San Fran Considers Circumcision Ban

San Francisco may let voters decide whether to ban the procedure that removes an infant boy’s foreskin, often before he leaves the hospital.

CBS News reports:

The proposal would make it a misdemeanor to perform circumcision on a male under the age of 18 within the city. Anyone who ignored the ban would face a $1,000 fine and a year in jail.

Supporter Leo Schofeld tells CBS:

Circumcision should be outlawed because “it’s excruciatingly painful and permanently damaging surgery that’s forced on men when they’re at their weakest and most vulnerable.”

This is easily one of the hottest button topics in Parentland. Perfectly sane parents will land on either side of this issue and start a bloody cage war that leaves everyone circumcised.  I hate that.  I have made my own thoughts clear on the subject here, and there is no need to elaborate. My opinion hasn’t changed.  Barring unforeseen circumstances, I would not consent to having any boy child of mine circumcised.

It is not my place to make that decision for any other parent on the planet.

Is it the City of San Francisco’s place?  This is where it gets complicated.

In my last post, Don’t Say Gay, I suggested decisions on how sex education is handled in schools should be made at the local level, by the school board, members of which are installed by voters.  In San Francisco, city council members, installed by voters, may offer a proposal up on which citizens can vote.  Majority rules, right?

Not quite.

Say every practicing Jewish person in San Francisco who believes the act of circumcision is part of  a covenant with God votes against this proposal, but every other soul in San Fran votes in favor.  It likely passes, and Jewish families would be criminalized and fined for having a ceremonial bris.  I’ve seen no exception for religious ceremony.  I can’t get behind that.

In my world, education trumps legislation almost every time, so if Mr. Schofeld opposes the procedure, he maybe oughta to lobby for education.  Good information offered at prenatal classes would be a lovely first step, because it’s a fact that most Americans circumcise their boys without information or second thought.  It’s just what’s done.  Circumcision is a serious procedure with serious implications, and shouldn’t be performed carelessly.

However, if and when educated parents choose to circumcise, they should not be charged with a crime.  They should be left alone, because their baby’s penis is none of your business.

There is much more on circumcision and most everything a parent-to-be needs to know about life with a newborn in this Pea in the Podcast: Caring for your Newborn.



  1. Charles says:

    The child’s penis is none of the parent’s business either. It belongs solely to the individual to which it is attached. Sensible parents would never think of removing healthy, functioning tissue from their child. US law states that only the individual themselves has the right to consent to a surgery or treatment, and parents only have the right to provide consent if the patient is unable to provide or refuse consent and the procedure is life-saving. Circumcision does not fall under this statue, since circumcising a child will not save their life vs them being left intact. Therefore, under current US law, it is crime to circumcise a healthy newborn. The author of this article misses the point. Circumcision is a human rights issue, despite what anybody would try to say otherwise, because the practice violates another individuals bodily integrity rights. Children are not the property of their parents – they are autonomous individuals. Just because someone is dependent on someone else for survival does not mean that they have no rights as individuals.

  2. Charles says:

    Furthermore, as I forgot to mention this in my above comment, the US 1st Amendment to the Constitution is actually “freedom from religion”. It argues that no government entity may force a religion upon an individual – reaffirming that they are free to practice any religion of their choosing. This does not mean that individuals can force their religion upon others. By circumcising their children, Jews are forcing their religion upon autonomous individuals – this violates the child’s 1st Amendment rights. The proposed law, specifically outlawing circumcision of minors against their will, needs no religious exemption because it discriminates against no religion.

  3. ….. Jews who believe that circumcision should be against the law.

    Jews for the Rights of the Child

    The Judaic Movement to End Circumcision: Part 2

    Jewish Voices: The Current Judaic Movement to End Circumcision: Part 1

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: