Should Circumcision Be Illegal?

Some in California think so.  Governor Jerry Brown doesn’t agree:

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill preventing local authorities from banning the practice of male circumcision. The bill, which takes effect immediately, comes in the wake of an effort by a San Francisco group opposed to male circumcision to enforce a city-wide ban of the practice in a November ballot measure.

That effort was struck down in late July by a California judge who said it would infringe on religious freedom. The measure was removed from the November ballot. The measure, which garnered 12,000 signatures of support, would have made it a misdemeanor crime to circumcise a boy before he is 18 years old in San Francisco, regardless of the parents’ religious beliefs. A dozen petitioners sued to block the initiative at the time. A similar effort in Santa Monica, west of Los Angeles, was withdrawn.

Circumcision is a ritual obligation for infant Jewish boys and also a common rite among Muslims, who account for the largest share of circumcised men worldwide. The move to outlaw circumcision in San Francisco raised alarm bells for Jewish groups.

In June, the Anti-Defamation League condemned a comic book created by supporters of the anti-circumcision movement that it said contained grotesque anti-Semitic imagery. The comic featured a character named “Monster Mohel” as an evil villain. A mohel is a Jewish individual specifically trained to perform the ritual circumcision of infant boys.

via California Governor Jerry Brown prevents ban on male circumcision | FaithWorld.

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  • In short- It’s not ever going to get banned. This is just a weird form of activism similar to the people who sued Sea World today for violating Shamu’s civil rights. (I kid not)

    With 8 years between male children I was very surprised at how much things had changed. In 2003, my son was circumcised in the hospital when he was a day old. Other than telling the nurse we wanted the procedure done there wasn’t much discussion. He just came back from the nursery snipped.

    In February when our youngest was born we were told that the hospital no longer did the procedure routinely and we’d have to talk to our pediatrician. Then our pediatrician (a Jewish woman) told us that she didn’t perform circumcisions but another doctor in her practice did, but not until the baby was 5-6 weeks old.

    So it seems views on circumcision are changing. But I don’t think there is a chance you’ll see circumcisions banned. Except in Alabama… because they randomly just make up laws there.

    • C. Ehrlich

      Alabama pro-lifers are now campaigning to require parents to first watch graphic videos of the procedure being performed on a screaming toddlers and to then view photographs of the mutilated appendages blown up to poster size.

  • jim davis

    I am against male gential mutilation but I dont see how it became a Pro-Life issue.

  • Mark Lyndon

    No-one complained when female circumcision was made illegal, even though some people regard it as their religious right or duty to cut their daughters.

    It’s illegal to cut off a girl’s prepuce, or to make any incision on a girl’s genitals, even if no tissue is removed. Even a pinprick is banned. Why don’t boys get the same protection? Everyone should be able to decide for themselves whether they want parts of their genitals cut off. It’s *their* body.

  • Jerry Brown was governor in California in the ’80s when circumcision coverage was eliminated from medicated.

    Brown’s signature only affirms that the state should not have a patchwork of local regulations, but rather that any prohibition of forced genital cutting could only occur at the state or federal level.

    It’s only a matter of time before the 14th amendment is applied to the US genital mutilation prohibition. Boys who were cut since the law took effect in the spring of 1997 will soon start suing for lack of equal protection under the law.

  • As you point out, there was no need for a law because a judge had already struck the petition down. What AB768 has done is given a green light to anyone of any age with no training to circumcise anyone, with a boxcutter if they wish, so long as
    1. one parent has consented
    2. the victim is under 18 and
    3. male,
    – and a Bill before the Senate (HR2400 – with the minor refinement that it must be a clean boxcutter) will spread that freedom across the USA. So a father could circumcise his son for failing his driving test – or assign the task to the driving instructor.

    They always focus on Monster Mohel in #2 of “Foreskin Man” but ignore Doctor Mutlilator in #1. Like Jabba the Hutt he was. Where was the Anti-Doctors-Defamation League when they needed it?

    And where is the religious freedom of the person most directly concerned, not just as a baby, but the man he becomes?

    @adam mclane: Watch a video of a boy having his genitals cut and you won’t call it a “snip”. With a Gomco or Mogen Clamp it’s sliced (and a Mogen may take more than just the foreskin, which has led to successful claims worth millions and the Mogen company going out of business). With a Platibell it’s crushed and allowed to die. With an Accu-circ it’s chopped. But never “snipped”.

    • I watched both of my sons have their circumcisions. I didn’t feel that they should go through that alone.

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