Intact America Petitions the U.S. Surgeon General to Classify Newborn Circumcision as a Non-Essential Procedure and Save Medical Resources to Fight the COVID-19 Pandemic

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In March, the Surgeon General Recommended Cancelling Elective Procedures for Adults; Intact America Asks, ‘What About Children?’ and Launches National Petition on Change.org to Halt Circumcision

Newborn boy

Hospitals continue to perform medically unnecessary circumcisions on male infants, diverting personal protective equipment (PPE) and other needed medical resources during the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

Why are we allowing hospitals to keep cutting the genitals of perfectly healthy baby boys when really sick people are fighting for their lives?

Even though U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams, MD, has asked health care systems to cancel elective, non-essential procedures for adults, and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that there is not sufficient scientific evidence to recommend routine newborn circumcision, hospitals continue to perform medically unnecessary circumcisions on male infants, diverting personal protective equipment (PPE) and other needed medical resources during the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

To rectify this waste of medical resources, as well as protect the natural bodies of baby boys, Intact America today launched a petition drive to demand that the Surgeon General tell hospitals to stop performing male child circumcisions at this critical time. Intact America estimates that, nationwide, hospitals perform 3,000 newborn circumcisions a day, or more than 1 million circumcisions a year, and that each day, the medically unnecessary procedure consumes 6,000 surgical masks, 6,000 pairs of protective gloves, and other supplies that could be better put to use protecting frontline health care workers from COVID-19 and treating sick patients. Intact America is the largest national advocacy group working to end involuntary child genital cutting in America.

“Baby boys do not need to be circumcised at any time, but it’s particularly jarring to see it happening now, when hospitals are short-staffed, lack personal protective equipment for their doctors, nurses, and aides, and are places to be avoided unless one is critically ill,” says Georganne Chapin, Executive Director of Intact America. “Circumcision creates an open wound on a vulnerable newborn, and it actually extends the hospital stay for both babies and their mothers, increasing the likelihood that they will be exposed to COVID-19 and other pathogens.”

In an opinion article published in USA Today, Surgeon General Adams called on hospital systems to cancel or delay non-essential elective procedures during the current national health emergency. “At a time when health providers in the hardest-hit areas are concerned about having enough PPE [personal protective equipment] to take care of COVID-19 patients, it is imprudent to pull PPE from regional and national pools to do procedures that could be postponed,” he wrote.

Going a step further, Intact America is launching today a petition on Change.org, calling upon Dr. Adams to halt routine male newborn circumcision now and forever. “The United States is the only country in the world where medical newborn circumcision is widely practiced,” Ms. Chapin explains. “If baby boys are not circumcised in England, Europe, and Australia, then how can we in America consider circumcision to be essential? Why are we allowing hospitals to keep cutting the genitals of perfectly healthy baby boys when really sick people are fighting for their lives?”

Ms. Chapin also points out that baby boys feel excruciating pain when their foreskins are cut and many experience life-long adverse consequences, including diminished sexual pleasure and medical problems such as meatal stenosis (a condition that occurs only in males who are circumcised) which causes narrowing of the ureteral opening, thus interfering with urination.

About Intact America
Intact America is the largest national advocacy group working to end involuntary child genital cutting in America and to ensure healthy sexual futures for all people. It does this by challenging social and sexual norms and empowering supporters and volunteers through advocacy and education. To learn more about the issues involved in the current conversation about newborn male circumcision, visit IntactAmerica.org and CircumcisionDebate.org, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Jeannie Ashford
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