The Bias of The American Academy of Pediatricsby Vincent Bach
I would like to comment on the American Academy of Pediatrics. I have a very different view of their position regarding routine male circumcision than some of you and I'd like to explore these differences. Isn't it interesting that although the AAP readily admits that the "potential" benefits of routine infant male circumcision are not compelling enough to recommend it to parents, they go on to say that it is legitimate for parents "to take into account cultural, religious, and ethnic traditions." What other medically unnecessary and physically harmful surgeries does the AAP feel are legitimate to be inflicted upon newborns based only on "cultural, religious, and ethnic traditions?" If you said "NONE!" you'd be right.
Before I go further, let me say I do realize that some of you may feel that by directing others to rely on the AAP for guidance instead of other sources is a good plan because the AAP is not associated with the "anti-circ" movement and, therefore, is likely to be given more respect. I assume your strategy is that the reader can read the AAP's public statements on male circumcision and see that even the AAP does not recommend it. However, that same reader can just as easily use the AAP's statements to justify a decision to circumcise.
Some of us who are on the same side of this debate frequently site the AAP as a neutral or unbiased source of information regarding male circumcision. It kinda gnaws at me whenever I see the AAP held out as an unbiased source of information. You see, I've been watching these rascals wiggle around on this issue since the late 1970's and I see it quite differently. My observation has always been that the AAP is a professional organization that, like many other professional organizations, has lost its moral compass and forgotten what its mission should be - at least as it relates to this issue.
You see, I think the mission of the AAP should be a commitment to the attainment of optimal physical, mental, and social health and well-being for all infants, children, adolescents, and young adults. As a matter of fact, that IS the stated mission of the AAP. Go to the homepage of their website and you'll see those exact words.
However, what sometimes happens with professional organizations and what has happened to the AAP regarding its stance on the issue of routine infant male circumcision, is that the organization has drastically strayed from its stated mission. It has adopted a stance on male circumcision that seeks to protect the vested interest of many of its dues-paying members at the very expense of the physical, mental, and social well-being of infants - and for that matter, men!
In some of my previous writings, I've touched on this issue, but let me spell out exactly what I am referring to.
The AAP is no island cut off from worldwide scientific information. They are very much aware that there are no legitimate benefits to circumcising newborn males. They knew this in 1971 (actually even before that) when they published a public statement saying just that -
"There are no valid medical indications for circumcision in the neonatal period." (American Academy of Pediatrics, 1971)
However, since then they have come under tremendous pressure from many in their membership who, like most Americans, still want to continue the practice. Many of those members make a great deal of money participating in the circumcision industry. What the AAP has done by revising its position on male circumcision several times since 1971 is to bend over backwards in trying to create a public position on the issue that saves them face among other medical societies around the world, while at the same time leaving wiggle room for their members to continue promoting the practice.
The AAP fully realizes that if they take a position regarding routine infant male circumcision that truly parallels their stated mission of protecting the well-being of children, they would risk alienating many of their dues paying members, increase malpractice liability exposure for a large portion of their membership, and thereby threaten the very future of the AAP's existence.
The AAP being made up of humans, just like you and me, has its share of sacred cows. One of them, unfortunately, is seeing to it that routine infant circumcision remains a legal, accepted practice in America. They apparently feel that their own existence is threatened otherwise. I happen to find their thinking on this to be not only exponentially selfish, but extremely short-sighted as well.
So while seeking to reach a compromise that appears reasonable and "neutral", in the long-term they actually weaken their own stature among the world's professional ranks AND continue to directly contribute to the practice of mutilating innocent children.
for more original articles by vincent bach, return to regarding circumcision and intactness.
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