The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is the leading organization of pediatricians in the United States. It is a non-profit (Section 501 (c) (3)) that publishes journals and statements that are considered the authoritative voice on children’s health. The AAP’s annual conference begins today in San Francisco, where they are expected to review their “stance on neonatal circumcision,” according to Intact America.
Will the AAP refuse to endorse neonatal circumcision and offer boys the same protection as girls against genital mutilation?
The AAP current position on circumcision (updated 6/22/10) is:
The American Academy of Pediatrics believes that circumcision has potential medical benefits and advantages, as well as risks. The existing scientific evidence is not sufficient to recommend routine circumcision. Therefore, because the procedure is not essential to a child’s current well-being, we recommend that the decision to circumcise is one best made by parents in consultation with their pediatrician, taking into account what is in the best interests of the child, including medical, religious, cultural, and ethnic traditions.
Your pediatrician (or your obstetrician if he or she would be performing the circumcision) should discuss the benefits and risks of circumcision with you and the forms of analgesia that are available.
Advocates against genital mutilation believe this cautious statement needs revising to reflect the current trend in America to leave boys intact. According to the Centers for Disease Control, circumcision rates have dropped dramatically in the US. Mens News Daily reports:
The rate of circumcisions in the United States has declined precipitously during the past four years.
The news was revealed at the recent 18th International AIDS Conference in Vienna, where Charbel El Bcheraoui, Ph.D. of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave a presentation stating that the newborn circumcision rate has plunged from 56% in 2006 to only 33% a short three years later in 2009. The dramatic drop accentuates a decade long trend in the rate of male circumcision across the U.S. population.
Intact America further explains:
“The paradigm in this country is shifting,” said Chapin. “More and more parents understand that circumcision is unethical and wrong. It’s time America’s pediatricians realized this, too.”
Earlier this year, Intact America blasted the AAP’s call to legalize a form of female genital cutting, a practice currently outlawed in this country and internationally acknowledged as genital mutilation linked to the oppression of girls and women. After thousands of emails in protest were delivered to the AAP’s offices via a campaign on the Intact America website, the AAP backed down and retracted its statement.
Intact America believes the same human right to an intact body that currently extends to girls should be extended to boys. No reputable medical authority currently recommends routine neonatal male circumcision, which the American Medical Association calls “non-therapeutic.”
Neonatal circumcision is the “most commonly performed surgery in the United States”, and it is time the AAP’s stance reflects the changing trend in the US of parents to keep their boys intact.