Response to AAP Circumcision Policy Statement

Response to the AAP Circumcision Policy Statement and Technical Report by James W. Prescott, Ph.D., Developmental Neuropsychologist, BioBehavioral Systems Published on the AAP website August 28, 2012 The long awaited revised Policy Statement and Technical Report on circumcision has been published and strong objections to its principle findings and recommendations must be made. It is not true that Evaluation of current evidence indicates that the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks; furthermore, the benefits of newborn male circumcision justify access to this procedure for families who choose it. The unresolved injuries and risks of inflicted pain have yet to be resolved and have been reviewed by Taddio (1997,2001). The analytic legal and judicial issues of inflicting pain upon an unconsenting person were not addressed by these AAP documents. The Judicial OPINION of Judge J. Flaherty (1978), stated: The question posed by the Plaintiff, is that, in order to save the life of one of its members by the only means available, may society infringe upon ones absolute right to his "bodily security." Forceable extraction of living body tissue causes revulsion to the judicial mind. Such would raise the spectre of the swastika and the Inquisition, reminiscent of the horrors this portends... An Order will be entered denying the request for a preliminary injunction. " Forceable extraction of living body tissue to benefit another is unconstitutional. The forceable shredding of the foreskin from the glans--a fused biological organ in newborns and young children--is an act of torture, as is the stripping of the skin from the body is universally recognized as an act of torture that is prohibited by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child. a) No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment Judith Palfrey, M.D., Past President, American Academy of Pediatrics was compelled to renounce the AAP Bioethics Committee's policy statement on Ritual Cutting of Female Minors with the following statement: "The AAP does not endorse the practice of offering a "clitoral nick". This minimal pinprick is forbidden under federal law..." (17 May 2010). The House of Delegates of the American Medical Association unanimously passed a wrongful resolution that opposed all legal efforts to ban male circumcision (November 15, 2011- New Orleans). The equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the US, Constitution extends the protection of PL 104-208 to male children The trauma of PAIN inflicted upon newborns and children should be of primary concern to the Pediatrician and OBY/GYN physician. A study by David Levy (1945) established that homicidal and suicidal rage was induced by circumcision of a 6.5 year old child: "Psychic Trauma of Operations in Children", which portrays the hidden costs of genital mutilation that affects all of society and not just the child. Moses Maimonides in The Guide of the Perplexed (circa 1190) stated. The bodily injury caused to that organ is exactly that which is desired; it does not interrupt any vital function, nor does it destroy the power of generation. Circumcision simply counteracts excessive lust; for there is no doubt that circumcision weakens the power of sexual excitement, and sometimes lessens the natural enjoyment... This is, as I believe, the best reason for the commandment concerning circumcision. (Part III, Chapter 49, emphasis added). Circumcision and clitoridectomy were the nineteenth century answer to masturbation (Duffy, 1963, 1989), the only instance where surgery was sought as a solution to the mental, moral and behavioral disorders alleged to occur consequent to masturbation until the advent of HIV/AIDS. This medical doctrine was reinforced by the Vatican's publication: "Declaration on Sexual Ethics" (1975), which stated: The traditional Catholic doctrine that masturbation constitutes a grave moral disorder is often called into doubt or expressly denied today... the Magisterium of the Church -- in the course of a constant tradition -- and the moral sense of the faithful have declared without hesitation that masturbation is an intrinsically and seriously disordered act. Robert F. Drinan, S.J. (2004) in CAN GOD & CAESAR COEXIST?: Balancing Religious Freedom & International Law stated: In at least one case, the United States granted asylum to a woman who was threatened with genital mutilation in her country of origin. The court held that female genital mutilation is a form of torture--a practice absolutely prohibited by international law." p.143). To affirm that FGM and not MGM is an act of torture defies reality and judicial rulings. The American Academy of Pediatrics has misused its authority by not addressing the analytic legal, judicial, cultural and religious history of genital mutilation that has so influenced medical opinion and practices throughout human history and has corrupted its current and wrongful recommendations on circumcision. There are no religious rights or freedoms to inflict harm or injury upon another person contrary to the history of religious traditions and medical history. There are no parental or medical rights to the sexual abuse of newborns/children, which genital mutilation entails. FIRST, DO NO HARM James W. Prescott, Ph.D. BioBehavioral Systems 27 August 2012 References American Academy of Pediatrics. (2010). Policy Statement--Ritual Genital Cutting of Female Minors 0187v1 American Academy of Pediatrics (2012). Male Circumcision. Pediatrics. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2012-1990. August 27, 2012 1990 American Medical Association. (2011). American Medical Association House of Delegates adopts new policies during final days of semi-annual meeting. Press Release, November 15, New Orleans. Drinan, S.J. R.F. (2004). CAN GOD & CAESAR COEXIST?: Balancing Religious Freedom & International Law. Yale University Press. Duffy, J (1963). Masturbation and Clitoridectomy. The Journal of the American Medical Association. Vol 186, pp. 246-248. Duffy, J. (1989). Clitoridectomy: A Nineteenth Century Answer to Masturbation. The Truth Seeker Supplement. July/August. Flaherty, J. (1978). In the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Civil Division. McFall v Shimp No. GD 78-17711. Levy, D. (1945). Psychic Trauma of Operations in Children" American Diseases of Children 69(1): 7-25 Maimonides, Moses (1963): The Guide of The Perplexed. (Shlomo Pines, Trans.) Vol I &11 University of Chicago Press. Chicago. Palfrey, J (2010) eLetter of Clarification of American Academy of Pediatrics on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). May 14 Prescott, J.W. (1989). Genital Pain v Genital Pleasure: Why The One and Not the Other? The Truth Seeker, July/August 1989, pp. 14-21 Prescott, J.W. (1997). THE ASHLEY MONTAGU RESOLUTION TO END THE GENITAL MUTILATION OF CHILDREN WORLDWIDE: A Petition To The World Court, The Hague In Sexual Mutilations: A Human Tragedy. (George C. Denniston and Marilyn Fayre Milos,Eds) Plenum Press. New York and London Prescott, J.W. (2010) Genital Mutilation of Children Is Torture. eLetter to Pediatrics April 29 0189 Prescott, J.W. (2012). Human Rights Before Religious Rights. August Taddio A, Katz J, Ilersich AL, Koren G.(1997) Effect of neonatal circumcision on pain response during subsequent routine vaccination. Lancet. 1997;349(9052):599-603 Taddio A. (2001) Pain management for neonatal circumcision. Paediatr Drugs. 2001;3(2): 101-111 Conflict of Interest: None declared