CIN (Circumcision Information Network) 1:19

Journal  Circumcision Information Network, Volume 1, Issue 19. Wednesday, 16 November 1994.

Richard Angell

This weekly bulletin is a project of CIN, the Circumcision Information Network (formerly CIN CompuBulletin). The purpose of this weekly bulletin is to educate the public about and to protect children and other non-consenting persons from genital mutilation. Readers are encouraged to copy and redistribute it, and to contribute written material.
--Rich Angell, Editor.

The activities of NOCIRC of Washington last weekend were a smashing success,
attracting children's rights advocates from all over North America.

Thursday, 10 November, visitors gathered at SeaTac International Airport
from such places as Honolulu, Montreal, Detroit, Pennsylvania, North Dakota,
New York, British Columbia, California...

At 14:45, there was a welcoming rally for five of the two dozen nurses of St.
Vincent Hospital of Santa Fe, complete with flowers, balloons, and hand-held
signs hailing the nurses' courage and promoting children's right to an intact

At 19:00 about 200 people gathered in Rhododendron Room of the Mountaineers
Building in Seattle for the Northwest premiere viewing of Barry Ellsworth's
film "Nurses of St. Vincent: Saying No to Circumcision."  The film is only 18
minutes long, but a powerful documentary about what goes on behind closed
doors in our hospitals.

Before the film itself, Steve Scott of Utah gave a terrific slide
presentation of the bizarre history of genital mutilation in North America
and the value and function of the prepuce, commonly known as the foreskin.

Friday, 11 November at 9:30, about 60 activists gathered at Georgetown
Playfield.  Short speeches were given by the nurses and others.  At 10:30,
armed with banners, signs and flowers, the activists set out for a
twenty-minute march.  Some examples of the signs:  "Circumcision is not
healthy for children and other living things," "Would you circumcise your
dog/girl?" "A social rite that is wrong!" "Ne touchez pas a mon prepuce!"
"Circumcision was not my choice!" "My body, my choice," and so on.

The destination of the march was Olympic Medical, a company which
manufactures Circumstraint, the "torture" rack used to immobilize babies
during the usually unanesthetized surgery.  Olympic Medical product
literature reads:  "In less than 30 seconds a nurse can immobilize the
struggling infant securely in the correct position with Circumstraint.  Soft,
wide Velcro straps encircle the infant's elbows and knees, depriving him of
leverage.  He's held securely without danger of escape.  ...(E)levates the
infant's hips, perfectly presenting the genitalia."

The protesters picketed in front of the building, chanting, and placing
flowers on a Circumstraint, which was placed on the walkway.   A recording of
a screaming baby undergoing circumcision was played.  For a moment, NOHARMM
founder Tim Hammond held the recorder and projected the screams with his bull
horn through the thin glass front doors of the building.

The historic event was featured on no less than four televised news
broadcasts and in one local newspaper.  Over all, we were portrayed
favorably, but one channel presented our friend George Denniston, M.D., as
"Anti-circumcision activist George Denniston."  Then it presented a couple of
parents who had just circumcised their boy the night before (primarily so
that he would look like other boys) by their titles: pediatricians.  This is
a typical example of media bias.

Throughout the evening and next day, the children's rights activists enjoyed
one another's company and planned future strategies and events...

A special thank you goes to NOCIRC of Washington director and men's rights
advocate Frank Cranbourne, who spent thousands of dollars of his own money
and countless hours of his own time to make this event such a success.  The
movement itself is grossly underfunded.

I would like to know more about activism against circumcision.  I am
particularly interested in attempts to sue doctors and hospitals either for
unnecessary surgery or directly for sexual abuse of children.  I don't
understand why that has not been attempted in the land of litigation.  A
threat of a few billions would stop hospitals and doctors right away.  They
only understand their purses!

Parental consent shouldn't stop litigators:  If I sign a consent form that
my doctor can sodomize my son, he'd still be liable, I'd think.  Besides,
the practice became so routine that many hospitals failed to request the
consent, I am sure.  I also understand that according to laws of fair
play, if you sign consent in dubious circumstances (like recovering from
giving birth) its validity can be contested.  I have a hard time
understanding why so many men accept their mutilation almost as a fact of
nature.  I suspect macho men would feel diminished in their masculinity if
they were to face the facts, so they prefer to hide from them.  I am
Jewish, which makes my opposition to circumcision ever more poignant. 
When trying to explain the facts to Jews I am often labeled a "self-hating
Jew", and that is one of the minor abuses I get.  Although the issue is
tricky, I don't believe religion is good ground for mutilation, even if it
belongs to western tradition.  France has issued a law banning female
mutilation on all grounds. 

Why not male mutilation?  I am appalled also by men and women's ignorance on
the functioning of a healthy foreskin. It is a case of collective amnesia
caused by surgery:  It sounds like 1984 or Brave New World.  I grew up in
South America and became aware of the advantages of an intact penis as a

NOHARMM is encouraging the formation of a network of attorneys with an
interest in creating new law to advance the constitutional right of children
to equal protection and freedom from genital mutilation.  The progress of
Congresswoman Pat Schroeder's legislation prohibiting female circumcision
leaves male children unprotected.  Also, existing sexual abuse laws in some
states specifically exempt routine circumcision of unconsenting healthy male
children. Hasn't it already been decided that forced sterilization of
mentally incompetent children, no matter how beneficial a parent may deem it,
is a civil (and human) rights violation?  It's time to start to work on this
abuse!  Call (415) 826-9351 for details.  --Tim Hammond, Founder of NOHARMM

THE TRUTH ABOUT 1-900-326-3375
I have been accused of using the circumcision issue to promote my 900 number
to get rich.  I wish it were true.  I began campaigning against circumcision
over four years ago out of the goodness of my heart, and I will continue
until boys and girls are spared the knife, with or without a 900 number.  The
900 number is a service which provides valuable information for those who use
it, but it has been anything but a source of income.  It will be discontinued
after December.  The CompuBulletin will not be.  --Editor.

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