What Will San Francisco Ban Next? How About Circumcisions

Will S.F. ban circumcision? (iStockphoto)

Last November, when San Francisco effectively banned McDonald’s Happy Meals, we wondered what it would try to ban next. The answer? Circumcisions. From the AP:

A group seeking to ban the circumcision of male children in San Francisco has succeeded in getting their controversial measure on the November ballot, meaning voters will be asked to weigh in on what until now has been a private family matter.
City elections officials confirmed Wednesday that the initiative had received enough signatures to appear on the ballot, getting more than 7,700 valid signatures from city residents. Initiatives must receive at least 7,168 signatures to qualify.
If the measure passes, circumcision would be prohibited among males under the age of 18. The practice would become a misdemeanor offense punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or up to one year in jail. There would be no religious exemptions.





Bad: circumcision
Good: abortion

Yep, makes sense.


Please don't set up false comparisons. Nobody is saying that abortion is good. Most people (who think it should be safe and legal) are saying that it's the medical decision of the woman whose body is involved, and it's nobody else's damn business. Choice is good. Abortion? Any medical procedure is to be avoided, but if it's needed, I hope it goes well.

I happen to feel the same way about circumcision, expanding the circle of interested parties to both parents involved. Still nobody else's damn business. But I can see where those who fall on the side of "it's child abuse" have an interesting argument, even if I'm not convinced by it. Complications are rare, and successful procedures are harmless.

But your comment smacking of 'oh, the inconsistency!' when one of the two positions is wholly invented kind of lowers the discussion.


I think you pointed out the inconsistency here: "Still nobody else’s damn business."

Why is it everyone else's business in one case, but not the other?


Shouldn't have religious exemptions for anything that smacks of abuse, whether it be this or Christian Scientists letting kids die of treatable diseases.


Maybe the ACLU will bring the first worthy case in its history...

Iljitsch van Beijnum

Long overdue. Little kids don't have a religion, so cutting skin off their genitals for religious-by-proxy reasons is a very, very bad thing. They can always have it done at 18.

That said San Francisco has to do something about its cell tower insanity, it's impossible to get a signal there.


Considered that circumcision is a barbaric procedure, evidently nothing more than male genital mutilation, and it's clearly against the rights of future circumcised men that may discover one day that they would have preferred to *not* have been circumcised by their parents (like myself and thousands of others -- just search the net for the topic of "foreskin restoration"), I, for the first time in my life, will have to agree with something proposed by San Franciscans. In this case, the rights of the child are clearly above the rights of the parents.
People that favor circumcision can get circumcised later in their lives if they choose to do it, for religious or whatever other reason.
Please, try to understand that the existence of *even one* circumcised baby that discovers one day in adulthood to have been sexually mutilated by his parents is reason enough to protect his rights as a child.



Well it's a funny one. I'm not religious but have been snipped.

It is technically genital mutilation no matter which way you cut it (no pun intended) but 'mutilation' conjures up such negative thought.

Anyone saying a circumcision later in life is the perfect alternative should try it ! Not many infants experience erections - something that really doesn't mix well with stitches.

I really don't have time for anyone claiming retrospective issues due to them realising later in life that they are somehow lacking due to being cut - you never miss what you never had - as my dear old mum used to say. but I'm not American and therefore not so prone to such nonsense.

And not forgetting of course that HIV infection rates are lower in circumcised men.

Now there's a few points to be batted about.


So Ken, if your parents cut your legs off when you're a baby, it isn't supposed to be a problem because "you never miss what you never had"?

Men who restored their foreskins mostly report significant increases in personal welfare, what justifies the sometimes decade-long investment that they make on the procedure. I can personally testify that it hugely improved my quality of life.


I would feel better about this bill if it banned male and female circumcision.

Greg Johnson

i don't think anyone should make unnecessary modifications to anothers body for any reason, if there is no consent given. im pretty damaged and unhappy about the choice my mom made for me. if there's even a chance that someone would be unhappy about their parents choice(or worse, die), then logic would dictate not to let it happen. you wouldn't modify your daughters genitals, why would you do it to your son? FGM is already illegal, country wide. equal rights dictate that we're all entitled to protection from harm.

as for religious rights, some feel that its their religious duty to kill non-believers. we don't grant them their "rights", because obviously its simply wrong. freedom of religion, should include freedom FROM religion as well.

ive never heard a baby say "yes you can cut off 20000 nerve endings, my frenulum, and my ridged band, risk my life in doing so, and peel my prepuce from my glans with a similar method as removing fingernails, all without anesthetics (and if they're used, you're introducing a chemical to a very small child, which is a risk itself) "



As one of the limited males in the world who can probably speak objectively on this topic; I was circumcised at the age of 25, of my own volition (there were underlying medical reasons but those were of my own making).

How dare anyone ever make that choice for me! Parents make a lot of choice for there kids, however very few are permanent. Unfortunately this one is that is and should not be forced upon kids at/close to birth. Traditions religious or otherwise which call for the infliction of permanent physical or mental changes on children should be prohibited.

I think 18 is a bit steep, I think you could say 12 with the understanding that the doctor must explain to the kid what will change with his body.


This is pretty amazing.

Why would anyone want to do this? Do you have a link that provides some rationale?


Your question is unclear - do you mean why would someone want to do this to a baby, or why would someone want to make it illegal?


Can we ban ear piercings for anyone under the age of 18 as well then?

Tyson F

All this really proves in aprox. 7700 will sign a petition to get this on the ballot in San Francisco.

I could probably get twice that many in 2 weekends to sign a petition to allow goat herding in City Hall


Genital mutilation (male as well as female) is some ancient rite, difficult to get rid off. Despite a lot of effort by many great people, female genital mutilation is still persistent in many African countries. The long term effects on women might be more severe, but accidents during male circumcision make it impossible for some to have a sex live.

As few choices as possible should be made by the parents for their children. My parents had me christened when I was a child, something that I didn't agree with when I grew up. That was luckily something that could be reversed at the cost of 50 EUR.

The argument about lower HIV is risky, it might lower the use of condoms, which would make it de facto impossible to contract HIV during intercourse.

kathleen platt

My son is intact (not circumcised) because his foreskin has several functions and a rightful owner. I support a ban on non therapeutic circumcision of minors. It's not about taking religious or parental rights away from parents, it's about protecting a childs right to bodily integrity. Doctors should First Do No Harm and not be soliciting circumcision to parents of healthy children, instead parents should be taught the functions and purpose of the foreskin and how to care properly for their intact sons, which is really very simple. Many myths myths perpetuate this archaic practice of cutting childrens genitals. The FGM law protects female childrens genital integrity, why are males being denied equal protection of the law?