Activists argue all circumcision should be banned because it is is wrong—male or female. There's a general consensus that female circumcision is wrong. Some think we need to go further and stop male circumcision as well. The core problem is parents are making permanent and irreparable changes to their child's body for either cosmetic or religious reasons. This violates a person's right to make decisions about their bodies for themselves.
There are few good reasons to circumcise a male child. Over 70 percent of men around the world are uncircumcised, compared to a whopping 75 percent of adult men in the U.S. who are circumcised. There are few medical benefits besides a reduction in HIV transmission with heterosexual sex, but that's a wrongheaded solution. There are better and easier ways to reduce HIV transmission than the surgical removal of a person's genitals.
Circumcision isn't inherently wrong. If a person chooses to be circumcised, that's their choice. But parents should not be making such a significant decision about their child's body at such an early age. A child should have the right to have their body intact.
Others say calls for a ban on circumcision infringes on parental rights and is nothing but a thinly-veiled attack on Muslims and Jews. Circumcision is a core part of Judaism, with the ritual coming on the eighth day after birth. As Chief Rabbi of Lower Saxony Jonah Sievers explains, it's a "core part of the religion." In a similar way, circumcision is highly important to Muslims, although there is no prescribed time when the child must be circumcised.
"Circumcision as the expression of the Covenant between God and his people is such an ancient and entrenched ritual. It's more than just a ritual. It's performed by Orthodox and Liberal Jews alike."
Some parents see it as within their right to make the decision for their child. The American Academy of Pediatrics does not outright recommend circumcision, but found the "benefits outweigh the risks." They say the decision should ultimately be left with the parents. Here's what their policy statement says:
Since the last policy was published, scientific research shows clearer health benefits to the procedure than had previously been demonstrated. According to a systematic and critical review of the scientific literature, the health benefits of circumcision include lower risks of acquiring HIV, genital herpes, human papilloma virus and syphilis. Circumcision also lowers the risk of penile cancer over a lifetime; reduces the risk of cervical cancer in sexual partners, and lowers the risk of urinary tract infections in the first year of life.