Colorado has been considering a bill to prohibit the use of Medicaid to pay for circumcisions (the bill is apparently now dead). And during a hearing on the bill, a doctor who has stopped performing circumcisions on patients entirely explained why she supports the bill (this isn’t the jaw-dropping part):
They included Dr. Jennifer Johnson, a family physician who works with Medicaid and uninsured patients at Clinica Family Health Services.
“I’ve done at least 100 circumcisions and just recently decided to stop,” Johnson testified.
She said she and her husband, who is Jewish, decided not to circumcise their own son, who is now 4. She said she was concerned when she researched the issue and found that removing the foreskin from a boy’s penis damages numerous nerve endings. While circumcision is traditional in the Jewish community, Johnson said her husband was open to new research about the potential harms from circumcision.
If boys or men decide to remove the foreskin as adults, then they can make that decision, Johnson said. But she decided that as a physician, she should no longer do a procedure that is “potentially harmful.”
“This is not a necessary procedure,” Johnson said. “It’s a healthy, normal body part.”“There are a lot of medical needs in our population. We have no business using limited health care dollars on a medically unnecessary cosmetic procedure.”
A very reasonable argument. Now here comes the jaw-dropping quote:
One lawmaker, Rep. Sue Schafer, D-Wheat Ridge, elicited laughter in the hearing room when she asked Dr. Johnson if circumcision might help reduce teen pregnancy rates and teen sexual activity by reducing nerve sensation in boys’ penises.
“I’m wondering if there’s a risk of more sexual activity, more male irresponsibility” for uncircumcised boys, Schafer asked.