Canadian Paediatric Society faces potential child sex scandal

In order to maintain a perception of credibility, so-called ‘peak’ medical authorities in any modern society must ensure that they observe the highest possible standards when they disseminate information to the general public. The Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) has recently let itself down in this regard by referring to source material that was originally published by a person who is currently serving time in jail for multiple child sex and child pornography offences.

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In September 2015, the CPS released an updated ‘position statement’ on the issue of newborn male circumcision. The document ultimately concluded that the CPS ‘does not recommend the routine circumcision of every newborn male’ however the CPS position statement listed a brochure called ‘Circumcision: A guide for parents’ as one of its selected resources. The primary author of that brochure was Brian Morris, a prominent Australian pro-circumcision campaigner. The brochure was originally published by ‘The Gilgal Society’, a UK-based organisation which was principally maintained by Vernon Quaintance,

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In April 2013, during a discussion that occurred on a Facebook page called ‘Response to Ignorance’, Morris confirmed that he had engaged Quaintance’s services in the publication of the ‘Circumcision: A guide for parents’ brochure. Morris badly contradicted himself during that conversation. In the first instance, he claimed that (quote) ‘I have never met Quaintance…nor have I ever spoken to (him)’. He then went on to confirm that (quote) ‘Quaintance offered to assist in production of professional quality brochures and I accepted his offer’.

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In April 2012, Quaintance was convicted of possessing child pornography. The ‘Croydon Advertiser’ reported that Quaintance had been found in possession of three video cassettes which contained seven to nine hours of ‘graphic footage of child abuse ranked at the second-highest level of severity’. The court found that  boys as young as 11 years old engaging in sex acts were discovered on the videos. The judge in that case sentenced Quaintance to a 40 week suspended jail sentence. In October 2014, Quaintance faced court again, this time on multiple serious child sex offences. It was revealed that Quaintance had ‘targeted young boys and asked them to expose themselves’. On this occasion he was jailed for 2 years and 4 months.

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After hearing of Quaintance’s first conviction on child sex offences, Brian Morris attempted to distance himself from Quaintance and ‘The Gilgal Society’. He changed the name of the publisher of the ‘Circumcision: A guide for parents’ brochure to simply ‘Brian Morris’. He also deleted every reference to Quaintance and Gilgal from his website. This action represented nothing more than a desperate and futile attempt at re-writing history. It represented hopeless and cynical brinkmanship at its finest.

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Great care, consideration and research are required when official documents are produced and published by ‘statutory authorities’. Referencing documents prepared by Brian Morris can never be a good look for any organisation which purports to provide balanced information to the public on the issue of male circumcision. Over many years, Morris has built himself a strong reputation for disseminating one-sided, agenda-driven propaganda on the issue. Professor Basil Donovan, a sexual/public health expert from the University of Sydney, has stated that Morris publishes information which is ‘dangerous’ and ‘amounts to a serious disservice to parents’. What is much more damning in this case however is that the Canadian Paediatric Society has referred to a document which was originally published by a twice convicted child sex offender. As such, the CPS has proven itself to be (at the very least) utterly careless in the preparation of its latest ‘position statement’ on newborn male circumcision.

Image sources:

1. ‘Canadian Paediatric Society’.

http://www.cps.ca/documents/position/circumcision

2 and 6. ‘Circumstitions News’.

http://circumstitionsnews.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/sydney-brian-morris-fails-to-erase.html

3. ‘Response to Ignorance’ Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/responsetoignorance

4. ‘Croydon Advertiser’, April 21st, 2012.

http://www.croydonadvertiser.co.uk/Croydon-circumcision-campaigner-caught-child-porn/story-15866127-detail/story.html

5. ‘Croydon Advertiser’, October 3rd, 2013.

http://www.croydonadvertiser.co.uk/Upper-Norwood-circumcision-fetishist-jailed/story-23040107-detail/story.html

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New petition demands government action on male circumcision

Intact2Intactivists of Australasia have launched a new petition on change.org which calls for Australian governments (at all levels) to take action to prevent the non-therapeutic circumcision of male minors. Click here to sign the petition and show your support for this important human rights cause. If we reach our target of 100 signatures, the petition will be forwarded to all Federal, State and Territory health ministers. The timing of this petition is important, since the Federal Government is currently undertaking a review of the Medicare Benefits Schedule.

The Intactivists of Australasia petition reads as follows:

It is important that Australian Federal and State Departments of Health support the human rights of all people, regardless of their age or sex. Infant Male Genital Cutting (IMGC or “circumcision”) raises human rights issues. Many men hate that it was done to them before they could resist. Its medical benefits are highly debatable – slight reductions in rare and/or late onset diseases that can be better prevented by other means and/or treated as they occur. In the 1950s, IMGC was nearly universal in Australia and is now done to fewer than one boy in 8. Over the generation that this has happened, men’s health has improved and none of the ailments for which it was supposed to be effective have shown any significant increase.

No national medical association in the world (including the American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends IMGC, but the AAP’s position was so ambivalent and culturally biased, 38 paediatricians (heads and spokespeople for the paediatric associations of Austria, Britain, Denmark, England, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden, and the Netherlands, and senior paediatricians in Canada, the Czech Republic, France and Poland) were prompted to write a rebuttal to the AAP journal “Pediatrics” (1) which concluded that:

“There is growing consensus among physicians, including those in the United States, that physicians should discourage parents from circumcising their healthy infant boys because non-therapeutic circumcision of underage boys in Western societies has no compelling health benefits, causes postoperative pain, can have serious long-term consequences, constitutes a violation of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child, and conflicts with the Hippocratic oath: primum non nocere: First, do no harm”.

Resources:

1. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/…/12/peds.2012-2896

2. http://www.circinfo.org/Medicare_circumcision_review.html

Recommendations:

1. Withdraw any support for non-therapeutic infant genital surgery (including circumcisions done for “cultural reasons”) from all medical facilities in the Federal and State Departments of Health’s charge.

2. Ensure that the non-therapeutic circumcision of minors is not included in Medicare rebates.

3. Ensure that medical students in all teaching hospitals and medical schools are appraised on the structure and functions of the foreskin, and on proper care of normal boys, especially the avoidance of premature forcible foreskin retraction and unnecessary circumcision.

If only I had ‘meowed’ when I was born: how cats are protected more than boys in Australia

Cat declawing and circumcision in AustraliaIn Australia, the declawing of cats has never been common. In at least some States specific legislation exists that prohibits declawing unless there are exceptional circumcstances (for example, the NSW Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (General) Regulation 1996). While specific legislation for other States is difficult to find, the Australian Veterinary Association  has effectively banned the procedure under its policy of only performing surgical procedures for legitimate medical reasons:

“Surgical alteration to the natural state of an animal is acceptable only if it is necessary for the health and welfare of the animal concerned. Performance of any surgical procedure for other than legitimate medical reasons is unacceptable.”

So the Vetinary Association ‘gets’ that “surgical alteration to the natural state of an animal” is unacceptabe, except for legitimate medical reasons.  But while surgical alteration to kittens has been banned, apparently non-medical surgical alteration to human baby boys is perfectly OK.

The key to understanding this situation is in the first sentence of this post. It appears that the Government and other organisations will act to stop abuse and cruelty where it is uncommon, such as declawing and female circumcision. But these groups will look the other way if the cruelty and abuse is common and part of our culture, like male infant circumcision.

Below are some the snippets of some of the news releases and other webpages on this subject. The parallels to infant circumcision are remarkable, yet the cats are given more protection under the law. I’ve added a few comments in red:

One of the proponents of the laws is http://www.straypetadvocacy.org. Their byline is: To Speak for Those Who Have No Voice. (Day-old infants don’t say much either…)

They say: “The U.S. and Canada are the only countries where declawing is commonplace. In many countries declawing is illegal or is considered inhumane, and you would be hard-pressed to find a veterinarian who would agree to do the operation. In the U.S., it’s quite easy to declaw preemptively, i.e., even in the absence of any scratching problem. We’ve turned medically unnecessary amputation, done for the convenience of the human, into something routine.” (Gee, that all has a familiar ring…..)

A popular cat website in Australia says: “Occasionally there are medical reasons in which it will be of benefit to the cat to declaw but these are few and far between.” (Amputate only if there is a medical reason? Cat owners have put more thought into this than many parents…)

This site continues to state: “I like to think that cat owners would accept their cats behavior warts & all & would hope that people consider that cats come with claws prior to adopting them.” (Just as baby boys come with foreskins….)

The California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) and Cat Fanciers’ Association do not want the procedures prohibited by law. The VMA objection is that “the choice to have the procedure is a private matter between a client and veterinarian.” (Or maybe your support is because your members need to make a decent living, just as Doctors don’t get paid when they just leave it alone…)

Declawing is now banned in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, San Francisco, West Hollywood, and Santa Monica. The West Hollywood ban was recently upheld by an Californian appeals court in a challenge by the CVMA. (Way to go your Honour!! Thanks for protecting all those innocent little kittens…)

This cruel procedure is also illegal in 25 nations, including the United Kingdom, France, Australia, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Brazil, Norway and Germany. Anti-Declaw advocates (often called “Pro-Claw”) have been crusading for many years for similar bans in the United States. They believe that cats’ claws are there for a purpose (sort of like a foreskin?), and that to deprive them of their basic form of defense, as well as their necessary tools for exercise and mobility is cruel and inhumane. Although consumer education has made slow progress, they believe anti-declaw laws are necessary. (Let’s see, first educate the owners (and parents), but when that fails, just work to get it outlawed. Sounds like a plan.)

It is commonly performed using a guillotine-type blade, and is always done under general anesthesia. Because of associated post-operative pain, pain control medication is often prescribed for the recuperating cat. (Well, how sweet is that… The cats ALWAYS get anesthesia, and pain meds for post-op. We sure don’t want Snowball in any pain now, do we…)

How is it that advocates for the rights of the cat can get laws passed on such issues, yet we’ve got the Australian Human Rights Commission, the Sex Discrimination Commissioner and the Australian Government who think that our boys don’t deserve the same protection?

Well, you’ll have to excuse me now. I’m going to go shred the side of my sofa with what’s left of my penis.

(Thanks to a member of a related site for the original idea and much of the content for this post, used here with his permission.)

German court rules religious circumcision illegal

After generations of reluctance to confront a ‘sensitive religious issue’ – seemingly content to allow boys to be sexually mutilated – the legal system of one of the world’s largest secular democracy’s has taken decisive action. The regional court in Cologne this week found the practice of circumcising children before they could decide for themselves amounted to grievous bodily harm, with the finding expected to set a legal precedent.

This is great news for future generations of males in Germany, who now seem destined to enjoy legal protection from forced genital cutting practices, along with a number of other jurisdictions around the world, who are also moving towards banning circumcision.

The finding comes at a significant time, with the Australian government having recently announced a review into Medicare funding of circumcision. As the world’s only national government to fund non-therapeutic circumcision surgery for male minors, perhaps this will be the wake-up call the Australian government needs. The only appropriate course of action at this time is for the upcoming ‘review ‘ to be transferred from the Health Department to the Attorney General’s Department.

Read more here.

University of Tasmania Master’s thesis recommends ‘prohibition of circumcision performed on incapable minors’.

University of Tasmania Master’s candidate Warwick Marshall has submitted a thesis which provides a blueprint for legal reform in relation to the issue of circumcision in Australia. Click the link below to read an abstract. (More detailed documents are available via the link).

http://eprints.utas.edu.au/11729/

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