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Circumcision: Risks and Benefits
by: Dr. Franklin Lowe (Columbia University)   //   length: 02.09

This video also offers a short look at the issue of circumcision from an unbiased perspective. It attempts to give both the risks and benefits of some of the issues surrounding the topic. Illustrated with charts and photos, it covers a lot of ground in a short period of time. Still, it offers an introduction to circumcision without making a big case against circumcision or promoting it.

Circumcision The Whole Story
by: Dr. Christopher Guest   //   length: 19.44

This video is presented by Canadian Dr. Christopher Guest, an outspoken opponent of circumcision. In the twenty minute video, he covers a lot of ground, including the prevalence of circumcision today, its historical roots and many of the medical issues to name a few. While this video is thorough, it has an anti-circumcision bias.

Adult Circumcision
by: The Doctors   //   length: 02.18

In this video two doctors, who were guests on the national show, The Doctors, discuss and debate, albeit somewhat briefly, the issue of circumcision, mainly from a medical perspective. Dr. Andrew Ordn offers an argument against it while pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears defends a parent’s right to have their newborn or infant son circumcised.

60 Minutes Australia – Fore and Against (Circumcision Story)
by: 60 Minutes Australia   //   length: 14.08

This video of an Australian TV broadcast focuses on routine infant circumcision. With an earnest attempt to be as unbiased as possible, the show’s producers offer viewers both sides of the issue. For example, when discussing it from a medical perspective, they invited two doctors to speak about circumcision: one doctor is a famous opponent of routine circumcision while the other is a physician who has performed nearly 30,000 routine circumcisions, and clearly supports the benefits of the procedure. In addition, the program invited a young couple who decided to have their infant circumcised, despite its unpopularity in their region of Australia. The couple’s pro-circumcision stand, however, is offset by the 28-year-old male guest who deeply regrets his own circumcision as an infant. Finally, the show never makes light of the topic and always attempts to offer as many insights into the issue as a relatively short news program can.

Circumcision
by: C0nc0rdance   //   length: 20.13

This video, made in May 2011, before the American Academy of Pediatrics revised their position from being neutral or against routine circumcision to being mildly in favor of it, shows viewers several issues inherent in the debate. It gives viewers a rather complete overview of the subject, from offering reliable medical statistics and a fair assessment of the risks, both of circumcision and of remaining intact to offering ways to minimize a number of those risks.

Basically, it offers viewers an unbiased, well-rounded overview of the topic, with topics such as alternatives, cost benefits, even a look at it from a cultural and religious perspective. For those seeking an introduction to the subject of circumcision, especially routine circumcision, this is a rather balanced, reasonably researched, and unbiased introduction. In fact, it is one of the best videos we found.

Health Decoder – To Circumcise or Not to Circumcise
by: Health Decoder   //   length: 3.49

This video offers a concise, well-illustrated overview of circumcision. It begins with a brief history of circumcision and the current status of routine infant circumcision, then proceeds with a discussion about some of the basic issues a person making a decision about circumcision would be looking at. It doesn’t go into depth on any single issue but does make an attempt to be as unbiased as possible.

One of the most difficult issues about this question of circumcision is the ethics of who gets to make the decision: Is it the parents responsibility to make the decision? (And therefore, is it also their right to make the decision?) Or is it their son’s right to make the decision, of course, when he is old enough to make it? And then, when he is old enough to make the decision — as a teenager? as an adult?

Recently the University of Oxford focused on this exact issue, asking doctors, medical ethicists and other professionals to weigh in on the decision.

The Ethics of Male Circumcision

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A few ritual circumcisers persist in the practice of using oral techniques during a circumcision, despite efforts to discontinue the practice through licensing and education. In April 2013, two more babies acquired herpes due to the practice.

Links to the Story:
Babies’ herpes linked to circumcision practice (CNN Health)

NY newborn contracts herpes from circumciser (The Times of Isreal)

To read more about herpes:
Genital Herpes (The New York Times)

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A new study, done in Africa, where HIV/AIDS is predominantly spread through heterosexual sex, suggests that circumcision can cut a male’s risk of acquiring HIV/AIDS. The findings were that removing the foreskin removes a host for the HIV to enter the body. In addition, the removal of these cells may provide an indirect boost to the immune system. Note, however, that while the study is getting a lot of publicity, and even optimism about the further benefits of circumcision, it is only preliminary, and does not yet belong in the category of conclusive findings.

For a general overview of the study, read:
the Los Angeles Times

Scientific American

The study appeared in April 2013 Journal of Microbiology, which publishes, where the study and its results can be found at:
http://mbioblog.asm.org/mbiosphere/

An interesting discussion of the ethics involved can be read at:
http://phe.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/01/22/phe.phs039.abstract

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg started a campaign to make ritual circumcision safer. His main objective was to stop the ancient practice of metzitzah b’peh, which is when oral suction is used to stop bleeding during a circumcision. Most moyels no longer practice metzitzah or, if they do, use a glass tube rather than direct contact with the infant.

Since the year 2000, 12 infants in New York have suffered infections from the practice. Two of those died and 2 suffered brain damage. For this reason, in September of 2012, the New York Department of Health started requiring moyels who wanted to continue the practice to ask the parents of the infant to sign a form notifying them of the practice and asking for their consent. Legality of the form is being contested by lawyers representing those moyels who practice metzizah, their defense based on freedom of the religion as guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Links:
The New York Times
Board Votes to Regulate Circumcision, Citing Risks

NYC Health (PDF)
New case of neonatal herpes infection following ritual Jewish circumcision; new regulations for providers and labs

Yiddish Nayes
Court Upholds NYC Rule Requiring Consent for Metzitzah B’peh Rite

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