Advertisement

Archive for Thursday, May 19, 2011

Circumcision ban to appear on San Francisco ballot

May 19, 2011

Advertisement

— A proposal to ban the circumcision of male children in San Francisco has been cleared to appear on the November ballot, setting the stage for the nation’s first public vote on what has long been considered a private family matter.

But even in a city with a long-held reputation for pushing boundaries, the measure is drawing heavy fire. Opponents are lining up against it, saying a ban on a religious rite considered sacred by Jews and Muslims is a blatant violation of constitutional rights.

Elections officials confirmed Wednesday the initiative had qualified for the ballot with more than 7,700 valid signatures from city residents. Initiatives must have at least 7,168 names to qualify.

If the measure passes, circumcision would be prohibited among males under the age of 18. The practice would become a misdemeanor offense punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or up to one year in jail. There would be no religious exemptions.

The proposed ban appears to be the first in the country to make it this far, though a larger national debate over the health benefits of circumcision has been going on for many years. Banning circumcision would almost certainly prompt a flurry of legal challenges alleging violations of the First Amendment’s guarantee of the freedom to exercise one’s religious beliefs.

Supporters of the ban say male circumcision is a form of genital mutilation that is unnecessary, extremely painful and even dangerous. They say parents should not be able to force the decision on their young child.

“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,” said Lloyd Schofield, the measure’s lead proponent and a longtime San Francisco resident. He added the cutting away of the foreskin from the penis is a more invasive medical procedure than many new parents or childless individuals realize.

But opponents say such claims are alarmingly misleading, and call the proposal a clear violation of constitutionally protected religious freedoms.

“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,” said Rabbi Gil Yosef Leeds of Berkeley. Leeds is a certified “mohel,” the person who traditionally performs ritual circumcisions in the Jewish faith.

He said for the past few months he has been receiving daily phone calls from members of the local Jewish community who are concerned about the proposed ban. But he said he is relatively confident that even if the measure is approved, it will be abruptly — and indefinitely — tied up in litigation.

Jews consider religious male circumcision a commandment from God. It also is widely practiced by Muslims, and while it does not appear in the Quran it is mentioned in the Sunnah, the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad. Most Christian denominations neither require nor forbid circumcision.

The initiative’s backers say its progress is the biggest success story to date in a decades-old, nationwide movement by so-called “intactivists” to end circumcision of male infants in the United States. A similar effort by the Tarrytown, N.Y.-based group Intact America to introduce a circumcision ban in the Massachusetts Legislature last year failed to gain traction.

“It’s been kind of under the radar until now, but it was a conversation that needed to happen,” Schofield said of the debate over male circumcision. “We’ve tapped into a spark with our measure — something that’s been going on for a long time.”

Schofield’s group calls its initiative the San Francisco Male Genital Mutilation bill, though he said the city attorney has opted to call the measure “Male Circumcision” on the ballot. The group’s official website features a picture of a wide-eyed, delighted-looking baby and urges visitors to help “protect ALL infants and children in San Francisco from the pain and harm caused by forced genital cutting.”

Female genital cutting, a controversial practice that usually involves the removal of the clitoris, is illegal in the United States. A circumcision ban would simply extend the same protections to males, Schofield said.

International health organizations have promoted circumcision as an important strategy for reducing the spread of the AIDS virus.

Comments

Scott Morgan 2 years, 11 months ago

I've long envied non circumcised men over the neat place to store a chaw of tobacco while indoors.

0

Charlie Bannister 2 years, 11 months ago

This is an Anti Semitic item up for vote in the People's Republic of San Fran, but then in an area like San Fran who adores the Anti-Semitic Obama, what do you expect? I had occasion to be at the docs this week and asked him about it. He said the obvious--it ought to be a private family matter. He further stated that personal hygiene is much easier being circumcised. Case closed for me.

0

Oread420 2 years, 11 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

0

consumer1 2 years, 11 months ago

If this passes, can we start calling the liberals skinheads?

0

Multidisciplinary 2 years, 11 months ago

Wait..some are saying due to more nerve endings, etc..the uncircumscissoreded male has more sensation down there?

Wouldn't this mean copulation time shortens to about that of a bunnywabbit? Wouldn't this be an argument FOR being circumscissoreded? Or would men prefer to be done with the entanglement in a few seconds, rather than 2.4 minutes?

(and did they put grocery store fruit wax on that one photo on the right to make it appear more..apeeling?) ,;-D

0

ivalueamerica 2 years, 11 months ago

I think the ban is stupid, though I am against circumcision.

However, I can not help but note the number of nutcases who are whining about government intrusion and nanny state that do NOT have the same problem with the more than 200 bills introduced during the last 133 days in our country redefining rape, forcing women to have babies against their will, even if raped by their fathers, penalizing women for buying private health insurance with their own money and writing medical mandates that have never been seen by a doctor, only politicians.

If someone had morals and values, they would be against both for the same reason, but when they apply one standard to liberal values and a different standard to conservative values, they actually have no morals or values, only sides and therefore are not thoughtful people, only people that regurgitate what they are told to believe.

They are failed people, no matter which direction.

0

Joe Hyde 2 years, 11 months ago

If this proposed circumcision ban becomes law, 20 years from now a lot of San Francisco bubbas will have a handy place to stash their Skoal during lunch.

0

denak 2 years, 11 months ago

I have to respectfully disagree with Multi. The crying that a child does during a circumcision is NOT the same as any other crying. I had my son circumsized when he was about a week old. I did so because I was young and because it was what his father wanted. The doctor asked me if I wanted to step out of the room when it was done and I said no. The doctors knew what I didn't know. They knew exactly how much pain my son was going to be in and didn't want me to hear it. When they circumsized him, my son let out the most heart wrenching scream I have ever heard from another human being. It was what one would expect from a person who was essentially being skinned. Horrible, horrible scream. If I ever had to make the decision to have another son circumsized, I would not do it.

And I do think the procedure should be banned. However, I strongly object to any ban that does not have a religious exemption. It is just fool-hardy and a waste of time to pass a ban that one knows has no chance of ever being put in effect.

As for comparing male circumcision with female circumcision, there is absolutely no comparison. In female circumcision, the procedure is not done for any other reason that to destroy a female's sexual enjoyment. In some of the more barbaric practices, a woman's vagina is sewed almost shut so that when she gives birth, she either dies in child birth, the child dies, or she rips apart. And although I am not male, I'm pretty darn sure that being circumsized or not has nothing to do with one's ability to feel sexual pleasure. Both sides, those who are against, and those who are for circumcision, frame their argument in health terms, not as an argument against men and curbing their sexual nature.

Lastly, the whole argument may soon be moot anyway. I read an article a few months ago that shows circumcision to be down dramatically from what it was even a decade ago. With more and more parents deciding against circumcizing, and the influx of Hispanic immigrants, who tend to not circumcize, the old argument that one wants Little Johnny to be just like the other boys in the locker room no longer holds much weight.

0

BigPrune 2 years, 11 months ago

My question is..............why hasn't something similar to SF's ban on circumcision been introduced in Lawrence???????

Come on all you lunatics.....let's see some initiative. Heck, the City should even let you run an ad with the Water Department bill.

0

The_Original_Bob 2 years, 11 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

0

Obama_Smegma 2 years, 11 months ago

Cato is smegma-dead on right. Smegma loving Obama fetishists who desire black smegma offered up a smegma-infested Obama.

Feast away leftist smegma lovers! Obama smiles.

0

Multidisciplinary 2 years, 11 months ago

(groans at DIST)..We should have seen that one coming.

0

cato_the_elder 2 years, 11 months ago

Just remember that the same nutcases who are behind this, together with their philosophical confreres in urban enclaves around the country, are the ones who gave us Obama.

0

Benjamin Roberts 2 years, 11 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

0

headcheese 2 years, 11 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

0

beatrice 2 years, 11 months ago

How about a compromise -- ban it in bars and restaurants.

0

orangechubb 2 years, 11 months ago

Whats the big deal? I hear Pelosi had her foreskin snipped so I guess it should be alright for everybody else.

0

jhawkinsf 2 years, 11 months ago

I lived in San Francisco for many years. This is nowhere near the craziest idea to come from that fair city. Their method of using propositions to govern is another example of a good idea taken to such an extreme that it has become a very bad idea.

0

panzermike007 2 years, 11 months ago

San Francisco is a freak show in the making! Be glad when the big quake comes and culls the herd!

0

Multidisciplinary 2 years, 11 months ago

But they 'don't' adequately medicate for the pain healing from that as an adult. I heard Dr. Robert Bradley (Author-inventor of Husband Coached Childbirth..and the reason women are sent home the next day now, no more 2 weeks in hospital to recuperate from childbirth) speak on the subject.

While he said, there wasn't evidence at the time to say it was medically needed for all males to have this done, he had one very very good reason why it should. (Keep in mind, this was during the time frame that AIDS was in it's early years, not much known then)

He said, He himself, during WWII, had had to have this procedure done, when on a submarine. Being in cramped quarters, things not being as easy for men to care for themselves, many ended up with infections and such that were awful. Circumcision was the result, and he said, you can't believe how awful that was while it healed. An adult male of course has normal unschedule erections throughout the day or night, and it was constantly reeking havoc on the cut line.

He said, to an infant, from years of being around them having had the same procedure..it's typically a fast crying jag..(like falling down and being bumped)..but then they don't experience the similar circumstances that an adult does, and they most certainly don't remember it as an adult male will. His vote, was for circumcision, simply to prevent men (which very often ended up going to serve their country) from having this painful procedure as an adult.

I did not have my son circumcised at birth (years later) due to my husband's resistance. Well, we didn't know he was going to be a life long invalid unable to care for his own needs at birth. As time went on, discussions with docs and therapists, pointed out, that during his life he would be dependant on others for his personal hygiene..and that it would be far less embarrassing for him, to not have someone having to do the extra cleaning needed in the uncircumsized condition. I had it done when he was about 6 mths old. Frankly, he started screaming just from being strapped down on the board without mom holding him (he had separation issues..heck, the kid was helpless, and he knew he was safe with mom). When the procedure was happening, there was no difference in his crying than just from being put on the board. The minute he was picked up, the crying stopped entirely, and no more was heard when diapering, having a wet diaper, or any contact with his member. Thus, I have to agree that their youth has a definiate advantage on it not being as bad as in an adult.

0

yoornotmee 2 years, 11 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

0

scopi_guy 2 years, 11 months ago

"on what has long been considered a private family matter"

Well, it is. I don't remember mine. I'm sure it didn't feel good at the time, but I sure don't remember it. I have heard that having it done as an adult is way worse, pain-wise and healing time.

This proposal is the dumbest thing I've heard of in a long time.

0

blue73harley 2 years, 11 months ago

The Socialist Republic of Fruits and Nuts...and Awnold...continues their reputation for weirdness.

Thank God all we have to worry about is Phred, Sam and Toto. Well, I guess I should add the deal about evolution.

0

Flap Doodle 2 years, 11 months ago

Will adult babies be covered under the proposed law?

0

Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 11 months ago

It's very strange that no one has mentioned smegma yet.

0

gkerr 2 years, 11 months ago

Circumcision is an ancient practice that is a Religious sacramental ritual and has been shown for years to reduce venereal disease including aids. One of the advantages of circumcision was a reduction in cervical cancer because the circumcised male was somewhat less likely to carry virus and bacteria that promoted cervical dysplasia and neoplasia. For Males penile cancer was markedly reduced as well.

Fools in Liberal San Francisco are up with killing babies at any time prior to the moment of birth, But want to outlaw the minor surgical procedure that is actually life enhancing in some cases and is a deeply cherished religious ritual as well.

Those who have been demented by the culture of death ideology are simply insane. Gkerr

0

TheYetiSpeaks 2 years, 11 months ago

By the way....If these people had ever seen an infection "down there" related to the foreskin still being on maybe they would sing a different tune.

0

TheYetiSpeaks 2 years, 11 months ago

Funny how a majority of the people pushing for the right to tell me what to do with my newborn son wouldn't bat an eye if my wife had decided to kill my son a month before he was born. Stunning hypocrisy.

0

WiseOne 2 years, 11 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

0

Alfred_W 2 years, 11 months ago

Previous reply was a response to jaywalker, which didn't thread for some reason.

0

Alfred_W 2 years, 11 months ago

Actually if you read the article it would not likely be banned in those countries as it is a common Muslim practice.

0

DeaconBlue 2 years, 11 months ago

Regarding newborn circumcision, most physicians today agree with the practice of informing parents of the risks and benefits of the procedure in an unbiased manner. Recently, however, several large studies revealed a 60% decrease in HIV transmission in circumcised males compared to uncircumcised males. This may ultimately influence some changes in recommendations in the near future.

http://www.medicinenet.com/circumcision_the_medical_pros_and_cons/article.htm

Why do the liberals in San Fran not care about HIV?

0

Flap Doodle 2 years, 11 months ago

Maybe the moil guild should have asked SanFran Nan for an Obamacare waiver.

0

RoeDapple 2 years, 11 months ago

Dang Gubmint! Wear a helmet! Don't wear a helmet! Always messin' with my head(s)!

0

whatadrag 2 years, 11 months ago

Why can't the parents just choose whether to circumcise? Sounds like a waste of resources to debate the legality of something so minor.

0

50YearResident 2 years, 11 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

0

MacHeath 2 years, 11 months ago

Wow, that cloud of "smug" over SanFrancisco may really destroy South Park after all... I can see it now. Backstreet circumcisions, penis checks. The "suede-denim" secret police are everywhere.

0

rockchalk1977 2 years, 11 months ago

San Fransicko is a national embarrassment. We should just sell it to the highest bidder and pay off the national debt.

http://www.usdebtclock.org/

0

WhiteDog 2 years, 11 months ago

I always just wonder how in the world our society got to a place where strapping down an infant and cutting away part of his sexual organs is seen as a positive and necessary thing.

0

jaywalker 2 years, 11 months ago

Geez. This sounds like a headline from Pakistan or Yemen. Aaah, San Fran!

0

Liberty_One 2 years, 11 months ago

Hey, why not ban it? It is a weird and barbaric thing to do.

0

RoeDapple 2 years, 11 months ago

Hmm . . Just watched an episode of Bizarre Foods With Andrew Zimmer, in Madagascar. There the young males (5 years old) are held and immobilized by uncles while the grandfather performs the procedure sans anesthesia. As part of the ceremony the grandfather then eats the flesh that has been removed. The child's father is not allowed to be in the building until it is over. My first thoughts were, could that be any less barbaric than the similar procedure done to young girls in other cultures? Next question. How do we keep government and the church out of our underwear?

0

oldvet 2 years, 11 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

0

scott3460 2 years, 11 months ago

When will the first pro-government abortion opponent weigh in on this issue?

0

DeaconBlue 2 years, 11 months ago

This is an important issue for liberals.

Now that Pelosi has taken dozens of waivers for Obamacare, every effort must be made to not overwhelm emergency rooms.

0

autie 2 years, 11 months ago

Somehow I don't quite remember the procedure. I suppose I was rather young at the time.

0

Multidisciplinary 2 years, 11 months ago

I'm headed to the lobby, who needs what?

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.