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Group wants state to end Medicaid funding for circumcisions

Sep 12, 2014

An anti-circumcision group says Michigan’s Medicaid program should stop funding for circumcision.

One of the protesters at today's anti-circumcision rally at the state capitol in Lansing, Michigan.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan has one of the highest circumcision rates in the country.

Norm Cohen is the state director of the National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers. Members of the group picketed at the state capitol today.  Many in the group wore white pants, stained in the crotch with red paint. 

Cohen says the money the state Medicaid program spends on circumcision sends the message that it is “true” healthcare.

“The parents make the decision based on their own personal preferences for their boy," says Cohen,  "It is not based on a true scientific understanding of what they are removing from the child’s body, who has not given consent."

A state Department of Community Health spokeswoman says they can't confirm the amount of money Michigan's Medicaid program spends on circumcisions. But she says they doubt it is as much as the anti-circumcision groups claim.

While some medical benefits are associated with circumcision, there are studies that suggest proper hygiene and condom use provide the same benefits.