Routine Infant Circumcision: Exempt from American Medical Ethics

by Project Censored
Published: Updated:

The US is the only country in the world that circumcises male infants for non-religious reasons.  This pro-circumcision bias of American culture is reflected in medical theory and policy. Internationally, this is a different story. The German Academy for Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine recently stated there is no medical reason to remove an intact foreskin from young boys who are unable to give consent. American researchers continue to tout benefits (i.e. preventing STDs) unsupported by real-world data, while the international medical community moves to limit a cosmetic procedure that causes bodily harm and infringes on human rights. Though illegal for girls since 1997, proponents often cite religious or parental rights as reasons to perform circumcision on infant males. However, most proponents lack awareness of the health impact of circumcision.

A pro-circumcision bias was evident in the recent “Circumcision Policy Statement” announced by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The AAP report seeks reinstatement of Medicaid and insurance coverage for circumcision, yet fails to mention the risks of circumcision and ethical objections. Risks include trauma, adhesions, sepsis, death and adult sexual dysfunction. The AAP report has been widely criticized by international associations who question the monetary gains from the procedure as well as concerns about the impact on infant health and quality of life. Parents should question this procedure and the motives behind it.


“AAP Circumcision Policy Statement: A Critique,“ Peaceful Parenting, Aug. 24, 2012,

Hartmann, Wolfram, “Drafting of a law regarding the scope of child care and custody in the case of male circumcision,” Expert Statement: President, Professional Association of Pediatricians (Germany), Nov. 26, 2012.  English summary available here:

“Commentary on American Academy of Pediatrics 2012 Circumcision Policy Statement,” Doctors Opposing Circumcision, August 26, 2012, Revised: November 12, 2012.

“Response to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP): Circumcision Policy Statement,” Circumcision Resource Center.

Student Researcher: Jasmine Mitose, San Francisco State University

Faculty Evaluator: Kenn Burrows, San Francisco State University