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“AAP’s circumcision policy fails to show benefits” – doctors
The American Academy of Pediatrics’ new policy on infant circumcision fails to show that benefits exceed the risks, a doctors’ group claims.
Doctors Opposing Circumcision (DOC), an international organization based in Seattle, says the policy, to be made public August 27, makes a poor case for the procedure, which has been declining in the USA. A little over half of all boy babies are circumcised in hospitals –as few as 20% in western states like California, Oregon, and Washington.
John Geisheker, Executive Director of DOC, asks, “Why is the AAP championing this unnecessary surgery during a crisis of necessary care for our children?”
Geisheker notes that all other English-speaking countries have nearly abandoned circumcision as unnecessary. In England and New Zealand, Geisheker notes, the circumcision rates have been effectively zero for decades, “with no detectable loss in child health.”
Regarding the AAP claim that circumcision is an HIV preventative, Geisheker adds, “Children do not spread sexually transmitted diseases. Non-circumcising countries have lower rates of sexually transmitted diseases like HIV than the U.S. We have so many other health needs for children which are more critical. Circumcision is a huge waste of medical resources which could be better employed elsewhere. Using public funds for circumcision would be utterly wasteful.”
The new AAP policy leaves the decision to parents, but urges parents to choose to have their son’s foreskin amputated, and encourages the public to pay for it. Dr. George Denniston, President of DOC, says this does the boys, and the men they grow up to be, a disservice.
“We simply do not know the long-term effects of circumcision on males,” says Dr. Denniston. “This lucrative practice is completely unregulated. The only studies have been of immediate post-birth discharge where the hospital has legal motives to be optimistic. In outpatient settings we do not even know that much. In any case, the unavoidable complications of the procedure far outweigh any prophylaxis. For instance, the epidemic rise of ‘super bugs’ like MRSA in hospital nurseries makes cutting healthy children unwise.”
Denniston says the AAP has failed to consider the protective and sexual benefits of keeping the foreskin, or the long-term risks and harm of having it removed. He adds, “they contradict their own bioethics policy statement warning that parental wishes are not sufficient to justify unnecessary surgery.”
The AAP’s policy has shifted towards circumcision as a result of studies of adult volunteers for circumcision in Africa. But Denniston says these have no bearing on the health status of baby boys in the U.S. “These are the same people who recommended genital cutting of African-American immigrant girls in both 1996 and 2010, and were forced to back down.”
“The U.S. is the only country where an unnecessary surgery is imposed on boys, but the actual medical care they need is often unavailable.”
“We need to remember that the AAP is a lobbying organization whose purpose is to protect the interests of its members. If the AAP were a judge in our judicial system, it would be obliged to recuse itself since it has a huge vested interest in the procedure. At the moment, the AAP is the only medical organization in the world to recommend infant circumcision.”
Adds Denniston, “The AAP has now gone on record supporting one of the largest scams in American medical history – the introduction of circumcision allegedly to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. Everyone knows that America has the highest rate of circumcision and the highest rate of STD’s in the industrialized world. How could circumcision possibly be thought to prevent STD’S in the U.S. in 2012?”
The physicians’ public statement on the new AAP guidelines may be seen at:
John V. Geisheker, J.D., LL.M.
Executive Director, General Counsel,
Doctors Opposing Circumcision
2040 Westlake Ave. N., Suite #420 Seattle, WA 98109
tel +1. 206. 465. 6636
Dr. George C Denniston, M.D, M.P.H.
(Telephone # on request to John V. Geisheker, above)