It seems that San Francisco is gathering steam on their tirade to ban a bunch of things, having just recently banned toys from Happy Meals in the area. What's next? Circumcision, because of course that's a natural flow of thoughts. The proposal allows for those who break the ban to either be jailed up to a year or fined up to $1,000.
The driving force behind this proposal are people who call themselves "intactivists" and their mission is to make it "unlawful to circumcise, excise, cut, or mutilate the whole or any part of the foreskin, testicles, or penis" of anyone under 17 years old, at which point it is assumed the person could choose whether or not to have it done for themselves.
The big problem with the government stepping in on this? For some people it's a matter of religion to have a child circumcised. One would think that would violate their freedom to freely practice religion, right? It would be like banning baptism in the same area. Surely Christians would be game to such terms?
Religion put aside, the scientific data both for and against circumcision doesn't really seem like enough to justify going either way. There is no clear side about what's best for men. Some people say being circumcised makes sex less pleasurable from men, though the jury is still out on whether or not that holds true. Both circumcised and uncircumcised men hold that they have a good sex life, so clearly the pleasure factor can't be too bad after circumcision.
Intactivists point out that circumcisions are not medically necessary, so it's putting a child through unnecessary risk and pain during the procedure. They also say that the foreskin is a natural means of protection. On the other hand, studies have proven that those who are circumcised have less risk of getting penile cancer and are less likely to get STIs. There are also many cases of infection if the foreskin is not properly taken care of, especially in babies whose parents may not know how to properly care for the foreskin.
So what's Lloyd Schofield's justification for the proposal? "It's up to the choice of the individual -- not the parents, society or religion. This is a choice for body integrity. Just as females are protected from having a drop of blood drawn from their genitals, baby boys deserve the same protection."Great, so we're likening circumcision to the practice of mutilating female genitals. Wonderful metaphor...except it's inaccurate. The whole point of what is dubbed "female circumcision" is to prevent women from having any pleasure while having sex. Male circumcision, on the other hand, does not prevent such stimulation. Yes, both require procedures to a person's genitals, but the similarities end at that point and to compare both as stand-alone argument is fairly ignorant.
Since the pros and cons of circumcision seem so evenly weighed, the choice is up to the parents. However, if this law were to pass parents would no longer have any say as to what would happen to their children.
Are you for or against this ban? Do you think the government should be able to say no circumcisions, period, or should the choice still be left with the parents?