Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Breaking News

European Doctors Blast American Report That Recommended Circumcision

Thirty-eight physicians from Europe have written a paper alleging that “cultural bias” was behind the pro-circumcision stance of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The commentary, published on March 18 on the website of the U.S.-based Pediatrics journal, disputes a report which the American academy on children’s health published in August, which states that “benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks but the benefits are not great enough to recommend universal newborn circumcision.”

The European reply, titled “Cultural Bias in the AAP’s 2012 Technical Report and Policy Statement on Male Circumcision” states that “seen from the outside, cultural bias reflecting the normality of nontherapeutic male circumcision in the United States seems obvious. The report’s conclusions are different from those reached by physicians in other parts of the Western world.”

The benefits attributed in the American report to circumcision – including protection against HIV, genital herpes, genital warts and penile cancer – are “questionable, weak, and likely to have little public health relevance in a Western context and they do not represent compelling reasons for surgery before boys are old enough to decide for themselves,” the European authors wrote.

In the U.S., a large percentage of non-Jewish males are circumcised, whereas in Europe the custom is limited almost exclusively to Jews and Muslims.

The European physicians found only one argument put forward by the American Academy of Pediatrics to have “some theoretical relevance”: The possible protection circumcision offers against urinary tract infections in infant boys, but this “can easily be treated with antibiotics without tissue loss,” they wrote.

About half of the European physicians are from Scandinavian countries, where several political parties have stated their opposition to circumcision as a form of “child abuse,” or unwanted phenomenon of immigration by Muslims.

Engage

  • Events

    Haart to Haart

    Virtual

    Dec 7, 2022

    7 pm ET · 

    A conversation with Julia Haart and her son Shlomo, stars of Netflix's 'My Unorthodox Life,' about the new season and much more.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.