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.