Ban circumcision?
Jews and Muslims file suit against a referendum seeking to ban male circumcision in San Francisco.
Baby boy
The lawsuit says the measure should be removed from the ballot on grounds that under state law California cities cannot prohibit a “healing arts” professional from conducting a procedure they are licensed to perform.

Some legal experts have said that even if the referendum remained on the ballot and were approved by a majority of the city's voters, such a measure might face a legal challenge as an unconstitutional infringement on freedom of religion.

Circumcision is a ritual obligation for infant Jewish boys, and a common rite among Muslims, who account for the largest share of circumcised men worldwide. Some critics of the practice argue that it amounts to genital mutilation.

The legal action comes as Jewish groups, in particular, have expressed alarm at nascent attempts to outlaw circumcision, a movement they say bears traces of anti-Semitism.

The lawsuit was brought in San Francisco Superior Court by the Jewish Community Relations Council of San Francisco and the Anti-Defamation League. The lead plaintiffs also include several prospective Jewish and Muslim parents who intend to have their infant sons circumcised.

Abigail Michelson Porth, associate director of the Committee for Parental Choice & Religious Freedom, called the proposed circumcision ban an affront to religious freedom.

All 11 members of the city's Board of Supervisors have endorsed her group's opposition to the referendum. Porth said early indications are that most San Francisco residents also oppose the measure, though work on a survey commissioned by her committee has just begun.

Lloyd Schofield, the leading advocate of the proposed ban, did not return calls seeking comment.

The measure, which qualified for a place on the November 8 ballot with 12,000 signatures collected by supporters, would make it a misdemeanour to circumcise a boy before he is 18 years of age. The maximum penalty for the individual who performs such a procedure would be a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Do you think circumcision should be banned?


Read Parent24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Everything from parties to pre-schools in your area.

Jobs - Find your dream job

Reporting Accountant

Cape Town
Network Finance Professional / Prudential
R310 000.00 - R360 000.00 Per Year

Java Developer

Network IT Recruitment
R450 000.00 - R500 000.00 Per Month

Financial Manager

Communicate Recruitment: Finance 3
R750 000.00 - R800 000.00 Per Month

Property - Find a new home