The AAP Worsens Its Flawed Circumcision Position

Posted: August 27th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: "Voluntary", Ethics, FCD, First Amendment, Hygiene, Law, Logic, Media Marketing, Mission, Pain, Parenting, Politics, Public Health, Science, STD | 2 Comments »

A lot has already been said about the AAP’s revised policy statement on non-therapeutic circumcision on non-consenting male children.

More will be said today and beyond. Much of it will be uncritical regurgitations of the AAP’s revision by news organizations. There will also be analysis from those who recognize and highlight the glaring deficincies and oversights in the policy. I expect to contribute my own thoughts. For now, I’ll highlight one key aspect from my initial read-through before going into what I think is a more important consideration to this apparent-but-not-really temporary setback.

The short version of the statement ends with this (emphasis added):

Parents ultimately should decide whether circumcision is in the best interests of their male child. They will need to weigh medical information in the context of their own religious, ethical, and cultural beliefs and practices. The medical benefits alone may not outweigh these other considerations for individual families.

That’s so close to the ethical stance. Remove families and focus on the individual and it would be ethical┬╣.

The way the promoted portion of the new “finding” within the revised statement differs from this conclusion is the key takeaway to challenge the supposed change from the AAP, which is really more-or-less just an exercise in urging politicians to permit circumcision on Medicaid. Here, the AAP demonstrates that its evaluation of the net benefit, that possible benefits outweigh the risks, is subjective and determined only by individuals. This directly contradicts the supposed proof based on their review of research that the potential benefits outweigh the risks (and the costs – the direct harm in every case – that they ignore). We should repeatedly emphasize that as often as necessary.

My concern is that we’ll get stuck in this low-level, short-term portion of the larger debate. It’s clear from European medical associations and courts that the eventual destination is public policy against non-therapeutic circumcision. The AAP and American society, in general, are (inexcusably) behind. But both will get there. Activists for the rights of children can make that happen sooner than it otherwise might happen.

The key is that we must give people the opportunity to save face, to avoid digging in to protect their egos. The problem is their stance, not necessarily their character. It should be obvious to them that their stance is incorrect. It isn’t. To address that, do we want to express an irrelevant, limited sense of superiority or convince others that we’re correct because facts and ethics demonstrate the case we’re making? If we impugn their motives and/or character by choosing the former, we may extend the period during which this policy statement stands or encourage people who can be influenced either way to choose the inferior stance of the AAP.

Edit note: I changed “it’s” to “their stance” to avoid possible confusion.

┬╣ The existing societal view treats certain basic human rights – for boys only – as a buffet from which parents may pick and choose for their own reasons. This is the problem merely expressed within the AAP’s policy statement.


2 Comments on “The AAP Worsens Its Flawed Circumcision Position”

  1. 1 Choose Intact » Blog Archive » “We will be heard.” said at 8:31 am on August 29th, 2012:

    […] WHOLE Network, is excellent. Every picture is compelling and nearly every picture fits within the approach I advocated. I endorse […]

  2. 2 Choose Intact » Blog Archive » AAP Task Force Member Douglas Diekama Maligns Circumcision Opponents said at 9:51 am on August 30th, 2012:

    […] infant circumcision is unjustified medically (and ethically), contra the AAP’s biased and flawed statement. To quote Douglas Diekema […]


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