A study by the National Health and Social Life Survey shows that there has been a recent drop in the rate of U.S. circumcision rate. A large number of American parents are refusing circumcision, in which the foreskin is removed from the penis.

The circumcision rate peaked at nearly 90 percent in the early 1960s but began dropping in the '70s. According to the most recent year for which government figures available in 2004, about 57 percent of all male newborns delivered in hospitals were circumcised. In some states, the rate is well below 50 percent.

Many experts have attributed this sudden change in circumcision to the immigration patterns. The Western states with large populations from Asian and Latin American countries that have the most decline.

AP quotes Katharine Barrett, an anthropology lecturer at Stanford University as saying, "The rates of drug-free labor and breast-feeding all rose during the 1980s, while the initial declines in male circumcision rates began during the 1980s as well."

"It may have been part and parcel of the wider effort to reclaim bodies - adult female and infant male - from unnecessary and potentially harmful medical interventions," she added.

Many doctors still recommend circumcision and it is the most common surgery in the United states. Some evidence suggests that it reduces the risk of penile cancer, urinary tract infections, HIV and many other sexual transmitted diseases.

About one in three males worldwide is circumcised. In the United States, the rates vary widely by region as the rates ate most prevalent in the upper Midwest. Circumcision is also still common in many Jewish and Muslim communities.