San Francisco Petition Seeks to Ban Circumcision
A group of anti-circumcision "intactivists" is petitioning to create a ballot measure that would ban circumcision in San Francisco. If the petition gets enough signatures, San Francisco voters would see an anti-circumcision bill on their ballots in November 2011.
Under the proposed bill, circumcision procedures would be illegal within San Francisco city limits, except in the case of extreme medical emergencies.
The intactivists say the law would protect innocent, defenseless children from the abuses of their parents, just as any other child welfare law would.
To which I say, please give me a break. And I add an eye roll for emphasis.
First of all, circumcision is a religious tradition in both the Jewish and Muslim religions. And while status as a religious tradition doesn't automatically make a practice immune from the law (see, for example, animal sacrifice), I think circumcision falls into the category of being a humane enough religious practice that the government has no business banning it.
Because, really, is circumcision tantamount to abuse? Proponents of circumcision argue that the practice helps prevent serious urinary tract infections and might possibly reduce the risk of AIDS transmission worldwide. (Though the latter benefit is really only an issue in Africa.) Opponents of circumcision say that there is not enough evidence of the medical benefits of circumcision to justify risking possible damage from procedures that are done incorrectly.
Unfortunately, there really isn't a lot of conclusive evidence pointing one way or the other in the circumcision debate. But at the very least, we have a medical procedure that has possible health benefits and only very occasional risks. It's a religious tradition for some. It hardly seems like an abusive act that needs to be outlawed.
It seems like the kind of decision that parents should be allowed to make for their own sons. And so, at the risk of suggesting that I don't understand the anatomy in question on this issue, I say the government should just butt out.