Medicine: A Son's Rite

Circumcision is unnecessary

It is probably the most common operation in the U.S. today, performed about 1.5 million times a year. Yet doctors increasingly acknowledge that it is extremely short on medical justification.

Circumcision has a long history. Ancient Egyptians may have been the first practitioners, possibly using it to mark slaves. Jews adopted it as a religious rite in observance of the covenant between God and Abraham. For many Jews today, circumcision of an infant boy is a joyous family celebration. In the U.S. the operation found favor in the late 1800s as a deterrent to masturbation, then popularly considered the source...

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