National Health Group Reaffirms Right of Infants to an Intact Body

Publication Date: 
12/1989

SAN ANSELMO, CALIFORNIA (March 7, 1989)-The National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers (NOCIRC) announced today its support of the American Academy of Pediatrics' position that there are inherent risks in the surgical procedure of circumcision. We applaud the Academy for honestly reporting the inconclusive documentation in defense of the practice.

Last December, the Canadian Paediatric Society stood firm in its opposition to circumcision after reviewing this same research data.

The only two conclusive findings in the report are that babies do feel pain during the surgical procedure and that there are risks with anesthesia.

Unfortunately, adult male sexual dysfunction due to circumcision was not addressed by the report.

At the very least, NOCIRC affirms it is the right of every parent to be fully informed of the risks of the surgical procedure. NOCIRC's own research reveals that doctors who are biased towards circumcision are influenced by four factors: (1) the doctor is circumcised, (2) the doctor has sons who are circumcised, (3) the doctor has performed circumcisions, and (4) the doctor has colleagues who perform circumcisions.

The AAP emphasized the methodological flaws in the conclusion drawn by Dr. Thomas Wiswell that intact males have an increased incidence of urinary tract infection. New research presented by Dr. Martin Altschul at the First International Symposium on Circumcision held in Anaheim, CA, March 1-3, refutes Wiswell's interpretation of the data. Altschul concluded that the minor risk of urinary tract infection in less that 1.5 percent of baby boys does not justify routine circumcision of all boys. Urinary tract infections can be treated prudently with antibiotics.

A policy statement issued by the First International Symposium on Circumcision acknowledges the inherent right of every human being to his intact body. It further asserts that physicians and other healthcare professionals have a responsibility to refuse to remove or mutilate normal body parts and that parents and guardians do not have the right to consent to the surgical removal or modification of their children's normal genitalia.

NOCIRC welcomes the Academy's report on circumcision because it will further stimulate discussion about this uniquely American medical tradition.

National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers, P.O. Box 2512, San Anselmo, California 94960. Telephone: (415) 488-9883.