Intactivism News

January 2021 -


December 20, 2021

23 South African teenagers killed in initiation rite this year

A traditional rite practiced in South Africa has left 23 male teenagers dead following the Xhosa Ulwaluko ceremony, which consists of circumcision plus an initiation into manhood.

The ancestral, yet lethal practice, is carried out in the South African province of Eastern Cape, where Premier Oscar Mabuyane has called for those responsible to be tried for murder.

The victims suffered from dehydration or sepsis from circumcision at the start of the ceremony, which lasts between two and six months. Almost a thousand young men have died from this rite since 1995, while another 2,000 have had their penises amputated. The summer initiation season still has a month to run.

Authorities had hoped the Customary Initiation Act of 2021 would help reduce the number of victims even Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu was against.

The winter season in June and July was cut short this year because of the COVID-19, with 19 initiates dying during the process. Initiation prepares young men for the transition to manhood through cultural teaching [...when it doesn't kill them].


Earlier story

Darbon Insitutue media release

December 10, 2021

We must act now to stop children dying from harmful cosmetic procedures

by Jonathan Meddings

The Darbon Institute is deeply saddened by the loss of a young Perth boy’s life, and extends its well wishes to his brother who is currently fighting for his life, both reportedly as a result of circumcision complications.

The circumcision-related death comes ahead of a regulatory review of cosmetic procedures.

In Australia, 10-20% of young boys are still being circumcised. Of these, the vast majority are circumcised so they match their father, with only a minority of circumcisions performed for legitimate medical reasons.

Circumcision complications include scarring, blood loss, infection, buried penis, penile adhesions, urethral fistula (holes in the tube urine comes out of), meatal stenosis (a narrowing of the urethra that results in a narrow, high velocity stream of urine), kidney failure, penile disfigurement and amputation, gangrene, psychological trauma, and death.

“No family should lose their child to a medically unnecessary cosmetic procedure," Darbon Chair Jonathan Meddings said. "Our health systems and laws must protect young boys from medically unnecessary circumcisions the same way they protect young girls from the medically unnecessary cutting of their genitals.”

“Every year tens of thousands of baby boys in Australia are strapped to plastic boards to have their foreskin cut off. Some tragically die as a result. Some experience surgical complications. All lose the most sensitive part of their penis and are left scarred for life.”

“There are dozens of private circumcision clinics around the country. Their whole business model rests on profiting from medically unnecessary, harmful procedures that involve cutting children’s genitals. And we know they are wrongly, even fraudulently, claiming Medicare rebates intended only for therapeutic procedures. Why are taxpayers funding the mutilation of children? How have we allowed this to happen?” Meddings asked.

Daily Mail (Australia)

December 10, 2021

Parents are warned against [?] circumcising their children after a toddler, 2, died 'of a reaction to anaesthetic' and his baby brother almost bled out

by Aidan Wondracz

A top doctor has warned parents to carefully consider the risks of circumcising their child after a two-year-old boy died and his baby brother almost bled out.

WA Australian Medical Association president Mark Duncan-Smith urged parents to only follow through with the procedure if there was a valid medical reason.

'It's a very, very good conversation to have with your trusted GP,' he said.

'Your GP can advise you the proper indications for circumcision, the dangers, how it's done. And that has to be part of the evaluation of whether or not it's appropriate for a child to have a circumcision.'  [What he's not addressing is that cutting the genital sensory organ off a healthy child is unethical.]

His warning comes after a two-year-old boy died after suffering an allergic reaction to anaesthesia given to him during the procedure on Tuesday.

The boy was discharged from hospital following the circumcision and was at a friend's Seville Grove home, in Perth, when he began to show signs of a reaction.

He was rushed by ambulance to Armadale Hospital before he was pronounced dead by paramedics.

His seven-month old brother was taken to Perth Children's Hospital for emergency surgery after suffering post-surgery bleeding.

'As with any medical procedure, proper consultation with the patient, parents and the child should be undertaken beforehand,' Dr Duncan-Smith told The West Australian. [How can a two-year old be properly consulted about life-changing - or in this case, life-destroying - genital surgery?]

'And also, clearly a history of bleeding in the family would be a red flag for for example.'

The top doctor pointed out rates of circumcision had declined in Western Australia over the last few decades.

Some 90 per cent of children were circumcised during the 1960s with rates dwindling to 10 per cent today.

Dr Duncan-Smith said more parents were turning away from the practice as there were few medical reasons to circumcise their child.

Rates continue to be remain high in developing countries such as Africa where HIV and HPV are prevalent. [Africa is not a country. Tribal genital cutting is widespread in part of Africa, killing scores of boys annually in one South African province alone every year. An American-funded campaign has cut 23 million African men, altough genital cutting is ineffective against HIV and HPV.]

Dr Duncan-Smith said circumcision was mainly still practised for religious reasons by members of the Jewish and Muslim community. [And the relevance of that to medicine is...?]

Homicide detectives were called in to investigate following the death of the toddler, but WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said the situation is not being treated as suspicious.

'There are no suspicious circumstances – this medical procedure took place at an authorised medical facility,' he said.

'It appears that this is a very tragic case.

'But I've got no information to suggest that there's anything untoward in terms of criminal acts or anything like that.'

Detectives worked with the family to complete a report for the coroner.

Daily Mail (Australia)

December 9, 2021

Toddler, 2, dies and his baby brother is fighting for life 'after botched circumcisions' as homicide cops are called to investigate

by Nic White

A two-year-old boy has died and his baby brother narrowly survived life-saving surgery after allegedly botched circumcisions.

The boys were rushed to hospital after the procedures at a medical clinic in Perth's southeast suburbs on Tuesday night.

The toddler was declared dead on arrival at the hospital's emergency department and his brother rushed to Perth Children's Hospital, Seven News reported.

There the little boy, believed to be seven or eight months old, had emergency surgery and spent the night in the ICU.

He is believed to be in a stable condition and recovering in hospital.

Homicide detectives were called in to investigate, but Western Australian Police said the two-year-old boy's death is no longer being treated as suspicious.

'It can be confirmed the boy underwent a medical procedure at a registered medical centre prior to his death,' police said.

The investigation has been turned over to the coroner and a report will be prepared by police.

Palm Beach Post

Septermber 23, 2021

Parents of two baby boys claim Palm Beach County doctor botched circumcisions

by John Pacenti

When the Florida Board of Medicine decided in February to overrule an administrative judge and revoke Dr. Berto Lopez’s license, his lawyer vowed an appeal.

Elena Ris, who is also Lopez's sister, told the board her brother had lost all his hospital privileges and posed no threat to the public. He couldn’t do surgery, she said, without supervision.

But that didn’t stop Lopez. He used a 10-day lag before the board’s decision became official to keep seeing patients.

In May, the parents of an infant boy came forward to tell The Palm Beach Post that less than two weeks after the decision to revoke his license, Lopez botched their 10-day-old son’s circumcision. The baby lost a third of his penis and his urethra was cut, they said.

Lopez had told the parents not to worry, that the bleeding was normal. He insisted on a $250 cash payment.

“He didn’t care. He was a liar. He shouldn’t have been operating on our son or anybody else,” said the infant’s mother, whom The Post is not naming to protect the boy’s identity.

Lopez decided not to appeal the board’s revocation of his license. The board addressed the 10-day lag in August, prioritizing the filing of orders suspending or revoking doctors' licenses.

Lopez had mishandled a circumcision at least once before, records show.

In 2017, Lopez amputated an infant’s penis, according to a lawsuit.

“A penile and scrotal ultrasound was performed and no tissue identifiable as glans penis is present,” the lawsuit stated. 

The case concluded as many malpractice cases do: with a confidential settlement.

Rocket Science

July 16, 2021

US CDC confirms Kenya inflated male circumcision data

by Gatonye Gathura

A fact-checking study by the US CDC has confirmed as false previous data claiming ridiculously high male circumcision rates in Kenya’s HIV control programme.

The verification exercise involved physically examining study respondents for actual circumcision to avoid being presented with fakes.

“We have demonstrated that the initial programme data published in 2018 provided inflated estimates of male circumcision prevalence,” says the fact-checking report.

The report published on Thursday (July 15, 2021) in the journal Plos One says the fact-checking had been provoked by conflicting reports of huge success and yet persistent high demand suggesting a need for more funding.

The 2018 report had claimed success rates of more than 100 per cent in Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay and Migori counties. 

PEPFAR in Kenya

However, the new data shows estimation had been puffed by between 25 per cent and 33 per cent in the 10-14 year age group and about 12 per cent in the 15-29 year age group.

For example, the 2018 data had indicated 180 per cent coverage in Homa Bay County, while the new report puts this at 75.6 per cent.

Last year the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), who is funding the programme, suspended the circumcision of boys under 15 years.

This action followed a study by several US agencies and the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) showing that some non-governmental bodies have been recruiting underage boys for circumcision by bribing them in order to meet high targets and secure funding.

The information also showed more than 36 boys and infants had lost their manhood in the 15 African countries implementing the project with the highest casualties being in Kenya and South Africa. 

More Funding

Most of the injuries were due to the use of inappropriate forceps that have been banned since 2014. The forceps are known to be quicker than recommended alternatives, which means more cuts and hence more funding.

“These boys have suffered injuries that may cause permanent disfigurement, functional impairment, and lifelong psychological impact,” said the Kemri study.

To make sure they were not shown fakes, the fact-checkers in the new study had insisted on physical examinations to make sure the study participants had actually been circumcised.

“Overall, 95.5 per cent, 3,410 of the participating 3,569 study respondents consented to and were examined for physical verification of their circumcision status,” says the report.

Lucrative Supply Pipeline

The US, whose private sector is a major player in the lucrative HIV biomedical supply pipeline has characteristically remained vague on the reasons or identities of those behind the data manipulation or causing harm to the young boys.

“We did not get evidence confirming that project data in Kenya were intentionally exaggerated,” the CDC-Nairobi had told this writer after the 2018 report. A similar trend is also evident in the current fact-checking report.

Reasons for the overestimation, the new report says remain unclear. “Regardless of the basis for the previous overestimates, this survey has provided up to date male circumcision prevalence data which form a good reference for setting realistic future targets,” says the fact-checkers. [No question of re-evaluating the worth of the programme...]

Others in the study included Kenya’s Ministry of Health, US CDC Nairobi and Atlanta, Jhpiego, Nairobi and Maryland US and USAID Nairobi.

The study is available here.

Convicted for asking. Nobody cut.

ABC New (Australia)

June 23, 2021

Women plead guilty to planning female genital mutilation of two-week-old baby girl in Perth

by David Weber

Two women have pleaded guilty to charges related to their attempt to have a baby girl circumcised in Perth.

The women, aged 23 and 50 at the time, faced court in March after being charged with conspiracy to commit an indictable offence.

They have pleaded guilty to conspiring in Canning Vale to commit unlawful genital mutilation.

The baby girl was two weeks old at the time of the offences in January.

Police had said they were alerted after the women approached a doctor and asked them to conduct a female circumcision on the baby.

The baby girl was two weeks old at the time of the offences earlier this year.

The doctor refused and the procedure did not happen.

The women entered their guilty pleas when they appeared in Armadale Magistrates Court on Tuesday morning and will be sentenced in the District Court in Perth in August.

The pair did not speak to the media outside the court.

When the women were charged in March, WA Police said "practices which may be acceptable by some cultures and in some countries may constitute criminal offences in Western Australia".

Procedures that remove part or all of the external female genitalia or cause injury to female genital organs for non-medical reasons are illegal across Australia.

It is believed around 53,000 women live with female genital mutilation across the country.
(True but misleading: they were all born overseas.)

Clinical practice guidelines from WA's Women and Newborn Health Service explain that the procedure is usually carried out between the ages of 4 and 10 years old, but may be conducted "just before marriage, during pregnancy or post-birth".

"The motivation for communities to practice [female {or male} genital mutilation] varies wildly but includes psychosexual and sociological reasons, hygiene and aesthetic reasons and myths," it reads.

"It is a practice that is deeply entrenched in cultural heritage and traditions."

Australia's first prosecution for female genital mutilation was recorded in November 2015.

(A conviction for merely asking a doctor to "circumcise" a girl seems an excellent springboard from which to discuss why the law is not sex-neutral.)

And if he may choose for himself, why not all men?

Evening Standard (London)

June 15, 2021

Boy taken from Muslim parents should not be circumcised now – judge

Mr Justice Cobb says a decision about circumcision should be deferred until the 21-month-old boy is older and able to ‘make his own choice’.

by Brian Farmer

A 21-month-old boy who has been taken from his Muslim parents and gone into council care should not be circumcised now, a judge has concluded.

Mr Justice Cobb has decided that a decision about circumcision should be deferred until the boy is older and able to “make his own choice”.

The boy had been taken into care shortly after birth, Mr Justice Cobb heard, and placed with relatives, who are not Muslim.

Council social service bosses had raised welfare concerns after a sibling suffered “non-accidental injuries”.

The boy’s mother had asked Mr Justice Cobb to rule that he should be circumcised, in accordance with Muslim custom, and said the procedure should take place before he turned two.

But council social services bosses said a decision about circumcision should be deferred until later in the boy’s life.

A social worker told the judge that the boy might not align himself with the Muslim faith as an older child and may view his circumcision in a “negative way”.

The couple the boy lives with also said the decision should be deferred until he was older.

Mr Justice Cobb considered rival arguments at a recent private hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in Leeds.

He outlined his decision in a written ruling published on Monday.

The judge said the boy could not be identified in media reports of the case and referred to him as “P” in the ruling.

He said: “I have concluded that the decision to circumcise P should be deferred until he is able to make his own choice, once he has the maturity and insight to appreciate the consequences and longer-term effects of the decision which he reaches.”


May 8, 2021

Pediatricians say Alabama transgender bill could outlaw circumcision

by Amy Yurkanin

A controversial bill that would outlaw some hormonal and surgical treatments for transgender youth could also inadvertently ban routine infant circumcisions, according to the Alabama Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Linda Lee, executive director of the chapter, said members became concerned early on about language regarding “removing any healthy or non-diseased body part or tissue” under a list of prohibited treatments. Violation of that section is a felony. Lee said the bill was changed, but not enough to clarify regulations for doctors who perform circumcision to remove foreskin from the penis.

“It is our opinion that it still doesn’t fix the problem of the confusing language,” Lee said. “We know that the intention was for it not to include circumcision, but we are skeptical that the amendment solved the semantics issue.”

Officials from the chapter drafted an amendment to the bill, but it was not adopted, Lee said. The American Academy of Pediatrics opposes bills to regulate the medical care of transgender youth. In March, Academy President Dr. Lee Savio Beers released a statement on the issue.

“Several state legislatures have introduced bills that would prohibit gender-affirming care for gender-diverse and transgender youth and forbid transgender youth from participating on sports teams according to their gender identity,” Beers said. “These bills are dangerous. If left unchallenged, there will be transgender teens in certain zip codes who will be unable to access basic medical care, and pediatricians in certain zip codes who would be criminalized for providing medical care.”

The list of treatments that would be illegal in Alabama come under a section that would prohibit them if performed to “alter the appearance of or affirm the minor’s perception of his or her sex.” Circumcisions are typically performed by doctors within the first 10 days after birth and can happen in the hospital nursery or doctor’s office. The procedure changes the appearance of a child’s genitals but is widely practiced in the United States.

Sen. Shay Shelnutt, R-Trussville, the author of the transgender treatment bill, could not be reached for comment. The bill has passed the Senate and was approved by a House health committee. It remains on the schedule in the waning days of the legislative session, which ends on May 17.

“This error is predictable when legislators try to practice medicine,” said Dr. Pippa Abston, a pediatrician in north Alabama.

The American Academy of Pediatrics said [in 2012, a policy that expired in 2017] the benefits of circumcisions [are insufficient to recommend it, but - without the AAP having any figures for major complications or deaths] outweigh the risks. Some communities routinely circumcise infant boys for religious or cultural reasons.

Rabbi Yossi Friedman, executive director of Chabad of Alabama, said a bris is one of the oldest Jewish traditions. The religious ceremony celebrates new life and is held when a child is circumcised on the eighth day after birth. Religious circumcisions are similar to medical ones but are performed by trained Jewish practitioners.

Friedman said if the law passed and was interpreted to include circumcision, it would likely be challenged as an infringement on religious liberty.

“What would happen if this law passed?” Friedman said. “I’m going to go jail. That’s what’s going to happen. Because I’m not going to stop practicing my Judaism.” [He makes it all about him. No reference to the men who might not have wanted to live out their lives with Rabbi Friedman's practice of his Judaism on them.]

Friedman said people who support the law should think about its possible unintended consequences, including those that would prevent parents from raising children within the traditions of their faith.

“The very people who support this law in most cases would be very hesitant to come along and have the government tell us what to do as parents and how we raise our children,” Friedman said.

Friedman said people who have concerns about the medical treatment of transgender youth should find other ways to address them outside the legal system.

“Every time a law is passed, every time the government takes a step, there are unintended consequences,” Friedman said.

[There is no suggestion that minors should undergo gender-affirming surgery; in fact the point of puberty blockers is to delay the need for that until they are old enough to give their informed consent. But the fact that this would outlaw both infant male deforeskinning and sex-assignment surgery of healthy sex-variant babies is a feature of this law, perhaps the only feature, not a bug.]


19. apr, 2021

Partier fordømmer pres fra USA og Israel om omskæring: 'Upassende', 'utilstedeligt' og 'over stregen'

Liberal Alliance og Enhedslisten mener, det er stærkt problematisk, at USA og Israel har lagt pres på den danske regering i spørgsmålet om omskæring af drenge.

Morten Henriksen
Anders Byskov Svendsen
Rasmus Bøttcher Christensen
Søren Larsen

Både Enhedslistens gruppeformand, Peder Hvelplund, og Liberal Alliances gruppeformand, Ole Birk Olesen, fordømmer det pres, som USA og Israel har lagt på Danmark i debatten om et forbud mod omskæring af drenge.

Fra både rød og blå side i Folketinget lyder der hård kritik af USA's og Israels indblanding i den danske debat om et forbud mod omskæring af drenge under 18 år.

21Søndag kunne i aftes fortælle, at både USA og Israel har lagt pres på den danske regering for at undgå, at Danmark som det første land i verden skulle indføre et forbud mod omskæring af mindreårige.

- Det er at gå over stregen i forhold til, hvad gode alliancepartnere gør ved hinanden. Et land har ret til at selv at bestemme, hvad man vil gøre mod børn i landet. Det skal andre lande ikke blande sig i på den her måde. Der er ikke tale om, at man vil gøre grimme ting ved børn i Danmark – tværtimod. Der er tale om, at man vil beskytte børnene mod et kirurgisk indgreb, der ikke er nødvendigt. Så det er upassende af de to lande, siger Ole Birk Olesen, Liberal Alliances gruppeformand.


"Danmark skal selvfølgelig have lov til selv at bestemme, om forældre må lade deres børns forhud skære af uden nogen medicinsk grund. Det skal USA og Israel ikke blande sig i
Ole Birk Olesen, Liberal Alliance


DR Nyheder har fået adgang til en lang række dokumenter, der kaster lys over, hvad der skete i tiden op til Mette Frederiksens afgørende beslutning om at sige nej til et forbud.

Dokumenterne viser, at særligt USA, Israel og store jødiske interesseorganisationer lagde et hårdt pres på Danmark for ikke at vedtage et forbud.

DR er i besiddelse af et dokument med budskaber, som udenrigsminister Jeppe Kofod (S) havde med til et lukket samråd om omskæring den 16. november sidste år. Her fremgår det tydeligt, at USA og Israel havde vist tænder.

’USA og Israel har begge i klare vendinger udtryk stor bekymring over et eventuelt forbud mod omskæring af drenge under 18 år.' ...

DR News (Copenhagen)

19 April, 2021

Parties condemn pressure from US and Israel on circumcision: 'Inappropriate', 'inadmissible' and 'over the line'

The Liberal Alliance and the Unity List believe that it is highly problematic that the United States and Israel have put pressure on the Danish government on the issue of circumcision of boys.

by Morten Henriksen, Anders Byskov Svendsen, Rasmus Bøttcher Christensen, Søren Larsen

Both the Unity List's group chairman, Peder Hvelplund, and the Liberal Alliance's group chairman, Ole Birk Olesen, condemn the pressure that the United States and Israel have put on Denmark in the debate on a ban on circumcision of boys. (Photo: Mads Claus Rassmussen and Emil Helms / Ritzau Scanpix - collage: DR News)

From both the red and blue sides in the Folketing, there is harsh criticism of the US and Israel's interference in the Danish debate on a ban on circumcision of boys under 18 years of age.

21Sunday was able to report last night that both the USA and Israel have put pressure on the Danish government to avoid Denmark being the first country in the world to introduce a ban on circumcision of minors.

"It is to cross the line in relation to what good alliance partners do to each other. A country has the right to decide for itself what to do against children in the country. Other countries should not interfere in this way. There is no question of wanting to do ugly things to children in Denmark - on the contrary. It is a matter of protecting the children from an unnecessary surgical procedure. So it is inappropriate of the two countries," says Ole Birk Olesen, Liberal Alliance group chairman.


"Denmark must of course be allowed to decide for itself whether parents are allowed to have their children's foreskin cut off for no medical reason. The United States and Israel should not interfere" - Ole Birk Olesen, Liberal Alliance


DR News has gained access to a large number of documents that shed light on what happened in the time leading up to Mette Frederiksen's decisive decision to say no to a ban.

The documents show that the United States, Israel and large Jewish interest groups in particular put heavy pressure on Denmark not to adopt a ban.

DR is in possession of a document with messages that Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod (Social Democrat) brought to a closed consultation on circumcision on 16 November last year. Here it is clear that the United States and Israel had shown teeth.

"The United States and Israel are both clearly concerned about a possible ban on circumcision of boys under 18 years of age." ...

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly

March 15, 2021

Judge: Suit to stop MassHealth from funding circumcision can move forward

by Kris Olson

A suit seeking to stop MassHealth from paying for neonatal male circumcision can move forward under state law, a Superior Court judge has decided. Plaintiff Ronald Goldman, the founder and executive director of the Circumcision Resource Center, and 27 other Massachusetts taxpayers brought their action.

"Goldman, Ronald vs. Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services

on Defendant's Motion to Dismiss and Plaintiffs' Cross Motion for Preliminary Injunction:

The Defendant's Motion to Dismiss the Complaint is ALLOWED insofar as the Plaintiffs' GLc. 29 sec 63 petition is based on 42 USC sec 1396a(30)(A).

The Motion to Dismiss, however, is DENIED to the extent the Plaintiffs' petition is based on 130 Code Mass. Regs. sec 450.204.

No action is taken on the Plaintiffs' Cross Motion for Preliminary Injunction, the Court inviting the resubmission of this motion following an appropriate period of discovery or a stipulation to agreed facts
Judge: Gordon, Hon. Robert B"

Attorneys for the Rights of the Child files Amicus Curiae brief in the Massachusetts case

February 5, 2021

Lawsuit against AAP over botched genital cutting

A family has filed a significant lawsuit against the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Princeton Medical Group, alleging constructive and intentional fraud concerning a botched foreskin removal.

Shingo Lavine was born to Adam and Aiko Lavine at the Princton Medical Center in December 1997. According to the filing, Aiko, born in Japan, had never heard of the operation, and was not asked for her consent. Adam recalls giving only oral consent to the cutting, after Dr Jeffrey L Chait told him only about its benefits.

Shingo suffered various complications, leading to a revision of the operation.

"By June 2020, Shingo experienced serious angst and anger that physisicians had circumcised him, twice, and had caused his injuries, when he had been in perfect health at birth, did not need the operation, would not have chosen it for himself, and was powerless to prevent it. He was and is also unhappy with the unsightly appearance of his penis."

The filing, which sets out in detail the history of AAP's male genital cutting policy, charges both the Princeton Medical Group and the AAP with both intentional fraud and constructive fraud.

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