Circumcision and the American Academy of Pediatrics: Should Scientific Misconduct Result in Trade Association Liability?

Iowa Law Review, Volume 85, Issue 4: Pages 1507-1568, May 2000.

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The AAP has failed to classify circumcision as experimental or cosmetic and to inform parents of the full and true nature of this procedure. If the AAP can in good faith, still permit routine circumcision to be called medical practice, it must call for, or itself fund and promote, thorough prospective studies of circumcision and obtain reliable information about this surgery. A tragedy, such as that which befell little Dustin Evans, Jr., should not fail to be ascribed to complication statistics for circumcision, through being classified as a rare consequence of anesthesia. Dustin Evans, Jr.'s death must be classified as a complication of circumcision. Absent responsible action, with the continued routine practice of this surgery, the AAP and ACOG may well find themselves named as codefendants--either by plaintiffs or by defendant physicians and hospitals--in every action brought for a botched or nonconsensual circumcision. Additionally, Attorneys for the Rights of the Child, and the groups of medical personnel opposed to circumcision, will undoubtedly continue to explore every legal avenue to put a halt to this unnecessary and harmful surgery.

As author Anne Briggs observed in her book Circumcision: What every parent should know, "the vast majority of the men in both developed and undeveloped countries of the world are uncircumcised."328 The American public should question why there is no outcry in these areas of the world for the supposedly proven heath advantages of the surgery. In 1980 Edward Wallerstein pointed out, "Today circumcision is a solution in search of a problem."329 This statement unfortunately still rings true twenty years later. The AAP, through a failure to follow scientific protocol, should not perpetuate harm on baby boys and their parents, in order to cover up past harm.


  1. BRIGGS, supra note 1, at 164.
  2. WALLERSTEIN, supra note 1, at 197.

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