"Male circumcision has been practiced for thousands of years and is a deeply important ceremony for two major religions," Sherman said. "Circumcision is obligatory for Jewish-born males — it must be performed on the eighth day after birth and is only postponed in the case of threat to the life or health of the child. Muslim parents also circumcise their male children."

Sherman said some "compelling medical reason" should be shown before banning the procedure, but said medical literature says there are "clear benefits," such as a significant reduction in the risk of contracting the HIV virus.

"Congress has a legitimate interest in making sure that a practice that appears to reduce disease and healthcare costs remains available to parents," he said. "And, nothing in my bill prohibits statewide law ensuring that male circumcision occurs in a hygienic manner."