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Circumcision Rate Down Slightly in U.S. Hospitals
Date:9/1/2011

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Sept. 1 HealthDay News) -- After rising steadily through the 1990s, the rate of circumcisions for newborn American boys has waned a bit over the past decade, a new report shows.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), circumcisions among newborn males dropped from 62.5 percent in 1999 to just under 57 percent by 2008. That data came from the National Hospital Discharge Survey, and was corroborated by similar results from other nationwide sources.

"Newborn male circumcision levels in the U.S. remain relatively high, but have declined slightly," said agency spokesman Scott Bryan.

The report examines trends in newborn circumcision in hospitals, and therefore underestimates the overall level of newborn circumcision, Bryan noted. "The results of the analysis indicate that approximately 55 to 57 percent of males born in hospitals are now being circumcised there," he said.

The recent drop in the circumcision rate reverses a trend of the late 1980s and 1990s, when the procedure rose from about 48 percent of newborn boys (in 1988-1991) to over 61 percent (in 1997-2000).

The CDC doesn't have a definitive answer as to what's behind the recent decline. According to Bryan, changes in parental preferences and the fact that many state Medicaid plans do not cover the procedure could play roles.

"In fact, a recent study found that, after controlling for other factors, hospitals in states in which Medicaid covers routine male circumcision had circumcision rates that were 24 percentage points higher than hospitals in states without such coverage," Bryan noted.

The longstanding controversy over circumcision of newborns has heated up recently, with opponents claiming it is not medically justified and can lead to mental health issues later in life.

On Wednesday, the California Senate passed a bill preventing cities in that s
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