San Francisco “Civil Rights Advocates” Back Ballot Proposition to Ban Circumcision
posted at 11:58 am on February 22, 2011 by Howard Portnoy
Expect a din to arise from the left, as opponents vociferously argue that the measure is an assault on religious freedom. Or not, since the religion whose traditions are being assailed does not claim “protected” status, like Islam. (“Protected” status is to religion what “diverse” is to ethnicity.)
The issue at hand is whether circumcision should be banned in San Francisco. Lloyd Schofield, a Bay Area resident, believes it should be. That is why is busy collecting signatures to make circumcision illegal until the owner of the organ to be circumcised has “attained the age of 18.” Ouch!
Schofield has until April 26 to gather the 7,168 valid signatures needed in order for the proposition to make it onto the ballot. The Examiner reports (h/t Steven Ein):
Schofield said he became the proponent of the local ballot measure after being asked to champion a local bill during a July symposium on circumcision held at the UC Berkeley. Schofield said he was approached by those affiliated with a group pushing for a federal bill to “end male genital mutilation in the U.S.”
As those who are schooled in the ways of Judaism are aware, circumcision is ritually performed on Jewish males on the eighth day of life in a ceremony known as a bris. The decree that males be circumcised appears in Genesis (17: 1-14).
Although several Jewish organizations have expressed concerns over Schofield’s proposed bill on the grounds that it violates their religious freedom, he and other proponents of the ban have the scientific wind currently at their back. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Medical Association no longer recommend routine circumcision.
Although some studies suggest that circumcision reduces the risk of STD transmission, others indicate that the procedure carries risks, including diminished sexual function. If the ban does become law, mohels—professionals who cut the foreskins of Jewish infants—would face a fine of $1,000 and a year in prison. Oy!