Joint Response from
Georganne Chapin, MPhil, JD
Executive Director, Intact America
Marilyn Fayre Milos, RN
Executive Director, National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers
The Canadian Paediatric Society’s 2015 Position Statement
on Newborn Male Circumcision1
Tarrytown, NY—October 2, 2015
On September 8, 2015, the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) released its new statement on Newborn Male Circumcision. Appearing three years following the American Academy of Pediatrics’ report on the same subject, and two years after announcing it was forthcoming, the statement’s expressed goal is to give “guidance to health care providers and up-to-date information for the parents of newborn boys, to enable them to make informed decisions regarding circumcision.”
On a positive note (and because to do otherwise would be unconscionable), we admire the CPS for acknowledging that routine circumcision of male infants and children is not medically necessary. The statement’s authors also acknowledge the protective and sensory function of the foreskin, and recognize that it is normal (i.e., not pathological) for the foreskin to be nonretractile in a male infant or child. Further, the CPS states that applicable law and bioethical principles require that medically unnecessary surgery be deferred until a person is old enough to choose for him- or herself. If only the CPS had stopped there.
However, in an obvious effort to appease those Canadian physicians and others who continue to advocate for (and carry out) the routine removal of boys’ genital tissue, the statement’s authors confuse the issue, contradict themselves, and put forth a hodgepodge of irrelevant and even fraudulent citations in the course of their obfuscation. The net effect reveals (1) the extraordinary dilemma in which North American physicians find themselves at a time when many of their European colleagues are calling for an outright ban on the circumcision of children, and (2) the CPS’s lack of a game plan (and courage) to end the practice.
This response, jointly prepared by Intact America (IA) and the National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers (NOCIRC), highlights serious methodological and ethical problems in the CPS 2015 statement, and calls for that organization publicly acknowledge the errors, misleading information and outright dishonesty therein; to revoke, correct and reissue the document; and to follow the facts to their logical conclusion – a call for doctors to cease removing functional, protective genital tissue from children who cannot consent.
Full text available upon request.