Sunday, July 17, 2011

Urologist Renounces Infant Circumcision; Discusses Risks, Harms, & Lack Of Benefits

A new video interview with Dr. James Snyder (embedded below) has just been posted on Bonobo3D's channel.

Dr. Snyder, former president of the Virginia Urological Society, talks about the obvious ethical problems with performing an unnecessary procedure on a child that cannot consent.

He also de-bunks the myths that newborn circumcision can stop penile cancer (the rarest of all male cancers), urinary tract infections, or HIV.

Finally, Dr. Snyder addresses the real risks associated with circumcising infants, including:

  • Death, usually by bleeding or infection
  • Loss of the entire penis or parts of the glans (head)
  • Various healing complications such as skin bridges
  • Meatal stenosis (urethral strictures), which can prevent urination and damage the kidneys
  • Sexual side effects from tight erections due to so much skin being cut off
Video - Urologist James Snyder Discusses Circumcision Controversy

(Dr. Snyder also mentions the story of David Reimer, who lost his entire penis to a botched circumcision and was raised through childhood as a girl, even given female hormones, before David found out the truth.)

Dr. Snyder was actually surprised that non-therapeutic circumcision continues to this day, seeing as most major U.S. medical associations have made it clear since the early 1970's that newborn circumcision is not a medically indicated procedure. He concludes that, with circumcision rates plummeting in the US, circumcision will likely fall completely out of favor in the US within a generation, as happened in other circumcising countries like the UK, New Zealand, and Australia decades ago.

Two thoughts came to mind listening to Dr. Snyder speak:

First -- Of the thousands of US doctors who continue to perform or condone non-therapeutic circumcisions today, how many are actually giving parents honest disclosure on the harms, risks, and ethical problems of child circumcision? My hunch is that the answer is zero. Any ethical doctor capable of truthfully discussing these issues would surely have already stopped performing non-therapeutic circumcisions altogether. (All US doctors swear by the Hippocratic Oath to "First Do No Harm.")

Second -- Dr. Snyder's conclusions sound remarkably similar to the conclusions of a number of large international medical organizations: that non-therapeutic circumcision of children is harmful, risky, unnecessary (by definition), and a violation of a child's rights. Consider the conclusion of KNMG, the assocation representing over 40,000 Dutch medical professionals, from their 17-page report last year condemning circumcision:
The official viewpoint of KNMG and other related medical/scientific organisations is that non-therapeutic circumcision of male minors is a violation of children’s rights to autonomy and physical integrity. Contrary to popular belief, circumcision can cause complications – bleeding, infection, urethral stricture and panic attacks are particularly common. KNMG is therefore urging a strong policy of deterrence. KNMG is calling upon doctors to actively and insistently inform parents who are considering the procedure of the absence of medical benefits and the danger of complications.
As circumcision continues to fall out of favor in the US, I can't help but think that most intelligent, educated doctors in this country will reach the same conclusions regarding the unnecessary genital cutting of children, especially considering tomorrow's male doctors will most likely be intact.

During the transition period, I suspect that doctors who do continue to perform non-therapeutic circumcision on children will increasingly face lawsuits from both the children who are cut and the children's parents, who are so often being misled by the medical professionals they are supposed to trust.

~Barefoot Intactivist

"Private Parts Are Private Property"

Note: The proposed assault on the genitals of African men that Dr. Snyder discusses at 3:30 in the video is unfortunately already in full swing and is actually being funded by the US Government and the Bill Gates Foundation. See the excellent blogs MC & HIV and Joseph4GI for coverage of the Africa HIV circumcision scandal.


  1. Wonderful! So happy to see such an ethical, level-headed member of the medical profession!

  2. Beautifully presented and very compelling. I hope this opens the eyes of many.

  3. Well, we can certainly hope!

  4. Circumcision has been demonstrated to prevent penile cancer! Those like myself who have taken care of patients with penile cancer can attest to how horrible it is. I am disappointed that an other urologist does not see the benefits, and argues a point based on extremely rare complications!

    1. the incidence of penile cancer is 1/1,000,000 in circumcised males, and 3/1,000,000 for uncircumcised males. Is it worth circumcising all males to make such a small difference. The pain, the risk of botched circumcisions, the ethical issue of a cosmetic surgery on a newborn infant?

    2. I will be the only one deciding how I want to prevent disease, not you and your meddling cronies in the for-profit medial industry. This is about genital autonomy, and apparently you are in it for the money Mr. "MD" (Medical Dictator). Keep your hands off of non consenting babies, you pervert. I would sooner welcome cancer on my penis than your grubby hands on it.

  5. @Kamyar -- gee, you wouldn't happen to have a conflict of interest you should be disclosing, seeing as a significant part of your BUSINESS is cutting up little kids' genitals? AND your religious/cultural background involves mandatory genital cutting of all boys?

    As you know, (1) penile cancer is the most rare form of male cancer, rarer than male breast cancer, (should we cut off girls' breast buds too to prevent breast cancer?) AND (2), circumcision does NOT prevent penile cancer.

    You are referring to outdated, de-bunked, flawed "research" that was conducted decades ago to defend the deeply ingrained practice of child genital cutting in the US.

    Please go troll around for genital cutting business on some other website, you fraud of a "doctor."

    ~Barefoot Intactivist

  6. The lawsuits you're forecasting are today being met with Calif. AB768 and fed. HR2400 which will codify into law circumcision as being good all the way around. Once circumcision is "legal" this should prevent any male legal recourse to sue, maybe even if botched or death. I foresee this as the ultimate stop to those men born and cut in 1997 who therefor should have standing in law to sue over not being equally protected as do females. Once the lawsuits happen then rates would really plummet. So this would be of the highest concern to pro-circ'rs. AB768: one may expect Jerry Brown to sign it to curry Jewish votes for his next presidential running. Jews snubbed Jerry last presidential race over his appointed running mate that could have cost him the election. See Wikipedia. The third choice for Jerry Brown is to not sign and just let it sit. Call California's Governor's office and ask him to veto bill AB768. Here's Gov. Jerry Brown's contact information.
    Phone: (916) 445-2841 Fax: (916) 558-3160

    Thanked those who did NOT vote FOR AB768?
    Jeff Gorell 916-319-2037, Fax: 916-319-2137;
    Tony Mendoza (916) 319-2056, Fax: (916) 319-2156

    1. One would think California would lead the way on human rights, but look at the debacle of gay marriage there, and now this? I can't imagine someone passing a law there that actually promotes injustice. Could it be that state is gyno-centric, and that is the problem? I've been invited to live there someday, but I'm not so sure now.

  7. My aged 6 intact nephew wants to be a doctor, for now he says. Lets hope no one convinces him to alter his penis and thus skew his perception going into medical school. I hope he will be one of the good guys. Though, I have heard of students being denied internships if they won't perform this horrific act. It seems illegal to make one commit an act of malpractice for a degree.

  8. Just wanted to say I love your blog! Would you be willing to show some love to a fellow intactivist? I have a page I created for intactivist and lactivist related merch. All proceeds from the merch go toward carding and other forms of education that I do personally. Thanks! :)