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FREE CHOICE

Canadian Doctors to Drop Anti-Circumcision Stance

The anti-circumcision crowd is about to suffer a setback with a “revolutionary” new policy by Canadian pediatricians, who will suggest, “Let the parents decide.”

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Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Canadian pediatricians are preparing to reverse a 17-year-old policy that recommends against circumcision and instead will adopt a more balanced view that in effect suggests that the parents decide.

Recent Canadian research shows that approximately half of Canadian parents would consider circumcising their sons, and the most important single factor is whether the father is circumcised, according to a University of Saskatchewan study that was reported by the Vancouver Sun.

The Canadian Pediatric Society in 1996 adopted a clear policy against circumcisions, which is practiced by Muslims as well as Jews, and declared that circumcision is medically unnecessary for the “well-being of the child.”

Many anti-circumcision activists consider the procedure “genital mutilation” and insist that it takes away the human right of a person, even a baby, to decide for himself whether to undergo the procedure.

The new policy puts a bit of sanity back into society by actually implying that parents can decide what is best for their children, at least in terms of circumcision.

“There isn’t going to be a ‘prescription’ for Canadian males in terms of circumcision,” society president Dr. Richard Stanwick, chief medical health officer for the Vancouver Island Health Authority, told Postmedia News.

He said the pediatricians are trying to adopt a policy, to be announced in June, which will consider the risks and benefits of circumcision and also will respect personal references as well as religious issues.”

The pediatricians have been discussing a new policy for three years, an indication to the controversy that will follow whatever policy it adopts.

“There are very strong opinions on both sides of this issue,” Stanwick said. “We know that we’re wading into something that, no matter what we write, will not be strong enough for probably either side.”

American Academy of Pediatrics last year angered anti-circumcision activists by stating that the health benefits of circumcising newborn baby boys outweigh the risks.

Many African countries have adopted circumcision to prevent diseases, especially HIV, and a recent study by American doctors concluded that circumcision provides protection against urinary tract infections, penile cancer and the transmission of some sexually transmitted infections.

“The organization isn’t recommending universal circumcision. Instead, it says the final decision should be left to parents,” the Sun reported.

Stanwick said that despite the benefits of circumcision, the procedure is a surgery and therefore
not without risk,” such as bleeding and hemorrhage, infection, inflammation and tightening at the end of the penis.

About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.


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43 Responses to “Canadian Doctors to Drop Anti-Circumcision Stance”

  1. Charlie Hall says:

    For the Canadian Pediatric Society to say that circumcision is "medically unnecessary" was actually correct. We circumcise for religious reasons, not for medical reasons.

    However, today, we now know that circumcision reduces the rate of heterosexual transmission of HIV. It is now a public health intervention, as seen here:

    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6147a2.htm

  2. Anonymous says:

    The Baby has the right to have parents that do the right thing for him and that is following G-d's command that the Jewish baby be circumcised. If G-d said to do it then it must be for the good of the baby. Any logic that goes the other way is not logic but ignorance and chutzpah thinking they are smarter than the Creator!

  3. Maxwell Lightstone says:

    "Only cry for mercy"? A baby that's eight days old will cry if its leg is a bit too cold.

  4. Charlie Hall says:

    Your analysis does not address the issues as there are many ways that HIV is transmitted. That is called ignoring an effect modifier, something that invalidates an analysis. Circumcision reduces the rate of HIV transmission through heterosexual sex, but that is not the predominant means of transmission in the United States.

    http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/malecircumcision/

    I invite you to enroll in my public health classes to learn more.

  5. Ron Low says:

    The Dutch Medical Association has the most thorough policy analysis imaginable. They looked at all the same current evidence as the CPS and concluded infant circumcision has "an absence of medical benefits and danger of complications."

  6. If circumcision reduced the transmission rate of HIV the US with an adult circumcision rate of 90%+ would not have three times the HIV transmission rate as Europe and the Baltic Nations, 90%+ of whose men are intact. Even within Africa there many circumcising tribes and countries that suffer significantly higher rates of HIV transmission then traditionally non-circumcising societies.

  7. Ugh, I just love when religious barbarism is forced upon society. This is one of the largest mistakes the CPS has ever made.

  8. Ron Low says:

    The new CPS policy seems to rely on the two LEAST relevant facts affecting the decision whether to leave the baby intact:

    1) Dad's status.
    2) Sexual diseases.

    Informed adults can decide for themselves.

  9. Ron Low says:

    The new CPS policy seems to rely on the two LEAST relevant facts affecting the decision whether to leave the baby intact:

    1) Dad's status.
    2) Sexual diseases.

    Informed adults can decide for themselves.

  10. David Blum says:

    God doesn't exist and anyone who thinks people in the year 2013 should be living their lives according the the incoherent ramblings of a bunch of superstitious ignorant people who lived thousands of years ago is an idiot.

  11. Roger DesMoulins says:

    The African clinical trials were badly designed and badly executed. Because they were cut short after a mere 18 months, they shed no light on whether risk compensation applies here. I am confident that by 2030, it will be clear that circumcision is useless in the struggle against HIV in Africa. Circumcision does not protect clean women who sleep with infected men, or men who have sex with men, or those who use dirty needles to inject recreational drugs.

  12. Roger DesMoulins says:

    Circumcision is not one of the Noahide laws that apply to gentiles.

  13. Greg Allan says:

    You have just given me good cause to hate your god.

  14. What is with designer penis' and vagina's? Why are babies and children being sexualized?

  15. Cyneva Dalton-Vazquez says:

    Sad day for human rights in Canada.

  16. Cyneva Dalton-Vazquez says:

    Religion isn't a valid reason for such a violation of human rights.

  17. Cyneva Dalton-Vazquez says:

    Religion isn't a valid excuse for such a violation of human rights.

  18. Jeff Cowsert says:

    The bible you follow says to marry a virgin and if you learn she is not, then execute her. It also gives rules for slavery, promotes war, kidnapping, human sacrifice, animal sacrifice, murder, stoning, rape and mutilation. I don't believe any real god had anything to do with writing the bible you follow. The book was written by a bunch of men on self serving missions. It blows my mind how many people conveniently "overlook" the evil writings in the bible while claiming to follow it. Circumcision is the only blood ritual in the bible that is still followed. I wonder if it were performed on adults if it would still be followed or would it be dismissed like all the other disgusting items that God allegedly commanded in "his" writings of your manual of faithful life?

  19. Catherine Schau says:

    Now Canada will join the USA in being the laughingstock of all other civilized countries. Parents do not own their children and there is no reason parents should be allowed to permanently remove a healthy, normal, functional part of the child's penis. The current CPS statement is excellent and should not be altered. Doctors in other countries can see this, why can't Canadian pediatricians? Clearly they have been pressured by the AAP. Shame on them for giving in.

    http://www.circumstitions.com/Docs/aap-12-europe.pdf

  20. It is not the parent's choice to cut off the baby's arm. Why should they have to choice to cut off any other healthy body part?
    Think people! Nature put the foreskin there for a particularly good reason. Only humans would be pompous and asinine enough to think they know better how the reproductive organ of man should look and function.

  21. Catherine Schau says:

    Religious reasons do not justify infant circumcision either. Not your body, not your choice.
    Circumcision does not prevent HIV. Condoms do. You should know better but have clearly succumbed to the anti-foreskin bias of the US medical establishment.

  22. Catherine Schau says:

    False. No-one has the right to force their religious beliefs on another person.

  23. Yes Charlie, a medical intervention is most certainly needed since men cannot be trusted to make wise sexual decision or bathe properly. We knock out two big problems for men with one painful cosmetic surgery. Good call.

  24. Behold, I, Paul, tell you that if you be circumcised, Christ will be of no advantage to you. – Galatians 5:2

    And I testify again to every male who receives circumcision that he is in debt to keep the whole Law. You who do so have been severed from Christ…you have fallen from grace. – Galatians 5:3-4

    I just wish that those troublemakers who want to mutilate you by circumcision would mutilate themselves. – Galatians 5:12

    Watch out for those wicked men – dangerous dogs, I call them – who say you must be circumcised. Beware of the evil doers. Beware of the mutilation. For it isn’t the cutting of our bodies that makes us children of God; it is worshiping him with our spirits. – Philippians 3:2-3

  25. Roze Quartz says:

    Your religious rights end where another body begins.

  26. Jason Maas says:

    Perhaps they'll rethink this all in light of the European condemnation.

  27. Circumcision is barbaric and a violation of Human Rights. Yes 'even a baby' has these rights. They are still humans, aren't they? This horrible practice needs to stop. Especially on children.

  28. Franny Intactivist Lactivist Max says:

    To do that, they would have to get mass mailings….I hope you are all helping! <3

  29. Anyone who has not yet seen a circumcision video should have a look. The title reads: A Crime Against Humanity.

  30. James Loewen says:

    Ancient blood rituals acted out on the genitals of children is child abuse.

    Many Jews are questioning circumcision forced upon children. I have utmost respect for those who question, look at this issue deeply and then PROTECT their children from this genital abuse many of us have had to endure.

  31. Maria Werner says:

    "Loewen" or "Löwen" is a german word. It means "lions". James Loewen , you've got a lion's heart. :-)

  32. Jon Swift says:

    Instead of a setback, how about thinking of it as a challenge…?

  33. Please consider some things we can all agree on:
    1. Many men are deeply upset that their sexual anatomy was altered when they were babies and they had no choice.
    2. The foreskin has functions and amputing it eliminates those functions.
    3. Many of the doctors around the world believe that any claimed health benefits of circumcision are not worth cutting of healthy tissue from a non-consenting child.

    That's why I ask that we let people decide for themselves if they want to be circumcised when they are old enough to make such a complicated and personal decision. Thank you.

  34. I wonder if there is a way to welcome baby boys and baby girls into the covenant equally.

    When I reflect on halacha, I have faith that the intention is more important than the rule. I sense the intention of circumcision is to devote ourselves and our families to God. I am hopeful that we can fulfill this intention by doing as Moses instructed by circumcising the foreskins of our hearts. It seems possible to me that Moses had whole sexual anatomy and never made the choice to have part of it cut off, and yet he chose to circumcise his heart and open it fully to God. I am inspired that the instructions given by Moses can be followed in choice by both men and women equally.

    I want to be very clear that I am not against the mitzvah of circumcision. We can מוּל by cutting the foreskins of our hearts in spirit, so I wonder if we can מוּל by cutting the foreskin of a penis in spirit as well. The covenant does not specify how to circumcise.

    I would like the circumcision of children to be performed in a way that keeps their sexual anatomy whole. I wonder if the covenant could be fulfilled by sliding a metal ring onto a child's penis to imprint a mark in the flesh of the foreskin for the ceremony. I also wonder if the covenant could be fulfilled by the mother touching blood to the child's genitals as Zipporah did to Moses's genitals on the way to Egypt. After that, the Lord let him alone. This circumcision would celebrate a mother's role as protector.

    If an adult wants to have his or her own foreskin cut off, I support that freedom of choice. I ask that we please protect the freedom of children to make their own choice about their sexual anatomy when they are old enough to make such a complicated and personal decision.

    Shalom.

  35. Jude Lee says:

    So, if the father was mutilated at birth, the poor kid has to be as well? Talk about a major step back, Canada. And here I thought your doctors were smarter than the ones we have here in the US. I'm very disappointed in all of you who think it's a good idea to let circ'd men decide on what their son's penis looks like.

  36. Jude Lee says:

    Uh, not in babies it doesn't. If you are so worried your son will be sleeping around and not practicing safe sex, maybe you can educate him instead of slicing him up.

  37. I am hopeful there is a way to fulfull the mitzvah of circumcision while keeping the sexual anatomy of children whole.

  38. Just saw your video on Dr. Northrup's page. Thank you and keep doing what you do. Martha

  39. http://research.cirp.org/news1.html John Taylor, heart specialist and world's penis researcher and expert says in his 2009 October Newsletter:

    SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and circumcision: What is the link?

    It may not happen very often but when it does, infant death following circumcision is a particularly devastating event, accompanied as it is by doubts about the wisdom of circumcision for no good medical reason. Here I offer some thoughts, from the viewpoint of a pathologist and anatomist with a longstanding interest in the anatomy and development of the human heart, as well as an interest in the anatomy of the foreskin or prepuce, as outlined in my website and summarized in the preceding newsletter. The two bits of anatomy are entirely separate but I would like to explain how and why circumcision or, indeed, any physical or other trauma in the first few weeks of life might end up in sudden cardiac death resulting from disturbance of the cardiac rhythm. This is hypothesis but the basic, underlying, anatomy of the heart associated with the blood supply to the conducting system (the electrical ‘wiring’ of the heart) has not been disputed up to 10 years after publication in the peer-reviewed Canadian Journal of Cardiology.

    This newsletter was spurred by a recent (2009) SIDS case in UK, half an hour after circumcision that was deemed, by HM Coroner, to be unrelated in any way to the surgery or actions of the circumciser, who was exonerated. In other words, the baby died for no obvious reason, thus meeting the classical criterion of ‘SIDS’ (You can see how this argument gets a bit circular: SIDS almost by definition, is a diagnosis of exclusion.)

    Not necessarily so: Let`s take a closer look at the newborn heart and its nutrient blood supply. No doubt, oxygen and other nutrients reach the musculature and conducting system of the neonatal heart through coronary arteries, which are filled with blood that has passed through the lungs. However, the nutrient supply to the embryonic heart, in the first two months of human development in the uterus, during which time the heart becomes almost fully developed in the total absence of coronary arteries takes place through capillary-like sinusoidal vessels. Coronary arteries sprouting from the root of the aorta are not fully developed, especially to the conducting system, until about the time of birth at term. So, you can see the problem: at birth the conduction system of the neonatal heart may be immature with regard to its nutrient supply: it may still be dependent, at least in part, on its primitive supply through non-arterial vessels. These sinusoids come off the walls of the cardiac chambers to supply the major conducting pathway of the heart for several days or weeks after birth, at least until the coronary circulation is fully established.

    Unfortunately, the nutrient inflow into sinusoids, most of which arise from the right side of the heart (right atrium and right ventricle) is sharply reduced the moment the umbilical cord is cut, separating placenta from the baby. Blood entering the conduction system via sinusoids is now ‘venous’ and de-oxygenated, quite different from the oxygenated placental blood.

    So – this is a hypothesis, not a proven fact – any minor perturbation of oxygen levels in already de-oxygenated, venous blood would have a deleterious effect on the transmission of cardiac impulses necessary to maintain a steady heart-beat. Ventricular arrhythmia ensues and the baby dies without a mark on it. And the Pediatric Pathologist remains as mystified as ever.

    If you are in any doubt about the importance of a copious nutrient blood flow to the development of the embryonic and early fetal heart, take a closer look at the way the developing heart (which is fully developed by 2 months, much sooner than any other organ including brain) ensures placental blood flow and hence the return of nutrient blood to the right side (and conducting pathway) of the developing and early fetal heart. Both ventricles work at full blast to fill the descending aorta and, thence, a pair of extremely prominent umbilical arteries (see Gray’s Anatomy plate), at least until the time of birth. After that, the right ventricle shrinks and its much-diminished output is redirected to the now-expanding lungs, and from the lungs to the coronary and other arteries. The umbilical arteries, no longer feeding the placenta, shrink to become narrow cords between the umbilicus and liver. Of course, the placenta supplies blood, via the heart, to all other organs and tissues of the body.

    The point I am trying to make is that the heart is the first recipient of nutrient venous blood, from chorionic vessels and then the placenta. Possibly the heart and the rest of the circulatory system, by a process of natural selection, ensured the growth of the placenta over the generations. Generally speaking, however, Darwinian natural selection of advantageous traits takes place between individuals, not inside single individuals. But who knows what, exactly, determines organ size and development? Until we do know more, extreme care should be taken to avoid any insult to the neonatal body that might upset interlinked respiratory and cardiac rhythms. Circumcision for no obvious medical reason is somewhere near the top of a list of don'ts; after circumcision, babies are in a state of pain and shock; they become quiet and respiration often slows. Now with some knowledge of fetal physiology, you can figure out the rest of the story.

    As with the heart, the development of the prepuce can be seen in the context of the wider development of a system of tissues. The preceding newsletter outlines one set of possibilities, reflexes triggered by movement of the prepuce and glans affecting events (reflex contractions) at the base of the penis. It is ridiculous to suggest, as many do, that the prepuce is an isolated tissue that developed in the absence of any other penile influence. So what is the final message? Simply that interference with one tissue or even a nutrient blood flow might have knock-on effects, from sudden death to bedraggled sexual reflexes in later life, that are difficult to predict without a much-improved and more sophisticated knowledge of human anatomy and physiology.

    Bibliography:

    Taylor JR, Lockwood AP, Taylor AJ. The prepuce: Specialized mucosa of the penis and its loss to circumcision. Brit J Urology 1996;77:291-6.

    Taylor JR and Taylor AJ. The relationship between the sinus node and right atrial appendage. Canadian Journal ofCardiology 1997;13:85-92.

    Taylor JR and Taylor AJ. The thebesian circulation to developing conducting tissue: A nutrient nodal hypothesis ofcardiogenesis. Can J Cardiol 1999;15:859-866.

    Taylor JR and Taylor AJ Thebesian sinusoids: Forgotten collaterals to papillary muscles. Can J Cardiol 16;16:1391-6.

    —————————–

  40. Interesting read from Leonard Glick, MD book "Marked in Your Flesh": "that the Lord's covenant and his two definitive promises (prodigious reproduction success and a lavish land grant (all of Canaanite land) appears first in Genesis 15, an earlier J text but with one crucial difference, there is no mention of circumcision." "To seal this covenant the only requirement is that Abram offer several sacrificial animals- a heifer, goat, ram, dove, and one other bird. Here we find no mention of circumcision, no change of name, no mention of Isaac or Ishmael." "Like a number of their neighbors, the ancient Israelites had practiced circumcision, but not as a mandatory rite and probable seldom on infants; nor did they associate it with the idea of covenant."
    It was the Judean Priests who wrote Genesis 17 (P text) 13 centuries after Abraham's putative lifetime that called for male circumcision of infants. A initiation rite not so much for the infant but of the father who must circumcise his son himself for he is cognizant of the event whereas the infant is not. These type of circ.s were the cutting off the acroposthion (the part that hangs past the glans). No damage of tearing the foreskin from the glans (thus results scarring from the cut up to the tip of the glans) and no amputating the part covering the glans. The radical circ., also medically known as penile reduction, as we do happens centuries later. The Torah says not to mark the body, the original Covenant concurs with the earliest Judea.

    Rabbi Moses Maimonides:
    Over 800 years ago Moses Maimonides tells the harms of circumcision, also known as the "Rambam", was a medieval Jewish rabbi, physician and philosopher. "…the wish to bring about a decrease in sexual intercourse and a weakening of the organ in question, so that this activity be diminished and the organ be in as quiet a stateas possible." & "The fact that circumcision weakensthe faculty of sexual excitement and sometimes perhaps diminishes the pleasure is indubitable. For if at birth this member has been made to bleed and has had its covering taken away from it, it must indubitably be weakened. The Sages, may their memory be blessed, have explicitly stated: It is hard for a woman with whom an uncircumcised man has had sexual intercourse to separate from him. In my opinion this is the strongest of the reasons for circumcision."

    The underpinnings:
    Many circumcised men live with two secret fears: that they are sexually impaired and that they will be exposed as sexually impaired. As they become aware of the facts about the foreskin and circumcision, their fear that they are impaired is confirmed. As they realize that others are becoming aware of the same facts, their fear that they will be exposed as impaired comes true. The result is often a paralyzing mixture of feelings few men would care to acknowledge: shock, humiliation, anxiety, frustration, anguish, bitterness, resentment, rage, depression, despair, and envy of males whose foreskins are intact. It's not that men prefer to be circumcised, it's just that once they are, they often keep their real thoughts and feelings about it to themselves and pretend contentment or indifference in an attempt to make the best of it.
    http://www.acroposthion.com/acroposthion_024.htm

  41. Better to guide not force children. Circumcision for children makes them guilty of pleasure they will never enjoy. Cuts off 65%-85% of the male's erogenous receptors. The Canadian government forced the natives into residential schools that religions took up to teach children into their fold and be paid for it by the government. They were medically experimented, tortured, raped, and buried in mass graves. Dr. Paul Tinari is just but one to survive to come forward to claim rightly so justice, winning his suit against the Canadian Government. For punishment of masturbating, two priests held him down and a third dark haired bearded man hired to do these circumcisions, savagely grabbed his penis, ripped back his still adhered foreskin that turned his genitals red with blood, then pulled it forward and cut it off. During this Tinari put up a fight. One of the men broke his finger and gave him a black eye. The men all laughed afterwards.

    Hidden from History: The Canadian Holocaust
    canadiangenocide.nativeweb.org/

  42. Juan Andrés Alzate says:

    I can't disagree even if I wish.

  43. Anonymous says:

    At one time I worked for a very senior and well-known Orthodox Jewish physician. He told me that in 50 years as a doctor he saw very few complications from brisos done by registered mohelim. [In England recognised mohelim are registered members of the Initiation Society] The only men who can discuss the 'before and after' of a bris are converts or Jews from the former Soviet Union who had their brisos as adults. I am not aware that they are worse for having had a bris.

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