So a ban on circumcision is set to appear on the ballot in San Francisco this November, but religious interest groups are trying to silence the debate before it even happens.
According to PR Newswire, The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is teaming up with doctors (presumably circumcisers of children) and Jewish and Muslim families in a lawsuit against the circumcision ban, which call upon the state Department of Elections to remove it from the ballot on the grounds that "the City of San Francisco would have no power to enact the ordinance if approved by voters."
They cite Calfiornia Business and Professions Code, saying that municipalities cannot "prohibit a healing arts professional licensed within the state... from engaging in any act or performing any procedure that falls within the professionally recognized scope of practice of that license."
That circumcision is indeed an act that falls within "professionally recognized scope of practice," however, is at the crux of the argument. Female genital cutting was conducted by professionals in this country, and was perfectly legal until it was banned by federal law in 1996.
Says ADL Associate Director in San Francisco Nancy Appel: "Existing California law is clear... only the state can make rules about medical procedures and this initiative violates that law."
That is, of course, assuming that the circumcision of healthy, non-consenting minors is legit medical procedure. The ban on circumcision challenges this assumption.
The ADL and other religious interest groups want a judge to intervene before the November election to "spare the city and its residents from wasting resources debating and voting on an ordinance that cannot become law."
As if circumcising healthy, non-consenting children weren't a "waste of resources," not to mention medical fraud, professional abuse, and the violation of basic human rights...
Even if the ban fails to pass, this is a debate that needs to take place. The fact that these groups are working hard to stop the debate before it even happens demonstrates how important the debate actually is.
It's high time the taboo behind this subject was dropped in this country, and that a procedure that affects more than 1.3 million male children a year were discussed openly.
Shame on the ADL and their affiliates for wanting to silence debate.
"I may not agree with what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it."