According to a GlobalNewswire press release of November 15, 2011 the American Medical Association has voted to oppose any legal prohibition of male circumcision:
“Ballot and other legal initiatives have recently been proposed in California that would ban infant male circumcision and penalize any physician who performed it. The AMA voted today to oppose any attempt to legally prohibit male infant circumcision.
“There is strong evidence documenting the health benefits of male circumcision, and it is a low-risk procedure, said Peter W. Carmel, M.D., AMA president. “Today the AMA again made it clear that it will oppose any attempts to intrude into legitimate medical practice and the informed choices of patients.”
Media Contacts: AMA Media Relations Chicago – (312) 464-4430 Washington – (202) 789-7421.”
This merely confirms that the AMA is a trade organization that will do anything to protect the interests of its members. It is unfortunate, in my opinion, that the AMA President claims that circumcision “is a low-risk procedure.” If this were so, I would not have had the number of cases of botched circumcisions I have handled over the last few years, nor would the average pediatric urologist perform surgery to correct a botched circumcision at least once per week. Of course, “low risk” is a matter of opinion. Certainly any risk is unacceptable when a surgery is unnecessary to the immediate health of the child, and a risk that occurs is no longer “low” when it happens to your child. The AMA President’s claim that there is “strong evidence documenting the health benefits of male circumcision,” is likewise unfortunate and is an example of hyperbole. In reality there are very few, if any, health benefits of male circumcision, particularly in the industrialized world. Certainly any potential benefits do not outweigh the risks, as the American Academy of Pediatrics and other pediatric societies have long recognized. Virtually any proposed benefit can be realized by practicing good hygiene and safe sexual practices. The AMA’s defense of circumcision as a medical procedure is nothing more than an attempt to protect its members and their pocketbooks. It lends credence to the propositions that infant male circumcision in the U.S. is driven by money, not by valid medical concerns, and that circumcision is “a procedure looking for a disease.”