SF May Ban Infant Circumcision

By Matt Baume
|  Tuesday, Feb 22, 2011  |  Updated 6:15 AM PDT
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Self-described "civil rights advocates" say that a ballot proposition to ban circumcision is on track for gathering signatures, meaning that San Franciscans may vote on the measure this November.

The proposed law is being spearheaded by local resident Lloyd Schofield, according to the San Francisco Examiner.

It's part of a national push to end the procedure, which some say is steeped in tradition but poses risks and has little medical benefit. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association do not recommend routine circumcision.

Getting on the ballot is the easy part -- only about 7,000 signatures are required. Once it's there, advocates will have to convince voters that snipping off body parts is a bad idea.

Although some studies indicate that circumcision reduces the risk of STD transmission, others have indicated that the procedure is not worth the associated risks and diminished sexual function.

Several Jewish organizations have weighed in against the ban as well, pointing out that circumcision rituals play an important historical role for many Jews. Schofeld counters that under his proposed law, adults would be free to opt-in to circumcision, but infants would not be allowed to have the procedure until they reach 18.

If it passes, those caught cutting foreskins would face a fine of $1,000 and a year in prison. Only people over the age of 18 would be allowed to have their foreskins removed.

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