Fall in Circumcisions Costs Billions, Researchers Say

Fall in Circumcisions Costs Billions, Researchers Say

Circumcisions are making headlines this week…

Researchers from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine announced this week that if American circumcision rates were to fall to 10% (as is currently the case in Western Europe) it could result in approximately $4.4 billion in additional health care costs.


Because recent studies have shown that circumcision is linked with a reduced risk of HIV infection, HPV (which brings with it an increased risk of cervical and other types of cancer), and genital herpes. The Hopkins study (published in the Archives of Pediatric Medicine) revealed that if American circumcision rates fell to the European rate of 10%, then HIV among men would increase by 12%, HPV by 29%, herpes type 2 by 20%, and urinary tract infections by 212%.

And even if circumcision rates remain at their current level, the news is not good. Rates of male circumcision have dropped dramatically over the past decades, from an average of 79% of baby boys in the 1970s and 1980s to approximately 55% by 2010. Over a decade-long period, this decrease could result in approximately $4.4 billion in additional health care costs.

“Documentation that male circumcision not only reduces the burden of sexually transmitted infections for both men and women but also reduces lifetime treatment costs should provide compelling arguments in favor of infant male circumcision,” stated an editorial accompanying the findings.

And circumcision has also been making headlines in Germany this week. For the first time since a German district court ruled in June that circumcisions performed for religious reasons are illegal, a German doctor pressed charges against a mohel, Rabbi David Goldberg, for performing a circumcision.

Rabbi Goldberg is a certified mohel who has performed over 3000 circumcisions.

“This latest development….is yet another grave affront to religious freedom and underlines the urgent need for the German government to expedite the process of ensuring that the fundamental rights of minority communities are protected. We call upon the Minister of the Interior to take immediate action to secure those rights in the short term,” Conference of European Rabbis, Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt said.


  1. Reality is that living in galuth makes it difficult to practice orthodox Judaism. We must step outside of our realm and see it from the other angle. What is the real motive from their perspective?

    This issue always seems to come up in the news…one study says there are health benefits, another says there aren’t. Either way, I understand non Jews not wanting circumcision performed in their nations. In their eyes,it’s every bit as barbaric to cut a male baby’s foreskin (regardless of any potential health benefits),as it is to circumcise female genitalia. We don’t see it that way because of Torah, but if African tribes came to our nations and insisted on circumcising their daughters according to their religious laws, we would not allow it nor should we! It would have nothing to do with religious persecution at all.

    For non Jews, it should be a decision they leave up to their child when they’re grown and old enough to decide what they want to do with their body, so this is naturally their view concerning all children residing in their land. They certainly have the right to ban it in their nation. We may disagree with them, but I don’t believe their motivation is to attack religion rather it’s an attempt to, in their eyes, protect the civil liberty of children in their nation. How can we fault a non Jewish nation for that?

    • male circumcision cannot logically be compared to female genital mutilation. anyone who does 2 min of research will know that. female genital mutilation is barbaric. it causes direct harm to a woman’s health and well-being for the rest of her life.
      “The result is that sexual feelings are either reduced or permanently terminated. Sexual intercourse is often extremely painful for the woman. Childbirth often involves a Caesarian section.”
      see wikipedia’s article (pretty mainstream information):

      male circumcision has health benefits and does not harm a man’s sexuality (unless the procedure goes horribly wrong).

      i don’t think it’s a logical comparison, even for a non-jewish person.
      female genital mutilation is also not a religious obligation. “Actually, it is a social custom that is practiced by Animists, Christians, and Muslims in those countries where FGM is common.”
      male circumcision is a religious obligation for jews and muslims. i think that outlawing it is clearly religious persecution and antisemitism.

      • Hello Sarah. I appreciate your reply, but couldn’t disagree more. We may have to agree to disagree.

        you said:
        “male circumcision cannot logically be compared to female genital mutilation.”
        Actually it can be compared especially when you consider that there are 4 classifications of female circumcision as practiced by the nations, each more invasive than the other and one being equal to male circumcision, called by the WHO, “Type 1a”.
        Female circumcision, also known as genital mutilation as you stated. To mutilate is to “remove or irreparably damage parts”. Male circumcision certainly does remove foreskin, a part of the male genitalia, which can’t be repaired to its former state and can be viewed by non Jewish nations as mutilation (which is the stance of Germany).
        They are drawing the “religious freedom” line when it comes to – what they perceive – is a violation of a citizen’s basic human rights. This was bound to happen in galuth.

        We see things differently due to Torah which holds us to a different obligation. You must understand that their motivation is not to attack religion, but to protect the civil liberties of children born in their nation.

        “The result is that sexual feelings are either reduced or permanently terminated….male circumcision…does not harm a man’s sexuality”

        Although male circumcision doesn’t threaten the health of the child if done properly, it does absolutely reduce sensitivity of the penis. This makes logical sense without scientific research. http://www.cirp.org/library/sex_function/

        “female genital mutilation is also not a religious obligation.”

        I’m sure you aren’t aware of it, but it actually is performed as a religious obligation. It is also practiced in some nations as a rite of passage unrelated to religion, but it is performed as a religious rite, particularly among Muslim nations.


        From a rational view, this isn’t an attack on religion, but practices in certain religions which, to the nations in question, deem a violation of basic human rights/personal liberties of the child. Thought I feel differently, I can understand them. They feel they are making a morally correct decision and being that they’re a gentile nation, I can’t fault them for doing what they feel is morally right for their citizens.

  2. Maybe it is time too step away from “Metzitzah bepeh” and for all mohelim to use a straw. Science and medicine are their for us for a reeason. Too help us.

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