There's good concern for not circumcising boys

Thursday, January 21, 2010

It would be disgraceful bioethics for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to recommend circumcision for U.S. infants based on African studies ["Circumcision may receive new support," Health, Jan. 19].

Amputating healthy, vital, nerve-supplied erogenous tissue from helpless infants, based on an assumption that they will be promiscuous adults, is remarkably totalitarian medicine. It also flies in the face of epidemiological realities. The United States has high rates of HIV and the highest rate of circumcision in the West. The "experiment" of using circumcision to stem HIV infection has been running here for decades. It has failed miserably. Why do countries such as New Zealand, where they abandoned infant circumcision 50 years ago, or European countries, where circumcision is rare, have such low rates of HIV?

Circumcising infants who can then claim as adults that they are less likely to catch or transmit HIV is a foolish gamble. And if circumcised individuals still need to practice safe sex, why bother with a procedure that might make them overconfident? Moreover, in an age when "super bugs" are rampant in U.S. hospitals, the CDC needs to weigh carefully the ethics of preventing disease by amputating healthy tissue from helpless children.

John V. Geisheker, Seattle

The writer is executive director and general counsel of Doctors Opposing Circumcision.


Concerned parents of baby boys should trust their own common sense -- and leave their sons intact. Mother Nature provides boys with a foreskin. It is not a birth defect that needs surgical correction by circumcision.

And the effort to prevent HIV is not a good argument for this unnecessary and harmful procedure. Education and condoms are safe and effective.

Paul Gaudet, Lowell, Mass.

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