Nursing Times (U.K.), 27 November 1996: PRESSURE GROUP CALLS FOR END TO MALE CIRCUMCISION Rodney Porter American nurse-led pressure groups are calling on their UK counterparts to boycott male-child circumcisions. The Northern Ireland branch of No-Circ [sic], received charity status this month. Its founder, Linda Massey, is appealing to midwives and health visitors to join the effort to end unnecessary male circumcision. She claims that side effects include scarring, bleeding, curvature, impotence, loss of ejaculation and feelings of violation. Marilyn Milos, founder of the American No-Circ, told Nursing Times: "Circumcision denies the rights of the child to bodily integrity. She claimed that when the campaign started in the USA in 1984, around 90% of male infants were being circumcised. within 10 years that figure had fallen to 59%. "Nurses should have the choice to say no if they do not want to be present when a child is being circumcised. That's what we have been campaigning for here," Ms Milos added. The GP (sic) founder of the English branch of No-Circ, John Warren, plans to lobby MPs for a change in the law. He compares male circumcision to female circumcision, which was outlawed in 1986 (sic). Dr Warren sees it as genital mutilation and believes it should be performed only with informed consent. According to Dr Warren, around 6% of male children are circumcised in the UK - compared to about 1% in the rest of Europe. He added that nurses should be able to give information to parents who ask about the procedure and make them aware of that it could cause irreparable damage. Sara Barnett, a member of the Jewish Nurses and Midwives' Association, said any problems were due to "individual men and not as a result of circumcision". RCN community health adviser Lynn Young said "this is a delicate matter because of the professional and cultural beliefs that accompany the matter." [Letters in reply:] Nursing Times[U.K.] Vol. 93, No 1, Jan 1, 1997 Under the title: CIRCUMCISION: MEN MAY NOT SPEAK... Sara Barnett us tells that the problems of circumcision are caused by "individual men". Perhaps she would like to help identify that minority of men who are doing circumcisions and stop them from perpetuating the practice. Then the problems would be solved. Seriously however, I am aware that Barnett is not referring to the fact that the majority of circumcisions are done by a minority of male doctors. Rather she is seeking to blame the victim. I myself have suffered this outmoded, unnecessary- and harmful- treatment and can vouch for the feelings of violation to which Linda Massey refers. As such I find Barnett's remark deeply offensive. Most circumcised men undoubtedly make no complaint about their mutilation just as most raped women do not report their assault to the police. The same processes of shame, denial and rationalisation underlie both failures of reporting. What would be our reaction to a high court judge saying that the problems of raped women were due to "individual women and not as a result of rape"? Professional people have a duty to put their cultural beliefs behind them where those beliefs may cause harm to defenceless children in their care. Yours faithfully John D Dalton .BUT WE MUST PROTECT THE CHILDREN: Dr John Warren is the founder of NORM UK <and not No-Circ> which is an organisation as much concerned with providing support and information to circumcised men as it is to campaigning to stop non-therapeutic circumcisions; he is a consultant physician and not a GP. The word 'mutilation' is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as 'The action of rendering (a thing) imperfect by excision or destruction of one or more of its parts and by Stedmans Medical Dictionary as Disfigurement or injury by removal or destruction of any conspicuous or essential part of the body. Further, Sara Barnett's reported comment that "problems were due to 'individual men and not circumcision'" was as offensive as it was ignorant: this mutilating amputation is, as many studies have shown, painful, risky and produces inevitable damage. Pain: There is no doubt that circumcisions are painful for the baby. Indeed, circumcision has become a model for the analysis of pain and stress responses in the newborn". Risk: Patel found serious complications in 24 per cent of circumcisions. Damage: the prepuce is highly functional, whereas the glans, even before the losses of keratinisation in the circumcised lacks sensitivity; Taylor found  "The prepuce provides a large and important platform for several nerves and nerve endings. The innervation of the outer skin of the prepuce is impressive; its sensitivity to light touch and pain are similar to that of the skin of the penis as a whole. The glans, by contrast, is insensitive to light touch, heat, cold and, as far as the authors are aware, to pin-prick. Le Gros Clark noted that the glans penis is one of the few areas on the body that enjoys nothing beyond primitive sensory modalities. Lynn Young's reported comment that circumcision "is a delicate matter because of the professional and cultural beliefs" is hard to construe. What 'professional beliefs' affect the proposed ban on non-therapeutic circumcisions? Further, as both international law and national law make clear, cultural beliefs do not authorise the infliction of harm on an unconsenting child; non-therapeutic circumcision creates both criminal and civil liability. It is high time that the medical and nursing professions stopped mouthing the unscientific and wholly discredited myths about circumcision, and took the trouble to read the extensive literature, of which my footnotes are but a tiny sample, as to the inevitable harm circumcision causes. Christopher Price MA (Oxon) Honorary Legal Adviser to NORM UK  H.J. Stang et al, Local anesthesia for neonatal circumcision. Journal of the American Medical Association 259: 1507-11, 1988; see also Taddio A, Goldbach M, Ipp M, Stevens B, Koren G. Effect of neonatal circumcision on pain responses during vaccination in boys. Lancet 1995; 345: 291 2.  H. Patel, The problem of routine circumcision, Canadian Medical Association Journal 95: 576-81, 1966; see also Williams N and Kapila L, Complications of Circumcision. Br. J. Surg 1993, Vol 80, Oct, 1231-1236  Taylor R, Lockwood AP and Taylor AJ: The prepuce: specialized mucosa of the penis and its loss to circumcision. Br. J. Urol (1996) 77, 291-295.  e.g Arts 8 and 9 European Convention on Human Rights; and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989.  Children Act 1989.