California slaps down attempts to ban circumcision

California has banned local authorities from outlawing male circumcision, striking a final blow to a San Francisco group that had hoped to put the matter to a popular vote.

Religious groups applauded Governor Jerry Brown's signature Sunday of a bill which prevents cities and counties from interfering with parents wishing to circumcise their sons.

The move comes amid renewed debate over the ritual, which is a cornerstone of the Jewish and Muslim faiths.

Earlier this year, a group of San Francisco "intactivists" gathered the 7,000 signatures required to put before voters a ban on young male circumcision.

The activists believe that is essentially culturally accepted genital mutilation, and should be a matter of individual, not parental, choice.

Their ballot initiative would have criminalized the circumcision of minors in this western US city except in cases of medical necessity.

But in July, a judge in ruled in favor of a coalition of religious groups, doctors and families who said the proposed ban violated a state law that prohibits local governments from regulating medical procedures.

lawmakers also jumped in with a bill outlawing from creating their own "patchwork of regulation" around the procedure.

Brown's signed that bill into law Sunday, effectively imposing a blanket prohibition on anti-circumcision initiatives statewide.

"The law reaffirms that municipalities cannot take away parents' rights to make medical and religious decisions for their own children," said Abby Porth of the Jewish Community Relations Council.

Porth noted that San Francisco families and community leaders mobilized against the ban as soon as it was proposed.

"There was such an enormous coalition that formed rapidly to fight this measure," she said. "I think that was out of a common recognition of the demagoguery behind the anti-circumcision movement."

Proponents of the ban drew widespread criticism this summer with their "Foreskin Man" comic book series, which featured a blond, blue-eyed superhero fighting caricatured Jewish villains.

Despite the backlash, intactivists said Monday that they are undeterred.

"Human rights takes a long time for people to understand," said Lloyd Schofield, the retired hotel worker who has been at the helm of the San Francisco campaign.

"When you have a collusion of religious and politics it's a hard thing to overcome," he said. "There are always roadblocks along the way."

Anti-circumcision advocates say they will continue to lobby with rallies and teach-ins, that another "Foreskin Man" comic book is forthcoming.

Related Stories

Judge orders circumcision ban off SF ballot

date Jul 29, 2011

(AP) -- A judge on Thursday struck a measure from the city's November ballot that called for a ban on most circumcisions of male children, saying the proposed law violates the U.S. Constitution's guarantee ...

States stop circumcisions funds amid budget crisis

date Jun 24, 2011

(AP) -- A nationwide debate about circumcisions for newborn boys, combined with cash-strapped public health budgets, has Colorado taking sides with 17 other states that no longer fund Medicaid coverage of ...

Neonatal and infant circumcision: Safe in the right hands

date Feb 15, 2010

How safe is circumcision? A systematic review, published in the open access journal BMC Urology has found that neonatal and infant circumcision by trained staff rarely results in problems. Risks can be higher among older ...

Recommended for you

Noise from fireworks threatens young ears

date 7 hours ago

(HealthDay)—The Fourth of July weekend is a time for celebrations and beautiful fireworks displays. But, parents do need to take steps to protect their children's ears from loud fireworks, a hearing expert ...

Many new teen drivers 'crash' in simulated driving task

date 7 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Around four in 10 newly licensed teen drivers "crashed" in a simulated driving test, suggesting that many adolescents lack the skills they need to stay safe on the road, according to a new study.

Insurer Aetna to buy Humana in $35B deal

date 8 hours ago

Aetna will spend about $35 billion to buy rival Humana and become the latest health insurer bulking up on government business as the industry adjusts to the federal health care overhaul.

Feeling impulsive or frustrated? Take a nap

date 10 hours ago

Taking a nap may be an effective strategy to counteract impulsive behavior and to boost tolerance for frustration, according to a University of Michigan study.

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

ArtflDgr
Oct 04, 2011
lets be equal now...
either allow female circumcisino for equality
of dissallow male circumsicion for equality

or.. how about declaring an end to the personal being political and we mind our own businesses as to what people decide to do that they choose to do...

do you really want soviet living and philip dru administrating everything? if so, why not move to a despotic state rather than imagine if one is here, you wont be on the wrong side of the argument...
CraigGarrett
Oct 31, 2011
This law is a terrible double-standard. It is illegal to make even the tiniest cut on a girl's private parts, but the CA state gov't is determined to ensure it's always legal to amputate large amounts of healthy, functional tissue from baby boys. So much for equal protection under the law...

The foreskin is erogenous tissue, containing thousands of erogenous fine-touch nerve endings. The most sensitive and pleasurable parts of male anatomy are removed by circumcision.

Additionally, the foreskin acts as a linear bearing during intercourse, making the experience more comfortable and pleasurable for women.

Google 'foreskin anatomy' for more information.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.