2016 WWDOGA speech
His WWDOGA 2016 speech (translated by Stefan Schritt):
"I'd like to thank for the invitation and the opportunity to speak here today. Please excuse that I can't do this hands-free, I somewhat need my sheet music to sing.
I speak to you as a pediatrician, as representative of the professional association of pediatricians in Germany which has their head office here in Cologne and represents almost all residential pediatricians and a very big part of the pediatricians that work in hospitals. All Germany pediatric associations disapprove of circumcisions of young boys when there is no urgent medical indication, when there are no important medical reasons for this surgery. The vast majority of pediatricians in Germany has a different opinion than the majority of the members of the German Bundestag. Parents should not be allowed to decide whether or not their boys get circumcised without indispensable medical reasons.
Circumcision is a physical injury of the child's body that can not be undone. It's not just a little scar that remains like after a surgery, after circumcision the boy lacks something. There's a lack of protection, a lack of sensitivity at his penis. But not only is the body being harmed, the soul of the child is harmed as well. The most intimate, the most sensitive area is subjected to pain that last for days. The adults dictate that, they hold him down, they make him will-less, he has to endure it, he does not understand it, and it still hurts so much for so long.
We pediatricians are convinced that human rights are at the very top of our value system. Children's rights are human rights. A child's right to an unharmed body counts more than the parental right to consent. The child's right to self-determination counts more means more to us then religious command. No one accepts corporal punishment just because some people read from the bible that beating is necessary for a child's upbringing. We pediatricians want that in our society boys are granted the same level of protection that girls are. We thoroughly oppose considerations from so-called medical ethicists in America to allow a - what they call it - small female circumcision, and that this small circumcision was a protection for the girls from a later, big circumcision. Those are totally unproven claims, those are abstruse considerations that have been published in big ethical journals in the American medial world now in 2016. Big or small, boy or girl, who wants to beat will beat, who wants to circumcise will circumcise. That is no ethical situation, that is no ethical stance, that is no medical stance - we can not allow that.
Yet we doctors may as well not ignore that a huge number of boys in Germany is circumcised without any religious and without any medical reason. The are being circumcised because doctors a badly trained. In their studies and advanced vocational training medical students and doctors learn things about the foreskin that date back all the way to the first half of the last century. They learn that the foreskin was dispensable, that it it could be cut off, and many still believe that with school age, a boy must be able to retract his foreskin with ease, or otherwise us doctor would have to intervene. A few years ago we proved that each year 30,000 boys are circumcised in Germany without religious motivation and also without any medical indication. Almost 30,000 victims, boys, of mutilation by doctors. Mutilation due to nescience, mutilation due to neglect, and a mutilation with which individual people make good profits.
If we pediatricians take children's right seriously, if we take our medical mission seriously, than we have a huge responsibility in terms of circumcision, and we still have a lot to do. We need to ensure that our colleagues stop to needlessly hurt thousands of boys each year. We need to educate them better, we need to inform them about the risks and side-effects and the nonsense of their actions.
And sometimes we need to fall into their arms and take away their knifes. It has to stop that small boys are needlessly subjected to pain. It has to stop that small boys have an organ cut off that they will later miss. It has to stop that small boys are subjected to emotional distress, that for some results in loss of some of the pleasures of life for years, or even for their whole lifes. It has to stop that adults subject children to lasting bodily and emotional harm, when there is no reason for it regarding the best possible health development. We need to fall into the circumcisers arms, we need to take away the knife from ritual circumcisers, when we can not convince them. We need to take away the circumcision knife from doctors if they use it negligent and without sufficient knowledge.
I thank you for standing here for this effort, and that you gave me the opportunity to once more formulate and clarify our responsibility and our tasks as pediatricians.