This file indexes selected general articles and books about male circumcision that have appeared since 1949. The articles are indexed in chronological order.
No careful medical investigation ever preceded the introduction of neonatal male circumcision as a routine procedure. It was introduced on the opinion of a few influential nineteenth and early twentieth century physicians without any research into safety or efficacy.
Since 1949, many articles and books have appeared both in the medical literature and elsewhere that question the execution of circumcision by medical doctors and cite accumulating evidence that male circumcision is not beneficial and is actually injurious to the patient. This file presents some of the more important of these articles and books.
No article here finds male circumcision to be medically necessary. Several say it should not be performed. There appears to be a progression in the thought through the years from the mildly negative viewpoint toward the strongly negative viewpoint toward male circumcision. This viewpoint is supported by the increasing availability of information about the adverse effects of male circumcision. A social transformation is taking place.
The Fate of the Foreskin2 by British paediatrician, Douglas Gairdner, DM, which appeared in 1949, led to a profound reexamination of circumcision in the U.K., with the result that the procedure is rare today. Historically, it is a classic, along with its "sequels".
Foley (1966) provides a far ranging discussion of the problems ofmale circumcision. Foley was one of the first to point to social and psychological problems associated with the practice. He challenged the then-prevalent belief that circumcision could prevent cancer. Foley also discusses potential legal liability resulting from the performance of circumcision.7
Wright's 1967 condemnation of circumcision helped to influence the Australian Pædiatric Association to adopt an anti-circumcision policy in 1971.8
Øster's Further Fate of the Foreskin10 (1968) fully explores the normal development of the foreskin through adolescence.
Leitch's Circumcision - A Contining Enigma (1970) influenced the Australian Pædiatric Association, which adopted an anti-circumcision policy in 1971.10
Preston's Whither the Foreskin?12 appeared in 1970. This article heavily influenced the American Academy of Pediatrics, which declared in a statement issued in 1971 that there is no medical indication for circumcision in the neonatal period.
Falliers (1970) highlights the aesthetic and erogenous values of the prepuce.13
Grimes' Routine Circumcision of the Newborn,15 which appeared in 1978, expressed concern about possible psychological injury from the pain. This concern was proven valid years later. This article was the official rejection of male circumcision by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Gellis reports that there are more deaths from complications of circumcision than deaths from penile cancer.16
Oliver (1979) calls male neonatal circumcision a "cruel procedure" and calls for legal protection of children from this procedure.18
Baker (1979) reports that there are 229 infants a year die from results of non-therapeutic neonatal circumcision.20
Prucha (1980) raises a Canadian voice against the non-therapeutic circumcision of boys.23
Metcalf et al.26 (1983) reported an in-hospital complication rate of four percent and a later complication rate of thirteen percent, for a total rate of seventeen percent.
Thompson (1983) reports how controversy and emotion result in AAP statements being compromises to satisfy the pro-circumcision individuals.< href="#n27">27
Wallerstein (1985) gives us a comparison of US practice with that of other nations and suggests corrective actions.30
Hughes reported his findings on the influence that circumcision has on sexuality and marital relations in 1990. Hughes believed that circumcision contributes to marriage failure.31
Chessare (1992) reports that non-circumcision produces the "highest utility" (i.e, the best health).32
Thompson (1992) takes the view that there is no proof that incidence of UTI is reduced by circumcision and argues that the procedure should not be performed.33
Poland, who served on the 1989 American Academy of Pediatrics Task Force on Circumcision, showed that the true cause of penile and cervical cancer is the human papilloma virus in 1990. Poland states that circumcision should not be part of routine medical care.34 This article proved to be influential with the Canadian Paediatric Society, which quoted from it.
The British Medical Journal has on three occasions (1949, 1979 and 1993) published editorials regarding the practice of male circumcision.1,17,37 The first introduced Gairdner's landmark article on circumicsion.1 The second17 condemned the practice of non-therapeutic neonatal circumcision and the third36 attacked unnecessary post-neonatal circumcision.
Denniston (1992) calls male circumcision medically unnecessary and points to the positive value of the intact foreskin.35
Warren and Bigelow describe circumcision as a sacrifice and report on the importance of the foreskin in sexual relations in 1994.39
LeBourdais (1995) discusses the declining incidence of the practice of neonatal circumcision. She points to the changing legal enviroment, and points out the tendency of circumcised doctors and circumcised fathers to repeat the trauma of circumcision.41
Duckett, in a letter addressed to the American urological community, cites the strong bias of the urological community in favor of circumcision. Duckett criticises that position and calls upon the urological community to temper its enthusiasm for circumcision and to respect the right of the patient to remain intact. He believes that one million circumcised men would choose circumcision reversal if it were to be made available.42
Storms (1996) calls attention to the need to update the official reports on male circumcision. She cites the higher incidence of STDs among circumcised men. She notes the positive correlation between incidence of male circumcision and incidence of AIDS in the industrialized countries.45
Laumann reveals in Circumcision in the United States in 1996 that circumcised males tend to have more sexually transmitted diseases and tend to engage in a wider variety of sexual practices.47
Konopka suggests a possible role of circumcision in the problems of male menopause (impotence).48
Fleiss's discussion of male circumcision which appeared in late 1997 is the most thorough and up-to-date article on male circumcision.51 Fleiss provides a comprehensive, documented contemporary report on non-therapeutic male circumcision.
Zoske brings a men's studies background and perspective to the examination of male circumcision.53 Zoske calls circumcision "an abusive wounding of males."
Roberton describes male neonatal circumcision as "mutilation". This may be the first pediatric text to describe male circumcision as "mutilation."55
Dritsas reports on the current debate about non-therapeutic neonatal circumcision. He recommends that the practice of male neonatal circumcision be suspended until a consensus emerges.58
Dave et al. (2003) report a higher incidence of sexually transmitted disease in circumcised males, however the difference is not statistically significant. They also report a higher incidence of homosexual experience in circumcised males.62
Elder (2006) calls for an end to health insurance payments for non-therapeutic circumcision.65
Dalton (2007) reviews the certain harms and injuries inherent in child circumcision.66
Hill (2007) examines the psychosocial problems that prevent medical societies from publishing an honest assessment of the circumcision of male children. He also examines the emotional forces that cause the medical literature on circumcision to be voluminous and polarized.67
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