What do you think of recent efforts to ban circumcision?

February 1, 2012

Urologists think it's up to parents to decide whether circumcision should be performed on their child.

We do a wide range of things to our children without their consent that we think might improve their appearance. If a child had a giant mole in the middle of their forehead, we wouldn't call it 'mutilation' to remove that without the child's consent; the child might like it just fine when they grow up. We allow people to stick earrings in their child's ear because we like the appearance, putting them at risk of infection-and those things do happen. I've even seen little kids with belly button piercings. I think it's still OK for parents to have a choice in these matters."

James Cummings, MD
Columbia, MO

Circumcision's been done for thousands of years, and the human race has survived just fine utilizing it.

Opponents have some points. In the past, there may have been too many circumcisions. Someone should always consider the pros and cons, but to outlaw it is way beyond the scope of rationality.

Circumcision varies country to country. In Israel, almost everybody is circumcised, and in Scandinavian countries, very few people are circumcised. They have public health nurses who teach parents how to clean foreskins. Diseases associated with not being circumcised are uncommon in Israel, but they're also uncommon in Scandinavian countries where they are taught to keep the area clean."

Bernard Churchill, MD
Los Angeles

They're probably finding fault with the way it's done, because they're doing a circumcision and the baby's wailing away. But have you ever asked anybody if they were psychologically damaged for the rest of their lives after being circumcised?

In this country, more men are probably circumcised than are uncircumcised. It's probably a generational thing. It's personal choice in this country. A father is circumcised, so his son is circumcised, and I don't think anyone is really harmed."

Galen F. Warren, MD
Cincinnati