AAP: Health Benefits Of Circumcision Outweigh Risks

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP – the science-based one) has recently published the results of its task force on circumcision. The AAP evaluated the recent evidence and determined that “the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks and that the procedure’s benefits justify access to this procedure for families who choose it.” We have previously discussed the ruling of a German court that parents who circumcise their sons based on religious beliefs are committing child abuse.

The specifics benefits of circumcision include

  • prevention of urinary tract infections,
  • penile cancer, and
  • transmission of some sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.

However, the AAP notes that the health benefits are not great enough to warrant routine circumcision.

The AAP notes that the benefits warrant reimbursement via medical insurance policies. We await the Christian conservatives’ outrage, claiming that circumcision, and it accompanying reduction in sexually transmitted diseases, will increase male promiscuity.

The AAP Technical Report recommends that “circumcision should be performed by trained and competent practitioners, by using sterile techniques and effective pain management.” The Task Force notes the problems with finding competent providers.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University have found that “twenty years of falling circumcision rates have cost the country $2 billion in preventable medical costs.” Eighteen states have dropped their Medicaid coverage of the procedure.

Those who claim that the uncircumcised penis is natural and hence, better, commit the naturalistic fallacy. The  argument that circumcision violates a “right to bodily integrity” would also apply to any number of surgeries to correct birth defects like fused limbs and the removal of vestigial tails.

While circumcision for health benefits has a rational basis, circumcision to demonstrate a commitment to an imaginary being is not rational.

H/T: David Bernstein (VC), Monya Baker (Nature), The Virginian-Pilot.

143 thoughts on “AAP: Health Benefits Of Circumcision Outweigh Risks

  1. MY GOD…. It was said JOKINGLY…. and yes… I am sure it had NOTHING at all to do with any kind of RACISM…… in fact 100% positive it had NO ROOTS in Islam or Judaism……

    Europeans bag on Americans…. just as Americans bag on the French….
    and YES… I have heard an American or two say, Can you really trust a man that wears a beret?????
    it is a joking thing to say…..

    ENOUGH already… stop making a huge deal out of something I said, was said in jest….

  2. Those who claim that the uncircumcised penis is natural and hence, better, commit the naturalistic fallacy. The argument that circumcision violates a “right to bodily integrity” would also apply to any number of surgeries to correct birth defects like fused limbs and the removal of vestigial tails.

    While circumcision for health benefits has a rational basis, circumcision to demonstrate a commitment to an imaginary being is not rational.
    ===================================================
    When you’re an infant, it’s not like you have a choice. I don’t see a problem with it and I don’t believe in an imaginary being.

  3. Malisha, the points you raise about the Patriarchy are discussed in Miriam Polluck’s article @ http://www.drmomma.org/2011/10/circumcision-identity-gender-and-power.html or http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/circumcision-identity-gender-and-power (subscription required for Tikkum)
    Circumcision: Identity, Gender, and Power
    By Miriam Pollack © 2011
    Citation: Pollack, Miriam. 2011. “Circumcision: Identity, Gender, and Power.” Tikkun 26(3).
    Published at DrMomma.org with author’s permission.
    ~Dick-Scalpers

  4. Just to clarify Waldo, my post was not about making circumcision illegal. I have mixed feelings on that since I am not sure if that would be the right step, let alone a practical one. However, I sympathize with the recent ruling in Germany and there is clearly a trend for states to intervene in matters related to proxy consent, patient autonomy, etc. However, the ethical and moral case against circumcision is much more clearer (neither what is ethical/unethical should necessarily be legal/illegal) and I was trying to point to some things that stand out in my mind. If I have time, I will respond to the rest of your post.

  5. Mike Spindell: “[…] that takes into account both Jewish ad Muslim sensibilities. […]”

    I know this is an older discussion, but I just read this in the news.
    The state minister *) of justice of Berlin has updated the guidelines for the city’s prosecutors, so that they won’t open cases for male circumcision if:
    all legal guardians consent in writing,
    the legal guardians declare that they regard the circumcision as a religious duty (i.e. not a matter of tradition, aesthetics, or hygiene),
    and the procedure is performed by a doctor according to the usual medical standards.

    This is wildly seen as a reaction to the fact that the Jewish Hospital Berlin has stopped offering religious circumcisions due to “legal uncertainties” after the Cologne ruling. Many people found the idea of a Jewish hospital not offering religious circumcisions disturbing.

    *) Actually “Senator of Justice” (Justizsenator), because the executive/cabinet of the city-state Berlin goes by the name ‘senate’.

  6. “Researchers from Johns Hopkins University have found that…” WRONG. They didn’t FIND. They estimated. This was a simulation, extrapolating data from Africa and applying it to the United States. Critics would wonder why compare the United States to Africa and not to Europe. Could it be that the Johns Hopkins University is also involved in the RCTs in Africa that are used to justify the mass circumcision of Africans, and that the AAP’s statement was about to come out and they wanted to make some noise and boost the subject? (In fact the AAP’s statement was supposed to be released on the 20th but it was delayed until the 27th and then this simulation came out on the 20th, hmm suspicious)

    “The argument that circumcision violates a “right to bodily integrity” would also apply to any number of surgeries to correct birth defects like fused limbs and the removal of vestigial tails.” While in principle this argument is somewhat correct, there is a difference between correcting a birth defect and amputating healthy functional tissue. Let me ask you, are there any other parts of the body that you would be willing to give up as part of “preventive medicine”?

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