Gee you go on vacation for a few days and weird things start happening. The New York Times reported that public health officials in the Center For Disease Congto (CDC) are considering promoting routine circumcision for all baby boys born in the United States to reduce the spread of H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS.
The topic is a delicate one that has already generated controversy, even though a formal draft of the proposed recommendations, due out from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by the end of the year, has yet to be released.
Recently, studies showed that in African countries hit hard by AIDS, men who were circumcised reduced their infection risk by half. But the clinical trials in Africa focused on heterosexual men who are at risk of getting H.I.V. from infected female partners.
This is sure to start a huge fight, as the government already has most of us by the..well you know:
Meanwhile, critics of the recommendation said it subjects newborn boys to “medically unnecessary” surgery without their consent.
But Dr. Peter Kilmarx, chief of epidemiology for the division of HIV/AIDS prevention at the CDC, told the Times that any step that could stop the spread of HIV must be given “serious consideration.”
“We have a significant HIV epidemic in this country, and we really need to look carefully at any potential intervention that could be another tool in the toolbox we use to address the epidemic,” Kilmarx told the newspaper. “What we’ve heard from our consultants is that there would be a benefit for infants from infant circumcision, and that the benefits outweigh the risks.”
I am not sure about that because when I had my circumcision when I was 8-days-old it effected me so much, I couldn’t walk for a year.
But the issue goes way beyond a baby or an adult male taking a little off the top, it may end up being a matter of personal freedom. As Reason online argues:
Newborn circumcision rates are at 65 percent but have dropped for decades since just after World War II, when they were at more than 80 percent. This might be partially attributable to immigration of non-circumcising populations. There are also various movements afoot that question both the health benefits and the morality of slicing a newborn.
I do not possess any ironclad opinion on the topic of circumcision—and perhaps not so coincidentally, I also do not have a son. Many of you, I assume, are foreskin-neutral.
Studies suggest that circumcision can help prevent HIV, though it has not shown to help those with the greatest risk, men having sex with men. One also suspects—or perhaps hopes—that ancient cultures simultaneously concocted the circumcision ritual because, through some instinctual trigger, they sensed it was hygienically beneficial.
Here’s the problem: Why is the CDC launching campaigns to “universally” promote a medical procedure? If you’re an adult (and nuts) or a parent, no one stands in your way of having a bris. Today 79 percent of men are circumcised already, and even if 100 percent were, the effect on the collective health of the nation would be negligible. If this is the standard, where does it stop?
And what would a proactive CDC mean if government operated health insurance? No, I don’t believe Washington would deploy a phalanx of grinning, twisted doctors to perform coerced circumcisions. But when the CDC dispenses medical advice of the “universal” brand, it’s difficult to accept that a government-run public insurance outfit wouldn’t heed advice and act accordingly.
What if the CDC, through meticulous study, were to realize that circumcision is an entirely worthless procedure? Why would “we” waste $400 a pop? Would the CDC campaign to “universally remove” the operation from hospitals? Today, incidentally, government-run Medicaid doesn’t pay for the procedure in 16 states. Most private insurers, on the other hand, do.
Though dismissed by public-option proponents, this is an example of how government persuasion can influence our decisions—first by nudging and then, inevitably, by rationing.
The larger, more pertinent point for today is that government has zero business running campaigns—and these things inevitably turn into scaremongering efforts—that try to influence our choices regarding our children and our bodies. Especially when the procedure has so little to do with society’s collective health. Circumcision is a personal choice.
Well, a personal choice for everyone except that poor little sucker lying on the chopping block.
If Obama says he’ll stop doctors from enriching themselves through unnecessary tonsillectomies and amputations, that is an explicit call for government control of health-care delivery and the interference of government between patients and doctors. If the CDC — which is part of the same government that will control health care — decides that circumcision is beneficial and cost-efficient in the long term, that same mechanism would create pressure on doctors and patients to perform them.
You can’t have it both ways. The government that has the power to stop Tonsil Vultures and Foot Rustlers also has the power to pressure for greater numbers of circumcisions. The apparatus for that will be put in place, as Obama not only admits but brags.