Should babies be circumcised?


Fact Box

  • Male circumcision is the oldest human surgical procedure on record, dating back to the ancient Egyptians in 2300 BC.
  • A 2015 poll found that 47% of Americans think that male children should be routinely circumcised, while 17% said they should not be, and 35% said they were not sure. 
  • In the Bible’s Book of Genesis, Abraham’s Covenant of Circumcision--or Brit Milah--can be interpreted to mean that circumcision “acts as an outward physical sign of the eternal covenant between God and the Jewish people.”
  • The most recent CDC study on rates of newborn male circumcision revealed that around 58% of American baby boys undergo circumcision during birth hospitalization. 

Bre (No)

Circumcision poses harmful risks, shows no real medical benefits, removes healthy, vital tissue, and is declining in popularity. Hygienic advantages are a myth, as proper care is perfectly achievable as shown effective in the rest of the developed, heavily uncircumcised world. Therefore, it's ethically unjustifiable to inflict pain upon--and permanently alter--a non-consenting infant. More disturbingly, US hospitals earn money for each circumcision, incentivizing them to recommend it without cause.

The operation includes strapping the baby down and using tools to separate, slice, and amputate the foreskin. While some perform the practice for religious reasons, experts acknowledge little sound medical data to support its continuation. And the American Academy of Pediatrics stated, 'the benefits are not great enough to recommend universal newborn circumcision.' Pro-circumcision data is especially uncompelling, considering that possible complications include adverse reactions, infections, hemorrhaging, and death. The trauma is even linked to issues with maternal bonding and breastfeeding.

Given the foreskin's many established functionalities--protection, lubrication, and sensitivity, which plays a crucial role in sexual satisfaction--it's absurd to suggest that millennia of evolution erroneously includes this one body part. Originally intended to make sexual activity less pleasurable, circumcising to perpetuate a 'cultural norm' is unfounded, as frequency is steadily dropping.

Parents and physicians have a duty to protect children from interventions that are not medically necessary. The US is alone in routinely circumcising without religious cause. Outside the US, circumcision without consent is assault. By opting to wait and see if a medical need ever presents itself, parents preserve the integrity of their child's body as it was created while fostering a sense of safety and trust.

Ellery (Yes)

Circumcision has been practiced worldwide for over 6,000 years and is currently the number-one most performed medical procedure for men in the United States. Circumcision provides several medical upsides, which--when we put aside the plethora of religious, cultural, and personal reasons that play into a parent’s decision--are an important reason to consider the surgery. 

For one, circumcised males show a statistically significant decrease in the chance of contracting a urinary tract infection. Circumcision is also known to reduce the possibility of contracting penile cancer and lower the risk of inducing cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancer in female sexual partners. 

Hygiene and upkeep are more manageable on a circumcised penis, and circumcised males show a decreased risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections (including HIV) from unprotected sex. Circumcision can also prevent a number of complications related to the glans and foreskin, including scaring, phimosis, and severe inflammation.

While there are risks to circumcision, most of them are only experienced during the process and have no lifelong repercussions. Notably, the risks can be effectively combated by following simple safety procedures, like not operating on sick or premature infants. When performed by a professional under safe conditions, the actual chance of complications during the surgical process is less than 0.1%--effectively nonexistent.

Of course, everyone agrees that it’s a parent’s choice whether or not to circumcise their children. However, scientists and doctors agree that it’s almost always a beneficial decision for the child in the long run.

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