Forward Thinking

Touting Circumcision's Benefits

By Paul Berger

  • Print
  • Share Share

The American Association of Pediatrics has doubled down on its position that the health benefits of infant male circumcision outweigh the risks. But the AAP’s new policy statement, released today, stops short of recommending routine circumcision of boys.

The report did warn against “mouth-to-penis contact during circumcision,” which has been linked to a seldom-performed, ultra-Orthodox Jewish practice known as metzitzah b’peh, which involves a mohel sucking blood away from the wound. A baby boy died in New York last year when a mohel infected him with herpes.

The AAP’s circumcision task force, an interdisciplinary panel of specialists, has worked since 2007 to comb through more than a thousand articles and studies to come up with its new guidelines.

Previous guidelines, issued in 1999, also found that the health benefits of circumcision outweighed the risks.

But this latest study found even more evidence, gleaned from health studies during the past decade, showing that circumcision decreases the risk of urinary tract infections in infants and of sexually transmitted diseases in men.

The report found that circumcision was particularly effective in reducing a heterosexual man’s risk of contracting HIV. In recent years, a growing number of states have dropped Medicaid coverage for circumcision.

The report noted that HIV rates are highest among Blacks and Hispanics, but that these communities are most likely to rely on Medicaid. Therefore, the task force recommended that “financial barriers” to circumcision should be “reduced or eliminated.”

Dr Andrew Freedman, a pediatric urologist who worked on the policy statement, said he hoped the latest report gave “a little more clarity” than its predecessor to the issue.

“If somebody wants this, they should have it,” Dr Freedman said. “On the other hand, the benefits are not so strong that everybody needs to have it.”

Contact Paul Berger at berger@forward.com or on Twitter @pdberger


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: american association of pediatrics, circumcision, jewish, metzitzah b'peh

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Yeshiva University's lawyer wanted to know why the dozens of former schoolboys now suing over a sexual abuse cover-up didn't sue decades ago. Read the judge's striking response here.
  • It’s over. The tyranny of the straight-haired, button nosed, tan-skinned girl has ended. Jewesses rejoice!
  • It's really, really, really hard to get kicked out of Hebrew school these days.
  • "If Netanyahu re-opens the settlement floodgates, he will recklessly bolster the argument of Hamas that the only language Israel understands is violence."
  • Would an ultra-Orthodox leader do a better job of running the Met Council?
  • So, who won the war — Israel or Hamas?
  • 300 Holocaust survivors spoke out against Israel. Did they play right into Hitler's hands?
  • Ari Folman's new movie 'The Congress' is a brilliant spectacle, an exhilarating visual extravaganza and a slapdash thought experiment. It's also unlike anything Forward critic Ezra Glinter has ever seen. http://jd.fo/d4unE
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.