Circumcision Rates Fall to 33 Percent

ImageAccording to the CDC rates of circumcision performed on newborn males in the U.S. declined sharply from 56 percent in 2006 to just 33 percent in 2009. The decision to circumcise a newborn so that he will fit in with peers in the locker room is no longer valid.

Circumcision in the U.S. has been a controversial and hot button topic for years. Circumcision rates in 1970 were almost 90 percent. The credit for this incredible decline might be due to the ever increasing number of parents who are educating themselves about this unnecessary cosmetic procedure before making a choice.

No national health organization in the world recommends circumcision for healthy male infants, not the American Academy of Pediatrics nor the American Medical Association. Nearly all European males are intact, with no epidemic of penile health problems, thus discrediting the American held belief that circumcision is healthy.

Another myth is that circumcision removes just a little flap of skin. The truth is that roughly 15 square inches of tissue is removed, amounting to anywhere from one-third to one-half of the skin covering a normal penis. Removed with this tissue are 240 feet of nerves and up to 20,000 nerve endings.

Activists spreading the word about circumcision call themselves intactivists. Their argument is that an intact penis is the default and natural condition. Don’t fix it if it ain’t broken. Risks and side effects can include hemorrhage and even death. The foreskin that is removed actually has a function. In fact, it has many functions. Read about them here.

Another argument against routine newborn circumcision is consent. An infant can’t give it. It’s his body; he should make the decision when he’s older. Some circumcised men have even opted for foreskin restoration.

Many organizations have come out against routine infant circumcision. Just a few of which are: Doctors Opposing Circumcision, Mothers Against Circumcision and even Jews Against Circumcision.

More information can be found at cicumcision.org, cirp.org and nocirc.org.

Added on 1/2/14: As it seems I have stirred up a bit of a controversy, I have added a follow up to this post here.

27 thoughts on “Circumcision Rates Fall to 33 Percent”

    1. Even though your link has the date of 2013 your article only goes up until 2010. Therefore yours is out of date and doesn’t show if this article is wrong. Also, we are not clear if the author is talking about her state or national average. The numbers she stated for 2006 are the same as my state and I haven’t looked at 2013 numbers fory my state yet, but do know there was a decrease.

  1. Concise and encouraging. Now, if new parents can get proper info on intact care (ie, never retract, wipe the outside only) there should be a shift in viewing the intact penis as normal, healthy, and much easier to care for than a circumcised penis.

  2. As a parent of a young son, I think that everyone needs the opportunity to make the informed decision about this issue. However, as a math teacher, one word of caution: be careful about misleading statistics, intentional or otherwise. The 33% you spoke of in the first paragraph is actually only true for the Western US. Other areas of the US have experienced much less drastic falls in circumcision rates. Since the 2009 rate, however, rates have actually climbed again slightly. The data also only accounts for boys who were circumcised as newborns in hospitals, which doesn’t account for the growing number of women who have opted for something other than a hospital birth. The 15 square inches of skin you refer to is actually the amount of skin that would be removed during the procedure of an ADULT male, not an infant.

    I appreciate your effort to get parents to be thoughtful and making informed decisions, let’s just make sure we are using accurate information.

    1. The growing number of women choosing out of hospital birth still accounts for around 1%. Not only will that not appreciably move the needle in this statistic, those women are far more likely to leave their sons intact.

    2. It is more accurate and telling to say circumcision cuts off 65% to 85% of the fine touch sexual receptors. It is 85% when the frenulum is as newborns scraped off. The amount of sexual receptors cut off is equal to the amount of all 10 fingertips one may say that the foredkin does feels acutely where it is in its surroundings. Another way to look at the amount of skin that is taken is just simply by looking at what skin you have is the amount of skin that is taken.

  3. Thanks for all the feedback! This article was originally published elsewhere in 2009 when these numbers first came out. I have been busy reposting my work here.Unfortunetly, the links embedded in the original article for verification were lost and I didn’t recheck the facts, because they were accurate (as reported) at the time it was written. Here is a link to a similar article in the NY Times: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/17/u-s-circumcision-rates-on-the-decline/?_r=0

    http://mgmbill.org/statistics.htm this has the original study numbers.

    The most recent information from the CDC does put the national low higher than originally reported. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hestat/circumcision_2013/circumcision_2013.htm

    Of course, any decline is still good news!

    This disturbs me, “Many factors likely influence rates of NMC. A recent study found that, after controlling for other factors, hospitals in states in which Medicaid covers routine male circumcision had circumcision rates that were 24 percentage points higher than hospitals in states without such coverage”.

    We should not be using tax payer dollars to fund something that is completely unnecessary.

    If rates are indeed rising again, perhaps a follow up article would be in order! As a mother of boys, this is a topic that truly concerns me! I have had to stop a doctor from retracting my infant. The lack of knowledge of proper care for the intact penis is staggering.

  4. The 32.5% figure was revealed by CDC researchers from SDI Health at the 2010 AIDS conference in Vienna and was never intended to be made public. THANK GOODNESS for intactivists who are working tirelessly to expose the circumcision fraud.

    Two links below: One is the back-story to the 32.5% figure and the second is the slide presented at Vienna.

    Very interesting data on the slide, is the very low rate of circumcisions among all older males, even in a circumcising culture like America. The message is, if you’re lucky enough to escape the knife as a baby, you are very, very unlikely to need to be circumcised later on.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/17/health/research/17circ.html?_r=0

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/intactivist/5323491644/

  5. Jamie, should be noted that 38 eminent (mostly European) physicians, including the heads of 15 national pediatric associations strongly condemned the AAP for its pro-circumcision stance (even though the AAP don’t actually recommend the practice). The AAP was left in the embarrassing position of having to publish this powerful condemnation in their own journal, Pediatrics.

    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/131/4/796.full.pdf

    Should also be noted in 2010 the AAP recommended the reintroduction of female circumcision, for cultural reasons. The worldwide backlash was as swift as it was severe.

    http://healthland.time.com/2010/05/27/pediatricians-group-withdraws-statement-on-female-circumcision/

    Finally, the 2012 Circumcision Task Force was chaired by Jewish physician, Susan Blank. The last pro-circumcision statement from the AAP came in 1989, when that Circumcision Task Force was chaired by Jewish physician, Edgar Schoen.

    When it comes to the forced genital cutting of children, the AAP can be trusted to stand up for those with a financial and cultural interest in the practice, but not for the human rights and welfare of their child-patents.

    1. I would strongly caution all readers regarding anything Mr Morris publishes on his circinfo . net site.

      The worldwide medical community unanimously agree that routine infant circumcision is not a recommended procedure, with most being strongly against the practice.

      If a grown man, like Jared, wants protective, mobile, sensitive tissues removed from his penis, that’s his choice and this informed choice should be respected. But this risky, painful and unnecessary surgery should never be forced onto a child in the absence of genuine medical need, such as abnormality or illness, as with any other surgery on children. Children have a basic right to physical integrity.

      http://www.circleaks.org/index.php?title=Brian_J._Morris

    2. CircInfo – lol … you’re joking, right? A site operated by rabid pro-cutters and circumfetishists? At any rate, you had no right to ‘save your son’ the pain of an adult circumcision by inflicting unnecessary pain on him as a child. He’s not a piece of property. It’s his penis, not yours. It was his decision to make. Not yours.

    3. I am a father who is totally opposed to routine infant circumcision, which I believe is grounded in simplistic and mistaken views about sexual acts and sexual pleasure. Rest assured ladies, that my stance is common outside the USA, and not rare within it. Also rest assured that quite a few American men regret that they were circumcised in infancy.
      Infant circumcision is NOT less painful. Rather, the pain is easier for doctors and parents to ignore. Babies are done without anesthesia and do not benefit from postop pain killers.
      Circinfo is a website created and maintained by Brian Morris of Australia, a retired professor of medicine who is not a doctor, and hence is neither a urologist nor a pediatrician. He has been an obsessive advocate of routine infant circumcision for at least 15 years. The AAP’s 2012 statement on RIC nowhere mentions Morris.

    1. Thank you Angela for raising the issue of foreskin restoration. It is great to see the issue being picked up by the mainstream media in recent times.

      The increased awareness is providing options for those men who deeply resent the circumcisions that were forced upon their infant-selves.

      I completed the process of restoration myself several years ago and can attest to the amazing benefits and improved function. The body has a tremendous ability to repair itself, given the opportinity and the right environment.

      In 2010, a friend who publishes the (Australian) Whole Woman magazine invited me (along with a handful of other men) to share their experiences with circumcision for an article she was putting together. Here’s what I wrote:

      http://www.thewholenetwork.org/14/post/2011/8/a-journey-to-foreskin-restoration.html

  6. Thanks for making the issue public. The 32.5% figure did come from the CDC and it stood as the official figure for almost a year before they published another rate. But this is moot, to me. What is more important is the percentage of Americans who believe boys should not be circumcised. It is that populace that will influence social change, not recent parents.

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