SANTA MONICA, Calif. — When a group of activists proposed banning circumcision in San Francisco last fall, many people simply brushed them aside. Even in that liberal seaside city, it seemed implausible that thousands of people would support an effort to outlaw an ancient ritual that Jews and Muslims believe fulfills a commandment issued by God.
But last month, the group collected the more than 7,100 signatures needed to get a measure on the fall ballot that would make it illegal to snip the foreskin of a minor within city limits. Now a similar effort is under way in Santa Monica to get such a measure on the ballot for November 2012.
If the anticircumcision activists (they prefer the term “intactivists”) have their way, cities across the country may be voting on whether to criminalize a practice that is common in many American hospitals. Activists say the measures would protect children from an unnecessary medical procedure, calling it “male genital mutilation.”
“This is the furthest we’ve gotten, and it is a huge step for us,” said Matthew Hess, an intactivist based in San Diego who wrote both bills.
::The Sound of Crickets Chirping::
I read a lot of ridiculous stuff day in and day out, but this may take the Stupid of the Year grand prize. Are we still having this debate in the 21st century?
“This is a conversation we are long overdue to have in this country,” he said. “The end goal for us is making cutting boys’ foreskin a federal crime.”LOL. "Foreskin Man." Sounds like the name of some porn movie from the 70's.
Mr. Hess also writes an online comic book, “Foreskin Man,” with villains like “Monster Mohel.” On Friday, the Anti-Defamation League issued a statement saying the comic employed “grotesque anti-Semitic imagery.”
The article does a good job pointing out the blatant anti-Semitism of such madness...
Jewish groups see the ballot measures as a very real threat, likening them to bans on circumcision that existed in Soviet-era Russia and Eastern Europe and in ancient Roman and Greek times. The circumcision of males is an inviolable requirement of Jewish law that dates back to Abraham’s circumcision of himself in the Book of Genesis....but unfortunately doesn't address the vast medical evidence which supports the health benefits of circumcision.
And it's not just related to protection from H.I.V., but all sexually transmitted diseases, according to the CDC.
Although precise numbers are not known, several studies have indicated that circumcision rates have been declining in the United States for the past several years and now range from 30 percent to 50 percent of all male infants.Many medical groups take a neutral approach, saying that the practice is not harmful and that there is not enough scientific evidence to conclude that it is necessary, and leave the decision to parents and their doctor. Several studies have linked circumcision with a reduction in the spread of H.I.V.
Obviously, the decision is a personal one that parents of baby boys should make in consultation with their pediatrician, religious faith, and the best medical evidence available. As the numbers seem to indicate, perhaps 50% of parents are opting not to have the procedure done on their newborns, and that seems perfectly fine to me.
But 50% still do, and the idea that we are going to criminalize circumcision, and put doctors or parents of newborns in prison over it, is about as draconian and brain-dead as it gets. It represents another example in the long litany of morals crimes which Moral Entrepreneurs enforce via the long arm of the law.
UPDATE: Apparently the hue and cry over the Times story has the supporters of the legislation now backing away from it.