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NOHARMM Position Statement on
Non-Therapeutic Circumcision of Male Children

( rev. 11-12-97)

NOTE: Links with a right-facing blue arrow will take you off this site.


We agree with Blue_ArrowD096.gif (140 bytes)the positions of world medical associations that infant circumcision is a non-therapeutic intervention that should not be performed.(1-4) As a children's rights organization composed primarily of men subjected to childhood circumcision, we work to protect the ability of male children to enjoy the benefits of a whole and healthy body, as well as their inherent and fundamental human rights to physical integrity and self-determination. Non-therapeutic circumcision of unconsenting children is a social custom that denies these benefits and contravenes these rights. Accordingly, there is no “parental right” to subject children to non-therapeutic circumcision. We are unopposed to circumcision as a treatment of last resort for disease or injury. We assert that it is inappropriate and unethical for members of the medical profession to surgically alter the genitals of unconsenting children based on social custom, religion, tribal identity or family tradition.

















Non-therapeutic circumcision of unconsenting children should cease. Its inherent risks, disadvantages and significant level of dissatisfaction among those upon whom it is imposed violate fundamental medical ethics(27) and contravene human rights of the patient.(28) It is the moral duty of educated professionals, the media, religious bodies, the courts, legislators, parents and the general public to protect the health and rights of those with little or no social power to protect themselves. It is incumbent upon all segments of society to hold those institutions and individuals accountable who advocate, condone or are responsible for perpetuating removal of healthy body parts from unconsenting children.

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  1. Neonatal Circumcision Revisited, Fetus and Newborn Committee, Canadian Paediatric Society. Canadian Medical Association Journal, vol. 154, no. 6, March 5, 1996:769-780. back to text
  2. Circumcision of Male Infants: Guidance for Doctors, British Medical Association, September, 1996. back to text
  3. Position Statement: Routine Circumcision of Normal Male Infants and Boys. Australian College of Paediatrics, May 27, 1996. back to text
  4. Guidelines for Circumcision, Australasian Association of Paediatric Surgeons, April, 1996. back to text
  5. Taylor, J. Blue_ArrowD096.gif (140 bytes)The prepuce: specialized mucosa of the penis and its loss to circumcision. British Journal of Urology, vol. 77, 1996:291-295. back to text
  6. Williams, N. and Kapila, L. Blue_ArrowD096.gif (140 bytes)Complications of Circumcision. British Journal of Surgery, vol. 80, no. 10, October, 1993:1231-1236. back to text
  7. Milos, M. Circumcision:Male-Effects Upon Human Sexuality. Human Sexuality: An Encyclopedia, Vern & Bonnie Bullough (eds.), Garland Publishing, New York, 1994:119-121. back to text
  8. Fleiss, P. The Foreskin is Necessary. Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients (Port Townsend, WA), issue 153, April, 1996:64-68. back to text
  9. Male Health & Genital Care:Previous Circumcision Rationale and Modern Alternatives (chart). Doctors Opposing Circumcision, 2442 N.W.Market St., Suite 42, Seattle, WA 98107. back to text
  10. Pisacane, A. et al Breastfeeding and Urinary Tract Infection. Journal of Pediatrics, vol. 120, 1992:87-89. back to text
  11. Newborns: Care of the Uncircumcised Penis (brochure, 1/94). American Academy of Pediatrics, Div. of Publications, 141 Northwest Point Blvd., Elk Grove Village, IL 60009. back to text
  12. Wright, J. Treatment of Childhood Phimosis with Topical Steroid. Australia-New Zealand Journal of Surgery, vol. 64, 1994:327-328. back to text
  13. Jorgensen, E. Treatment of Phimosis in Boys with a Potent Topical Steroid. Acta Dermato-Venereologica, vol. 73, 1993:55-56. back to text
  14. Illingworth, R. The Normal Child: Some Problems of the Early Years and their Treatment. Churchill Livingstone, 1983:101. back to text
  15. British Medical Association letter, "Ethical Status of Male Circumcision," dated 26 February 1996 from Dr. Fleur Fisher (Head of Ethics, Science and Information Division) to Dr. John Warren. back to text
  16. American Cancer Society letter dated February 16, 1996 from Hugh Shingleton, M.D and Clark W. Heath, Jr., M.D. to Dr. William Oh of the American Academy of Pediatrics. back to text
  17. Laumann, E. Circumcision in the United States. Journal of the American Medical Association, vol. 277, no. 19, April 2, 1997:1052-1057. back to text
  18. Petition to the Task Force on Circumcision of the American Academy of Pediatrics from International AIDS Organizers, (available from NOHARMM, PO Box 460795, San Francisco, CA 94146). back to text
  19. Anand, K.J.S. Pain and its Effects in the Human Neonate and Fetus. New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 317, no.21, 1987:1321-1329. back to text
  20. Taddio, A. et al. Effect of Neonatal Circumcision on Pain Responses During Vaccination in Boys, Lancet, vol. 345, 1995:291-292. back to text
  21. Marshall, R. Circumcision: II. Effects upon Mother-Infant Interaction. Early Human Development, vol. 7, 1982:367-374. back to text
  22. Use of EMLA Prior to Circumcision. Annals of Pharmacotherapy, vol. 30, no. 11, November, 1996:1327-1330. back to text
  23. Report of the Task Force on Circumcision of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Pediatrics, vol. 84, no. 4, August, 1989: 388-391. back to text
  24. Awakenings: A Preliminary Poll of Circumcised Men, NOHARMM, PO Box 460795, San Francisco, CA 94146. back to text
  25. Hammond, T. Long-Term Consequences of Neonatal Circumcision. Sexual Mutilations: A Human Tragedy. Plenum Press, New York, 1997:125-129. back to text
  26. Rosenberg, R. Companies See $1.5b Market in Replacement Skin Products. Boston Globe, October 19, 1992:22-23. back to text
  27. Kirkey, S. Circumcision is assault, ethicist says. Montreal Gazette, October 18, 1997:A9. back to text
  28. Svoboda, S. Routine Infant Male Circumcision: Examining Legal and Constitutional Issues. Human Rights Advocates, vol. 27, Summer, 1996:7-9. back to text

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