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Judge trims San Francisco circumcision ban off the ballot

Religion, tradition or health didn’t even come up Thursday as a judge tossed San Francisco’s proposed circumcision ban off the November ballot.

Instead, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Loretta M. Giorgi ruled that state law specifically bars local government from dictating practices to health care professionals.

The judge confirmed an earlier ruling in favor of San Francisco’s Jewish Community Relations Council, which is suing the City of San Francisco and local activist Lloyd Schofield.

Schofield gathered more than 12,000 signatures on petitions seeking the ban — which would have levied a $1,000 fine for circumcision on under-age males and made the practice a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.


Schofield says male circumcision is brutal. He compares is to female genital mutilation — although the parallels were challenged by health professionals. Momentum for the ban slowed when campaign material promoting the ban included racially offensive comic strips reminescent of Nazi propaganda that during the 1930-40s depicted Jews with large noses and swarthy features.

Male circumcision is a requirement of devout Jewish and Islamic believers. It has been routinely performed for reasons of hygiene on many American babies for more than a century.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment pagansister

    Putting a ban on circumcision on the ballot was a poor idea and I’m glad the judge did what he did. That practice isn’t one to be dictated by the state—it is a personal one to be decided by the parents.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment capperfred

    There is a huge difference between male and female circumciso­n, according to IAS (Internati­onal Aids Society). Of particular interest are two abstracts: Breda and Westercamp et al. which document such.

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