California prevents ban on male circumcision

LOS ANGELES Sun Oct 2, 2011 5:06pm EDT

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California Governor Jerry Brown announced on Sunday that he signed a bill preventing local authorities from banning the practice of male circumcision.

The bill, which takes effect immediately, comes in the wake of an effort by a San Francisco group opposed to male circumcision to enforce a city-wide ban of the practice in a November ballot measure.

That effort was struck down in late July by a California judge who said it would infringe on religious freedom. The measure was removed from the November ballot.

The measure, which garnered 12,000 signatures of support, would have made it a misdemeanor crime to circumcise a boy before he is 18 years old in San Francisco, regardless of the parents' religious beliefs.

A dozen petitioners sued to block the initiative at the time. A similar effort in Santa Monica, west of Los Angeles, was withdrawn.

Circumcision is a ritual obligation for infant Jewish boys and also a common rite among Muslims, who account for the largest share of circumcised men worldwide.

The move to outlaw circumcision in San Francisco raised alarm bells for Jewish groups.

In June, the Anti-Defamation League condemned a comic book created by supporters of the anti-circumcision movement that it said contained grotesque anti-Semitic imagery. The comic featured a character named "Monster Mohel" as an evil villain.

A mohel is a Jewish individual specifically trained to perform the ritual circumcision of infant boys.

(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst)

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Comments (25)
gradkiss wrote:
Wonder how long this decision will last, say … since Christ.They should have just read what Paul signed with his own hand.

Oct 02, 2011 6:15pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
CraigGarrett wrote:
This law is a massive double-standard. It is illegal to make even the tiniest cut on a girl’s private parts, but the CA state gov’t is determined to ensure it’s always legal to amputate large amounts of healthy, functional tissue from baby boys. So much for equal protection under the law…

The good news is that more and more parents are saying ‘no’ to circumcision and are keeping their baby boys intact. Parents are educating themselves, doing their homework and really understanding what circumcision entails. They are also learning that the foreskin is a healthy, normal, and important part of male anatomy. With this knowledge, more parents than ever are choosing to protect their sons from unnecessary genital cutting.

Oct 02, 2011 7:42pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
AJLandrigan wrote:
I don’t understand this – it has been proven multiple times how unnecessary this cosmetic procedure is. Also, it has been illegal to circumcise infant females *regardless* of religion of the parents since 1997 (I believe) and they only take of a small bit of tissue – a far cry from the complete amputation of a part of the male genitalia. This ban is hypocritical – don’t infant boys deserve the same respect and legal protection? Especially considering the ban on FGM paired with the 14th amendment already makes MGM illegal?

Oct 02, 2011 7:48pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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