Wednesday, April 27, 2011

San Francisco to ban childhood circumcision?

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Sea otter holding its face
I wanted to post a pic about circumcision. I got this same reaction.

Normally, I’m firmly against any government intrusion in parenting, as if politicians had any say in how responsible adults raise their kids. But, as with every rule, there are exceptions. And when parents think that it’s okay to mutilate young boys’ genitals before they can ever consent to it, and all because of some stupid and irrational religious or cultural fashion, then I have no problem with laws being enacted to put a stop to it. And this is exactly what’s happening in San Francisco:

A California group opposed to male circumcision has gathered enough signatures for a ballot initiative to bar the practice in San Francisco.

Legal experts, however, said even if such a measure were to pass, it would likely be quickly overturned as an unconstitutional attack on the grounds of religious freedom.


San Francisco officials say Schofield's group submitted about 12,000 signatures supporting his proposed ban, which is more than enough to get it on the ballot in November.

The measure, which would only apply in San Francisco, would make it a crime to circumcise a boy before he is 18 years of age, regardless of the parents' religious beliefs.

Sadly, it’s rather unlikely this law would stand up to any legal challenge on a basis of infringement on parents’ “religious freedom”. I’m all for the free practice of whatever you believe in, but I think it’s only commonsensical that when your beliefs include painfully and permanently altering someone else’s physical appearance when they are completely unable to object or defend themselves (which is rather needless to say for infants), you really rather shouldn’t. If you really want your boy(s) circumcised, then you can wait until they are old and mature enough to make the decision for themselves, with or without your influence. I would think that’s only fair.

If anyone really objects to that, I invite you to present your arguments. I haven’t found any good ones.

(via Joe. My. God.)