I have to ask the religious fanatic apologists defending this barbaric practice, if your goal is to reduce HIV transmission (which is debatable), why not let the boy decide for himself when he is older and is actually going to have sex?Circumcision ban will go to vote in San Francisco
San Franciscans will be given the chance in November to vote on whether to ban male circumcision - pitting evidence that circumcising boys is the best way to reduce the spread of HIV against concerns that the process is a form of culturally accepted genital mutilation.
For several weeks, a group of individuals who call themselves "intactivists" have fanned out across San Francisco, clipboards in hand. Their goal: to collect enough signatures to get a measure to ban circumcisions in the city on a November ballot. The intactivists surpassed their goal this week, collecting more than 12,000 signatures - 4000 more than the minimum required to make the ballot.
Intactivists say circumcision is a form of torture and liken the practice to female genital mutilation. They also point to studies showing that the foreskin enhances sexual sensitivity and may protect against infections.
"The US is the only developed country in the world to routinely practice circumcisions for non-religious reasons," says Jonathon Conte, one of the signature gatherers.
The ballot measure has raised the ire of public health professionals, who say that a large body of research suggests that circumcising boys is crucial to preventing the spread of HIV. Intactivists respond by pointing out that some in the medical community question the importance of circumcision for HIV prevention.
If voters approve the measure in November, any city resident who circumcises a boy under the age of 18 could be subject to a $1000 fine and imprisoned for up to a year.
Jews and Muslims communities, who routinely circumcise baby boys for religious reasons, say that banning circumcision violates religious freedoms guaranteed by the first amendment to the US constitution.
But even without a ban, the number of circumcisions in the US has been dropping. Part of that decline is due to monetary reasons. Several states have stopped directing Medicaid funds to circumcisions to save money. California is on that list and today only 10 per cent of the boys born in San Francisco leave the hospital circumcised. "We hope to protect that last 10 per cent," Conte says.
And since when did the First Amendment give you the right to sacrifice perfectly healthy body parts to some old man in the sky?