THE DOMINION POST, Wellington, NZ, Friday, 30 August 2002: Page 1.

`Quick snip' an unkind cut

CIRCUMCISION is no `quick snip' and there is no good medical reason for babies to have the procedure, four expert health bodies in New Zealand have said in a landmark position statement.

They say circumcision is painful, risky and often medically unnecessary.

For the first time, the division of paediatrics and child health of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, the Australasian Association of Paediatric Surgeons, New Zealand Society of Paediatric Surgeons and Urological Society of Australasia have combined their expert resources and formulated a joint position statement on circumcision.

Professor Spencer Beasley, chairman of the circumcision working party, said: "Circumcision is quite a painful procedure with significant risks but often the general public think it's just a quick snip. The college has reviewed evidence in relation to risks and benefits and has concluded there is no evidence of benefit outweighing harm for circumcision as a routine procedure."

Professor Beasley said the fashion for circumcision began in World War II in North Africa where soldiers often went days without showers and inflammation of the foreskin from sand was the most common cause of absenteeism from the front line.

(File prepared 30 August 2002)