Circumcision Decision Taken Away From Poor Moms

Jeanne Sager

newborn baby footNo matter which side you fall on the circumcision debate, here's betting you're pretty glad you got to make your own choice. So what if you weren't allowed the choice? And the only thing you'd done "wrong" to lose that right was to be poor when you went into labor? 

While America debates the legality of San Francisco banning circumcision for all parents, it turns out moms on Medicaid in 17 states are already being denied the ability to make the choice for their little boys. State-sponsored health care won't pay for it. And Colorado is about to bring it to 18. The way legislators see it, when you're poor, you don't get to make health care choices about your child anymore.

While this news may have the intactivists jumping up and down, it kind of makes you wonder what they'll come up with next, doesn't it? After all, this is all about budgets. Colorado expects to save $186,500 by cutting the circumcisions out of the budget.

And when money comes before moms, nobody wins. Take the proposal awhile back in Utah that would have taken away poor women's epidurals. Because it would have saved money. Apparently poor ladies don't deserve some relief after 13 hours of pitocin ripping through their veins. Yeah, that proposal made no provisos for the different situations where epidurals would be used. It was all "elective epidurals." All of them.

Not a big fan of circumcision OR epidurals? Then surely you'd like a nice kindly midwife! The benefits abound when you take advantage of these folks! They generally save you money too -- what with lower C-section rates, lower risk births, blah, blah, blah. Oh, but Medicaid doesn't cover them in a lot of states. States like, ahem, Colorado.

Health decisions shouldn't be based on how much they'll cost the state. They should be based on whether they're good for moms and good for babies. Right now, circumcision remains a divisive issue in the mom community in part because it's medical. It's something that doctors should be weighing in on, something doctors should be helping moms decide on, not legislators.

Should being poor mean a mom loses her rights to be in control of her pregnancy and her child's health?


Image via Daquella manera/Flickr

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