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TALK BACK: About this circumcision ban, San Francisco. . .

Quintessentially San Francisco, or has this city gone nuts?

Excuse the pun, but proponents of a ban on circumcision in San Francisco brought more than 12,000 signatures to the city’s Elections Department this morning hoping to place the initiative on the November ballot, the Chronicle reported

It needs 7,200 valid signatures for it to qualify and put before voters. The ban’s proponents want to outlaw the practice of circumcision within city limits — violators would face a stiff $1,000 fine (excuse us again) and would be punishable by up to a year in jail.

Talk of the ban has garnered national attention when the ban’s author, San Francisco-resident Lloyd Schofield, began collecting signatures to “protect ALL infants and children in San Francisco from the pain and harm caused by forced genital cutting,” according to campaign literature posted on his web site.

Post your thoughts on another only in San Francisco news maker below.

25 Comments »

  • Will said:

    Tradition or not, performing cosmetic surgery on an infant, which has hardly any tangible benefits and numerous tangible risks, seems wrong to me.

    My parents respected me enough to raise me healthy and with all of my body parts intact. I’m glad they chose to do it, and in fact that small difference has made a big difference in my ability to stand back from the crowd and make my own decisions.

    I don’t know anyone who wishes they had been circumcised. Seems to me those who were, defend it so they don’t develop a negative self-image. That’s not a reason to continue this pattern of baby body modification that, were it not to be rooted in Judeo-Christian tradition, would be considered abhorrent by modern society.

    If parents want to follow that tradition so badly, they have an entire lifetime to find a doctor outside of San Francisco to slice up their child. I, for one, commend San Franciscans for getting rid of old, useless, and in fact harmful traditions.

  • Bob said:

    Male circumcision is a safe, popular, healthy & beneficial procedure for individuals & parents to choose. It provides benefits such as 12x less likely for UTI, +22x less likely for cancer, 28% less risk for herpes, 35% for HPV & 60% for HIV/AIDS. The risks are about 0.2% and are typically minor & easily corrected.

    Parents should research circumcision and make an informed decision for the health & well-being of their son.

  • Dave Coull said:

    Coming from a more civilised country, the American habit of cutting off bits of their babies seems barbaric to me. Adult males who decide circumcision is a good idea will be perfectly free to go ahead and get it done. All that’s been proposed is that responsible adults should intervene to prevent sadistic child abuse against helpless infants who protest loudly and do their inadequate best to escape the knife.

  • Ron Low said:

    Shame on the US for not ALREADY protecting males from a procedure that NOT ONE national medical association on earth (not even Israel’s) endorses.

    Foreskin feels REALLY good. HIS body, HIS decision.

  • Ken said:

    All surgery must be performed with the consent of the patient. The only exception to this rule is if the surgery is necessary to save the patients’ life, in which case the doctor acts under assumed consent. Circumcision is not advised by a single medical organization worldwide and is certainly not proven to save lives. Forcing genital alteration surgery on helpless infants is obviously a violation of their human rights. If a man wants to have his own genitals circumcised, that’s great; the important thing is that the decision was preserved for him until he could give informed consent.

  • Eli said:

    @Bob– There is no medical justification for “circumcision,” a procedure more appropriately known as genital mutilation that was introduced in the U.S. in the 19th century as punishment for masturbation. Physicians have known since the 13th century that “circumcision” damages men’s sexual functionality.

    Condoms provide far more protection from STDs than even the most flawed study of genital mutilation could suggest, and do not cause permanent damage. Penile cancer is even more rare than male breast cancer. We don’t strip all our skin off to prevent melanoma, do we?

    Babies feel pain. Babies have memories. “Medical” Genital mutilation is 100% wrong and doctors have absolutely no excuse to claim otherwise.

  • Dave Coull said:

    The alleged “benefits” tend to be both touted and exaggerated by folk with a vested interest in doing so, and are a matter of dispute amongst the medical profession internationally. There is also contrary evidence for some positive benefits of being whole and uncut. Nobody is disputing the right of mature, adult “individuals” to make a choice; the dispute is about inflicting this barbaric procedure on helpless babies. “Popular”??? Circumcision clearly isn’t “popular” with the infants on whom the cut is performed, they protest loudly; and it isn’t “popular” in most European or “Western” countries.

  • Dave Coull said:

    Notice how this sensible proposal is being reported: “Has this city gone nuts?”, and “Only in San Francisco”. Well, if it’s only in SF that folk have realised just how primitive the USA is compared to the civilised world, at least that’s a start. Some folk in San Francisco may have come up with some crazy things, but this time it’s everywhere else in the USA that has it wrong, in condoning the horrific ritual child abuse of cutting off bits of tiny babies.

  • Pud Puller said:

    There are few truths coming out of this debate.
    1. Only men that have been mutilated want to mutilate.
    2. Men who don’t want to mutilate are either un-mutilated or are mutilated, but realize that they were wronged.
    3. Women who understand it is mutilation refuse to comply with this barbaric tradition.
    4. Women who are suppressed will sheepishly comply, even with their own mutilation.
    5. Mutilation promotes inter-genrational mutilation.
    6. Those who have been harmed will continue to harm.
    7. Only the mutilated make fun of the un-mutilated (locker room syndrome, etc).
    8. Doctors, mohels. and other mutilators actually enjoy performing the mutilation.
    9. Doctors, mohels and other mutilators will twist any fact to continue the practice.
    10. A long line of mutilators starting with the Egyptians have Schoen, Wiswell, Morris, The Gilgals, Turkish Males and others as devout followers.

    In the end, this is sick cultural norm must end in all societies, American, Jewish, Muslim, Malay etc.

  • Greg Johnson said:

    I believe it is a human right to freedom from harm. As should doctors, as its their oath to “do no harm”. unfortunately, in this country, a harmful procedure is done more often than any beneficial ones. the most common procedure in America is non-therapeutic modification of sexual organs. the most absurd part of it is, its done to a baby. no baby should ever have to go through unnecessary surgery, its just way too risky and damaging to the child. any firm believers of circumcision have the right to make the choice about themselves, and ONLY themselves. i know i regret my parents decision. it has ruined my sex life, and caused daily pain since i was a child.

  • Locuta said:

    By no means is this an “only in San Francisco” idea. Lots of people all over the U.S. are done with this disgusting, barbaric Bronze Age blood-sacrifice-to-the-desert-god superstition. Bravo to the SF folks for having the courage and intelligence to do something to protect all of our children, and our society, from this scourge.

    The fact that genital mutilation is currently practiced by people with medical training who have taken an oath to “do no harm” is reprehensible. With respect to the “freedom of religion” nonsense, we already have several laws that restrict religious practices to protect others: no honor killings, no human sacrifice (of the whole body), no plural marriage, no female genital mutilation. A longstanding value in America is that the rights of an individual or group end where the rights of another begin. Every child has the birthright of intact, whole, fully functioning genitals and a normal, satisfying sex life. Circumcision in all of its forms cannot be banned soon enough — SF and everywhere else!

  • Dave Coull said:

    Attempting to portray this as an “Only in San Francisco” thing implies that folk who want to stop the mutilation of helpless babies are weird. Wrong. It’s folk who think genital mutilation of helpless babies is okay who are weird. Coming from a more civilised country, the extent of this barbaric practice in the USA never ceases to amaze me. But I am heartened by Locuta saying it’s not just a San Francisco thing, people all over the USA are rejecting this perverted child abuse practice.

  • Erik said:

    Wow! Some people on this site sure do make a big deal about a simple medical procedure. I don’t feel like I had anything robbed from me, and am glad that my parents chose to have it done when I was a new-born. Lighten up! If you don’t want your children circumcised, then don’t. It’s a free country. But don’t criminalize people who make the opposite choice. Our jails are full enough.

  • Mike said:

    Sorry, Erik, child abuse is not an “option” in a “free country”. “Religion makes otherwise moral people say and do disgusting things.”

  • Nick said:

    One has to seriously question the morals of those who support the idea of genital mutilation of minors. It is an evil practice, unquestionably child abuse, and those who perpetrate this act on minors should be criminalised.

    @Erik – well, let’s build a few more jails then.

  • Erik said:

    Seriously?!? Child abuse?!? More jails?!?

    Mike, I don’t recall saying anything about religion in my post. I was raised Lutheran. There’s no religious obligation in the Lutheran faith to circumcise one’s children. My parents chose to have me circumcised by a doctor when I was born because the doctor recommended it for health reasons.

    Perhaps in 1978 they overestimated the health benefits of circumcision, but to my knowledge, the debate in the medical community continues. I’m not saying I would have a child circumcised today, but if I were a parent of a newborn, I’d want to be able to consider my options after consulting with a doctor. In my view, in a civilized society, decisions about medical procedures should be made by patients (in the case of adults) or patients’ parents (in the case of children), on the advice of doctors, not by our government. That’s why I am staunchly in favor of abortion rights, and it’s also why I’m appalled that 50 miles from my home there’s actually a legitimate movement to criminalize people who have their children circumcised.

    I suppose the next thing we’ll see will be a ballot measure to criminalize childhood vaccinations because needles inflict pain and bleeding, too, and in very rare instances can also cause fatal side effects. We don’t give our children a choice about vaccinations, either. Does that make it wrong?

    And while we’re at it, maybe we should ban dentistry on minors, too. If a kid needs teeth pulled because, as was the case with all of my milk teeth, the roots of his milk teeth won’t dissolve when it’s time for them to fall out, we’ll just leave the milk teeth in until the kid becomes an adult, and can decide for himself what he wants done to his body . . . because we certainly wouldn’t want to inflict pain or bleeding on a minor, or remove something from his body without his consent. And there’s always that one in a million chance of infection, as with any operation. So that makes it child abuse.

    And I guess we also better round up all of my Hindu friends and have them thrown in jail, because they all had their daughters’ ears pierced soon after birth. That’s a permanent disfigurement to the child without the child’s consent, and there’s absolutely no medical argument in favor of it.

    Any while I’m on a roll, I guess I want my tonsils back. My parents had those ripped out too, on the advice of a doctor, the nasty butchers! Like with foreskin, I’m not sure what tonsils are actually good for, but I didn’t get a choice. Plenty of bleeding and pain there too, and in this case I remember it, and can assure you it was against my will. Child abuse!! Call the sheriff and have my parents dragged off in chains for trying to do the right thing, those deeply maligned criminals!

    Again . . . seriously?!?

  • Kim said:

    I’m amazed by how many uneducated people there are in the world. There are way too many benefits to circumcision. Those who talk down on it are probably just feeling inferior to all the circumcised men in the US. Circumcision provides 70% more protection from STDs than being uncircumcised. You say “well, just wear a condom!” YEAH RIGHT! They weren’t designed with uncircumcised men in mind and DO NOT WORK ON THEM! So by not circumcising guys, you are setting them up for very high risk of STDs. And an uncircumcised penis does not feel the same for women. You know it’s true when they even list that on the brochure!

  • doomer said:

    This is some ridiculous over-reaching waste of legislation. Aren’t there a million better things we could be doing with our time and tax dollars than enforcing this? Aren’t we sexually harassed by government enough already? Wouldn’t this be discriminating against religious affiliations that practice this? Do we really need another hoop for the medical community to jump through- or worse, more malpractice suits? What we do with our bodies is a matter of privacy, not a matter of regulation. Keep your government hands off our genitals!

  • Jenna said:

    Kim,

    I agree how uneducated people are. You are one of them.

    If circumcision provides 70% more protection from STDs than being uncircumcised, why is it that America, a country who rips the foreskin off of helpless baby boys, has MORE STD’s than countries that are DO NOT circumcise? What you state is wrong.

    But here you are right, “An an uncircumcised penis does not feel the same for women.” True…it is so much better for a male and his female partner INTACT. More sensation. Much better with the foreskin.

    It is there for a reason…why remove it?

    An adult can do so when HE wishes, otherwise EDUCATE yourself! There is no good reason to remove a healthy part of a penis.

  • Chris said:

    Circumcision is not genital mutilation. Genital mutilation insinuates the idea that the genitals are in fact damaged by the action but that is not the case. The foreskin was necessary in a time in which the male genitals were exposed to the environment in such a way as to risk damage from the surroundings, but in the modern era that is no longer the case. Circumcision is healthier as unlike an uncircumcised penis in which one is required to not only clean but also inspect the skin under the foreskin for the risk of infection or other things being stuck under the foreskin is a risk that no longer needs to be taken. As for those people that say the foreskin serves a purpose, please explain what that purpose is in the modern era? You might say its more pleasurable but that is subjective from person to person and therefore not objective. Circumcision is safer in terms of overall health in the male genitalia. I’m not talking about STDs but in terms of the overall cleanliness and risk of infection due to contaminants.

    Not every body part serves a purpose. Mankind evolves and some parts remain even when they’re no longer needed. There’s no argument over the need for the appendix.

  • zen said:

    This is just saying ppl dont believe in the bible and GOD commands. Its said in the bible a baby should be circumcised on the 8th day. So its ok to marry the same sex which is forbidden in the book but its not ok to do gods will wow

  • zen said:

    Its in the bible ppl gen 17: 10-14 read the book cause it seem ppl are confused or just dont believe. Its ok to do this ppl dont let evil ppl turn you away from the will of GOD. So anybody who want to do GODS will cant because if you do you would be fined and jailed wow so what happen to freedom of speak and religion cause im a Hebrew Isrealite and we follow the book of God So gays can have a forbidden law granted but You take away our rights and morals unbelievable. Ppl take kids to the doctor to get shots isnt that pain? Children can have a reaction to the medicine and become hospitalized isnt that pain? kids get sutures put in isnt that pain? kids get braces on teeth isnt that pain? So i dont want to hear awwwww that should be that child decision no it shouldnt your that parent You have the right to make the right decisions for that child GOD blessed you with that baby for a purpose Like now ppl talk aout kids having add or adhd bs those dx are for ppl who cant control there kids so now they give it a medical term lol My new dx is bad parenting or no control parents should take the medicine instead of the kid and speaking of medication doesnt that cause harm to kids brain cells and other things kids dont ask for that you give it right.

  • Travis Williams said:

    Not sure where you geniuses are getting that the AMA suggest banning circumcisions but it is not in their statementhttp:

    //aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;103/3/686.

    In-fact they note several studies indicating health benefits including reducing the changes of acquiring sexually transmitted diseases including AIDS. I know that many of you will fail to let the truth get in the way of your propaganda but at least be honest. You are against the Jewish and Christian faiths.

  • keith said:

    I personally would have more respect for atheists and devil worshippers , If they would just admit that this is an attack on religious beliefs instead of hiding behind something that has been going on for hundreds and maybe thousands of years. Did the possibility ever cross the minds of anti-circumcision supporters that , everybody being crazy or stupid before but is becoming sane and smart all of a sudden , on a common centuries long practice , could be that those people who supported it and do support it were not crazy or stupid but experienced things in their lives that made them believe that they should OBEY THE BIBLE?

  • J B said:

    Well I am circumcised and I for one would have liked to have made my own decision.