Friday, June 21, 2013

Another Circumcision Death Comes to Light

I've made many posts regarding circumcision death on this blog. I hate writing them. I wish the genital mutilation of children and the deaths that attend it would stop.

I won't write long; I think I've already written enough circumcision death posts this year. Somehow, I don't think it will be the last.

This case happened back in 2008-2009 and is just now coming to light, which should lead the reader to ask, if this one is only just now surfacing, how many others have been buried and just sort of forgotten?

Basically a boy was circumcised, he lost 40% of his blood which was never replenished. His doctors tried to remain cool and calm about it, saying the boy didn't need a blood transfusion, and that he didn't need to be rushed anywhere. They acted as if the boy's condition wasn't any kind of emergency that needed immediate treatment. The boy suffered cardiac arrest while he was being transfered between hospitals by his parents in their car. In the end, the boy ended up completely brain dead due to the little oxygen reaching his brain.

Asked if they would have done anything differently, his doctors say they wouldn't have changed a thing, and still would have reacted the way they did.

"The boy had a pre-existing condition," it could be said.

"He would have died anyway."

Did the doctors test for any potential danger before having done the procedure? (Without medical or clinical indication, how could they even have elicited parental consent?)

Did the doctors act appropriately following this child's complications?

Had they acted differently, would this child have still been alive?

Did the doctors intentionally try to keep this child's case low-key?

Are the doctors acting in complete denial to save their own skins?

Read the whole story and judge for yourself:

Healthy Newborn Dies Post Circumcision Hemorrhage

Death is a risk for circumcision.

We do not know how big of a risk there is, because doctors and mohels tend to attribute circumcision deaths to something else to protect their trade, and medical organizations like the AAP can't be bothered to collect data that would jeopardize their fellows.

How many deaths due to circumcision are "acceptable," especially given the fact that this is elective, medically unnecessary procedure?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

"I Did My Research" - The Quest for Scientific Vindication

The battle for genital integrity and basic human rights for boys has come a long way. Advocates of circumcision have come to realize that appeals to antiquity, tradition and religion simply aren't enough to justify the forced genital mutilation of healthy, non-consenting minors. They now call and plead with the gods of science and research to vindicate male infant circumcision, and to placate human rights activists, such as myself, as if science and research could be used to make an ethically repugnant practice morally acceptable.

While in the past, most parents confronted about the issue made appeals to their religion, or the fact that "this is what's been done in our family for generations," today, no circumcision apology is complete without appeals to knowledge and scientific research.

"Don't you insult us by posting links to studies and papers," retorts many a parent defensively; "We've done our research."

There are a few things wrong with this type of reasoning, beginning with the notion that an ethically repugnant practice can be made justifiable with "the right amount of research."

The second thing I find wrong with this kind of reasoning is the delusion that parents can demand procedures for their children as long as they can dig up the "research" that suits them, and that doctors are obliged to comply, like servants at their beck and call. For any other medical treatment and procedure, it is usually the doctor's professional responsibility to "do the research," and determine the medical validity of a procedure. Only after a doctor has issued a diagnosis and prescribed treatment can a parent be asked to consent to treatment. Circumcision seems to be the only instance in American medicine where it is lay parents, not doctors, who are expected to determine the medical validity of a surgical procedure, and then doctors are expected to act on this judgement, whether it be consistent or inconsistent with the medical trends of the time.

But thirdly, what I find particularly disconcerting about about "we've done our research" is the fact that, if current position statements from the most respected medical authorities in the world are correct, this is simply not possible.

The fact is that the trend of opinion on routine male circumcision is overwhelmingly negative in industrialized nations. No respected medical board in the world, not even the AAP, recommends circumcision for infants. All of them, including the AAP in their latest statement, state that there isn't sufficient evidence to warrant this endorsement, much to the chagrin of circumcision advocates.

It is simply not possible, then, that parents who defend their decision to have their male children circumcised "did their research."

Parents who claim having "done their research" and choose in favor of circumcision take an unfounded position against the best medical authorities of the West.

"We've done our research" is, then, a poor attempt at sounding intelligent, that human rights activists in the know will see through rather quickly.

Let it be clear...
No respected medical organization endorses male infant circumcision, not even the AAP. The most respected medical organizations in the West have weighed the current body of evidence, and have found it to be insufficient to recommend the circumcision of infants.

It is simply not possible, then, that parents who choose in favor of circumcision "did their research."

It is fallacious to expect lay parents to examine the same body of evidence, and come up with a more reasonable conclusion than that of entire organizations of medical professionals.

It is medically fraudulent that parents are being allowed to make a "choice" that is inconsistent with the conclusions of entire organizations of medical professionals, that doctors pretend that they can comply with such a "choice," and that public coffers are expected to reimburse them.

Without medical or clinical indication doctors have no business performing surgery on healthy, non-consenting minors, let alone be giving parents any kind of a “choice.”

Genital mutilation, whether it be wrapped in culture, religion or “research” is still genital mutilation.

It is mistaken, the belief that the right amount of “science” can be used to legitimize the deliberate violation of basic human rights.

Related Posts:
Politically Correct Research: When Science, Morals and Political Agendas Collide

AAP: Around the Bush and Closer to Nowhere
OUT OF LINE: AAP Circumcision Policy Statement Formally Rejected

TU QUOQUE: The AAP Fends Off Accusations of Bias

The Circumcision Blame Game

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Intactivism Isn't Making Anyone Rich

There is no money in trying to convince people to do nothing.

It'd be nice if I could leave the job I do every day and live off of trying to convince people that cutting children is wrong.

The sad reality is that while circumcision promoters get cuts (pun absolutely intended) in the form of grants, foreign aid, and getting paid for performing circumcision itself, intactivists have to sacrifice a lot of their time and money to get our message across.

Circumcising a child pays; allowing him to go home whole does not.

Yet I have read here and there, on Facebook, on parenting forums etc., accusations to the effect that intactivists are being "funded by millionaires."

I have never heard of a more ignorant straw-man, ad-hominem accusation.

While intactivists take time out of their busy schedule, not to mention precious time they could be spending with their family and loved ones, not to mention time they could be spending for themselves (e.g. going to school, improving their skills, another job, etc.), there are circumcision promoters whose sole source of income is the promotion of circumcision, if not performing circumcision itself.

The ignorant accusation that "intactivists are being funded by millionaires" stems from the fact that at one point, an intactivist organization, Intact America, got a kick-start grant of a million dollars from a single donor.

While this is irrefutable fact, it's a stretch to say that we're being "funded by millionaires."

Intact America is only ONE organization who got paid one million dollars, one time, by one donor, but that was a long time ago, and that money is gone now. No other intactivist organization has gotten a donation anywhere close to that amount. Intact America now survives on donations it can muster from willing intactivists.

But while circumcision advocates point their fingers and accuse intactivists of being involved in a money-making scam, they either seem oblivious to what's happening in their own camp, or they're deliberately trying to draw attention away from it.

Yes, at one point, Intact America got a million dollar grant from a generous donor.

But how much money do circumcision promoters get?

How much money are circumcision "researchers" like Maria Wawer, Ronald Gray, Robert Bailey, Daniel Halperin, etc., etc., getting for their work in the way of grants and scholarships?

How much money is PEPFAR handing over to PrePex and other organizations to circumcise 20 million Africans?

"Funded by millionaires?"

It would sure be nice if we could get someone like Bill Gates to donate to us the amount of money he's paying circumcision promoters in Africa.

It'd sure be nice if we could get money from the World Bank, UNAids, WHO, PEPFAR etc. to promote HIV prevention to those who don't want to get circumcised.

It'd sure be nice if the NIH, Johns Hopkins, etc. would give grants to researchers who want to find ways to prevent HIV WITHOUT circumcision.

It'd be nice if intactivists were given money to ready information packages, fly to Africa and educate the people of Africa on STD prevention, hygiene etc.

It'd be nice if we could pay artists to write songs about intactivism and speak out against male genital mutilation at HIV/AIDS conferences.

But we just don't have that kind of money.

Circumcisers get cash for their work. For many, this is their sole occupation.

It's intactivists who have to scrounge around for cash, when and if time and circumstances allow, and only after their own obligations and commitments.

When you look at just how much money is being pumped into circumcision promotion and facilitation, it's kind of ridiculous, not to mention dishonest and insulting, to hear a circumcision advocate try and discredit us by accusing us of being "funded by millionaires."

Ad lazarum, ad hominem and projection all rolled into one.

Related Posts:
PEPFAR To Blow Millions on PrePex

External Links:

The 'Circumcision Song' Hits Airwaves Across Africa Thanks to Bill Gates' Funding

Friday, June 7, 2013

CIRCUMCISION DEATH: Yes, Another One - This Time in Israel

And the story repeats itself, yet again.

Another baby dies following his circumcision, and, again, circumcision didn't kill him, it was something else.

It's always something else, isn't it.

The men with the knives are never to blame.

Reads the Jewish Press article:

"It was reported by the rabbinate that “since the initial diagnosis, the doctors who treated the baby were convinced that the complication in the baby’s condition was not the result of the circumcision but resulted from a previously existing medical condition."

What could it have been, then? Was there anything done to determine there were any "previously existing medical conditions" prior to the boy's mutilation?

“An investigation revealed that the mohel who performed the circumcision is a veteran, certified mohel,” said the Rabbinate’s statement. “The mohel followed procedure and performed a test on the baby after the rite. Only about half an hour after circumcision did signs of the medical complication in the child began to appear, not related to the circumcision itself. The mohel accompanied the family to the hospital.”

Yes, being a "certified veteran" already puts one beyond suspicion, doesn't it. What is the reason this "veteran" performed the "test" after, not before the procedure?

Read it again:

"Only about half an hour after circumcision did signs of the medical complication in the child began to appear, not related to the circumcision itself."

The deliberate denial in this story is absolutely unbelievable.

"A week ago, at about 11 AM, MDA paramedics were called to a synagogue in Holon, after an infant who had undergone a rite of circumcision there had stopped breathing and lost consciousness, shortly after the ceremony. The rescue crew took him to Wolfson Medical Center. After resuscitation in the hospital shock room, the baby’s condition stabilized."

Yes, I'm sure the fact this child died had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that he was submitted to a needless, excruciatingly painful circumcision prior. This sounds awfully familiar to the Amitai Moshe case that happened in England.

"After investigating the circumstances of the case, it was discovered that the circumcision had actually been performed flawlessly..."

Yes, "flawlessly." So "flawlessly" that the child is now dead.

I wonder what constitutes as "flawless." Is that anything like a "flawless" female sunat?

"...and apparently baby choked during feeding.

'The bris had concluded safely and then everyone sat down to eat,” Abraham, a friend of the family, related. 'He was nursing from his mother and then she put him in his cart. At some point we noticed that the child was not responding and had turned blue.'"

Got that? It was the mother's fault. She should have known better than to feed him.

It is simply beyond belief the way the painfully obvious is ignored here to protect tradition and evade responsibility.

This wasn't the first time this has happened, and, until people have the honesty and integrity to call a spade a spade, it won't be the last.

In the UK, another boy, Amitai Moshe, goes into cardiac arrest immediately after his bris. The verdict of his inquest a few years later? Amitai Moshe died of "natural causes," and the fact that he started having breathing problems and started bleeding through his nose and mouth had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that he was ritually circumcised just minutes before.

Read the shameless story here.

(Read Jewish Press article on the current incident in Israel here.)

Related Posts:
CIRCUMCISION DEATH: Yet Another One (I Hate Writing These)

CIRCUMCISION: The Silent Killer
Circumcision KILLS
CIRCUMCISION: Another Baby Dies

Intactivism: It's Not Just for Gentiles Anymore

Saturday, June 1, 2013

PEPFAR To Blow Millions on PrePex

PrePex had been running paid ads on high-end news outlets bidding for the WHO approval that would allow them to cash in on the African HIV/circumcision pie. They had a video on BBC, and ran dedicated articles on the Washington Post and the New York Times, as well as others.

Well, it looks like PrePex entrepreneurs have finally gotten their wish. According to the New York Times, the WHO has finally given their approval for the PrePex device, and PEPFAR leader Eric Goosby has already pledged to buy PrePex devices to circumcise as much as 20 million boys and men in Africa by 2015, under the ostensible pretense of "reducing HIV."

Grinning like a french poodle

In the New York Times, PrePex CEO Tzameret Fuerst said that the estimated price for each PrePex device would be an estimated $15 to $20 range. If PEPFAR pays for 20 million devices, that's a minimum of $300,000,000 a maximum of $400,000,000 American tax dollars that the program would spend on a dubious practice with speculative benefits, a waste of money considering that there are cheaper, less invasive, more effective ways of preventing HIV transmission.

No Demonstrable Scientific Proof Circumcision Prevents HIV
The sound bite that "circumcision reduces HIV 60%" is repeated over and over like a mantra, the WHO has given their blessing, and interested programs and manufacturers are promising to circumcise millions for foreign aid, but there is actually no scientifically demonstrable proof that circumcision does anything to prevent HIV transmission.

Close scrutiny of the so-called "research," however, reveals that there is actually no demonstrable scientific proof that circumcision does anything to prevent, or even "reduce the risk" of HIV at all, let alone by "60%." Circumcision promoters brush past this fact by distracting their listeners with the less-than impressive "60%" figure, and by mentioning how many men are "lining up to get circumcised." They need the money now, now, now.

There have been recent attempts to posit yet another hypothesis that attempts to explain "how circumcision prevents HIV," but they miss the mark, instead arriving at irrelevant conclusions, and not coming anywhere closer to furnishing the causal link for the so-called "effect" the much talked about "studies" were supposed to measure in the first place. Without a causal link, the "studies" are nothing more than statistics embellished with correlation hypothesis, and the efforts to circumcise millions in Africa are myth-based, not evidence-based.

African Men Not Buying into Circumcision for HIV Prevention
Despite the hyped up "mass circumcision" programs in Africa, it's been report after report of programs failing to meet their quota of circumcising boys and men in the past year.

Though they tried and tried, the much hyped Soka Unkobe program failed in Swaziland, where approximately 34,000 out of the expected 200,000 men (about 17%) were circumcised. Rather than abandon the strategy to mutilate the genitals of the men of Swaziland, American organizers are trying to figure out "what went wrong."Apparently, they feel they feel getting men to agree to have part of their penis cut off is simply a matter of "sending the right message." There is something wrong with an HIV prevention program that measures its progress by how many men they've circumcised, and not by how many they've educated about condoms and safe sex.

Three years into the 5 year program, only 80,000 of 1.2 million targeted men (about 6.7%) have been circumcised in Zimbabwe, and here too circumcision promoters are scratching their heads. Why aren't the men biting?

[There is no evidence that circumcising men in Zimbabwe has any effect against HIV.]

Zimbabwe - more circumcised men had HIV in 2005 and still do
Click to enlarge

In Botswana, programs are also failing to convince men to cut off part of their genitals. One program circumcised only 685 out of an intended 10,000. In another program, promoters convinced only 360 out of 2560 men (approx. 14%) to get circumcised. Here too, promoters are dumbfounded and can't find the right people to blame. It couldn't possibly have anything to do with the fact that they're trying to convince men to undergo permanently altering surgery on their genitals, could it?

In Zambia, circumcision uptake has also been low.

In Kenya, Homabay district, only 11,000 men have been circumcised out of the estimated 42,000 since September 2008 when the program was initiated. Here too, circumcision uptake has been low, so coordinators are targeting children who are neither at risk for HIV, nor putting others at risk, not to mention the ethical dilemma of forcibly cutting off part of the genitals of healthy, non-consenting individuals. (So much for "Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision.")

The WHO may have given their coveted blessing to plunder African HIV funds to PrePex, and PEPFAR leader Eric Goosby may have pledged American money to pay for their devices, but it remains to be seen whether the devices will actually ever be used, or if they'll simply remain sitting in storage compartments unused.

While a failure to implementing PREPEX would be ironically heartening insofar as it shows that African men aren't buying into the circumcision propaganda, it remains disturbing that millions of dollars that could be providing more effective aid and advances in public health are being wasted and squandered by PEPFAR.

Real World Data Fails to Correlate with "Findings"
While the "60% reduction" claim is repeated, it fails to manifest itself in the real world.

It is interesting that PEPFAR is so eager to help circumcise millions of men in Africa, while circumcision has done America no favors in terms of HIV reduction.

80% of America's male population is circumcised from birth, yet AIDS rates in some US Cities rival hotspots in Africa. In some parts of the U.S., they're actually higher than those in sub-Saharan Africa. According to a 2010 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, rates of HIV among adults in Washington, D.C. exceed 1 in 30; rates higher than those reported in Ethiopia, Nigeria or Rwanda.

The Washington D.C. district report on HIV and AIDS reported an increase of 22% from 2006 in 2009. According to Shannon L. Hader, HIV/AIDS Administration, Washington D.C., March 15, 2009, "[Washington D.C.'s] rates are higher than West Africa... they're on par with Uganda and some parts of Kenya." (Hader once led the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's work in Zimbabwe)

According to a recent report:

"HIV/AIDS is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States among people age 15 to 24, and half of young people infected with HIV are not aware of it. An unbelievable 26 percent of all new HIV infections are among those 13 to 24."

Countries where circumcision falls below 20%, and HIV is less prevalent than the United States (By rank in HIV prevalence):
Colombia, Argentina, Uruguay, Cambodia, Peru, Nepal, Switzerland, Vietnam, Ecuador, France, Chile, Spain, Moldova, Mexico, Italy, India, Iceland, Costa Rica, Canada, Belarus, Austria, Paraguay, Netherlands, Ireland, Denmark, Bolivia, Bhutan, United Kingdom, Belgium, Nicaragua, Laos, Bulgaria, China, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Japan, Lithuania, Mongolia, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Sweden

There is a prevalence of European, South American and Asian countries. Countries where one might expect a higher HIV prevalence rate have a surprisingly low prevalence rate. One would expect a higher prevalence of HIV in these countries, but they fare better than the United States, where 80% of the men are circumcised, instead.

Before handing out millions to gold-mining circumcision device manufacturers, PEPFAR ought to address the question of why something that never prevented HIV in this country is suddenly going to start working miracles in Africa.

PrePex CEO Tzameret Fuerst Gloats
In the following video, Tzameret Fuerst can be seen gloating about securing billions from PEPFAR, one can almost see the dollar signs in her eyes, as if she actually cared about HIV prevention. She repeats the same old circumcision/HIV propaganda, touting circumcision as a "one-time intervention with the efficacy of a vaccine." Sharp viewers may note other thinly veiled interests.

It'd be interesting to see her credentials. She holds degrees in urology, surgery and epidemiology, and can explain to us the mechanism whereby circumcision immunizes a man against HIV I'm sure.

But all is not lost; this new device makes the argument that circumcision would be "more painful, more complicated and more traumatic as an adult" a moot point, if in fact, as Tzemeret tells us, her product is "virtually painless and simple to do."

Related Posts:

CIRCUMCISION: The Washington Post Folds to the PrePex Ad Campaign

NYTimes Plugs PrePex, Consorts With Known Circumfetish Organization

Where Circumcision Doesn't Prevent HIV 

Where Circumcision Doesn't Prevent HIV II

CIRCUMCISION "RESEARCH": Rehashed Findings and Misleading Headlines
Politically Correct Research: When Science, Morals and Political Agendas Collide