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Friday, May 27, 2011

CA: Now Santa Monica may vote to ban circumcision on males under 18

The organisation behind a bill that aims to ban circumcision in the U.S. has set its sights on Santa Monica residents.

The Male Genital Mutilation Bill (MGMB), a not-for-profit organisation, has already successfully proposed a ban in San Francisco meaning the initiative will appear on the city's ballot this Autumn.

If the group manage to follow suit in Santa Monica residents would be voting for a ban on the procedure for males under 18, in their November 2012 ballot.

MGMB aim to place circumcision bans on ballots across the country. Under the group's proposal circumcision would become illegal.

Anyone carrying out the procedure after such a ban would face a $1,000 fine and possibly up to a year in prison.

However the group stipulates that circumcision can be carried out for medical reasons if conducted by a medical practitioner.

But it does not allow for the procedure to be carried out for religious reasons, which may certainly prompt a flurry of legal challenges alleging violations of the First Amendment's guarantee of the freedom to exercise one's religious beliefs.

In the Jewish faith circumcision is traditionally carried out in the family's home by a member of the faith who has been trained in the surgical technique.

Both proposals have thrown up mixed feelings and anger from religious groups but Lloyd Schofield, a San Francisco resident who is all for banning the procedure in his city, said: 'Parents are really guardians, and guardians have to do what's in the best interest of the child. It's his body. It's his choice.

Jewish leader, David Lehrer, however told the LA Times: 'It takes the notion of the Mommy State to a ridiculous extreme.

'It probably touches upon being anti-Semitic.

Others in the Jewish community feel differently.

Rabbi Brad Hirschfield recently confessed in the Jewish Journal that he felt 'a certain inchoate sense of relief' after the birth of his three daughters that he wouldn't have to circumcise them eight days later.

Female circumcision often referred to as female genital mutilation, is already banned in the U.S.

A similar effort to introduce a circumcision ban in the Massachusetts Legislature last year failed to gain traction.

'It's been kind of under the radar until now, but it was a conversation that needed to happen,' Schofield said of the debate.

'We've tapped into a spark with our measure -- something that's been going on for a long time.'

International health organisations have promoted circumcision as an important strategy for reducing the spread of the AIDS virus. That's based on studies that showed it can prevent AIDS among heterosexual men in Africa.

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