For San Franciscans who wanted to weigh in on local parents’ decision to circumcise their sons, I have some bad news. Today, a judge struck a proposed ban on the procedures that activists had hoped would make it on the November election ballots.
San Francisco Superior Court Judge Loretta Giorgi wrote that the ban was an attempt to regulate a medical procedure and could, therefore, not be pre-empted. Since you can outlaw medical procedures, she wrote (in far more eloquent language) that there was no sense in trying to make one.
“Moreover, it serves no legitimate purpose to allow a measure whose invalidity can be determined as a matter of law to remain on the ballot after such a ruling has been made.”
Proponents of the ban had argued before the judge that circumcision is not, in fact, always a medical procedure and that the proposed ban made exceptions for cases where it was one.
Had the measure been allowed on the ballot — and had a majority of voters agreed to it — it would have made circumcision a misdemeanor crime punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to a year’s jailtime.
Circumcision rates are falling fast in the U.S. Sitll, it was hard to imagine this (1) making it to the ballot, (2) being passed had it made it to the ballot or (3) being upheld as legal had it passed.
I’m disappointed that the group who sued to get it taken off the ballot calls it a victory for a procedure that is beneficial to male health, however. I think both takes — that it’s barbaric/healthier than leaving boys intact ignores the real reasons most people get their boys circumcised, or opt out of it. Tradition. It’s a tradition which means a whole bunch to some and not enough to others and, either way, doesn’t mean much months and then years after the surgery was, or wasn’t, performed. Opponents of circumcision need to find a way to support those who are on the fence or bucking tradition when they opt out, rather than pushing to make it illegal.
Would you have voted for the circumcision ban if given the chance?
Why my son isn’t circumcised — and why arguments on both sides of the debate are overblown