DOC-ARC Letter to the American Academy of Pediatrics


Doctors Opposing Circumcision


2442 NW Market St. Suite 42


Seattle WA 98107


Attorneys for the Rights of the Child


2961 Ashby Avenue


Berkeley, CA 94705



October 14, 1998



Carol Lannon, MD; The AAP Task Force on Circumcision; Dr Joe Sanders and

the AAP Board


PO Box 927


Elk Grove Village, IL 60009



Dear Dr. Lannon, Dr. Sanders, Task Force and Board Members,



We are writing to apprise you of the seriousness of the AAP's Task

Force on Circumcision's and your actions if you issue a policy statement

that, in any way, endorses partial penile amputation   circumcision   or

forced prepuce retraction, with or without anesthesia. Contemporary

national and international research, ethics and logic, history, as well as

the lack of endorsement by any national medical associations worldwide show us that prophylactic circumcision is unnecessary as well as harmful.


If you issue a policy statement which approves or condones an unnecessary

procedure which is known to cause serious injury and death, you, the Task

Force and the AAP could be held legally accountable.


Pediatricians who perform this procedure cannot abdicate their legal

responsibilities by saying the parents "requested" their son be

circumcised or even "consented" to it. If a parent wants a doctor to

amputate a childs' body part, the physician must make an independent

assessment and decision about the value of such a procedure. If an

irreversible procedure has no clear medical justification, the physician

must refuse to fulfill the parents' request. Only the person affected can

consent to damaging cosmetic procedures, and with infant circumcision this

is clearly not possible.


The AAP, of course, has a responsibility to protect its members from

lawsuits and criminal action. A solution to this dilemma has been

suggested to the AMA by one of our members. The AAP could join with the AMA to lobby Congress to pass a law prohibiting Male Genital Mutilation, as they have already done with Female Genital Mutilation (S.1030 in effect April 1997).


This would solve the critical problem that male minors would receive the

same protections afforded their sisters guaranteed by the provisions of

the 5th, 14th and 19th Amendments to the United States Constitution which

provide equal protection and prohibit sex discrimination. Those who

performed circumcisions prior to the effective date of the law would be

protected from prosecution under Federal Law.


In the meantime, the AAP and its Task Force on Circumcision can seriously

consider a moratorium on medically non indicated circumcision to coincide

with the Task Force's release of its policy statement on circumcision.


Please understand that Doctors Opposing Circumcision, and Attorneys for

the Rights of the Child, as non profit organizations, view ourselves as fulfilling one of the most important civic duties available to American

citizens. By providing this information, we are fulfilling our

responsibility to the Task Force, the AAP and the physicians they

represent as well as our responsibility to protect the babies, all of whom

are adversely affected by circumcision.



Sincerely yours,




George C Denniston MD MPH, President, D.O.C.


J. Steven Svoboda Esq, Director, ARC





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