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New Circumcision Survey: Long-Term Harm, Human Rights Violations

Survey reveals widespread, long-term harms associated with circumcision
Tim Hammond, Independent Researcher
Tim Hammond, Independent Researcher

San Anselmo, CA/USA 01-Mar-2017 − A new survey of over 1,000 men circumcised at birth documents wide-ranging adverse adult outcomes and reveals considerable dissatisfaction and resentment about the genital modification.

The International Journal of Human Rights published the findings online this week in an article titled “Long-term adverse outcomes from neonatal circumcision reported in a survey of 1,008 men: an overview of health and human rights implications”. The article was published at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13642987.2016.1260007. The print version will be available in the journal’s April issue.

Most respondents were from the United States and were circumcised by physicians. Others were from Canada, Great Britain, Australia, Germany, Israel, and South Africa. According to an international newswire release issued today by Genital Autonomy America, the World Health Organization estimates over two-thirds of the world’s men are genitally intact (not circumcised).

Conducted in 2011 by independent researcher Tim Hammond and Adrienne Carmack, MD, the 44-question online survey explored physical, sexual, emotional, and self-esteem harm, as well as circumcision’s impact on interpersonal relationships, compensatory behaviors, and foreskin restoration.

Documented adverse outcomes include:

  • meatal stenosis (narrowing of the urinary opening)
  • scarring
  • penile head keratinization
  • painful erections
  • skin bridges
  • sensory deprivation
  • premature or delayed ejaculation
  • erectile dysfunction
  • feelings of mutilation
  • negative self-esteem
  • medical mistrust
  • and parental or religious alienation.

In 2012 the American Academy of Pediatrics stated that circumcision’s “benefits outweigh risks” yet admitted “the risks are unknown” and declined to recommend routine infant circumcision. Many survey respondents, however, assert the medically unnecessary and irreversible genital surgery violated their right to bodily integrity, declaring that such an intensely personal decision should be left to the individual who must live with the consequences when old enough to understand the risks and provide his consent.

A 2012 United Nations Secretary-General report “Violating Children’s Rights: Harmful practices based on tradition, culture, religion or superstition” identified female genital mutilation, infant male circumcision, and intersex genital surgeries as violating children’s rights to bodily integrity and autonomy under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“I see a multitude of physical anomalies among circumcised boys and men in my urologic practice” said Carmack. Hammond notes, “The medical community has never researched long-term adverse consequences of infant circumcision. Such investigation is long overdue.” Both authors stress that adult outcomes from infant circumcision are highly individualistic and are unpredictable when imposed on newborns.

Genital Autonomy America is a non-profit organization advocating for the rights of all children, male, female and intersex, to bodily integrity (www.gaamerica.org). 

AttachmentSize
Tim Hammond & Adrienne Carmack (2017): Long-term adverse outcomes from neonatal circumcision reported in a survey of 1,008 men: an overview of health and human rights implications, The International Journal of Human Rights, DOI: 10.1080/13642987.2016.12602.08 MB

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