Circumcision Causes Lifelong Harm, Concludes New Research U.S. attorney warns doctors, "The foundation is well laid for lawsuits."

A new study on circumcision in the latest edition of Journal of Health Psychology concludes that the surgery causes a host of psychological problems-including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)-in adults who have suffered the surgery as babies. The study is due on doctor's desks this week.

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(PRWEB) June 26, 2002

CIRCUMCISION RESOURCE CENTER

P.O. Box 232, Boston, MA 02133, Tel/Fax (617)523-0088

http://www.circumcision.org crc@circumcision.org

NEWS RELEASE     FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Circumcision Causes Lifelong Harm, Concludes New Research

U.S. attorney warns doctors, "The foundation is well laid for lawsuits."

BOSTON (Monday, June 24, 2002) - A new study on circumcision in the latest

edition of Journal of Health Psychology concludes that the surgery causes a

host of psychological problems-including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

(PTSD)-in adults who have suffered the surgery as babies. The study is due

on doctor's desks this week.

"Half of all men who were circumcised as babies have some degree of PTSD.

PTSD is what happened to men who went to Vietnam, and parents are doing it

to their babies," said J. Steven Svoboda, Executive Director of Attorneys

for the Rights of the Child, a lawyer and co-author of the study.

The study concludes that the trauma of circumcision affects the developing

brains of babies, and as a result, they may later suffer a host of

psychological problems as adults, including "depression and a sense of

personal vulnerability," in extreme cases causing the men to react in

"aggressive, violent, and/or suicidal behavior."

"We're hearing from a lot more men about emotional difficulties, sexual

difficulties, and psychological problems that they are attributing to their

circumcision," said Ron Goldman, Ph.D., Executive Director of the

Circumcision Resource Center in Boston, a psychologist, and another

co-author of the study with two other academics, "and it brings the

attention to mental health professionals that circumcision may be the cause

of some of the problems that they are diagnosing in men."

Up to now, many mental health professionals have been unaware of the

psychological harms of circumcision. "Now, men who have problems that they

cannot explain, and which may be mystifying their therapists, may look at

circumcision as the possible root of their problems," added Goldman.

The study's authors write, "PTSD may result from childhood circumcision,

just as it does from childhood sexual abuse and rape," and that "some men

circumcised in infancy or childhood without their consent have described

their present feelings in the language of violation, torture, mutilation,

and sexual assault."

The study found that "as compared with genitally intact men, circumcised men

were often unhappy about being circumcised, experienced significant anger,

sadness, feeling incomplete, cheated, hurt, concerned, frustrated, abnormal,

and violated." The authors also found that circumcised men reported lower

self-esteem than did genitally intact respondents.

Svoboda of Attorneys for the Rights of the Child, an organization that has

brought lawsuits against doctors who have circumcised babies, said: "This is

going to affect the kind of damages that adult men get for being circumcised

against their will as babies. Lawyers are going to be in court holding up

this article and judges are going to have to pay attention. To win a legal

case you have to show harm, and what the harm cost you, and this article

does that."

Svoboda has a warning for doctors who continue to circumcise babies against

the recommendations of medical bodies: "We know the physical damage being

done by circumcision, and that it is not medically recommended at all. The

foundation is well laid for lawsuits. Doctors who are still doing

circumcisions are already investing in a lot of trouble, and this study

makes their trouble worse. They just have to wait 18 years until that baby

grows up and they're in for a lawsuit. And an army of lawyers will be there,

with this study and many more in their arsenal."

Marilyn Milos, Director of NOCIRC, an organization that seeks to end routine

neonatal circumcision in North America, says, "This is the first time an

article addresses the long-term psychological trauma. The trauma is

significant for babies, resulting in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Any

time that we can determine that there is such severe harm to an unnecessary

procedure it should be outlawed. Female genital mutilation has been

outlawed, and we need the law to set the standard, here, too, followed by

aggressive educational programs. Parents and doctors need to know that this

is a harm that lasts a lifetime."

Svoboda is convinced that this study will have a major impact on

circumcision in the U.S. "Doctors ignore a lot of medical literature," he

said, "and they ignore the screams of the babies, but they listen when they

hear the word 'malpractice.' As a lawyer willing to sue, I've never had a

doctor not listen to me."

The Journal of Health Psychology is an interdisciplinary, international

journal that acknowledges the social context of health, illness, health

policy, and publishes theoretical, methodological, and empirical studies.

The circulation of the Journal is worldwide and papers are invited from

authors throughout the world.

The U.S. circumcises over 1.2 million male infants per year. The rate has

gradually declined to just under 60% in recent years. Circumcision is

generally considered an American cultural practice, but the pertinent legal

questions have not been decided and are only recently being asked. The

debate about circumcision has been more vocal lately due to increased

awareness and questions about harm and lack of proven benefits. Proponents

continue to claim potential decreased risk of certain diseases, but these

claims are not accepted by any national medical organizations.

--30--

For More Information Contact:

Ronald Goldman, Ph.D. Executive Director, Circumcision Resource Center,

Boston, Mass. 617-523-0088

Ephrem Fernandez, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology, Southern

Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, phone: (214) 768-3414, fax: (214)

768-3910

J. Steven Svoboda, J.D. Executive Director, Attorneys for the Rights of the

Child

2961 Ashby Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94705

Fax/Phone (510) 595-5550 Email arc@post.harvard.edu

Website http://www.arclaw.org

Marilyn Milos, RN Director, NOCIRC, San Anselmo, CA. Phone: 415-488-9883

Fax: 415-488-9660 email:nocirc@cris.com, website:http://www.nocirc.org/

The Article: http://www.cirp.org/library/psych/boyle6/


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