Pediatricians group inaccurate, biased on circumcision

Published: September 5, 2012

In response to “Influential pediatricians group affirms circumcision of newborns has benefits” (Associated Press, August 27): I'm an Oklahoma mother, lawyer and registered nurse. I call upon the American Academy of Pediatrics to retract its policy statement on male infant circumcision, on the basis that it's inaccurate, biased and misleading. It also fails to address ethical and human rights issues.

The AAP says the benefits of circumcision outweigh any risks. It calls upon insurance companies and Medicaid to pay for the procedure. The AAP doesn't address the risks of circumcision, which include infection, bleeding, adhesions, skin bridging and, rarely, death. In fact, AAP says the risks of circumcision are largely unknown. The scientific review conducted by the AAP consists only of scientific articles that support the AAP position and ignores data that detracts from that position. Critics have found many significant, clinically relevant flaws with the “African studies” upon which the AAP relies.

The United States has both the highest rates of circumcision and the highest rates of heterosexually transmitted HIV among industrialized nations. The circumcision rate in America has steadily dropped, from 80 percent in the 1980s to just over 50 percent today. Eighteen states have eliminated nontherapeutic circumcision from Medicaid coverage. If current circumcision rates continue to decline, physicians could lose between $250 million to $1.2 billion a year in fees.

The industrialized countries where infant male circumcision is rare (such as England, Japan, Finland, Switzerland) have no increased health care costs.

Kristi Rath, Edmond


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