While Americans are debating the legality of offering all of their citizens access to health insurance, Canadians are trying to make their (universal) medical care a little more humane.
Specifically, whether or not it is okay to circumcise male infants.
Though female circumcision is usually the trending topic in genital welfare debates, a growing number of parents are choosing not to circumcise their sons, and some are even suggesting the practice be outlawed.
Referred to as “intactivists,” the people calling for a ban are asking if infants should be subjected to a medical procedure when they are too young to consent. Which begs the question: does it provide any medical benefits?
Male circumcision is currently being promoted in Africa as a means of fighting HIV transmission, and a recent study in the Lancet found that circumcision reduces transmission of HPV, a virus links to genital warts and cervical cancer. At the same time, a 2010 study found that circumcision outside of Sub-Saharan Africa offered little benefit. In addition the both the Canadian Pediatric Society and the American Academy of Pediatrics no longer recommend the procedure because it is not medically necessary.
Whether slightly reduced HPV transmission rates are a benefit to male circumcision may not matter anyway. There are many other less invasive, irreversible ways to control HPV than lopping off part of an infant’s penis.
For those of you brave enough to see how the procedure is done, click here.
To see the discussion, click here.