Circumcisions will no longer be performed on newborn boys at St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg, hospital officials announced Friday.
The move comes in response to the investigation into the case of a boy who was mistakenly circumcised at the hospital last November.
There’s a reason this victory for common sense requires a qualifier.
Since receiving the review, the chief medical officer at St. Boniface has decided not to reinstate the program, which was suspended after the incident.
Dr. Bruce Roe, the hospital’s chief medical officer, said it was “more appropriate” for circumcisions to take place in outpatient clinics after the family has been released from the hospital.
It’s more appropriate for circumcisions to take place for medically-necessary reasons only. If that requires an outpatient clinic or a hospital, so be it. Is it any more inappropriate to carry out a circumcision on a newborn (male) whose parents have consented than it is to carry it out on a newborn (male) whose parents have not consented? As we implement the law today, the answer is “yes”. But when we stop ignoring the elephant in the room, we understand that the answer is clearly “no”. Regardless of the reason given by the child’s parents, he has not given his consent to the cosmetic surgery. That should be enough to stop the hideous practice of routine infant circumcision.
This decision is a victory for the rights of infant males in Canada, but for too many children born at St. Boniface, it will be only a temporary reprieve. That makes it minor.