J Med Ethics doi:10.1136/medethics-2013-101456
  • Commentary

The AAP Task Force on Neonatal Circumcision: a call for respectful dialogue

  1. Correspondence to Dr Douglas S Diekema, Treuman Katz Center for Pediatric Bioethics, Seattle Children's Research Institute, C9S-6, 1900 Ninth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101, USA; diek{at}
  • Received 7 March 2013
  • Accepted 7 March 2013
  • Published Online First 18 March 2013

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Task Force on Circumcision published its policy statement and technical report on newborn circumcision in September 2012.1 ,2 Since that time, some individuals and groups have voiced objections to the work of the Task Force, while others have conveyed their support. The AAP task force is pleased that the policy statement and technical reports on circumcision have stimulated debate on this topic and welcomes respectful discussion and dialogue about the scientific and ethical issues that surround neonatal circumcision. We believe this is a complex issue that does not lend itself to simplistic solutions. The Task Force encourages those of all viewpoints to contribute to a vibrant, thoughtful and respectful evidence-based dialogue. We appreciate that the free exchange of competing ideas is a necessary component of scientific discovery. We also recognise that all clinical decisions carry ethical dimensions and that a respectful and thoughtful dialogue about these issues is important. However, the Task Force also feels strongly that this debate and the academic literature are demeaned when those with an ideological agenda disseminate inaccurate information, misapply scientific principles, make accusations that are unsupported, communicate in a vitriolic tone, and attempt to discredit and mischaracterise alternative views and those who hold them. Healthy debate and …

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