Will San Francisco Ban Circumcision?

A few weeks ago San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors voted to ban toy giveaways in meals that don’t meet certain nutritional standards, like McDonald’s Happy Meals. Now that same city may be getting ready to vote on another contentious issue relating to children’s health: Circumcision.

If Lloyd Schofield is successful, a circumcision ban could end up on the ballot next November. Schofield, who argues that it is genital mutilation, would like to make it illegal to “circumcise, excise, cut or mutilate” the genitals of anyone under the age of 18. While some parents are outraged at the proposition, claiming that it is a personal choice, Schofield contends that it is a personal choice — the personal choice of the person whose body it is. Schofield needs 7,100 signatures in order to get his proposal on the ballot next November.

Some people choose to circumcise their boys for societal reasons (e.g. “everyone does it” or “I don’t want him to look different from his dad”) and others do it for traditional or religious reasons. However, in a lot of areas the tide seems to be turning on circumcision with more parents considering the potential negative effects of circumcision on newborn boys and some medical authorities stating that there are no health benefits to circumcision. While there has been some discussion about the potential for circumcision to lower the incidence of female to male HIV transmission, experts are divided on this,  some maintaining that condoms offer the only real protection.

The question is, if San Francisco is successful in putting this ban in place, will other locations follow suit or will parents in San Francisco simply take their newborn boys elsewhere to be circumcised?

Image credit: nerdcoregirl on flickr taken at the San Francisco Pride Parade in 2008.

382 comments

TL H.
T.L. H.11 months ago

In addition, the prepuce serves the function of protection over the glans in much the same way your eye lids protect your eye balls. The temperature, moisture, pH balance, enzyme level, antivirals, and more are all regulated because the glans is meant to be an internal organ - just as our eyeballs are also internal organs. We'd never scrub under our eyelids and not expect some severe and painful (possibly infectious) consequences.

Remember: INTACT=DON'T RETRACT! ONLY CLEAN WHAT IS SEEN!

TL H.
T.L. H.11 months ago

Among both boys and girls, before natural retraction, the prepuce (foreskin/hood) is tightly adhered to the glans (head) of the penis/clitoris, in the same way your fingernail is tightly adhered to your finger. If you stick things under your fingernail, try to pull it back, or otherwise 'mess' with it, you are bound to not only be in pain, but also fester irritation and/or infection. The same is true with the prepuce organ (the clitoral hood in girls and the foreskin in boys).

TL H.
T.L. H.11 months ago

The number one reason for problems of the penis is unnecessary infant circumcision (and the consequences of this surgical removal of the prepuce organ). The second reason for penile problems and complications is well-meaning adults who retract, over-clean, and 'mess with' intact boys' foreskins before they retract naturally and completely on their own. Sometimes this natural, gentle retraction does not occur until the pre-teen years. This is 100% normal. In fact, a recent Dutch study shows that the average age for retraction among boys is 10.6 years of age. Some retract (on their own) before this time, some later.

Jess D.
Jess D.5 years ago

Wow, these comments seem to be getting a little personal. I wrote a paper for a class once against circumcision (infant pain, and all that), but I'm still fairly undecided. Unless the parents were properly instructed as to how to clean out the foreskin, and did so *very* regularly, there is a high chance for infection. I hate to say it, but realistically, I think a lot of young boys would be getting infections- especially given that so many adult men in the US are already circumcised and would be unfamiliar with the mechanics.

As a personal anecdote, I once worked with a low-functioning nonverbal man with autism. He was uncircumcised, and staff would often be cleaning FOOD out of very uncomfortable places. I imagine the same could happen with uncircumcised toddlers as well. Gross, but true :-p

Diane L.
Diane L.5 years ago

Calling somneone a liar because they're too closed-minded and ignorant to punderstand the statements being made is un-called-for, and Frederick, you're out of line. I didn't call YOU a liar because I don't agree with you, did I? I don't see "witch doctors", either, but maybe you do. "Insane paranoia"? Hardly. Sorry you have such a tiny ability to comprehend making healthy choices and comprehending logic. Live YOUR life as precariously and take whatever risks YOU want to take, but stop spewing your ignorance that involves everyone else. Nobody suggested removing healthy skin where there were NO moles, try reading what was said again. Being Jewish also has nothing to do with breast cancer. My sister had it and no links to Jews in my family, period. I suggest getting your glasses fixed, but no suggestions about the brain cells, sorry......maybe no hope there.

Craig C.
Craig C.5 years ago

How about san fran banning the ability to absorb oxygen and do the rest of the country a favor ok!

Frederick Rhodes
Frederick Rhodes5 years ago

"So YES, Frederick, if I had a mole that was funky, you BET I'd have it removed so one of the most deadly forms of cancer wouldn't be an issue." So Diane, Are you are saying you'd cut off parts or all of any of your healthy organs if a witch doctor convinced you that it might grow old and develop dysfunctions? I can see that the reason behind your justification for unnecessary amputations is paranoia of the unknown, fear of superstitions, miss-educated.

Frederick Rhodes
Frederick Rhodes5 years ago

Diane says "Frederick, most of your comments haven't been worthy (to me, anyway) of responding to, but your last one suggests we remove a woman's breast to prevent cancer, or portions of skin for the same reason."
Anyone can read your comment and see you are lying. I was clearly suggesting religious, ritual,and routine unnecessary surgery is insane. Yes, actually, it IS. Advised in some cases, many people have moles which are pre-disposed to malignancy removed at their own request, but never to prevent a possible mole. That's just insane paranoia. And even if they aren't cancerous NOW, could become so, and doctors advise they be removed BEFORE they do so, but never BEFORE a mole develops. Many women have a high risk of breast cancer because they carry the gene for it....yes, it is the same gene that shows the maternal link to the Jewess Diaspora, there are tests and it can be hereditary, and some women opt for that rather than take the risks, but their mothers would never have their daughter breast buds circumcised to prevent the possibility. I personally think that the geneticist who labeled that Jewess gene as being a cancer risk, was only getting even because the Jewess's lies cause men to become circumcised as infants. It's a spell breaking spell that doubles back onto the witches who cast the circumcision curse.
"So YES, Frederick, if I had a mole that was funky, you BET I'd have it removed so one of the most deadly forms of cancer wouldn't be an issue." So Diane

Diane L.
Diane L.5 years ago

whoops, character couter still not working........one can live without a spleen, but IF it ruptures, it can cause death. Nobody is advocating for routine spleenectomies, however. I know all about that from just having my 13-yr-old Golden Retreiver undergo said surgery. Same situation with humans as with dogs......Google it.

Frederick, most of your comments haven't been worthy (to me, anyway) of responding to, but your last one suggests we remove a woman's breast to prevent cancer, or portions of skin for the same reason. Yes, actually, it IS advised in some cases. Many people have moles which are pre-disposed to malignancy, and even if they aren't cancerous NOW, could become so, and doctors advise they be removed BEFORE they do so. Many women have a high risk of breast cancer because they carry the gene for it....yes, there are tests and it can be hereditary, and some women opt for that rather than take the risks. So YES, Frederick, if I had a mole that was funky, you BET I'd have it removed so one of the most deadly forms of cancer wouldn't be an issue.

Diane L.
Diane L.5 years ago

OMG,I give up. It's like tying to explain anything to a rock. Even my dog understands what he's hearing more than you do, Patrick. Most of us who are not obsessed with "sexual pleasure" being more if NOT circumcized are very capable of understanding the health and hygiene reasons. My guess is that you can't explain why it isn't equal or better if NOT, so you assume it isn't. I could care less what your personal excuses are. As for being natural, so are dewclaws on puppies. If not, then why are 90% or more of them born with them? God messed up there, I guess. He MEANT for male infants to have a foreskin, but not for puppies? That would be a logical conclusion if you believe in God, I guess.

You've denied previously (when it was thrown back at you) that you never implied I (or anyone else) WAS Jewish, but you just did so again, and your last sentence is very snarky and un-called-for.

Comparing a simple cosmetic surgery on an external organ is hardly the same as invasive INTERNAL surgery to remove an appendix or even tonsils, and yes, they no longer ROUTINELY do tonsillectomies, but they used to, and as I said, much simpler as a child than as an adult. Ask any adult who has had one. Appendix' aren't PRE-CONDITIONED to rupture, but it happens, and when it does, it can be life-threatening. I would agree that it would be illogical to remove the appendix from EVERY child born to prevent that, however. One can live without a spleen, and there again, IF it ruptur