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New policy "narrow," say children's advocates

(Released 22:00 UCT, March 1, 1999)

The American Academy of Pediatrics today released its long-awaited Policy Statement on male circumcision, a procedure that removes erogenous skin from a child's penis.

The statement finally concluded that the "potential medical benefits" of newborn male circumcision are not sufficient to recommend routine infant circumcision. This should mean more boys will be allowed to grow up intact and healthy.

Other recommendations were that some pain relief be provided. Most circumcisions in the U.S. are still executed without any form of analgesia.

The Policy Statement arose out of a two-year investigation conducted by the AAP's Task Force on Neonatal Circumcision. It had been hoped that the Task Force would address urgent issues such as penile anatomy and sexual function, protecting boys from forcible foreskin retraction, and the human rights of the child. Instead, the statement is a narrow legalistic policy with no real guidance in these areas.

Male circumcision remains a common procedure in the U.S. It has been receiving increased attention in recent months, largely from men who say infant circumcision violated their basic rights.


  1. The AAP 1999 Circumcision Policy Statement with hyperlinks
  2. The AAP's news release
  3. Other news releases
  4. Analysis by NOHARMM (link to NOHARMM website)
  5. Background
  6. The Task Force
  7. Materials submitted to Task Force
  8. Letters to the Task Force and to the AAP

The AAP held its Spring Session April 17-20, 1999 at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago. Carole Lannon presented the Policy Statement at this meeting.

(Return to Circumcision Information and Resource Pages)