Meet the ‘Circumcision Foundation of Australia’

In 2010, an organisation calling itself the ‘Circumcision Foundation of Australia’ (CFA) was established, with its sole aim being to reverse the dramatic decline in the number of circumcisions that are performed in Australia. The CFA presents itself as being a group of credible, well educated ‘public health advocates’ but its stance puts it severely at odds with conventional wisdom on this issue. In fact, as The Age recently reported, ‘no authoritative health policy maker in any jurisdiction with a frequency of relevant health conditions as low as that in Australia recommends circumcision as an individual or public health measure’. Anyone who takes a closer look at the activities and associations of some of this lobby group’s members will therefore surely ask themselves the following question: ‘What are the real motivations of the CFA?’

In the interests of transparency and public awareness, we at the ‘Intactivists of Australasia’ have compiled the following dossier on the key members of the CFA.

BRIAN J MORRIS:

Morris was a founding member of ‘The Gilgal Society’, a UK based pro-circumcision organisation. Until recently, that group was led by Vernon Quaintance, who was found guilty of possessing child pornography (including images of males under the age of 16) earlier this year. As of today, Morris’s personal pro-circumcision website still contains a link to ‘a list of possible circumcisers’ which features the Gilgal Society name and logo. Morris also has a poem written by Quaintance in the ‘circumcision humour’ section of his site. The same page also features a photo of a young boy with his penis trapped inside a mobile phone.

In December 2011, Morris was directed by his employer, the University of Sydney, to remove his site from their servers. Morris subsequently moved that site to another server but, curiously, a ‘whois’ search reveals that the CFA website is being hosted by University of Sydney servers.

Morris is clearly very sensitive about any criticism of his long-standing advocacy in favour of circumcision. When the international whistleblower organisation ‘Circleaks’ published details of his activities, Morris attempted to suppress it by creating a user account, which he subsequently used to delete the entire contents of the page. That attempt failed and the information revealed by Circleaks remains publicly available.

Given all of the above, it appears valid to ask the following question: Is Morris’s stance on circumcision based on ‘public health advocacy’, or is it based on something else?

TERENCE RUSSELL:

Russell is the President of the CFA. He is also the principal operator of ‘Circumcision Australia’, a small group of Doctors based in Brisbane and Melbourne who proudly claim that they have performed ‘over 30,500 circumcisions’ in the last 20 years. Russell himself has been performing circumcisions for more than 35 years. As such, Russell clearly has a significant financial vested interest in the promotion of circumcision.

In 2004, Russell was reprimanded, ordered to repay $4,488.88 and to undergo counseling by the Professional Services Review (PSR), an independent Commonwealth body established to ‘protect the integrity of the Medicare and Pharmaceutical Benefits schemes’. The PSR found that Russell ‘opportunistically diagnosed tongue-tie’ in patients referred to him for circumcisions. It found that 90% of such procedures performed by him (for which a Medicare rebate was claimed) were ‘inappropriate’ on the grounds that there were ‘no clinical indications for the services’ rendered.

Given all of the above, it appears valid to ask the following question: Is Russell’s stance on circumcision based on ‘public health advocacy’, or is it based on something else?

ALEX WODAK:

Wodak has regularly relied upon heavily criticised studies on HIV/AIDS in Africa to support his view that circumcision should be used as a frontline defense against the disease in Australia. His views on this matter lie in stark contrast with those of Australia’s peak medical body, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, which has stated that it ‘does not believe the African data can be directly extrapolated to the Australian or New Zealand circumstance’. In addition to that, Wodak, of all peope, would surely be aware of the fact that the decline in the number of HIV infections being reported in Australia since the 1980’s has occurred concurrently with a steep decline in the number of infant circumcisions being performed.

A Google search reveals that Wodak has made many statements extolling the virtues of circumcision but only one quote could be found in which he promotes the use of condoms (and he mentions circumcision in that statement too). This appears somewhat bizarre, given that the effectiveness of condoms in the prevention of HIV/AIDS is not in dispute, whereas the effectiveness of circumcision remains a matter of great controversy.

Wodak has not made his religious or cultural background public. He is, of course, under no obligation to do so (and nor should he be). It is known however that Australia’s Jewish community claims Wodak as one of their own and that he has participated in at least one public forum hosted by Melbourne’s Jewish community.

Given all of the above, it appears valid to ask the following question: Is Wodak’s stance on circumcision based on ‘public health advocacy’, or is it based on something else?

ANTHONY DILLEY:

In January 2011, The Herald Sun reported that Dilley performs ‘up to 40 circumcisions a week’. Respondents in online forums (including the ‘Huggies’ website) have claimed that Dilley receives a fee of up to $600 for each circumcision that he performs.

Dilley clearly derives a significant amount of income from a business model which is heavily reliant upon his ability to entice customers (parents) who will pay him to circumcise their sons. As such, Dilley  has a significant financial vested interest in the promotion of circumcision.

Interestingly, Dilley’s website confirms that he, like Terence Russell, has a particular interest in performing tongue-tie surgery.

Given all of the above, it appears valid to ask the following question: Is Dilley’s stance on circumcision based on ‘public health advocacy’, or is it based on something else?

MICHAEL LOWY:

The independent Australian whistleblower organisation ‘Crikey’ has Lowy on its ‘Register of Influence’, which seeks to ‘identify some of the associations between key opinion leaders and industry marketing or disease-awareness campaigns’. Lowy, who is a ‘sexual health physician’ is also a board member of ‘Impotence Australia’, an organisation which receives its funding from the makers of the three most popular anti-impotence drugs (Viagra, Levitra and Cialis). Recent studies have been published which indicate a probable link between circumcision and impotence.

Crikey does not allege any impropriety by Lowy. It invites those listed on the register to provide a response. Thus far, Lowy has declined to do so.

Given all of the above, it appears valid to ask the following question: Is Lowy’s stance on circumcision based on ‘public health advocacy’, or is it based on something else?

ROBIN J WILLCOURT:

In 1999, Willcourt was found guilty of disorderly conduct, whilst practicing as a Gynecologist/Obstetrician in the USA. The Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) subsequently found that the offense constituted ‘a crime involving moral turpitude’ and ordered him to pay $4,055.35 ‘for costs involved in the investigation and prosecution of the case against him’. It also required him to perform 20 hours of ‘uncompensated public service’. The exact details of the offence committed by Willcourt are not known however, during its deliberations, one of the members of the NBME said the following about Willcourt’s explanation of the incident: ‘just imagine you’re there in the bushes and you’re taking a leak and somebody comes up behind you and starts talking dirty and you produce an erect penis. I don’t think I buy that. I think that is inconsistent physiologically. That’s one of the biggest holes I see in this case.’ Another said ‘I have a very difficult time believing this sequence of events and his explanation for it’.

ADRIAN MINDEL:

Like Lowy, Mindel is named on Crikey’s ‘Register of Influence’. Mindel is a Professor of Sexual Health Medicine at the University of Sydney. He is also a board member of the ‘The Australian Herpes Management Forum’, which receives funding from several large drug companies, principally Novartis. As with Lowy, Mindel has declined to respond to Crikey’s listing on the register.

KAREN A DUGGAN

Duggan is a Sydney based Nephrologist (renal specialist). She is listed as a co-author of the CFA’s defining document, ‘Infant male circumcision: An evidence based policy statement’.

In its discussion of urinary tract infections (UTI’s) and renal disease, the CFA document claimed that a UK study had found that ‘cumulative prevalence (of UTI’s) to age 16 was 3.6% in uncircumcised boys’, however the article in question actually made no reference at all to the circumcision status of the boys included in its study. The CFA document also claimed that circumcision ‘protects against recurrence’ of UTI’s. It cited an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) as supporting evidence for that claim, however the JAMA article stated quite clearly that ‘the lack of circumcision documentation in 47% of male children limited our ability to accurately assess risk based on this important factor’.

These serious misrepresentations of supporting evidence clearly call into question the credibility of Duggan and indeed of all of the authors of the CFA document.

Given all of the above, it appears valid to ask the following question: Is the CFA’s promotion of circumcision based on ‘public health advocacy’, or is it based on something else?

17 thoughts on “Meet the ‘Circumcision Foundation of Australia’

  1. These revelations are explosive!

    Intactivists have long believed those who advocate for non-therapeutic circumcision always do so for reasons of self-interest (financial, religious and sexual motivations) and never for reasons of children’s health or public health, regardless of their stated motivations.

    It is appalling to see a group of Australian academics and professionals blatantly misusing their positions and profiles in society to lobby state and federal governments using false and misleading information in support of a practice which seriously violates the most private parts and most basic human rights of babies.

    Thank you for exposing this fraud. The forced genital cutting of boys has masqueraded as legitimate medicine for over a century, but the case is rapidly – finally – collapsing around the world as the harmful, medically useless and unethical (and potentially unlawful) nature of the practice is exposed.

    The Circumcision Foundation of Australia stands condemned of being nothing more than a self-interested lobby group dedicated solely to the excision of functional, erogenous tissue from the penises of healthy little boys. A practice which always results in damage, sometimes results in serious injury and occasionally results in the death of otherwise perfectly healthy little boys.

  2. Now can you do the same for the Task Force on Circumcision of the American Academy of Pediatrics. I am sure CFA will be touting the new report to be released Monday and will be using it to try to get the RACP to reverse its anti-circumcision stance

  3. A personal preference for a circumcised penis or having boys circumcised is not a public health rationale, most of the civilised world is debating the human rights and legality of infamt male circumcision!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. This expose is tough, to the point, and smart.
    The CFA is simply a front organisation for Brian Morris and his mates.

  5. The CFA and a paper by Morris both cite the Conway paper in JAMA to claim that circumcision prevents recurrent UTIs, on the basis of this sentence:

    “Among male children in whom circumcision status was known, 5 of 26 (19%) uncircumcised vs 0 of 10 circumcised children had a recurrent UTI (P = .13).”

    Morris cites the “19%” figure without any caveats.

    Not only, as Conway says, “‘the lack of circumcision documentation in 47% of male children limited our ability to accurately assess risk based on this important factor’. but those 47% are only boys with UTIs. To accurately assess risk based on this factor would also require circumcision information about the ~35,000 boys in the study WITHOUT UTIs, and even then it would only establish correlation, which could be confounded if forcible premature retraction was causing more UTIs in the non-circumcised boys.

    To summarise:
    74,974 children

    543 girls with UTI,
    75 girls with recurrent UTI,

    68 boys with UTI 26 intact 10 circumcised 32 unknown
    8 boys with recurrent UTI.
    of the 8, 5 intact boys with recurrent UTI, 3 of unknown circumcision status with recurrent UTI

    On the basis of the 5/26 intact boys with recurrent UTIs, Morris says
    “Recurrent UTIs occur in 19% of uncircumcised boys, but in none of the circumcised.” – Morris, B, Why Circumcision is a biomedical imperative for the 21st Century, BioEssays 29:11, 1151,

    This is not just wrong, it is scandalously dishonest.

    • Thanks, Hugh.

      Out of 75000 subjects, 75 girls, 5 intact boys, and 3 boys of unknown status had recurrent UTIs.
      And the CFA claims that that is grounds for eradicating the foreskin at birth as a matter of routine??

      In 1980, the pioneering intactivist Edward Wallerstein published a book demolishing all of the medical literature, extant as of that date, defending RIC. He showed how article after article defending RIC in the American medical literature relied on bizarre and shonky reasoning. I see that the illogic he found in the 1970s is still all too much with us, thanks to the CFA!

  6. I am writing a doctorate on male circumcision, and am familiar with the body of Brian Morris’s work. Unknowingly to him, he is my intellectual nemesis. Thank you for posting this, and I will keep a close eye on your site.

  7. CAN YOU PLEASE ADD THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION TO YOUR WEBSITE, I AM GOING TO GET THIS PUT ON CIRCLEAKS AS WELL.

    Dr Ginni Mansberg is an Australian GP who regularly appears on Sunrise – a breakfast television program on the Seven Network. On several occasions, Ginni has come onto the program to talk about infant circumcision, and presented heavily biased information on the issue in an attempt to persuade parents to have their boys circumcised. Mansberg is an integral part of the Sunrise program’s cleverly disguised sales campaign for circumcision. During Mansberg’s appearances on the program, she pretends to offer a balanced perspective on circumcision by covering both Benefits and Dangers of the procedure, although her pro-circumcision agenda is quite apparent when the following is taken into consideration. She mentions only a few of the immediate risks involved with the procedure, (such as bleeding and infection, which she then plays down), neglects to mention the pain and psychological trauma associated with the procedure, and tries to discredit anyone who suggests that loss of sexual pleasure can result from being circumcised, with fallacious claims like this: “There has been some arguments by some groups that it (circumcision) does decrease sexual function and sexual experience for those boys later on, although that seems to have been categorically disproved by this study”. This propaganda is contrary to the advice issued by responsible medical bodies and human rights advocates and is intended to confuse and mislead parents, and scare them into demanding circumcision for their boys.

  8. I agree with Morris you people don’t have a clue what your talking about, circumcision is a perfectly healthy procedure and protects against many diseases. Circumcising newborns should be compulsory with no exceptions, many foolish parents chose not to circumcise because of people like you who rant on about how amazing the foreskin is. A foreskin causes painful problems but with just a painless snip at birth removes all these issues. Doctors are now doing “loose circucisions” due to the anti circ crowd but this is appalling, every child should benefit from a tight cut not a filthy foreskin or loose cut where smegma and diseases can breed. Any child of mine will be cut instantly at birth, tight as possible, just as it’s meant to be. Any parent who cares about their boys would get them cut at birth as well.

    • Oh, gee willikers! What a surprise!
      A Brian Morris groupie fetishist spewing their twisted hate towards the normal, natural male body.
      You obviously know zero about male anatomy or what smegma actually is.
      Get therapy! Your self-hate is showing. Cut up your own body and leave the babies alone.

    • “A foreskin causes painful problems…”
      Very occasionally, like any body part. It usually supplies considerable pleasure.

      “…but with just a painless snip at birth removes all these issues.”
      It is not painless, regardless of the age at which it is done. It is not a snip but minor surgery. RIC “solves” to the extent that an absent foreskin cannot malfunction. But it creates new problems that American medicine refuses to investigate.

      “Doctors are now doing “loose circumcisions” due to the anti circ crowd…”
      Doctors cut less off because because of the nontrivial number of grown men who would turn up at urologists and reveal a penis not having enough skin for comfortable erections.

      “…a filthy foreskin or loose cut where smegma and diseases can breed.”
      You are prejudging the matter. Smega is harmless and washes away very easily. No irresponsible sexual behaviour, no disease except some UTIs in infancy.

      “Any child of mine will be cut instantly at birth, tight as possible, just as it’s meant to be.”
      Doing so will put his adult sex life, and that of his partners, at risk.

  9. Pingback: Joseph4GI: AUSTRALIA: "Circumcision Debate" - Australian Sensationalism?

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