Friday, May 20, 2011

Proposed circumcision ban האיסור על ברית מילה על הפרק

At the behest of my cousin, who blogs here and wondered why I’ve been silent on the proposed circumcision ban, I concede that she’s right; while I don’t have a strong opinion thereon (perhaps because I don't have sons?), after having done my research, which consisted of reading this article and the first page of comments (which seems to cover all the bases), I’ll weigh in. First, though, I’d like to quote two of my favorite comments, the first actually being more appropriate to a discussion of another controversial procedure, but I’ve blogged on that procedure already, so I paraphrase it here:


"It's the anti-abortion people who should oppose circumcision. After all, either they care about those helpless little babies AFTER they are born too...or they are just a bunch of windbags using fake concern for zygotes to try and control women's sexual behavior, and care nothing for the actual infants / children / adults once they are no longer useful as 'punishment' for sex."

Well said, NotKidding!


"At what point does a collection of cells become a baby? Have your own opinion on that? Based upon…? See what I mean? Everyone has their own definitions... You are clearly entitled to oppose abortion... however you are not entitled to restrict my rights based thereon.... It is the woman's choice.... If she believes as you do, then she won't have one…no one is forced to have an abortion; one can only be forced not to.

Back to the topic at hand... how much government interference in our lives are we going to allow?... This might be a pertinent topic IF circumcision were required by law, but it is not. Therefore, once again: It is the individual’s choice, and it should remain so."


What I am getting from the comments is that a small group claims to be extremely concerned about innocent infants’ genitals. Why is that? Who gets this hyped up about this issue?

I don’t buy the HIV prevention, sexual sensation, or aesthetic arguments, either pro or con. In a case like Africa’s, you do whatever it takes to prevent the spread of AIDS and save lives. As for sexual pleasure, it’s a toss-up: Some claim more, some claim less, both intact and circumcised. Aesthetics are certainly a matter of taste. Nor do I believe that banning circumcision makes a society more evolved, just as banning abortion certainly does not make a society more evolved.

I also reject, “It’s child abuse, and where does it end?” I don’t know. Where does it end? So far, it seems to end at the shouts of mazel tov! Circumcison doesn’t fit the parameters of child abuse as the social work and child protection community recognizes it, i.e., circumcisees are not an at-risk juvenile population and are not a risk to society due to their being more likely to grow up to be violent / abusers.

My proposal: Circumcision should be legal provided: 1) a topical anaesthetic is used; 2) health insurance doesn’t cover it. It is, after all, elective. There. Everybody happy?


  1. I'm a northern Californian and I watch San Francisco politics. While I oppose circumcision, I find the ballot measure hilarious. California cannot pay its bills. Pink slips are being issued to public employees throughout the state. Pension plans are being negotiated. The feds have ordered California to significantly reduce its jail and prison population. School days are shorter, libraries are closed 2 days a week, and some state parks have simply locked their gates.

    And we need legislation to control circumcision? Will San Francisco spend judicial dollars to issue warrants for inspection? At least the debates will be entertaining now that Idol and Dancing are almost over for the season.

  2. I rather suspect some entrepreneur is waiting in the wings for it to pass, armed with 7,000 t-shirts emblazoned with circumcised penises under the slash symbol with the caption: I live in a No-Circ Zone! I'm taking bets...

  3. Good grief!? Is there really nothing more pressing for the people of California to worry/deal with?

  4. Beth, your sentiments were echoed by several commenters on the article linked to in my post. While it is a valid point, it begs the question, making it also valid (or at least interesting) to ask: Who are these people? Do they have anything valid to tell us? As for the first, it's hinted at that they're liberals. OK.

    As for having anything valid to say, well, they certainly got me to question my beliefs and assumptions, always a good thing, and what I try to get my daughters to do and what this blog is about.

    By the way, there is an Israeli organization of parents who question the practice called Gonnen, and another that opposes it, called <a href="></a>Ben Shalem. So we can't just write this off as a bunch of *meshuggenes* in California.