James L. Snyder, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Presentation to the California Medical Association, Scientific and Educations Activities Committee,
118th Annual Session and Western Scientific Assembly, Anaheim, California, March 4, 1989.

       Mr. Chairman, Delegates and Guests, thank you. My name is James L. Snyder, I am a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons from Virginia and the past President of the Virginia Urologic Society.

       In 1986, I presented to the Virginia Urologic Society two infants who had been circumcised with disastrous results. One had suffered a degloving injury with loss of all the skin of the penile shaft and required further surgery. The second infant suffered gangrene and necrosis of the entire glans and penis due to electrocautery. I was called as a consultant to see both of these infants within hours of their injuries and can tell you that both of these children will be lifetime genital cripples.

       As a result of this presentation, the Virginia Urologic Society adopted a unanimous resolution against routine newborn circumcision.

       Imagine my surprise to learn the California Medical Association had adopted a resolution endorsing newborn circumcision as a measure to prevent herpes, syphilis, gonorrhea, chancroid and lymphogranuloma venereum. Each of these diseases has a known etiologic agent and, as a physician in the United States Navy, I have treated circumcised American servicemen for each of these conditions, using specific and effective antibiotics to cure what circumcision did not prevent.

       Recent speculation that routine newborn circumcision can reduce urinary tract infections or prevent infection due to the AIDS virus stretches reason.

       Over 95% of male children never have urinary tract infections - regardless of the state of their foreskins.

       The article on AIDS by Simonsen, et al., cites the experience of 38 African men who become infected with the AIDS virus after consorting with AIDS-infected prostitutes. Delegates, American parents do not want to hear speculation about 38 African men and their prostitutes. American parents want to know why thousands of their children, brothers and cousins in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Miami were not protected from AIDS infections by the fact that 60-90% of them have been circumcised at birth since 1940.

       Routine newborn circumcision has failed to prevent each of the conditions for which it has been proposed as a cure - even masturbation.

       If there is any condition that merits consideration, it is penile cancer. The proponents of this practice themselves admit to the occurrence of penile cancer even in men circumcised early in life. After almost 25 years of urologic practice, I have seen only four penile cancers de novo. My general surgical colleagues, however, see many more women with breast cancer, a disease equally preventable by minor surgery on unconsenting infant girls.

Since my two personal experiences witnessing tragic infant circumcision, I have gathered data which I bring here before you on other tragic results of infant circumcision:

In 1982, an Iowa infant bled to death after circumcision.
In 1983, another Virginia child suffered a degloving with his circumcision, requiring skin grafting.
In 1984, a Louisiana child's penis was destroyed by a circumcision and sex-change surgery was advised.
In 1985, two children in an Atlanta hospital suffered destruction of their penis at circumcision. One underwent a sex-change surgery.
In 1986, an Alaska child's infected circumcision led to convulsions and massive brain and kidney damage.

       Numerous children are cut so short that their sexual functioning is compromised and recently the medical literature and the lay press have reported on significant numbers of adult men who were so displeased with the fact of their circumcisions that they have sought and submitted to plastic surgical reconstruction of their penis.

       Gentlemen, I bring before you documentation of these facts by photographs, articles from the press and the medical literature, and by the personal testimony of individuals and parents of seriously injured children.

       The part of the baby that we have been throwing out with the bath water is the birthright of the child and should not be destroyed by the collusion of physicians and parents.

       In parting, I would like to paraphrase the words of the Emperor Charles V who viewed the destruction of the Great Mosque of Cordoba and said "What you have done could be done anytime - but what you have destroyed can never be replaced."

Presentation to the California Medical Association, Scientific and Educations Activities Committee, 118th Annual Session and Western Scientific Assembly, Anaheim, California, March 4, 1989.

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