circumcised, and were then asked to rate how sensitive their penis was, how intense their orgasms were and whether they experience any pain or numbness when they are aroused.

Overall, 310 men who took the survey were circumcised, and 1,059 were not. Each rated how sensitive their penis was on a scale from 0 to 5, with higher numbers being the most sensitive.

Overall, uncircumcised men reported between 0.2 points and 0.4 points higher sensitivity and sexual pleasure when their penis's head - known as the glans - was stroked during arousal, compared to circumcised men.

For example, uncircumcised men reported an average sensitivity score of 3.72 when they or their partner stroked the top part of their penis's glans, compared to 3.31 amongst circumcised men.

Uncircumcised men also reported more intense orgasms.

"It's not a very big difference in sensitivity, but it's a significant difference," Hoebeke said.

Currently, about half of U.S. baby boys have their foreskin surgically removed at birth, and about 30 percent of men around the world are circumcised.

Some religions, such as Judaism and Islam, consider circumcision part of religious practice, while other people choose circumcision for possible health benefits - including a reduced risk of urinary tract infections (see Reuters Health article of December 7, 2012 here:).

Hoebeke and his colleagues write in BJU International that there are few studies researching whether foreskin plays a role in sexual pleasure. But Dr. Aaron Tobian, who studies circumcision but was not part of the new study, said that previous randomized controlled trials - considered the gold standard of medical research - looked at sexual performance and satisfaction. [They were studies of adult volunteers for circumcision - not the gold standard at all.] Those studies, he said, did not find a difference. [Becauses the questions were too vague to do so.]

One possible explanation for any potential difference in sensitivity is that a man's foreskin may protect his penis's head from rubbing against underwear and clothing. It's possible, the researchers write, that friction makes the head of the penis thicker, drier and ultimately less sensitive. [Another is simply that the foreskin itself is sensitive, as Taylor found.]

The researchers also found circumcised men were more likely to report more pain and numbness during arousal than uncircumcised men, which Hoebeke said is likely due to scar tissue.

"I'm amazed that people report pain during sexual pleasure… That's very amazing and that was unexpected," he said.


Tobian, from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, said the findings are missing important context.

"The medical evidence and the benefits of male circumcision are abundantly clear," Tobian told Reuters Health. [This is not "context", but another issue altogether.]

"If there was a vaccine out there that reduces the risk of HIV by 60 percent, herpes by 30 percent and the penile cancer causing HPV by 35 percent, the medical community would rally behind it," said Tobian. [There is little or no evidence that circumcision does any of those things.]

The American Academy of Pediatrics says the benefits of male circumcision outweigh the risks, but stops short of recommending universal circumcision (see Reuters story of August 27, 2012 here:).

SOURCE: bit.ly/X7j39D BJU International, online February 4, 2013.


When persuasion fails...

February 11, 2013

Tanzania: Handeni Promotes Male Circumcision to Curb HIV Spread

Handeni — HANDENI district have launched a campaign to compel men in the area to undergo circumcision as a preventive measure against HIV/AIDS.

The campaign was announced over the weekend by the District Medical Officer (DMO), Dr Somoka Mwakapalala, when speaking during a public rally at Kabuku ward on the last leg of Tanga Regional Commissioner Chiku Gallawa's tour of Handeni.

The RC wanted to know measures that the district has taken so far in sensitizing the public on preventive measures against HIV/AIDS especially those living along highways where the infection rate is still high.

The DMO said apart from sensitizing the people to be faithful to their partners, abstain from sex or use condom, the district had also launched a campaign of encouraging men to undergo circumcision.

According to Dr Mwakapalala, circumcised men have lower chances of being infected with the deadly virus than those who are uncircumcised. He said health workers and activists in the district have been moving around the district to sensitize men do so bearing in mind that some tribes do not practice circumcision.



HIV Rates:

Circumcised men


Intact men


Source: measuredhs.com/pubs/pdf/CR22/CR22.pdf

[We may hope that "compel" is faulty English, but this has been expected for a long time.]


February 7, 2013

Ad Uses Chassidim to Poke Fun

By COLlive reporter

A new commercial for the New York Lottery, using humor and exaggeration to portray what money can buy a lucky Powerball winner, might have pushed the line.

The TV spot, created by DDB New York ad agency, shows a man who has the perfect punch lines for any scenario, leaving people laughing hysterically wherever he goes.

In truth, the millionaire has employed a full-time team of comedy writers who feed him the jokes through an earpiece. He is "that kind of rich," the ad suggests.

One of the millionaire's punchlines is told to a group of Chassidic looking Jews seated in a deli.

"You're the herpetologist," the man tells them from a nearby eating booth, leading them to burst out in laughter.


A COLlive reader said it seemed like they were referring to the ongoing battle between the City of New York and the frum community over a custom of the bris milah (circumcision ceremony).

The City's Board of Health ["along with hundreds of the top infectious disease specialists and other public health specialists, including the US Centers for Disease Control and two major Israeli studies, one released in the past few days – but COLLive tells readers none of that" - thanks to Failed Messiah] says metzitzah b'peh (oral suction during the bris) can lead to fatal herpes infection. Rabbis and mohelim say there is no evidence to support that claim.

"This is no laughing matter and it's even frightening that the government is trying to regulate religious practice," Rabbi Levi Heber, the director of the International Bris Association, said in response to the Lottery commercial.

Speaking to COLlive, Heber said: "It's very unfortunate that people are not taking this matter seriously. The City's meddling in our rituals reminds many of Communist Russia. What's most ironic is that in Russia today Jews are more free to practice this mitzvah than in Brooklyn."

But what might be even more ironic is that the ad agency has mistakenly [or deliberately] used the term 'herpetologist' which is the occupation of a zoologist that specializes in reptiles, amphibians, crocodiles and turtles [and snakes, which one COLLive reader manages to extract further offence from, via the Yiddish word {schlange} for snake/penis.], with no connection to the herpes disease.


[What's distasteful and offensive is 1. cutting parts off babies' genitals, 2. sucking babies' {cut} genitals, and 3. passing off an informed consent form to sucking (but not to cutting) babies' genitals as a health-protection measure.]

Earlier story


February 8, 2013

Nurse spared jail for killing baby in botched circumcision

A nurse who caused the death of a baby in a botched home circumcision has been spared jail.

Grace Adeleye, 67, carried out the procedure using scissors, forceps and olive oil and without anaesthetic in Chadderton, Oldham, in April 2010.

Four-week-old Goodluck Caubergs bled to death before he could reach hospital the following day.

Adeleye, who was found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence, was given a suspended jail sentence.

A judge at Manchester Crown Court ordered her to serve 21 months in jail, suspended for 24 months.

'No problem'
She was also given a six-month overnight curfew [apparently her only "penalty"] and a 12-month supervision order.


Goodluck's parents said after sentencing "not for one minute" did they think the procedure would cause him harm.

In a statement they described his death as "having a nightmare that we could not wake up from".

"The sadness we feel does not seem to ease. We have now just grown to live with the pain of our son's death rather than it subsiding."

Det Insp Darren Meeks from Greater Manchester Police said the case in which a young baby lost his life in such a "tragic and unnecessary manner" was "heartbreaking".

"Although Adeleye was a registered nurse, she carried out the surgery at the parents' home, using a historic, crude and dangerous method, with inappropriate instruments."

[If it had been any other operation, would she have escaped imprisonment?]

Earlier story


Jewish Press (!)
February 6, 2013

Female Circumcision Now a Growing Problem in Germany

For many of these women, urinating can take up to 30 minutes, and is very painful.

Between 130 and 150 million women are victims of genital mutilation – most of them are Africans, Deutsche Welle reports. Now, doctors, teachers and social workers in Germany report being confronted by this practice in ever growing numbers.

Jawahir Cumar, who moved to Germany with her parents from Somalia when she was a girl, witnessed, at age 20, on a visit to her grandparents’ village, the funeral of young girl who had bled to death after being “circumcised.”

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is practiced in 29 African countries, even though it is illegal in some of them. It is usually done when girls are between the ages of four and eight – using razor blades, kitchen knives and even broken glass and tin lids. Because these tools are used more than once, it also increases the spreading of bllod-based diseases like HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.

FGM alters or injures female genitalia for non-medical reasons, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). ...

An estimated 30,000 women living in Germany have been subjected to FGM and 6,000 girls are at risk, according to human rights organization Terre des Femmes.

Mothers-in-law and grandmothers, especially, call all the time, write letters and send messages,” says Cumar. And the message is always the same, “you have to cut your daughters! Or just bring them to us and we will do it.”


She was able to prevent 17 girls from being subjected to FGM last year. But there’s still a lot of work to be done in Germany as well, says Cumar, pointing to how long it took for “honor killings” to be viewed by police as a criminal offence and not simply as the customs of immigrants.


To earlier news (headlines)

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