American Academy of Pediatrics Recommends Circumcision

The American Academy of Pediatrics' new policy says circumcision should be covered by insurance, and that the health benefits far outweigh any risk.

To circumcise or not to circumcise — that has been the controversial question posed to every parent of a newborn boy for decades in the United States.

Circumcision rates peaked at more than 90 percent in 1964, according to Circumstitions.com. Since then the practice has declined in regularity to nationwide estimates that range from 33 percent (MGMBill.org) to 55 percent (CBS News).

Despite circumcision's steep drop in popularity, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) changed its official stance on the procedure on Monday. According to Parenting.com, the AAP is now saying that "the preventative health benefits of infant circumcision clearly outweigh the risks."

In both 1999 and 2005, the AAP remained staunch that circumcision was "not essential to the child's current well-being."

After several years of study, Michael Brady, M.D., chairman of the department of pediatrics at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, said "it’s now obvious there’s a preventative effect" associated with circumcision. 

Namely, circumcision has been shown to be positively correlated with lower HIV rates in heterosexual males in Africa, low HPV rates, and a smaller risk of contracting syphilis and genital herpes.

In addition, studies have shown that circumcised babies are less prone to urinary tract infections, and that the procedure can reduce the risk of penile and prostate cancer later in life. 

Some opponents of circumcision cite decreased sexual pleasure, but according to Parenting.com, "study participants in Africa who had been circumcised as adults reported either no effect, or increased pleasure."

Other opponents claim the operation is barbaric and unfair to the infant, who has no ability to choose.

Dr. Brady, who serves on the AAP Task Force, suggested that circumcision be included in Medicaid coverage. A study at Johns Hopkins found that opting not to circumcise could cost $313 in related health care expenses to a person over a lifetime. The projected health benefits of circumcision are used to justify the AAP's recommendation for universal coverage for the procedure. 

According to MGMBill.org, just 22 percent of baby boys in California were circumcised in 2010. West Virginia led the country with a circumcision rate of 86 percent that same year.

See MGMBill.org's graphic of circumcision rates by state in the photos above.


PATCH WANTS TO KNOW - What do you think of the AAP's revised stance on circumcision? Do you agree? Disagree? Do you think the reported health benefits are enough? Or do you think the only person with the right to choose is the child him/herself? Tell us in the comments section below.

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JP August 30, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Americans have been circumcising a long time now so they have no idea what they are missing. It is easy to say, oh there are potential benefits so it must be good. What is entirely lost on Americans is what is lost to circumcision. In Europe, Asia, etc they know the value of the sexual anatomy that is lost to circumcision so irrelevat, specious and often conflicting studies are hardly convincing. There is also a clear bias in the studies that are included by the AAP. Apparently since they decided to promote circumcision they only cited the pro circumcision studies. Perhaps not surprising when members of the task force, including the lead, are Jewish. This makes it difficult to accept the objectivity of their statement particularly when the US has more incidence of the diseases curcumcision is supposed to prevent that countries where circumcision is rare. Something does not add up and, frankly, the incessant promotion by this group borders on creepy.
DanC August 30, 2012 at 07:35 PM
All those studies claiming that circumcision lowers risk of contracting STDs are bogus and unscientific. What do we know about the studies done in Africa? Nothing other than the headlines. It still boils down to primitive religious thinking and a ghastly mutilation performed without anesthetic. Cut off the male foreskin, female genital cutting in Africa, human sacrifice...it is all rooted in ancient superstitions and performed by ignorant, sadistic "doctors".
Tracie Lynch August 30, 2012 at 07:47 PM
It is a fact that in the US most teaching hospitals designate this proceedure to the least experienced residents. This leads to botched proceedures, repairs and surgeries to correct later. This increases the risk of infection. This is not really a regulated proceedure in the US. At least California is getting the message.
Dick Scalper August 30, 2012 at 11:18 PM
They brand men like a herd of cows. American men are such wimps to let their sons be subjected to this absurd surgery. If it were women tied down & cut, the Feminists would be howling all over the world. The male genitals are a cheap commodity. There is no argument too absurd for the circumcisers. They insult the appearance of the intact penis, claim that circumcision heals everything from body warts to HIV, and draw an illogical distinction between female & male genitals. Circumcision is the mark of a slave, not a free man. Top Ten Tortures Less Painful Than Circumcision 10. Get knocked out by Mohammed Ali. 9. Pull out your fingernails. 8. Eat a pile of steaming bear crap. 7. Skin yourself alive. 6. Fall into a vat of molten iron. 5. Get run over by a train. 4. Go through a sausage grinder. 3. Saw off your legs. 2. Poke out your eyes. 1. Go To Hell ~Dick-Scalper
Sandy D'Esopo January 26, 2013 at 12:28 PM
Among the many pro-foreskin studies that the AAP ignored in its own slanted study is the 2011 Danish one that found sexual dysfunction in later years was significantly higher when the male partner was circumcised. A much larger research project here inb the US is overdue.


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