California slaps down attempts to ban circumcision

October 4, 2011

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.

Explore further: Calif. gov signs bill to prevent circumcision bans

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2 comments

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ArtflDgr
1 / 5 (1) 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
not rated yet 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.

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