Circumcision: Benefits Outweigh Risks, CDC Finds


by S. Fridman - New York

December 2, 2014

After a seven-year study on circumcision, the Center for Disease Control has found that the ancient ritual is so beneficial, insurance companies ought to pay for it. 

In a summary of federal guidelines in support of the procedure released Tuesday by the CDC, male circumcision was found to significantly reduce the risks of infection and disease among men. “The scientific evidence is clear that the benefits outweigh the risks,” said the CDC's Dr. Jonathan Mermin.

The findings, which support the procedure especially for male newborns, come at a time when circumcision rates in the U.S. have dropped, and the controversy around the practice has grown. This despite the fact that empirical studies have been showing it benefits.

Dr. Aaron Tobian, a Johns Hopkins University researcher told the Associate Press that "The benefits of male circumcision have become more and more clear over the last 10 years."  

In 1999, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) changed from a neutral stance on circumcision to a position that the data then available were insufficient to recommend routine neonatal male circumcision. According to the CDC, the AAP is currently reviewing and amending their policy in light of new data. 

The tradition of brit milah, or male circumcision of newborn infants on the 8th day, has been widely observed by Jews across the spectrum, religious and non-practicing, as a “sign of the covenant of Abraham.” In recent years, the practice has come under attack. The new findings may address many of the fears and objections raised by its opponents.  

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