CHICAGO (AP) -- The nation's most influential pediatricians group says the health benefits of circumcision in newborn boys outweigh any risks and insurance companies should pay for it.
In its latest policy statement on circumcision, a procedure that has been declining nationwide, the American Academy of Pediatrics moves closer to an endorsement but says the decision should be up to parents.
Recent research bolstering evidence that circumcision reduces chances of infection with HIV and other sexually spread diseases, urinary tract infections and penis cancer influenced the academy to update their 13-year-old policy.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Convention has estimated circumcision costs range from about $200 to $600 nationwide. Coverage varies among insurers and several states have stopped Medicaid funding for circumcisions.
The new policy was published online Monday in Pediatrics. It comes amid ongoing debate over whether circumcision is medically necessary or a cosmetic procedure that critics say amounts to genital mutilation. Activists favoring a circumcision ban made headway in putting it to a vote last year in San Francisco but a judge later knocked the measure off the city ballot, ruling that regulating medical procedures is up to the state, not city officials.
In Germany, Jewish and Muslim leaders have protested a regional court ruling in June that said circumcision amounts to bodily harm.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)