"Primum non nocere," "first, do no harm," is the motto that has made medicine a noble profession. Pediatricians, who care for our most vulnerable, should be paying particular attention to their oath, and yet the American Academy of Pediatrics, once neutral on the subject of infant circumcision, condones and even supports the surgical removal of a necessary part of human genitals from...
"Primum non nocere," "first, do no harm," is the motto that has made medicine a noble profession. Pediatricians, who care for our most vulnerable, should be paying particular attention to their oath, and yet the American Academy of Pediatrics, once neutral on the subject of infant circumcision, condones and even supports the surgical removal of a necessary part of human genitals from non-consenting infants.
Performing a surgery with no medical necessity on a non-consenting patient is wrong, as any doctor will agree. Cosmetic surgery is for the patient to consent to, and medical amputation is only to be used as a last resort where anti-biotics and other methods fail. Circumcision not exempt from logic and common sense.
The adult male's foreskin is 15 square inches of specialized erogenous tissue, it keeps the glans moist and provides the mechanical gliding during intercourse that both parties find pleasurable. Cutting this off means replacing the thousands of nerve endings with a keratinized, desensitized glans and a scar running the circumference of a man's penis. These are medical facts, and most certainly constitutes harm. Furthermore, skin bridges, skin tags, buried shaft, hairy shaft, excessive bowing/curvature of the penis, missing portions of glans, meatal stenosis, painfully tight erections, and other complications can arise from circumcising infants, as well as death from blood loss or infection, which occurs over a hundred times a year in the United States. None of this has to happen, but the AAP still supports infant circumcision.
The "potential health benefits" that the AAP says are a product of cutting newborn genitals are an amalgam of overgeneralized or outright false evidence and irrational justifications for the lucrative procedure. In addition to the fact that any future potential health benefits are completely irrelevant to performing any immediate procedure on an infant, pediatric associations of the following countries have formally rejected the AAP's current policy statement: Austria, Britain, Denmark, England, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden, and the Netherlands, as well as senior pediatricians in Canada, the Czech Republic, France and Poland.
Additionally, the American Cancer Society has explicitly instructed the AAP to stop touting circumcision as a preventative measure for penile cancer.
Furthermore, an article written by over 35 doctors and researchers has recently been published through Pediatrics, the official journal of the AAP, (available online at: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2013/03/12/peds.2012-2896.full.pdf) finding cultural bias in the AAP's policy statement on infant circumcision.
The AAP's infant circumcision policy is clearly a global outlier among what the world's pediatricians have concluded, and in its current form parents cannot take it as serious advice.
The genitals are the property of no one but the person in question, and the decision to cut off their foreskin is their own and no one else's. European pediatricians respect this, it is only in America (and the rates are decreasing every day) that infants are regularly subjected to cosmetic amputation in a medical context. But the AAP is treating circumcision as a universally accepted and common procedure.
AAP: listen to the consensus of the rest of the western medical world. It is time to respect the American right and human right to bodily autonomy, and put ethics ahead of profits by revising the AAP infant circumcision policy.