Foreskin forum

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The American Academy of Pediatricians recently released a statement saying that the health benefits of circumcision outweighed the risks.

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The statement reversed a one made in that said there were good medical reasons for it; but a few years earlier, inthe Academy had officially concluded that it was not a medical necessity. Clearly, circumcision is one of those surgeries about which opinion shifts back and forth over the years. Medical concerns have changed frequently.

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In the s many worried about phimosis, a condition in which the foreskin does not retract completely. To read some of the medical journal articles from the period, one might think this problem was nearly epidemic. Circumcision became one of the cures widely touted by physicians for this particular disorder. They also recommended circumcision as a remedy for masturbation and nervous conditions later in the century; in fact, some even endorsed the surgery for women suffering the same maladies.

Even if we agree that circumcision has some public health benefits, it is not the cure-all that we might imagine.

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This research found that it reduced transmission from infected women to men but had no effect on transmission between men. In addition, it ameliorated the spread of some sexually foreskin forum infections HPV and herpes but not gonorrhea, syphilis, or the most common STI, chlamydia. Is altering perfectly healthy bodies prophylactically really the best response, or might education campaigns about safe sex practices be more successful and less invasive for the prevention of all these diseases?

Babies cannot consent, obviously, and so intactivists deplore second party assent to unnecessary surgery. Though offering ethical arguments and critiques of procircumcision claims, those who question routine circumcision are too easily dismissed.

Pediatricians, like most other Americans, are accustomed to thinking of circumcision as natural, harmless, and beneficial. Paradigms are difficult to shift.

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But if we took a moment to put aside foreskin forum we think we know, and to look carefully at the conflicting medical debates circumcision has inspired over the years, we might be persuaded to at least question the necessity and wisdom of the procedure, given its risks, its permanence, and the fact that its recipient might have chosen otherwise. For some religious and cultural communities, of course, non-health reasons motivate circumcision. Jews and Foreskin forum circumcise boys to fulfill religious covenants, and these rituals have recently come under scrutiny in Germany.

Many there and in our own country as well are worried about pitting state power against religious freedom. But most American families do not have these same concerns. Many parents are likely to simply ask their physicians what to do. By affirming that medical benefits outweigh the risks, the AAP makes the health card difficult to trump. For those parents who rest their case on the most recent health claims, it would be worth keeping in mind that medical opinions have consistently flip-flopped over circumcision. This year she is a visiting scholar in the History of Science Department at Harvard University.

The opinions expressed here are those of the authors, not The Hastings Center. Search The Hastings Center. Events Upcoming Events Events.

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Argentina provides a case study. Close this module. The Hastings Center has never shied away from the toughest ethical challenges faced by society. Your yourname example.

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The Flip-flop over Foreskin