The Circumcision debate: Johns Hopkins comes out strongly in favor; pediatrics group says benefits outweigh risks...
The debate over male circumcision has taken some bizarre twists and turns.
A court in Cologne, Germany ruled this past July that circumcision represented an affront to the "fundamental right of the child to bodily integrity". The court held the child himself should decide whether or not to undergo the procedure later (no matter the apparently greater trauma at a later age). Jews and Muslims have protested vigorously. Interesting what can bring members of sometimes opposing religions together!
A team of disease experts and health economists at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore strongly advocates male circumcision for both medical and economic reasons.
This medical team concluded 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. The 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.
The Hopkins team also points to state funding cuts in Medicaid, the governmental medical assistance program for the poor, have substantially reduced numbers of male circumcisions here in the United States. Eighteen states have stopped paying for circumcisions.
Meanwhile, the American Academy of Pediatrics offers a more nuanced position. The latest guidelines from the AAP suggest the health benefits from male circumcision outweigh the risks. Hence, insurers should cover the cost. But, the Academy doesn't necessarily advocate routine circumcisions for males. The Hopkins researchers believe the Academy should.
Then you have an anti-circumcision group, the Circumcision Resource Center, which argues circumcision causes a loss of sexual satisfaction - hotly disputed by the AAP and others - and can cause psychological problems. The anti-circumcision activists argue vehemently that Hopkins and even the AAP are at odds with international opinion on male circumcision. (Indeed, unlike on the global warming issue, circumcision DOES appear to be an issue where "mainstream" U.S. scientific opinion may diverge from the European view.)
So ironically, budget-cutters in state capitals (often anti-tax conservatives) end up being - in effect - on the same side as secularists on the Left who apparently care more about alleged sexual satisfaction than public health, and who love to stick it to religious people. Plus, you have resistance / skepticism towards the U.S. medical establishment from elements on both the Right and the Left.
This represents yet another example of how the Right/Left divide as reflected on U.S. talk radio and the cable networks is so utterly simplistic.
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