Circumcision: A Closer Look
Posting Date: 03/01/1999
I have had a long and vociferous opposition to the practice of routine male circumcision.
While many parents in the 60's, in their zeal to return to nature, abandonned the practice, it was 15 years ago that the birth of my fourth son prompted my rethinking of the issue. I had met a nurse, who is now the president of the National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers, who enlightened me to the existing medical data.
The United States was the only country in the world that routinely circumcised all its newborn males. It was a uniquely American ritual.
The medical evidence never convinced all the other civilized countries in the world. This did not seem to alter the opinions of medical organizations in the United States. They stubbornly clung to the old myths about circumcision.
Well, after analysis of almost 40 years of available medical research on circumcision, the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued new recommendations saying that they do not recommend circumcision as a routine procedure. This is too little and too late for the millions of infants who have undergone this unnecessary and inhumane assault.
This is a radical departure for American medicine and, of course, raises many,many issues. With that statement the American Academy of Pediatricians joins major national pediatrics group in England, Australia, Canada, Asia and Europe.
Let's first talk about the many myths that one hears.
The most common myth is that it's cleaner to be circumcised. It's hard to imagine how this has persisted in an era of soap and water. But certainly it's understandable that people do get upset with moist places in the body.
A woman's reproductive tract is certainly moist and contains lots of bacteria, yet no one would suggest circumcising females to make them cleaner.