“This Little Operation”

Leonard B. Glick

in Marked in Your Flesh

Published in print July 2005 | ISBN: 9780195176742
Published online July 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835621 | DOI:
 “This Little Operation”

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During the 20th century, circumcision became increasingly popular, promoted as protection against cancer of the penis, prostate, and cervix. Although Jewish-American physicians were especially prominent advocates, probably the most important development was medicalization of childbirth and the introduction of circumcision in hospitals as a routine procedure following delivery. A seemingly endless controversy continued into the later decades of the century, with some physicians rejecting circumcision as both worthless and harmful, while others continued to maintain that this “hygienic” practice protected against numerous diseases, including urinary tract infection and HIV. The American Academy of Pediatrics issued statements probably unique in medical history: recommending against routine circumcision but granting the right of parents to request the surgery to accord with “cultural, religious, and ethnic traditions”.

Keywords: American medical history; Jewish-American physicians; hospital circumcisions; penile cancer; prostate cancer; cervical cancer; circumcision; American Academy of Pediatrics; HIV; urinary tract infection

Chapter.  15995 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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