Do Pediatricians Care About Newborns?

Some definitely do. They got into medicine because they love children and want to do everything they can to give each child a chance at a full, healthy life. I’ve met these men and women and I know they must be acutely embarrassed to belong to the American Academy of Pediatricians at this time in history. In a reactive backlash, the AAP seems to actually be entertaining the idea of turning back progress 20 years and allowing the genital cutting of girls in America. As it becomes more and more difficult to argue with the fact that boys need the same protection under law that girls have been granted, the genital cutting committee at the AAP has chosen to think like dinosaurs and reduce the protection to girls so that things can be more fair.

It really sounds to me like the babies need a good lawyer.

Today, the “attorneys for the babies” have put the AAP on notice. Attorneys for the Rights of the Child (ARC) issued this statement today:

Below is the text of our letter today to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in response to its recent position statement on female genital cutting (FGC), which condones minimal forms of FGC. The AAP position statement is available at http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/pediatrics;125/5/1088.

Dear AAP:

We have reviewed the AAP’s latest policy statement on female genital cutting (FGC) and we are shocked to see such an ethically and medically incoherent document issue from your venerable organization. What truly is paradoxical is for the nation’s leading organization of doctors treating children to weaken its opposition to a practice proven to cause substantial, irreparable, lifelong harm to children.

Moreover, your proposed, seemingly innocent “ritual nick” almost certainly violates the Federal Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act, whose criminal provisions became effective in March 1997.

We trust that lightening your opposition to female genital cutting is not being done to help set up a parallel move toward diluting your 1999 statement on male circumcision (MGC). Flawed as the latter statement was, it did acknowledge the lack of medical benefit to the procedure on males. It is imperative that both statements be maintained or strengthened.

The AAP has no business brokering cultural procedures, even those that may support future revenue streams for some of its members. In this time of reduced resources, more than ever, it is imperative that medical organizations such as the AAP focus on what matters most—promoting the safety of our children, and working to eradicate—not condone or justify—harmful, non-beneficial, unethical practices such as FGC and MGC.

J. Steven Svoboda
Attorneys for the Rights of the Child

11 thoughts on “Do Pediatricians Care About Newborns?

  1. I didn’t know such a group of lawyers existed, but I am so happy to read that they are addressing this issue! When I first saw what the AAP was intending, in regards to BOTH FGM and MGM, it made me want to become an ex-pat and leave this country. I didn’t think the US could make a move to actually care even LESS for children, as a government, than they already did.

  2. Yes, it’s fabulous that there are lawyers who specialize in lawsuits on behalf of boys who are damaged. They work tirelessly to end male genital cutting because, of course, they see the damage up close.

    “Doctors Opposing Circumcision” and “Nurses for the Rights of the Child” are two other professional groups. I think it’s time that midwives formed a group to protest the CNMs who receive training in MGM.

  3. Anything to keep cutting up little boys penises… I’m so disgusted that they are actually considering this. As predicted, I saw this coming but I didn’t really think it would happen. OMG, this is like a sceen from the twilight zone!

  4. I personally believe that they are beginning the move towards making this “nick” accessible in the US- because by doing that, they can then push towards male circumcision. If the girls don’t have the Right to intact genitals, then why should the boys, KWIM? A step back into the dark ages. So sickening.

  5. Remember that every year, the rate of male genital mutilation decreases. We have reached a critical mass where the world will no longer accept that physicians groups are the “Big Daddy” protector of the people. They’ve let us down too often:–tonsillectomies, X rays, vaccine damage, thalidomide, antibiotic resistance, bottle feeding. . . need I go on?

    The mothers of the nations are more educated than ever before. We don’t like it when those in authority hurt our children. The AAP is gasping for the last cash grab before they go under.

  6. Pingback: Pediatricians – Latest Pediatricians news – Gloria Lemay » Blog Archive » Do Pediatricians Care About Newborns?

  7. I agree. They know they are in the equal protection cross hairs, so rather than quit mutilating boys to assure all children constitutionally required equal protection of the federal anti-genital mutilation law, they want to start mutilating girls again. “Why stop with the boys?”, says the AAP. “Double your pleasure, double your fun, double your income. Mutilate the girls, too.” What slimy, despicable worms these genital mutilators be.

  8. As announced in today’s print edition of the New York Times, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has reversed its May 1 policy statement that condoned certain forms of female genital cutting (FGC). The New York Times article can be found at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/27/health/27brfs-DOCTORSREVER_BRF.html?ref=todayspaper and the policy statement can be found at http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/pediatrics;125/5/1088. To date, by my count, no fewer than 23 letters have been published by the AAP’s flagship journal, Pediatrics, denouncing its May 1 statement. The letters can be found at http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/eletters/125/5/1088. ARC’s published letter can be found at http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/eletters?lookup=by_date&days=30#50145. The AAP’s about-face has occurred as an apparent response to the storm of outrage its position produced, including the 23 published letters to Pediatrics and also, for example, the following letter that ARC sent the day before yesterday to the members of the AAP committee that authored the statement:

    Attorneys for the Rights of the Child
    2961 Ashby Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94705 Fax/phone 510-464-4530

    American Academy of Pediatrics Committee Members
    May 25, 2010
    Dear Committee Members:

    We have reviewed the AAP’s latest policy statement on Ritual Genital
    Cutting of Female Minors and we are shocked to see such an ethically and medically
    incoherent document issue from your Committee and from your venerable
    organization. What truly is paradoxical is for the nation’s leading
    organization of doctors treating children to weaken its opposition to a
    practice proven to cause substantial, irreparable, lifelong harm to
    children.

    Moreover, your proposed, seemingly innocent “ritual nick” almost certainly
    violates the Federal Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act, whose
    criminal provisions became effective in March 1997.
    You acknowledge in your statement the contradictory impression that may be
    conveyed by policies that condone male circumcision (MGC) while attempting to
    restrict female genital cutting (FGC). The only course that is consistent with the US
    Constitution (including the Fourteenth Amendment right to equal
    protection), statutory and case law, medical ethics, and human rights is to prohibit
    all genital cutting that is not medically necessary and that is performed on
    individuals unable to consent to the procedure, including children.
    Parental assent is not an adequate substitute for individual consent with regards
    to male circumcision as it lacks a therapeutic benefit that exceeds the
    harm from complications and loss of functional tissue.

    We trust that lightening your opposition to female genital cutting is not
    being done to help set up a parallel move toward diluting your 1999
    statement on MGC. Flawed as the latter statement was, it did acknowledge
    the lack of medical benefit to the procedure on males. It is imperative that
    both statements be maintained or strengthened.

    The AAP has no business brokering cultural procedures, even those that may
    support future revenue streams for some of its members. In this time of
    reduced resources, more than ever, it is imperative that medical
    organizations such as the AAP focus on what matters most-promoting the
    safety of our children, and working to eradicate-not condone or
    justify-harmful, non-beneficial, unethical practices such as FGC and MGC.
    Sincerely,

    J. Steven Svoboda
    Executive Director
    Attorneys for the Rights of the Child

    Congratulations to everyone involved in inducing the AAP to reverse its position. However, the battle is not over. We need to highlight the AAP’s hypocrisy in approving its now disavowed statement and the legal and ethical necessity to equally protect the genital integrity of all children, male as well as female.

    Steven Svoboda
    Attorneys for the Rights of the Child
    May 27, 2010

  9. You’re my HERO! I’m a 31-year-old HAPPILY *intact* male and ending MGM in Canada and the US has been my passionate cause for half my adult life! (:

    Chase McCaw

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