University of Maryland, May 22-25, 1994
STATEMENT TO PRESS
"Look at these hands"
Look at these hands.
These hands have taken a newborn baby from his mother's safe warm breast and his father's sheltering arms, and these hands have tied this baby to a cold hard platter and served him up to the circumciser.
These hands have readied the scalpel, even as they caressed the brow of the terrified baby as he struggled for freedom and searched my eyes for compassion he did not find.
A tortured being has sucked frantically on this finger in a hopeless effort to end the agony as his flesh -- his birthright -- is ripped from him and thrown in the garbage.
These hands have removed the diaper painfully adhered to the feces-covered wound between his chubby legs.
These hands have shielded my ears from his screams.
Nurses of America, I did not become a nurse to hurt babies, and neither did you.
In 1992, with over 20 other nurses at St. Vincent Hospital in Santa Fe, New Mexico, I gave notice to my employers and declared I would no longer be an accomplice in the atrocity that is infant circumcision.
I have reclaimed my tattered soul and begun the process of becoming whole again.
I am a conscientious objector in the war against our infant brothers and sons, and it feels wonderful.
Nurses of America, wipe the blood from your hands and join me!
Mary Conant, RN
[Mary Conant is one of the 24 heroic Conscientious Objectors to Circumcision nurses at St. Vincent's Hospital, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and co-founder of Nurses for the Rights of the Child. Her statement to the press is on Videotapes of the Third International Symposium on Circumcision. She also appears on Barry Ellsworth's video documentary masterpiece, The Nurses of St. Vincent: Saying "No" to Circumcision.]