Friday, September 7, 2012

Another perspective on circumcision...

Remember the post a few weeks back about the German courts determination that circumcision is child abuse and the efforts to prevent circumcision (even ritual circumcision inherent to Jewish and Islamic practice)?  Here is a new wrinkle.

On one hand the first prosecution is underway. A Rabbi in Germany is being prosecuted for performing circumcisions (some are saying this is a civil and not criminal prosecution but I do not know for sure).   Apparently, it is being exported to Norway as well.

On the other, we hear this from Johns Hopkins.

A team of disease experts and health economists at Johns Hopkins warns that steadily declining rates of U.S. infant male circumcision could add more than $4.4 billion in avoidable health care costs if rates over the next decade drop to levels now seen in Europe.

In a report to be published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine online Aug. 20, the Johns Hopkins experts say the added expense stems from new cases and higher rates of sexually transmitted infections and related cancers among uncircumcised men and their female partners. They say the study is believed to be the first cost analysis to account for increased rates of multiple infectious diseases associated with lower rates of male circumcision, including HIV/AIDS, herpes and genital warts, as well as cervical and penile cancers.

Apparently Johns Hopkins researchers are looking strictly at the health costs of infections, cancers, etc. more prevalent in uncircumcised males and their sexual partners than uncircumcised.  They are warning of about $313 worth of additional health care costs for each decision not to circumcise a baby boy.  This is on top of the addition $2Billion already added to health care costs since circumcision rates in the US dropped from hearly 80% to about 55%. 

Now the American Academy of Pediatrics has decided he is no longer neutral toward circumcision and is decidedly pro this procedures.  A leaked copy of the new American Academy of Pediatrics’ policy statement on circumcision, scheduled to be released on Monday, reveals a change in the prestigious medical body’s previous position (set in 1999) on the medical benefits of the procedure from “neutral” to “pro.” It details how a comprehensive evaluation of research from the last 15 years demonstrates that the medical benefits of circumcision—including “prevention of urinary tract infections, penile cancer, and transmission of some sexually transmitted infections”—outweigh the risks.

It just goes to show you that there are several sides to each argument and consequences of every choice.  But, of course, the issue in Germany is not circumcision, per se, but the issue of Jewish persecution and the Nazi atrocities.  Some are wondering if newer generations have forgotten the cry post WWII nie wieder.  Others are wondering what other religious practices might slip under the watchful eye of jurisprudence and end up being outlawed. 

I just thought you might want to know...


Anonymous said...

Hopefully the loud protests by Jews worldwide would be enough to get the German government to reverse course.

You would think that most Germans would be smart enough to see the health benefits of circumcision.

Easy solution: Germans will travel to Poland and get the circumcision, and at cheaper cost.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if there are any real benefits. Probably the groups who are less likely to choose circumcision are less likely to uh, keep it to themselves. So, low standards for health cause them to pass on circumcision and to have too many partners. So circumcising children in those communities will not improve later outcomes because the parents do not teach them to keep it to themselves and have only one partner.

Anonymous said...


Yet another European country whose citizens poke fun at "fat, stupid, obnoxious Americans", but yet those Europeans do their best to imitate everything that originates out of the USA -- And that includes our idiotic politically correct policies: