Did You Know?

· Most of the world’s men and boys (70%) are genitally intact. [1]

· In the U.S., circumcision began as a 19th century attempt to prevent boys (and girls) from masturbating. [2]

· The U.S. is the only country that circumcises the majority (55%) of its newborn boys for non-medical and non-religious reasons. [3] Countries that once routinely circumcised male newborns have all but abandoned the custom (Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand).

· Mothers in U.S. hospitals are routinely solicited to consent to circumcision an average of 8 times. [4]

· In the U.S. between 1.2 and 1.5 million male newborns annually are needlessly subjected to non-medically indicated circumcision. [4]

· Infant circumcision is a multi-billion dollar industry in the U.S., involving doctors, nurses, hospitals, insurance companies, pharmaceutical firms, device manufacturers and bio-tissue companies that procure excised newborn foreskins to make cosmetics and artificial skin products. [5]

· Some state Medicaid programs pay for infant circumcision even though regulations prohibit coverage for medically unnecessary procedures. [6]

· The American Academy of Pediatrics defends newborn circumcision on fraudulent medical grounds, even though no medical association in the world recommends the practice. [7]

· A circumcised penis is not healthier than an intact one. For every problem that circumcision is alleged to prevent or treat there are less radical non-surgical solutions. [8]

· Circumcision excises one-half to one-third of the penile shaft skin – containing thousands of nerve endings and fine touch receptors – permanently exposing the naturally internal penile glans (head), and leaving a permanent scar on the penis. [9] Although small in an infant, the average male foreskin constitutes approximately 15 square inches of highly erogenous tissue in the adult. [10]

· There is no state or national database of circumcision-related complications or death. The American Academy of Pediatrics admits that it has no idea of the extent of complications that affect boys and men.

· Increasing numbers of men are reporting the adverse long-term adverse physical, sexual, emotional and psychological consequences of circumcision. [11]

· Non-surgical foreskin restoration is gaining popularity among circumcised men, and it’s estimated that up to 5 million circumcised men in the U.S. would be interested in regenerative medicine to restore their foreskin. [12]

· A growing number of medical ethicists and human rights advocates consider newborn male circumcision to be unethical and a human rights violation. [13]

· In the U.S., at the Federal level and in some states, only female children are protected from genital cutting, even in its most minor form (Type IV) that results in less tissue destruction than the typical male circumcision.

· Intersex children are not yet protected at either the State or Federal levels, although some hospitals are beginning to abandon medically unnecessary intersex genital surgeries.

If this issue is new to you, visit Whose Body, Whose Rights?, to watch this groundbreaking and award-winning documentary that aired in 1995 across PBS television stations in the U.S. and is now part of the American Archive of Public Broadcasting.

Please also see the “Setting the Record Straight”