Lynchburg, VA - It's a decision all moms with boys will have to make: should you circumcise?
For years, the American Academy of Pediatrics has taken a neutral stance. Recently, though, they shifted their position saying the health benefits outweigh the risks.
The Academy stopped short of recommending the procedure routinely.
Moms have very different perspectives.
Eight days after Lindsay and Alex Rothstein welcomed their son Jack into the world, their family and friends gathered for a Bris, a Jewish Circumcision ceremony.
"It was what happened to me. It was what happened to my father and my
grandfathers before me," Alex Rothstein said. "It was done in such a respectful way."
For Lindsay and Alex, the decision to circumcise Jack was an easy one: their religion demands it. Other moms, like Maria Moser, though, say the ritual is cruel.
"Cut it off or wash it, I think I'll wash it, thanks," Moser said.
Maria chose not to circumcise her two boys Jude and Blaize. She says they have a right to their own foreskin.
"So often we talk about women's rights and women's reproductive rights -
their own health and making their own choices, but we don't afford our boys
that same right."
Circumcision has become a hot topic worldwide. Today, about 55 percent of U.S. male babies are circumcised. In Europe, it's only about 10 percent. This past summer, a German court banned circumcision on children. This past summer, the American Academy of Pediatrics recently modified their stance, citing potential medical benefits. They referenced studies showing the procedure lowered HIV risk by about 60 percent. Critics say those studies, which were conducted in Africa, were flawed.
The conflicting evidence has left many parents confused, but many Moms stand by their decisions.
"It was definitely an interesting experience, and one that I'm glad that we
did," Lyndsay Rothstein said.
"What other procedure would they do where they remove healthy tissue
from an un-consenting infant," Moser said.
The controversial German court ruling to make circumcision illegal in parts of the country outraged Jews and Muslims.
The decision was challenged and in December of last year, and German lawmakers approved a bill to keep male infant circumcision legal.