Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials are considering promoting routine circumcision for baby boys to reduce the spread of H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS. Public health officials also may recommend the surgery for adult heterosexual men who practice unsafe sex -- studies in Africa suggest circumcision can reduce their risk of getting HIV by half. But the procedure doesn't seem to protect those in the U.S. at greatest risk, men who have sex with men. (The New York Times)
What the commentators said
If the CDC goes ahead with its recommendation, said Amy Graff in the San Francisco Chronicle, it will certainly get the attention of parents. Deciding whether to have the foreskin of your baby's penis removed is a "delicate issue," especially for those of us with no cultural or religious reason to do it. The thought of "your uncircumcised child contracting H.I.V. later in life" is a pretty good reason to reconsider.
"Medicaid should cover circumcision, so that all parents can weigh the pros and cons and make a choice," said Dana Goldstein in The American Prospect. "But it would be a dire mistake to send the message that circumcision is a highly effective HIV prevention method." The only way for anyone, gay or straight, to stay as safe as possible is to use condoms.
Health-wise, circumcision "does make sense," said Erick Erickson in RedState, but the news that the Feds want all baby boys born in the U.S. to have the procedure makes you wonder where we're headed in the age of ObamaCare. "The government already denies children access to schooling if the children do not have certain vaccines" -- next, will it deny you coverage if some bureaucrat doesn't like your diet? Having choices is great, but not if it means sacrificing your liberty.
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