First, if I were to go on to say that San Francisco is about to outlaw female circumcision, what would your opinion be?
Actually, the City by the Bay, as reported by SFGate.com, has received enough signatures on a petition to add a no male circumcision initiative to the November ballot. The proposal would ban male circumcision, with no religious exemptions. Violators would be guilty of a misdemeanor offense and subject to a $1000 fine. Female circumcision is already illegal everywhere in the United States.
80% of American males are circumcised though circumcision rates have been falling. Some vocal groups equate male and female circumcision though one procedure in almost all cases is far severe; more of an amputation than a cutting back of foreskin. Still, it’s a very interesting comparison to draw given that most people’s reaction to the proposed ban is outraged amusement. Outrage from people who would scream: “Government: Keep your hands off my son’s penis!” and amusement over what those crazy people in San Francisco are doing now.
But like the female circumcision debate (if you can call it that), this is basically a discussion over the rights of parents to impose on their kids the values of their community or religion. And on the other side, the power of the State, based on a majority vote, to say that a practice is inhuman or unfair. And it’s hard not think about the abortion debate in this same context. A headline I thought was just crazy has made me think a lot about what I believe about all government intervention in our personal lives. And it’s clearly not a clichéd left-right response.
As for GreatDad and circumcision, we’ve always taken a “no correct answer” approach. It’s up to every parent to decide what is right for their family. There is plenty of evidence on both sides to make this a very gray decision. All we’ve ever said is that dads need to be present for the procedure if they are going to direct it to be done to their infant sons.k
What do you think? Should San Francisco or any government have this control over circumcision?