Canadian Children's Rights Council - Conseil canadien des droits des enfants
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Circumcision - Male Genital Mutilation

Position Statements of Medical Societies in English-Speaking Countries

2003 British Medical Association
The BMA does not believe that parental preference alone constitutes sufficient grounds for performing a surgical procedure on a child unable to express his own view. . . . Parental preference must be weighed in terms of the child's interests. . . . The BMA considers that the evidence concerning health benefit from non-therapeutic circumcision is insufficient for this alone to be a justification for doing it. . . . Some doctors may wish to not perform circumcisions for reasons of conscience. Doctors are under no obligation to comply with a request to circumcise a child.

2002 Royal Australasian College of Physicians
After extensive review of the literature the RACP reaffirms that there is no medical indication for routine male circumcision. The possibility that routine circumcision may contravene human rights has been raised because circumcision is performed on a minor and is without proven medical benefit. . . . Review of the literature in relation to risks and benefits shows there is no evidence of benefit outweighing harm for circumcision as a routine procedure.

2002 Canadian Paediatric Society (reaffirmed 1996 position)
Circumcision of newborns should not be routinely performed.

2000 American Medical Association
The AMA supports the general principles of the 1999 Circumcision Policy Statement of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

1999 American Academy of Pediatrics
Existing scientific evidence demonstrates potential medical benefits of newborn male circumcision; however, these data are not sufficient to recommend routine neonatal circumcision.

1996 Australian College of Paediatrics
The Australasian Association of Paediatric Surgeons has informed the College that neonatal male circumcision has no medical indication. It is a traumatic procedure performed without anaesthesia to remove a normal functional and protective prepuce [foreskin].

1996 Australasian Association of Paediatric Surgeons
We do not support the removal of a normal part of the body, unless there are definite indications to justify the complications and risks which may arise. In particular, we are opposed to male children being subjected to a procedure, which had they been old enough to consider the advantages and disadvantages, may well have opted to reject the operation and retain their prepuce [foreskin]....The 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states that State parties should take all effective and appropriate measures with a view to abolishing traditional practices prejudicial to the health of children.


Letter to the Editor
Canadian Medical Association Journal

The Editor
Canadian Medical Association Journal
P O Box 8650
Ottawa ON K1G 3Y6, CANADA

Dear Editor,

Thanks to Eleanor LeBourdais for her accurate article, Circumcision No Longer a Routine Surgical Procedure (CMAJ 52: 18731876, June 1, 1995). Indeed, Canadian Provincial Health agencies have come to recognise that circumcision should no longer be paid for. In 1975, forty-four percent (44%) of males born in Canada were circumcised and paid for by Provincial Health agencies. By 1995, only four percent (4%)of male births had circumcisions paid for by Provincial or Territorial health agencies. (The number of recent circumcisions paid for privately is not known.) In a country where virtually all health care is paid for by Provincial or Territorial health agencies, these agencies have come, one by one, to the same significant conclusion, that the routine removal of normal penile tissue is contraindicated.

There remains but one country in the world (United States of America) where the removal of normal penile tissue for nonreligious reasons is inflicted on significant numbers of unconsenting minors. This activity still has the tacit acquiescence of physicians in this country.

Very truly yours,

George C. Denniston MD, MPH