To the American Academy of Pediatrics Task Force on Circumcision:
On this day I recoil at the thought of my nationality being used in the name of a medical organization that demonstrates overt disregard for the well-being of the citizens to whom it claims to be dedicated. I find your 2012 statement on circumcision to be misleading, unethical, and an embarrassment to our country.
Concluding that “current evidence indicates that the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks” is deceiving, as you later state, “The true incidence of complications after newborn circumcision is unknown. . .” You acknowledge that “severe or even catastrophic injuries” occur but exclude them from the study. You say this is because they are rare occurrences, but they are occurrences nonetheless—events that have irreparably shaken the lives of individuals who look to you for guidance and in hindsight would give anything for their son to have a simple urinary tract infection instead of an amputated glans or penis, or instead of being dead. “The true incidence of complications after newborn circumcision” is 100%. Every circumcision results, at the very least, in the loss of healthy, functional tissue.
While your profession ignores the way in which infant circumcision undermines the individual’s right to bodily autonomy, those invested in this human rights cause understand it is the crux of the issue. A circumcised male is deprived of the full physical, immunological, and sexual function of his penis without his consent. Regardless of existing “evidence,” high school biology teaches that changing the form changes the function. To imply otherwise is insulting to our collective intelligence.
As information is freely available on the Internet, parents are learning after the fact not only that many other countries staunchly oppose circumcision, but the true risks of it as well. They often end up feeling distraught and guilt-ridden for making an uneducated decision, but the burden should not fall solely upon their shoulders. You, the doctors, are also responsible for transmitting information through the informed consent process. Please choose the moral high ground. Tell parents the foreskin is not a birth defect and the benefits of circumcision do not in fact outweigh the risks.