At Issue: Circumcision
Proponents of the SF MGM Bill claim that the measure is necessary to "protect ALL infants and children in San Francisco from the pain and harm caused by forced genital cutting. ..: Reuters

Circumcision will be banned in San Francisco if a November ballot initiative passes, prompting many to charge that the initiative is anti-Semitic. Jewish people are furious, saying that circumcision, the removal of foreskin eight days after a male baby is born, is part of their religion and that this is yet another example of Anti-Semitism akin to Mel Gibson's consistent hostility towards Jews.

The Jewish commandment to circumcise is probably the most universally observed. The commandment to circumcise was given at Gen. 17:10-14 and Lev. 12:3. The covenant was originally made with Abraham and it is the first commandment specific to the Jews. An individual who is uncircumcised suffers the penalty of kareit, or spiritual excision, and has no place in the World to Come.

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The act of circumcision is widely practiced for medical reasons unrelated to religion throughout the United States. In 2004, 57 percent of male newborns delivered in hospitals were circumcised. The figure has since declined but remains very high.

The San Francisco initiative will ban circumcision for anyone under 18 years old if the initiative is passed. Opponents maintain that the practice is akin to female genital mutilation frequently performed in Africa. However, FGM in African countries is usually performed on older girls and is done in order to prevent deviations in sexuality such as sleeping with multiple men.

Girls are often blindfolded, stripped, and restrained. The clitoris is then removed with an unsophisticated knife and the girl is forced to walk despite heavy bleeding.

However, eight-day-old babies do not remember the act of the circumcision and it is not thought to be psychologically traumatizing.

Georganne Chapin, the founder of an organization against circumcision, told the Los Angeles that Circumcision of children and infants is no more and no less than that it's a human rights issue. He added that All people, male as well as female, are entitled to bodily integrity, and nobody - for any reason - has the right to cut off part of another person's body when that person is too young to understand and to consent.

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