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July 16, 1997

Advantages and Disadvantages of Neonatal Circumcision

Author Affiliations

Vancouver, British Columbia

JAMA. 1997;278(3):202. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550030042024

To the Editor.  —Dr Laumann and colleagues1 conclude that data from the National Health and Social Life Survey do not lend clear support to either side in the circumcision debate. However, by demonstrating that circumcision does not reduce the risk of contracting STDs, the authors may have knocked another prop out from under a medical procedure that already depends on the frailest of support. Moreover, their finding that removal of the foreskin alters patterns of sexual behavior over a lifetime casts further doubt on the appropriateness of circumcising infants too young to give informed consent.Circumcision is an invasive procedure that is not essential to an infant's welfare and virtually always can be deferred with little or no risk. The finding that circumcision has significant impact in later life adds further credibility to the view that a decision regarding circumcision should be postponed until a man can choose for himself. In 1995

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