What is the debate?

Circumcision for males is common in the United States, but some people question whether it is the right thing to do to babies.

Parents in Favor

"It served me well– my son should get the benefit too."

"We should get it taken care of early."

Parents Against

"I want my son to decide for himself."

"My baby should be as natural as possible."

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How did circumcision begin?

Circumcision has survived from prehistoric times to modern America, traveling a very strange and varied path along the way.

before 10,000 BC

Pre-Historic Sacrificial Rites

after 10,000 BC

Tribal Hierarchy

before 600 AD

Religious Identity

mid-19th century

Victorian Morality

early 20th century

Medical Rationalization

mid-20th century

American Popularization

beginning in the 1980s

Decreasing Trend

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What are the benefits versus the risks of harm?

Circumcision has no known health benefits for either babies or adults.

Circumcision creates significant risks and harms for babies, and adult men.

There are significant benefits to keeping the foreskin for babies and their caregivers, and for adult men and their sexual partners.

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Should I circumcise my son?

Parents need to understand how to talk to their doctor and what to expect. They need to be prepared in advance so that they actually have the choice rather than having it made for them, under pressure, at the last minute.

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What are the ethics of circumcision?

Intact America's Position

Intact America holds that it is unethical to circumcise babies or children because they cannot consent to it, and because it is not medically necessary. There is no health benefit that warrants the removal of a normal body part that has such important functions.

The Movement

A growing number of Americans are dedicated to ending newborn male circumcision in the United States. They include lawyers, doctors, men affected, pro-life and pro-choice activists, straight and gay men and women, parents, ethicists, religious leaders – in short, Americans of all ages, ethnicities, sexual orientations, religions and political persuasions.

Intactivism – the movement to allow baby boys to keep their foreskins intact – can be seen as a natural extension of human rights movements such as the abolition of slavery, women's suffrage, the passage of laws prohibiting child labor, equal protection and LGBTQ rights.

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