Colorado Bill to restore Circumcision Funding Failed

May 20th, 2012 Posted in Medical

Circumcision funding killed


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Joyce Foster, l, and Julia Aguilar

Joyce Foster (Left), and Julia Aguilar

A COMBINATION of fiscal conservatives, health professionals, and “intactivists” (people who oppose circumcision of newborn males for a variety of reasons) convinced the Colorado House Appropriations Committee last week to kill a bill that would have restored state Medicaid funding for circumcisions.The bill failed in the committee on May 4 by a vote of eight to four, putting an end to the move to restore funding for this year’s legislative session, which ended Wednesday, May 9, and likely for the foreseeable future, since its co-sponsor, Senator Joyce Foster (D-Denver), is now retired from the State Legislature.

In earlier committee hearings this session, including the Senate Health and Human Services Committee in February and the House Health and Environment Committee last week – and in the overall Senate debate – proponents and opponents of the bill clashed over a wide range of issues related to the state helping pay for newborn circumcision procedures.

Proponents, including Foster and her co-sponsor, Sen. Irene Aguilar (D-Denver), an internal medicine MD, presented the issue primarily as one of social justice for low-income families who might not be able to afford the procedure on their own, and as a health issue, citing medical testimony that circumcision may help reduce rates of HIV-AIDS, penile cancer, male urinary tract infections and other conditions.

Opponents disputed much of that testimony, while so-called intactivists argued that circumcision actually increases risks of certain infections and diminishes sexual sensitivity among adult males.

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