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New Article Finds Fault With Pediatric Organization’s Support for Circumcision, Provoking a Formal Response
Date:3/16/2013

authors observe, one of the most likely places to contract HIV is in a health clinic. Svoboda observed, “The US has the highest rates of circumcision, of HIV, and of other sexually transmitted infections in the industrialized world, so the chance that the first can prevent the other two seems extremely remote.”

Svoboda asked, “Why is the AAP promoting public funding for an unnecessary and harmful surgery when we find ourselves struggling even to provide basic care for all our children? In these days of rising medical costs and scarce resources, we simply cannot afford to continue to carry out such a harmful and outmoded practice.”

While the AAP attempts to paint itself in its reply in the JME as being in line with world medical opinion, in fact, as noted by Svoboda and Van Howe, the AAP has put itself in a shrinking minority in attempting to justify an outmoded cultural practice that results in the death of more than one hundred boys each year. Even the American Medical Association agrees that there is insufficient justification for performing the procedure on newborns absent specific medical indications. Unlike the AAP, its peer organizations in Europe and also in Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada recognize that medical considerations must be considered in conjunction with ethical and legal considerations and therefore, male circumcision should be neither recommended to parents nor funded by government insurance systems.

A few months ago, the Royal Dutch Medical Association favorably cited an earlier version of Svoboda’s and Van Howe’s article, noting that even if benefits do exist the procedure can safely be delayed until the boy himself can make the decision.

The JME considers the issue of male circumcision important enough to have devoted an entire special issue to the topic, including a second article by Mr. Svoboda on male circumcision and human rights, and a second article by Dr. Van Howe about male circumcision and
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