Moms Talk: Circumcision Rates Declining in the U.S.
To snip or not to snip? Many parents are beginning to choose not to circumcise.
Those fuzzy first days after a baby is born are usually filled with warmth and light. Moms and dads are so grateful that their babies have arrived, and at the same time, a little overwhelmed by all that lies ahead.
The only difference between having a girl or a boy, in the beginning, is that when you have a boy, your obstetrician will discuss scheduling a circumcision.
Usually not posed as a question (at least in my experience with two boys), this procedure has been par for the course in the U.S. since brought here from England in the late 19th century.
United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data, reported by The New York Times, showed that the incidence of circumcision declined from 56 percent in 2006 to 32.5 percent in 2009. This data does not include religious ceremonies such as brit milah, which means "covenant of circumcision."
Many experts have questioned the medical need for circumcision, but others in medicine still insist that it's healthier. Dr. Oz says it is; it MUST be so.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) stated in 1971 that there was no medical reason for circumcision. Then in 1989, AAP changed its mind and found "potential benefit" to the operation. Once more the organization changed its mind again in 1999 , deciding the data on "potential benefits" were insufficient.
For me, it was a question of considering the reasons why Americans trend toward the circumcision. My sons were born in the early 2000s, and I pretty much felt like the medical reasons didn't outweigh the trauma of the procedure.
I deferred to my husband, since I didn't know what it was like to have a penis. And when he came down in favor of circumcision, I wanted to know why. But I reluctantly went with the flow.
The reasons he gave me were mainly social. He said, "What if he plays sports? The other kids will give him a hard time." I wondered secretly if my husband really just wanted his child to be the same as him—in that way.
In the U.S. it became expected to conform to societal standards; it's really a cosmetic issue. Not any longer. It's now the norm to be au natural with more than half of our population opting out of circumcisions for their newborns. In 1964, 90 percent of all male children were circumcised.
If I could do it over again, I wouldn't choose circumcisions for my boys. I felt pressured by the doctors, and worried about my husband's approval. If we would have researched it a little, I probably could have talked him out of this barbaric tradition. Infants have rights, too.
What is your opinion on circumcision? Leave a comment below.