Democratic presidential hopeful Andrew Yang wants to cut circumcision in the U.S. so American parents don’t feel pressured to have the practice performed on their sons.
“From what I’ve seen, the evidence on it being a positive health choice for the infant is quite shaky,” the 44-year-old serial entrepreneur told the Daily Beast.
Yang, who tweeted last week that he was “against the practice” of circumcision, said if he were president he would work to “inform parents that it is entirely up to them whether their infant gets circumcised, and that there are costs and benefits either way.”
“It’s sort of pushed on parents in many situations,” Yang said.
Although Yang said he originally supported circumcising his sons so they wouldn’t feel “self-conscious,” his wife got him on board with abandoning the practice. Now, Yang said he is “highly aligned” with a group of circumcision critics called “intactivists” who believe the male genitalia should remain “intact.”
“The more choice we give parents, and the more we diminish the possible preconceptions or misinformation various parents are receiving, then the better off we’ll be as a society,” Yang said.
Georganne Chapin, the head of intactivist group Intact America, said she doesn’t expect Yang’s stance on circumcision to boost his election prospects.
“I’m not optimistic that [Yang] coming out against circumcision will make him popular, but I think it’s wonderful,” said Chapin, who argued the practice is equivalent to removing the lips or fingers of a baby.
“I think there’s nothing more inhumane than tying down a baby or a child and amputating a healthy, normal part of his body,” Chapin said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report in 2014 concluding that circumcision could reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, along with other infections and potentially some kinds of cancer. The report came two years after the the American Academy of Pediatrics reached similar findings. Even so, both the CDC and AAP have recommended that doctors inform new parents of both the pros and cons of the procedure.