Monday, May 30, 2011

San Francisco Proposed Bann on Circumcision

Here's a piece of proposed legislation that will meet with resistance and if it become effective will certainly be contested in the courts.  Lloyd Schofield, a resident of San Francisco, that bastion of politically-correct non-thinkers, wants to ban circumcision for males under age 18.  Religion be damned!  Health considerations? Humph!

Here's the report from BioEdge:

"Males need protection as females do," said Lloyd Schofield, the main sponsor for a local ballot measure in San Francisco that - if passed by voters in November - will effectively ban circumcision of males under the age of 18 in the city. A federal law and a number of state equivalents ban circumcision of girls, even for religious reasons. "Intactivists" like Mr Schofield ask, why not boys?

Circumcision arrived in America mainly as a Victorian British fad - which originally purported to aim at discouraging masturbation and nocturnal emissions. It spread during the 20th century, becoming almost universal by the 1960s. It has declined over recent decades, however, to about half of baby boys in 2008. The procedure's medical benefits are disputed - but evidence suggests that male HIV infection rates can be reduced by circumcision. Intactivists, however, counter that this does not justify what they label the amputation of a body part from infants who might never be at risk of HIV infection.

If the measure passes, circumcision would be punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or up to one year in prison. There would be no religious exceptions. "Parents are really guardians, and guardians have to do what's in the best interest of the child. It's his body. It's his choice," Mr Schofield said. He argues that circumcision is a more invasive medical procedure than many new parents or childless individuals realise.

Many Jews in San Francisco are outraged at what they regard as an attack on religious freedom. Rabbi Gil Yosef Leeds, of Berkeley, a "mohel" who performs ritual circumcisions, says, "For a city that's renowned for being progressive and open-minded, to even have to consider such an intolerant proposition ... it sets a dangerous precedent for all cities and states."

Mr Schofield is glad that many Jews signed his petition. Some have begun carrying out an alternative ceremony known as "brit shalom" - the "covenant of peace" - which does not involve cutting.
See also Economist, May 19; Working to Outlaw Infant Circumcision

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