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January 21, 2010
The flap over a flap of skin—foreskin, to be precise—is heating up again, as two influential groups are re-examining the medical merits of circumcision in light of recent findings and are prepping to release new appraisals of the controversial procedure, a story in the Washington Post points out. Long a cultural and religious given, circumcision has increasingly become a medical issue, as growing evidence suggests that it may offer health gains, and to a greater degree than thought in the past. Opponents of circumcision nevertheless call the procedure unnecessary and compare it to female genital mutilation; many contend that it's child abuse and argue that parents should wait until boys are old enough to decide for themselves.
The Post story noted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has never before issued public-health recommendations on circumcision, is expected to release a draft this summer and will most likely weigh in on whether newborns, and even adult males, should get snipped. The final version would serve solely as guidance to parents, individuals, and doctors, according to an agency spokeswoman, and not be a public-health mandate. Meanwhile, the Post added, the American Academy of Pediatrics is mulling over whether it should revise its policy on circumcision, adopted in 1999 and reaffirmed in 2005, which states: "Existing scientific evidence demonstrates potential medical benefits of newborn male circumcision; however, these data are not sufficient to recommend routine neonatal circumcision."