San Francisco May Vote On Circumcision Ban

San Francisco residents may vote on a ballot measure next year that would outlaw circumcision.

The initiative, which requires 7,000 signatures before it can be added to next November’s ballot, would make it a misdemeanor to “circumcise, excise, cut or mutilate the…genitals” of all minors, and would not make exceptions for religious reasons.

The decision to permanently remove a boy’s foreskin should not be made by parents, says Lloyd Shofield, the proposal’s author.

“People can practice whatever religion they want, but your religious practice ends with someone else’s body,” Schofield told CBS affiliate KCBS. “It’s a man’s body and…his body doesn’t belong to his culture, his government, his religion or even his parents. It’s his decision.”

But some parents interviewed by KCBS disagreed.

“It’s your choice, it’s your child…government can’t rule us on everything we do,” said Heather Wisnicky. The Sacramento mother told the news station that she had her son circumcised just 3 weeks prior. “It’s a health issue. It’s cleaner,” Wisnicky said.

In July, a researcher from the Centers for Disease Control presented statistics showing that just 32% of boys underwent the procedure in 2009. While the figure does not include circumcisions done outside of medical facilities, it’s a precipitous drop from the 56% of boys who were circumcised three years earlier in 2006.

Some supporters of male circumcision argue that the practice helps stop the spread of HIV and is more hygenic. Opponents say it can be painful and robs men of greater sexual sensation. The CDC has not yet released a recommendation for or against the practice.

In 2009, New York magazine published a series of stories and testimonials from parents and men who were both pro- and anti-circumcision. The strong opinions and the detailed description of the procedure are worth a read.

WATCH: KCBS report on circumcision ballot initiative

From The Huffington Post


  1. Tina Kimmel

    This measure simply updates the existing law that protects girls from assault on their genitals, to also include boys.

    To those who oppose this measure, let me see if I understand their reasoning correctly:

    A man has NO right to control his own body, as long as he’s an infant… but at some arbitrary point (is it age 16? 21? when he’s achieved fatherhood? or some other criteria?), that same man now DOES have the right to control not only his own body (too bad it’s too late for his most sensitive erogenous tissue), but also the bodies of other people…? No wait, only if those other people are boys, but not girls…?

    Whereas a woman HAS the right to control her body, even as an infant…? but when she meets some criteria, then she can ALSO control the bodies of boys… but not girls?

    Seems pretty twisted to me.

  2. What the story doesn’t mention is that the proposed bill just gives boys exactly the same protection girls now enjoy. Earlier this year the AAP flirted with allowing a token, ritual pinprick of girls lest worse befall, and they admitted then that it was “less extensive than male genital cutting” but all hell broke loose and they had to pull their heads in. So we’re not talking about what they do to girls in Africa. Even the most minor, sterile, painfree cutting of girls is absolutely banned, even though some parents claim the religious and cultural right to do it. Why do boys not have equality in this regard? Libertarians should support this bill because it protects the individual rights of future men, the owners of the parts in question.