Why Many Other Sources, Even Reputable Ones, are Misleading

Reliance on the American Academy of Pediatrics policy is common and spreads misinformation


misleadingMost American medical sources of information do not usually have the time or interest to investigate circumcision independently. Instead, they rely on the circumcision policy issued from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The AAP is considered to be the leading authority on the subject. Therefore, many articles on circumcision tend to reflect the AAP’s findings and conclusions. If anyone questions the content of an article, the author or organization that published the article can simply say that the content is based on the AAP policy, and that would end the discussion.

We do not trust the AAP policy. To learn some of the reasons why, see Response to American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Policy Statement. For example, the policy does not mention anatomy and functions of the foreskin, effects of circumcision pain and trauma, psychological harm, and serious ethical questions. Useful information about the foreskin was deleted from a pamphlet for parents. Also see Circumcision Policy: A Psychosocial Perspective, which explains in detail how circumcision policy may not be evidence-based and can be affected by additional factors. For example, circumcision task force members have personal, cultural, financial, and professional conflicts of interest. In addition, the AAP has other conflicts of interest. It seeks to protect its authority, credibility, and power and avoid controversies that could undermine its interests.

If the AAP produced a policy that clearly opposed circumcision, the potential response could hurt the organization. It would be admitting that it was wrong to accept (though it has never recommended) this harmful genital surgery since the AAP’s beginning in 1930. Some people would be outraged at the perceived incompetence of this long-term acceptance. Others would object to the conflict between such a position and religious practice. The protests from various parties (not to mention circumcised men) could be significant. A legal writer suggests that some parents who believe they were misled by AAP information may want to consider legal action against the AAP based on negligent or even fraudulent misrepresentation. Therefore, the more politically convenient route for the AAP is to continue its current course, letting parents decide about circumcision without awareness of important information, and ignoring how circumcision violates the organization’s stated mission–“the health of all children.”

The flaws in the AAP policy demonstrate that circumcision is not a medical issue. When you look closer, you see that circumcision is a psychosocial issue disguised as a medical issue. For more information, see Circumcision: The Hidden Trauma–How an American Cultural Practice Affects Infants and Ultimately Us All.