What Will San Francisco Ban Next? How About Circumcisions

Will S.F. ban circumcision? (iStockphoto)

Last November, when San Francisco effectively banned McDonald’s Happy Meals, we wondered what it would try to ban next. The answer? Circumcisions. From the AP:

A group seeking to ban the circumcision of male children in San Francisco has succeeded in getting their controversial measure on the November ballot, meaning voters will be asked to weigh in on what until now has been a private family matter.
City elections officials confirmed Wednesday that the initiative had received enough signatures to appear on the ballot, getting more than 7,700 valid signatures from city residents. Initiatives must receive at least 7,168 signatures to qualify.
If the measure passes, circumcision would be prohibited among males under the age of 18. The practice would become a misdemeanor offense punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or up to one year in jail. There would be no religious exemptions.




Leave A Comment

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.



View All Comments »
  1. Jen says:

    Bad: circumcision
    Good: abortion

    Yep, makes sense.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 54 Thumb down 57
    • zadig says:

      Please don’t set up false comparisons. Nobody is saying that abortion is good. Most people (who think it should be safe and legal) are saying that it’s the medical decision of the woman whose body is involved, and it’s nobody else’s damn business. Choice is good. Abortion? Any medical procedure is to be avoided, but if it’s needed, I hope it goes well.

      I happen to feel the same way about circumcision, expanding the circle of interested parties to both parents involved. Still nobody else’s damn business. But I can see where those who fall on the side of “it’s child abuse” have an interesting argument, even if I’m not convinced by it. Complications are rare, and successful procedures are harmless.

      But your comment smacking of ‘oh, the inconsistency!’ when one of the two positions is wholly invented kind of lowers the discussion.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 39 Thumb down 20
      • Seth says:

        I think you pointed out the inconsistency here: “Still nobody else’s damn business.”

        Why is it everyone else’s business in one case, but not the other?

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 34 Thumb down 1
      • Uthor says:

        “I happen to feel the same way about circumcision, expanding the circle of interested parties to both parents involved.”

        Shouldn’t the kid have a say in it, too?

        Not that I’m for the ban. I pretty much don’t care one way or the other, making my position “not my place to decide.”

        Thumb up 5 Thumb down 8
  2. pablo says:

    Shouldn’t have religious exemptions for anything that smacks of abuse, whether it be this or Christian Scientists letting kids die of treatable diseases.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 34 Thumb down 23
  3. Chad says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Disliked! Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 41
  4. Iljitsch van Beijnum says:

    Long overdue. Little kids don’t have a religion, so cutting skin off their genitals for religious-by-proxy reasons is a very, very bad thing. They can always have it done at 18.

    That said San Francisco has to do something about its cell tower insanity, it’s impossible to get a signal there.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 48 Thumb down 46
  5. Badger says:

    Considered that circumcision is a barbaric procedure, evidently nothing more than male genital mutilation, and it’s clearly against the rights of future circumcised men that may discover one day that they would have preferred to *not* have been circumcised by their parents (like myself and thousands of others — just search the net for the topic of “foreskin restoration”), I, for the first time in my life, will have to agree with something proposed by San Franciscans. In this case, the rights of the child are clearly above the rights of the parents.
    People that favor circumcision can get circumcised later in their lives if they choose to do it, for religious or whatever other reason.
    Please, try to understand that the existence of *even one* circumcised baby that discovers one day in adulthood to have been sexually mutilated by his parents is reason enough to protect his rights as a child.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 64 Thumb down 57
  6. Ken says:

    Well it’s a funny one. I’m not religious but have been snipped.

    It is technically genital mutilation no matter which way you cut it (no pun intended) but ‘mutilation’ conjures up such negative thought.

    Anyone saying a circumcision later in life is the perfect alternative should try it ! Not many infants experience erections – something that really doesn’t mix well with stitches.

    I really don’t have time for anyone claiming retrospective issues due to them realising later in life that they are somehow lacking due to being cut – you never miss what you never had – as my dear old mum used to say. but I’m not American and therefore not so prone to such nonsense.

    And not forgetting of course that HIV infection rates are lower in circumcised men.

    Now there’s a few points to be batted about.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 48 Thumb down 26
    • Badger says:

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

      Disliked! Like or Dislike: Thumb up 36 Thumb down 48
    • Bill Smith says:

      “Not many infants experience erections”

      Not true actually. Infants get erections from birth if their diaper rubs them, if the air hits them during changing, etc.

      Although I imagine the pain of an erection after circumcision would dull the chance of an erection. Even in adults. Maybe especially in adults 😉

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 5
    • Badger says:

      Regarding the “HIV argument” for circumcision, besides the fact that the effect is so small that it’s not really economically significant, and that it’s the kind of research that’s not really trustworthy (as is the case of much of this kind of research), the argument is equivalent to proposing that appendectomy should be done with all babies because they could one day have lethal appendicitis.

      Besides the US has one of the highest HIV infection rates among rich nations and yet is one of the few where circumcision is common practice:

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 35 Thumb down 11
      • Joel Upchurch says:

        The studies in Africa indicate that female HIV infection decreased by 50% with circumcised males. African females are not economically significant.

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 3
      • Joel Upchurch says:

        I meant to put a question mark on the end.

        Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1
    • Brandon says:

      Actually, Europe (among other continents) does not circumcise and their HIV and STD rates are orders of magnitude lower than the US where circumcision is common, care to explain away this real world data?

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 19 Thumb down 18
      • MW says:

        There are a great many influences on HIV rates. It is very plausible that other factors cause high HIV rates in the USA and swamp the alleged rate-lowering effect of circumcision.

        Your argument is similar to countering “for men, being tall on average improves your income” by “the only short man I personally know is quite rich, care to explain away this real world data?” (Except that in my analogy, you can go out and find many more men to measure the height and income of, whereas we have a very limited supply of societies to measure.)

        I am not supporting circumcision or supporting the circumcision/HIV link, I am just countering a flawed argument.

        Thumb up 9 Thumb down 7
      • Badger says:

        You’re avoiding the real problem: circumcision in the US *FOR SURE* didn’t avoid the spread of HIV.

        Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3
      • JimD says:

        You’re repeating the original mistake. We don’t know what the rate of spread in the US would have been in the absence of widespread circumcision. The one place where we have a control experiment is Africa — and there’s a huge correlation there. Because Africa is unique in several respects (most significantly, the unusually wide-spread infection of women and children), you can’t extrapolate this to Western societies — but neither can you deny a correlation without some actual data.

        On the original topic, perhaps we should ask circumcised adult men if they regret that they were trimmed “against their will” as infants. I suspect that the percentage answering “yes” would be tiny — I’m speaking as one who would say “no” and who wonders what the hell the problem is, or more specifically, what the hell is the problem with people who need to control other people’s lives.

        This is one of those issues where a small but vocal group makes a lot of noise, for no good reason, and causes much inconvenience for the majority. San Francisco has always had an overabundance of these meddlers.

        Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2
  7. MRB says:

    I would feel better about this bill if it banned male and female circumcision.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 3
    • Hmm says:

      Cutting a female child’s clitoral hood – an organ homologous to the male foreskin in both function and embryonic origin – has already been banned at the federal level.

      This proposition aims to extend this protection to males, arguably removing a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment (which guarantees equal protection to all individuals under the law).

      Interestingly, any objection to the current proposition on the basis that it denies religious freedom applies equally to the ban on female genital mutilation – which is a part of some religious traditions. Perhaps there are more important things than this particular form of religious freedom (e.g. childrens’ welfare).

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 5
    • Brandon says:

      Female Genital Mutilation has already been banned in the US with the passing of a bill in 1996. The equal protection clause of the 14th amendment demands that the same be down for boys, you cannot discriminate protection under the law to only one gender.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 6
  8. Greg Johnson says:

    i don’t think anyone should make unnecessary modifications to anothers body for any reason, if there is no consent given. im pretty damaged and unhappy about the choice my mom made for me. if there’s even a chance that someone would be unhappy about their parents choice(or worse, die), then logic would dictate not to let it happen. you wouldn’t modify your daughters genitals, why would you do it to your son? FGM is already illegal, country wide. equal rights dictate that we’re all entitled to protection from harm.

    as for religious rights, some feel that its their religious duty to kill non-believers. we don’t grant them their “rights”, because obviously its simply wrong. freedom of religion, should include freedom FROM religion as well.

    ive never heard a baby say “yes you can cut off 20000 nerve endings, my frenulum, and my ridged band, risk my life in doing so, and peel my prepuce from my glans with a similar method as removing fingernails, all without anesthetics (and if they’re used, you’re introducing a chemical to a very small child, which is a risk itself) “

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 39 Thumb down 10