“This Little Operation”
Jewish American Physicians and Twentieth‐Century Circumcision Advocacy
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
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.