Nurses at Hospital Boycott Circumcision

The Denver Post, January 29, 1993

24 nurses at hospital boycott circumcision

By the Associated Press

Twenty-four nurses at a Santa Fe hospital refuse to help in circumcisions of newborns.

"Ethically, we find ourselves unable to assist with the procedure," the nurses said in a latter to doctors at St. Vincent Hospital. "Routine circumcision of the newborn conflicts with our beliefs."

Mary-Rose Booker said circumcision is unnecessary and hurts.

Mary Conant, a leader of the group, declined to elaborate but said the nurses would hold a news conference next week to explain.

Thirty-five nurses at St. Vincent continue to help with the surgery, and the boycott hasn't harmed the hospital's ability to perform circumcisions, a spokesman said.

Dr. Justina Trott, medical director, said no disciplinary action has been taken.

"The hospital has no position on circumcision," said nursing director Annette Hall. "This decision is between a physician and the child's patients [sic--should probably be 'parents']. We support professional nursing staff participation in patient education."

Urologist Stephen Lucero accused the nurses of "jumping in with misinformation and misleading the public."

Booker said the group hasn't tried to sway parents but has offered information form both sides and invited parents to watch a videotape of a circumcision being performed.

Mary Harwell of Mothering magazine said her Santa Fe publication supports the nurses' stand. The magazine says parents need to be more aware of the pros and cons of circumcision before approving the procedure.

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