American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: Circumcision Policy 2001

Obstetrics & Gynecology, Volume 98, Issue 4: Pages 707-708, October 2001.


Circumcision Reference Library Summary

[CIRP note: ACOG has not placed the actual text of their circumcision policy online. It is available on their website only to their members. Therefore, the Circumcision Reference Library has prepared this interpretation of ACOG's position, for readers who do not have access to a medical library.]

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) released a position statement on neonatal circumcision, identified as "ACOG Committee Opinion Number 260", in October, 2001. The statement may be summarized as follows:

Lack of medical value. The statement affirms ACOG's agreement with and support of the 1999 American Academy of Pediatrics Circumcision Policy Statement. From this it is clear that ACOG cannot and does not recommend elective non-therapeutic circumcision of infant boys for medical reasons or for any other reason.

Complications. ACOG admits that "common complications are local infections and bleeding", but fails to state that death may result therefrom. The statement does not mention surgical mishaps, which may result in serious injury.

Pain. Good ethical medical practice requires use of anesthetic agents if a circumcision is to be performed. The pain of circumcision is intense, excruciating, and longlasting. According to a recent study, 75% of U.S. obstetricians (ACOG members) do not use any anesthesia for neonatal circumcision. ACOG admits that infants feel pain when someone is circumcising them. ACOG further admits that sucrose and acetominophen are "not sufficient" medication for this operation.

Informed consent. ACOG advises its members that parents (plural) should be given "accurate and impartial information" about circumcision. Even though ACOG does not recommend circumcision because of its lack of medical value, ACOG states that only infants who are already "healthy and stable" should be subjected to circumcision.

Reference. The complete original statement, which is brief, may be viewed in a medical library. The citation for the ACOG statement is:

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