Friday, August 23, 2013
US Circumcision Rate Declines,Report Says
According to a report from the National Center for Health Statistics,the rate of newborn male circumcision in US hospitals has fallen from 64.5% in 1979 to 58.3% in 2010,a little over 6%.This is in spite of the fact that the American Academy of Pediatrics regards the ancient practice as clearly beneficial.The decline was most pronounced in the West,where the rate dropped from 63.9% to 40.2%.*Medicaid insurance no longer covers circumcision in 18 states.*Circumcision is a biblical ritual.The New Testament records that Jesus was circumcised on the eigth day after his birth according to the Jewish rite of dedication and naming of male children.Both Jews and Muslims routinely practice circumcision of newborns today as an act of faith.As well,the practice was routine in US hospitals in the 1950s and 60s for the Baby Boomer generation.*The American Academy of Pediatrics issued an opinion in August 2012 to the effect that circumcision has clear health benefits,but parents should make up their own minds,in consultation with their physicians,and that insurance should pay for the minor surgery.Although health benefits are not great enough to recommend routine circumcision for all male newborns,the benefits are sufficient to justify access for families choosing it and to warrant third party payment for circumcision of male newborns,the Academy said.*The benefits of circumcision are a reduced rate of HIV,herpes and urinary tract infections for circumcised males,as well as other infections.This is beacause the foreskin's immune system cells are prone to infection,and bacteria also collect under the foreskin.A circumcised newborn also develops thicker skin that better resists small cuts and tears that could become infected.*A Johns Hopkins University study finds that the decline of the circumcision rate has already resulted in an extra two billion dollars in health care costs for the treatment of the various infections.Nonetheless,opponents of circumcision insist the practice is unnatural,painful and unnecessary,and have mounted unsuccessful campaigns both in the US and Europe to outlaw it,offending religious groups in the process.