National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers

P.O. Box 2512, San Anselmo, California  94979    Tel: 415-488-9883 Fax: 415-488-9660


CONTACT:        Amber Craig, 1-919-960-9276,

                        Marilyn Milos, 1-415-488-9883,


Arizona Joins Growing Movement Against Medicaid-Funded Circumcision

PHOENIX – Arizona became the seventh state to eliminate Medicaid funding for infant circumcision this week, as Governor Jane Hull allowed the state’s budget to become law.  Currently, Medicaid programs in California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, North Dakota, Mississippi, and many private HMOs serving Medicaid recipients, as well as some private insurance companies do not cover circumcision.  In the past year, Arizona Medicaid paid for 12,600 boys to be circumcised at an average cost of $132 per boy and a total cost of $1.66 million. 

Circumcision has grown increasingly controversial in recent years as mounting evidence indicates that any potential or slight benefits are outweighed by the surgical risks, pain, complications, and lifetime consequences of circumcision.  Despite the fact that circumcision is not recommended by any national or international medical organization in the world, Medicaid pays for 25% of all US newborn circumcisions.  A 2001 report issued by the International Coalition for Genital Integrity (ICGI) documents Medicaid wastes tens of millions of dollars per year on circumcision. ( ICGI Co-Director Dr. Rio Cruz states,  “It is simply deplorable that our government uses healthcare tax dollars to subsidize a cultural procedure that causes pain, long-term harm, and violates a child’s right to bodily integrity.”

Lawn Griffiths of Tempe praised the Arizona decision, saying, “I’m relieved my state no longer pays for such intrusive, maiming surgery.  I left my son intact 27 years ago, and I shouldn’t have to pay to harm other little boys.”  

Taxpayer complaints about government funding of unnecessary circumcision have stimulated legislative activity nationwide.  Bills have recently been introduced in Missouri, Michigan, and New Mexico to eliminate non-therapeutic neonatal circumcision funding by Medicaid.  

North Carolina also has infant circumcision on its list of potential budget cuts.  Keith Webb and his wife, Alice, were receiving Medicaid six years ago when their first son was born. “We weren’t provided any information, we were just asked to sign a form, and he was circumcised. We were appalled to later learn no anesthesia had been used.  Our son had numerous complications that we had to deal with for two years.   We had been grossly misled. If Medicaid hadn’t covered circumcision, we would never have done this to our son.”  Taxpayers and those morally opposed to circumcision have joined together in North Carolina to protest this budget expense.  In the May 8th issue of a local news magazine, 112 citizens signed an open letter to the Governor and state legislature urging them to stop funding circumcision.

Most states are experiencing budget deficits and increasing Medicaid costs. Grassroots efforts are escalating to eliminate tax-dollar funding of unnecessary neonatal circumcision.  




Dr. Rio Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA:  1-831-423-6105,

Keith and Alice Webb, Farmville, NC:  1-252-753-0077,

Lawn Griffiths, Tempe,AZ :  1-480-894-1557,

For more information see