San Francisco Voters to Decide on Circumcision Ban

Voters in San Francisco will decide in November whether to ban the circumcision of boys.

As the Associated Press reports, on Wednesday officials said that supporters of the ballot measure had obtained more than 7,700 valid signatures among the city’s registered voters, passing the threshold of 7,168 needed to qualify.

If successful, the initiative would make the circumcision of males under 18 a misdemeanor offense with penalties of up to $1,000 or one year in jail. There would be no religious exemption for the practice, traditionally considered sacred by Jews and also widely practiced by Muslims.

The initiative appears to be the first of its kind to advance this far in the U.S., although a national debate over the health benefits of circumcision has raged for years.

Circumcision has been found in some studies to have health benefits to men and their sexual partners.

For example, researchers have found that men who have been circumcised have a reduced risk of contracting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, during heterosexual intercourse.

Other research, led by scientists at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, found that male circumcision reduced the prevalence of human papillomavirus in their female partners. HPV infection causes cervical cancer in women and also is linked to anal cancer.

However, supporters of the ban have described circumcision as genital mutilation and say it is a painful, dangerous and unnecessary choice that parents do not have the right to make.

“Parents are really guardians, and guardians have to do what’s in the best interest of the child,” said Lloyd Schofield, a longtime San Francisco resident who is the lead proponent for the ballot measure.

The measure is nearly certain to face legal challenges from opponents, who say the proposal is a flagrant violation of  the First Amendment guarantee of religious freedom.


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2 comments to “San Francisco Voters to Decide on Circumcision Ban”

  1. Ha

    Kelev? Link for proof.

    It has been proven to protect from STDS:

    Also, a matter of convenient cleanliness is associated with its practice which is why its found cross culturally and independently all over the world.

    As for your assertion that AIDS rates in Europe reflect circumcision practice, you’re dead wrong. The spread of the disease out of Africa placed it in the United States before those other nations and cultural practices regarding sex as well as various cultural sub group practices within the US as well as Europe are what contributed to its spread here first.

    I suggest you read up more on actual medical literature as well as the history and contributing factors to disease spread before you blab.

  2. Kelev

    The myth that circumcision has health benefits has been debunked repeatedly. Most recently, the Royal Dutch Medical Society along with over half-a-dozen other Dutch medical associations looked at ALL the latest and best research where circumcision and things like HIV and cancer are concerned. They found NO evidence that circumcision is an effective measure against any health problems. These mirror findings by Australian, New Zealand, and other medical associations. HIV rates are far higher in the US where circumcision has long been the norm and far lower in Europe where circumcision is rare. Likewise for all other STDs. Even in Africa, where circumcision has been suggested as a measure against HIV, AIDS rates are actually higher in many of the countries where circumcision rates are higher as well.

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