Thirty-eight physicians from Europe have written a paper alleging that “cultural bias” was behind the pro-circumcision stance of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The commentary, published on March 18 on the website of the U.S.-based Pediatric Journal, disputes a report which the American academy on children’s health published in August, which states that “benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks but the benefits are not great enough to recommend universal newborn circumcision.”
The European reply states that “seen from the outside, cultural bias reflecting the normality of non-therapeutic male circumcision in the United States seems obvious. The report’s conclusions are different from those reached by physicians in other parts of the Western world.”
The benefits attributed in the American report to circumcision — including protection against HIV, genital herpes, genital warts and penile cancer — are “questionable, weak, and likely to have little public health relevance in a Western context and they do not represent compelling reasons for surgery before boys are old enough to decide for themselves,” the European authors wrote.
In the U.S., a large percentage of non-Jewish males are circumcised, whereas in Europe the custom is limited almost exclusively to Jews and Muslims.
However, the European physicians that there is “some theoretical relevance”: to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ claim that circumcision may offer protection against urinary tract infections in infant boys,, Nevertheless, the Europeans added, “This “can easily be treated with antibiotics without tissue loss,” they wrote.
About half of the European physicians are from Scandinavian countries, where several political parties have stated their opposition to circumcision as a form of “child abuse,” or unwanted phenomenon of immigration by Muslims.