Score one for the foreskin lovers. Their hyperbolic fanatic reaction to earlier reports that the Centers for Disease Control was about to do the sound medical thing -- recommend the universal circumcision of all male newborns in the USA -- seems to have taken a toll on some cowardly bureaucrats at the CDC.
Late last week, the CDC issued a clarification that shows all the signs of "political" intervention into the "health" decisions of this agency. If you read their most recent statement, issued last Thursday, it appears that Rush Limbaugh's accusation on radio that President Obama wants mandatory circumcision so scared political officials in the federal government that the big word now is "voluntary," to wit: "Whatever the content may include, CDC’s final circumcision recommendations will be completely voluntary."
Of course, newborn circumcision was ALWAYS going to be voluntary with the decision left, where it should be, with American parents. While it's medically desirable to have every newborn boy leave the filthy foreskin behind in the hospital, we are not a fascist state that can order that happy event, no matter how beneficial to society as a whole.
The larger question, it seems to me, is whether the CDC retreats from the sound medical evidence in the face of the anti-circumcision movement's effort to put the foreskin on a pedestal. The CDC's recent statement sounds like it was written by politicians in Washington, not Atlanta (where CDC is headquartered), to be all things to all people: "With respect to infant circumcision, it is important to recognize that many options are still being considered in this process, including simply recommending that health-care providers educate parents about the potential benefits and risks to ensure that parents have the information they need to make an informed decision."
This is a classic case of sound science & medicine versus a powerful political lobbying group, now well-funded by a multi-millionnaire, that wants to preserve the foreskin at all costs to public health. I feel sorry for CDC's medical doctors and researchers. They know that all the evidence leads to a recommendation that every male be circumcised, but their hands are being tied by political intervention from the White House and the Department of Health & Human Services and other government bureaucrats who want to keep Rush Limbaugh and the anti-circ lobby "happy."
Throughout his campaign and even into the early days of his presidency, President Obama insisted that "sound science" would not be trampled on by political ideology and expediency. The CDC's call for universal newborn circumcision will be a true test of whether Obama means it. If the CDC does the right medical thing and recommends (not mandates) that all baby boys be clean-cut, then we shall know that Obama meant what he said. Otherwise, it's the same old political interference that we've come to expect from the federal government. Let's hope the CDC doctors have the spine and fortitude to stand up to those who are politicizing an important decision that will protect the health of every male, his partners, and society as a whole.