Dr. Paul Fleiss of the University of Southern California Medical Center says the neonatal circumcision rate in the western United States has fallen in recent years to 34.2 per cent. This relatively diminished rate, he says, may surprise American men born during the Cold War era, when nearly 90 percent of baby boys were circumcised automatically, with or without their parents' consent.
The pros and cons of routine infant circumcision are being hotly debated among parents, doctors and religious observers across America. Whether you support circumcising newborn infant males or not, it is important to understand the nature of the procedure and its affect on male anatomy.
Modern guidelines for the practice of circumcision derive from the Bible, the Talmud and Jewish Law, according to Miriam Pollack, author of Circumcision: A Jewish Feminist Perspective.
A mohel -- the Hebrew word for the man who performs the ritual circumcision -- is a master surgeon in his particular area of expertise. The process takes less than 30 seconds during which the mohel first recites a Hebrew blessing, and then amputates the foreskin with a sterilized scalpel. He then quickly splits the mucous with disinfected thumbnails, applies suction, and completes the procedure by bandaging the wound. The outcome of the ritual circumcision is the removal of the prepuse and the splitting and peeling back of the mucous surface, which exposes the glans of the penis.