SAN FRANCISCO – The City Council of San Francisco voted yesterday to outlaw circumcision.
The new law makes it a misdemeanor to “circumcise, excise, cut or mutilate the…genitals” of all minors, and does not make exceptions for religious reasons.
The decision to permanently remove a boy’s foreskin should not be made by parents, says William Barfield, the author of the new law.
“People can practice whatever religion they want, but a man’s body is a man’s body,” said Barfield. “His body doesn’t belong to his culture, his government, his religion or even his parents. It’s his decision.”
Some parents interviewed by WWN disagreed.
“What? It’s my baby boy and I’m going to clip his wee-wee about five minutes after he’s born, because that’s the way we do things,” said Jefferson Tomkins of the Haight.
“Government can’t rule us on everything we do,” said Ashley Morter. The San Francisco mother told WWN that she had her son circumcised just 3 weeks prior. “It’s a health issue. It’s cleaner,” Morter said.
In July, a researcher from the Centers for Disease Control presented statistics showing that 32% of boys underwent the procedure in 2009. While the figure does not include circumcisions done outside of medical facilities, it’s a precipitous drop from the 56% of boys who were circumcised three years earlier in 2006.
Some supporters of male circumcision argue that the practice helps stop the spread of HIV and is more hygienic. Opponents say it can be painful and robs men of greater sexual sensation.
“We must stop genital mutilation in this country,” said Barfield.