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The Unkindest Cut Audience Those people who are undecided about circumcision Routine neonatal circumcision is the subject of many debates in the United States The practice has attracted passionate advocates and critics From a global perspective most of the world does not practice circumcision over 80 of the worlds males are intact not circumcised Most circumcised men are Muslim or Jewish the USA is the only country in the world that circumcises most of its male infants for non-religious reasons This article refers mostly to the American practice because the USA has the highest rate of non-religious circumcision and the most contentious debate about circumcision The analysis presented here examines the available medical evidence relating to routine neonatal circumcision in order to weigh its risks costs and benefits Discussion about the advisability of circumcision in English-speaking countries that practice circumcision typically has focused on long-held beliefs about the health benefits of circumcision The conflicting conclusions beliefs and opinions surrounding circumcision together with the tenacity with which advocates and opponents of circumcision maintain their viewpoints suggest that deep psychological factors are involved The strong motivation to circumcise male infants is shown by the fact that the practice continues even though no national medical organization in the world recommends it 1 Infant pain and behavioral response to circumcision To understand the long-term effects of circumcision it is necessary to review the effects on the infant The question of infant pain is often raised in debates about circumcision Some physicians believe early work claiming that the newborn nervous system is not sufficiently developed to register or transmit pain impulses 1 According to more recent work this belief is the major myth of physicians regarding infant pain that babies cannot physically resist and stop the circumcision procedure also makes it easier to dismiss their pain 1 Some doctors minimize circumcision pain by calling it discomfort or comparing it to the pain of an injection although these
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