Sign says infant circumcision is a crime. Well, that’s a bit harsh

A sign on Ben White Boulevard by the Congress Avenue exit.
A sign on Ben White Boulevard by the Congress Avenue exit.

Every morning on my way to work I pass this sign: “Genesis 17 is criminal! Do Not Circumcise!”

Let’s put aside the “criminal” accusations when calling the Hebrew Bible into question and let’s put aside my own faith as a Jew, who did circumcise her son.

Are there actual medical reasons to circumcise?

The Centers for Disease Control published this collection of studies into a handout.

Here are some of the things it notes:

In a studies in Africa, it found that circumcised men were between 44 percent and 71 percent less likely to contract HIV/AIDS, depending on their other risk factors.

Studies also found less of a risk for other STDs like genital herpes.

In a study of men with penile cancer from 1954 to 1997, 98 percent were uncircumcised.

Circumcised men were also less likely to carry the HPV virus, which meant their partners were less likely to get cervical cancer.

The handout also points out that circumcised babies are less likely to have a urinary tract infection.

There are, of course, some risk of infection following circumcision, but that risk is about 0.2 percent.

The American Academy of Pediatrics came out with a statement that the medical benefits outweigh the risks. It also cited reduction in urinary tract infections, HIV and cancer.

Male circumcision is a family decision, but calling it a criminal act is feeding into newborn parents’ already understandable uneasiness with choosing an elective surgery for their baby.


Author: Nicole Villalpando

Nicole Villalpando writes about families in the Raising Austin blog and the Raising Austin column on Saturdays. She also offers a weekly and monthly family calendar at She tweets at @raisingaustin.

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