Two California cities put circumcision ban on ballot
June 6, 2011
Proposals to ban the circumcision of male children will appear on the November ballots in several California cities, the first public votes on a subject that has long been considered a family decision. [AHN]
San Francisco and Santa Monica voters will decide in November if performing circumcisions on boys under 18, even for religious reasons, will be banned. The sponsor of the proposed bans, the group MGM Bill, contend boys need the same protection from genital mutilation similar to the state-wide ban on female circumcision.
Supporters of the ban say male circumcision is an unnecessary and extremely painful form of genital mutilation that removes thousands of nerve endings on the male genitals.
“Circumcision began in the United States in the late 1800’s largely because some doctors thought that it prevented masturbation, which at the time was thought to be harmful,” the MGM Bill website says. “But once that and other myths were proven wrong, new reasons were created to perpetuate circumcision, most notably that a circumcised penis is more hygienic than an intact penis, that it makes boys look the same as their fathers or others in their community, and for religious reasons.”
Opponents of the proposed bans argue that circumcision is a religious rite practiced by Muslims and Jews and protected under the First Amendment.