The Board of Supervisors just banned toys in Happy Meals, which drew worldwide attention.
Now the latest ban being proposed in San Francisco is on male circumcision.
A proposed ballot measure for the November 2011 ballot – when voters will be electing the San Francisco’s next mayor – would amend The City’s police code “to make it a misdemeanor to circumcise, excise, cut or mutilate the foreskin, testicle or penis of another person who has not attained the age of 18.”
Doing so would result in a fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year in jail, according to the proposed measure submitted to the Department of Elections.
Let's depart from the sickness that is San Francisco for a moment. Does anyone else find it extremely hilarious that this column is listed in the City Hall Politics section, which is called Under The Dome?
How insensitive; are they unaware that for Jews, Muslims and certain Christian fundamentalists, circumcision is a religious mandate? Also how medically ignorant; uncircumcised males may have significant problems with infection, among other health issues. I've seen lots of problems come through urology offices.
I am torn on this. If you make the argument that male circumcision is a religious mandate, then can you not also argue that female circumcision is a religious mandate as well and should be equally protected?
You can say that it is more invasive and painful than male circumcision, but parents could then say that if it is done in sterile conditions, at an early age, and with anesthetic, they are fine with it - how are you going to prove they are wrong?
We condemn it as barbaric and as a sadistic act inflicted on an unwilling victim. Couldn't you also make the same claim about male circumcision? Is either procedure medically necessary? Quite frankly, I think it's a little perverse that somebody at one time got the notion to chop it off and we've been doing it ever since! Who has the right to alter another person's body without his permission? If you are going to say there is a potential for health problems when it is left intact, then why don't we also yank out people's appendixes, gallbladders and tonsils as a preventive measure? A significant number of people have problems with those organs at some point in their lives. Furthermore, there are apparently some advantages to not being circumcized, but that's for people to educate themselves about. I think if you read up on the history of this practice you would find it rather interesting. For example, some religions have modified their views over time. You might also find it interesting that a progressive eugenicist by the name of John Kellogg promoted its acceptance in the United States and that it's not as prevalent in Europe. It's worth noting that Kellogg promoted it for mental health reasons and also advised against the use of anesthesia, an approach which existed until quite recently.
I know complications of circumcision are extremely rare ... however, there have been cases where boys have suffered from botched procedures or infection. One of our friends had a baby who ended up on antibiotics because of an infection, and this made us research a bit more when we had our boys. I recall reading about one guy (this happened many years ago, and if I recall, the man ultimately committed suicide)who was severely injured during a circumcision and whose parents ended up choosing gender reassignment and hormone therapy as the most workable solution. They didn't get around to telling their "daughter" about it, however, and the poor kid grew up seriously messed up.
My biggest issue with this is the topic itself. If people should have a say over what happens to their own bodies, then imposing an irreversible, and not risk-free, primarily cosmetic procedure upon an infant seems to conflict with this stance. On the other hand, the people who are pushing this measure largely support abortion. Some of them even support partial-birth abortion, which in my view equates inarguably with infanticide. And there is NOTHING more invasive of basic rights than denying a child the right to live!! That makes them even more illogical in propping up this cause!
I think the best alternative to all of this would be for them to launch an education campaign to convince people of the practicality of their view. They don't have to invoke government to strong arm people. There is nothing to stop them from trying to inform new parents and to persuade people in the medical establishment. It is too bad that something that maybe deserves some consideration becomes such a joke because of the way it is being dealt with!
I think I would fight this strictly on First Amendment grounds - this would criminalize Judaism in San Francisco.
Very well put, Peggy.
I'm surprised that comment showed up. I tried commenting last night, but it looked as though it had failed to post. I then thought better of it, since the comment was so long. I sent an email to Darren instead. I guess it must have posted after all. Sorry for the length of the rant!
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