THE VANCOUVER SUN, Vancouver, British Columbia,
April 10, 1995.

Nurses Condemn Circumcision

The routine circumcision of male babies was condemned by the province's registered nurses at their annual convention in Vancouver.

The preamble of a resolution passed by a majority of nurses said male circumcision is a procedure without demonstrable medical benefits in the vast majority of cases. The procedure is also not recommended by the Canadian Paediatric Society.

The nurses also agreed Friday that routine circumcision has numerous complications that are rarely communicated to parents, and that most medical authorities worldwide believe newborn males have a right to remain intact except in rare instances.

And they believe nurses have a role to play in educating parents about the perils of circumcision.

The resolution was introduced at the convention by the New Westminster chapter of the Registered Nurses' Association of B.C. Before being passed, it was amended to include both sexes. The phrase “routine infant male circumcision” was replaced with “non-therapeutic circumcision.”

“It's circumcision of all forms on all sexes and so it makes it quite open,” Iva Phillips, a registered nurse from Victoria, said Sunday. ``And what it emphasizes is the role of the nurses and the association in raising awareness regarding this procedure.''

Last year, the issue proved too controversial and a similar resolution was withdrawn.

John Cox said Sunday the resolution passed Friday asked the board of directors and individual members of the nurses' association to help raise public awareness about the risks of non-therapeutic circumcision.

It also asked the board of directors and the Canadian Nurses' Association to develop positions regarding the role of nurses in non-therapeutic circumcision, said Cox, director of public relations for the nurses' association.

Said Cox: “I am sure that there will be some kind of a statement made that will clarify what the nurses' role is and this will, I think, help create a higher level of understanding.”

The board of directors is expected to consider the resolution at its next meeting June 8.

(File revised 6 May 2008)