California keeps circumcision legal
While San Francisco activists against genital mutilation have lobbied to have lobbing off foreskin a punishable offense, Gov. Brown has thwarted their attempt by banning local authorities from attempting to outlaw circumcision.
Anti-circumcision advocates had managed to collect thousands of signatures in an attempt to outlaw the practice except in instances of medical emergency, but Gov Brown managed to snip the sanction from hitting the book by signing a bill they will keep local lawmakers from banning circumcision. If they have had their way, circumcision would have been deemed an act of genital mutilation and could have carried a fine of $1,000 and a year in a jail.
The legislation making the medical procedure a misdemeanor was expected to go before voters in San Francisco this November. Brown’s office confirmed over the weekend, however, that he had signed a legislation that will keep local authorities from passing their own restrictions on the right.
Explicitly, the bill signed Sunday states that city and county authorities cannot prohibit or restrict “the practice of male circumcision, or the exercise of a parent’s authority to have a child circumcised.”
"The law reaffirms that municipalities cannot take away parents' rights to make medical and religious decisions for their own children," the Jewish Community Relations Council's Abby Porth commented to the AFP. Porth has been opposed to the circumcision ban since it began picking up steam earlier this year. In a statement earlier in 2011, Porth called intactivists’ initiatives “a hate fueled campaign intended to curtail civil liberties in San Francisco.”
Those on the other side of the argument, deemed “intactivists,” say that they will have their way someday, though. "Human rights takes a long time for people to understand," Lloyd Schofield, the San Francisco intactivist that had lobbied against circumcision, said to the AFP. Intactivists have been rallying against circumcision with the argument that the practice is "painful and damaging surgery to an unwilling patient” and lacks medical benefits.
To the San Francisco Chronicle, intactivist Matthew Hess added that the block is a “big step backwards.”
“Circumcision is elective surgery that an adult should be allowed to choose for himself," said Hess.