I was lucky I found some time to write yet another post for this blog this month! Hopefully I'll keep finding time to write about this ongoing issue in my home country.
I was scrolling through Facebook this morning, and I ran into this:
This got me thinking about the possibility of parents suing doctors who went ahead and circumcised children without permission from parents.
The problem with suing doctors in the United States is that male infant circumcision is not seen as "harm" by the people there. 80% of men in the United States are circumcised from birth (this is separate from the rate of male infant circumcision, which has fallen to 56.4% as per the CDC), so most men are likely to be circumcised, and most women are likely to be married to circumcised men and/or mothers to circumcised male children. For this reason, and this reason alone, it is more than likely that sitting judges may let doctors who circumcise children "by mistake" off the hook.
In Muncie, Indiana, a doctor circumcised a child "by mistake." The sad part of this case is that the child's family traditionally does not circumcise.
One of the witnesses downplayed the unwanted procedure because "a penis could not be used to read books published in Braille for the sight-impared."
If that's the case, a clitoris can't be used for the same purpose either.
In this case, the jury decided to let the doctor off the hook without paying any damages.
But it's not necessarily the case that a doctor will be let off every time; every once in a while, justice shines through and knife-happy doctors are held accountable.
Take the case in Florida for example.
After a mother, Vera Delgado, had told doctors over and over that she did not want her child circumcised, the child was taken away and circumcised anyway while she was away from the NICU.
In this case, the mother sued for millions of dollars and she WON.
There have been other cases in the past where doctors faced SOME kind of accountability. I copied and pasted the following comments from the same thread as above:
This isn't to say that circumcision cases simply can't be won, either.
In most cases where a circumcision goes beyond acceptable "harm" (destroying any healthy part of the body IS "harm"), parents are successful in suing doctors for millions. (Do a search on my blog for "litigation" and/or "lawsuits." I've posted plenty on here.)
But that's just it; in order for a circumcision to be considered "harmful" it has to go beyond what many doctors and nurses consider "harmless"; for those who perform circumcision, taking a child's foreskin, ripping it from its adhesion to the glans, crushing it in a clamp and then slicing it off, where 99.9% of human males are born with a foreskin, isn't considered "harm."
A circumcision botch where part or all of the glans (AKA "head of the penis"), "that" is "harm."
Are we seriously going to depend on subjective ideas of "harm?
Because whether we like it or not, female circumcision (AKA "FGM") isn't considered "harm" by people in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Egypt, Sudan and others.
Let's imagine a couple of hypothetical situations.
What if an expatriate had their daughter in one of the above countries, and the daughter was circumcised "by mistake" in a hospital there?
Or what if a doctor from one of those countries immigrates to the United States and circumcises a child "by mistake?"
Could his or her alibi be "Well, I don't consider it harm?"
That is now a thinkable possibility, given the fact that the ban on FGM in the United States has been deemed "unconstitutional" by a judge in a recent case.
What about "parental choice," which is quite possibly one of the greatest defenses of male infant circumcision in the US?
But most of all, what about a person's individual basic human rights to his own body?
From the same Facebook thread as above, a paralegal gave his account of a father who discovered his son was already circumcised after doctors kept asking him and his wife to sign the consent forms. The father demanded to see his child first, and that's how he found out.
I've heard it be commented before by some mothers, that doctors and nurses told them that they couldn't leave the hospital until the baby was circumcised. From the same thread:
I've also heard of cases where the parents put their foot down on not having their child circumcised, and the hospital billing them for it anyway. Someone commented on this same thread:
Circumcision is a moneymaker, so of course there financial incentive for doctors and nurses to push male infant circumcision on parents, even if it means lying to them about not having a choice in the matter.
As concerned American parents, we have got to stand up and demand to know what's going on here.
What is the AAP telling professionals across the country?
That it's OK to push male infant genital mutilation on parents in whatever which way possible?
There are CONSENT forms that need to be signed.
What's with this "You can't leave the hospital until the child is circumcised" BS?
Do American parents have to simply always be watching their children like a hawk?
It seems that's what we've got to do, because even if we refuse to sign the circumcision consent forms and demand doctors not mutilate our children, there's nothing we can do legally.
From the same thread:
For any parent interested in litigation against doctors, nurses or hospitals that circumcised their children against their consent and express wishes, there is one group of lawyers that I know you should contact, and that's Attorneys for the Rights of the Child, AKA "ARCLaw." Google them, or click on the link down under "External Links." (Or, click here.)
In a country where doctors can get away with mutilating your child's genitals, parents need to be warned and forearmed.
David Llewellyn: "The Circumcision Lawyer"
On the same thread above, an attorney can be seen commenting.
That attorney is none other than David J. Llewellyn.
He is an unsung hero of the intactivist movement. One of his specialties is male infant circumcision. He is in fact the same David J. Llewellyn who sued Mogen out of business in a 11-million dollar lawsuit. A news article regarding this lawsuit can be read here. He has handled other million-dollar lawsuits as well. If there is anyone who knows about litigation involving male infant circumcision, it's this man. He has a Facebook page here, as well as his own website, at thecircumcisionlawyer.com.
Muncie Circumcision Case: HIGHWAY ROBBERY
NBC Miami: Lawsuit Over Baby's Unwanted Circumcision
Attorneys for the Rights of the Child
Atlanta lawyer wins $11 million lawsuit for family in botched circumcision
David J Llewellyn: The Circumcision Lawyer
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