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Monday, May 30, 2011

Circumcision Opponent, Rabbi Face Off Over Circumcision Ban

Things got personal Friday on CNN.

A leading opponent of circumcision and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach sounded off over the merits of a proposed ban on circumcision being considered in San Francisco.

Lloyd Schofield, director of the San Francisco office of the Male Genital Mutilation Bill organization, says his proposal is intended to "protect the rights of men to choose for themselves when they're old enough if they want to become circumcised."

"It's a human right to have intact genitals, unless you choose otherwise," he said.

"I always believed that San Francisco was a live and let live city, I now see that it has a curious attachment to the male foreskin," Boteach hit back.

Boteach -- who some TPM readers will remember as the celebrity rabbi who appeared with former CNN anchor Rick Sanchez back in January -- rattled off a number of statistics laying out what he sees as the benefits of circumcision, including increased "sexual sensitivity."

Schofield, of course, rebutted with his own facts and figures, at one point describing the procedure in brief, graphic detail. Shmuley claimed circumcision drastically reduces the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. but Schofield wasn't sold.

"If women really want to be safe, they should move to Europe and the Baltic nations ... or even Israel, because they have much lower incidences of HIV and sexually transmitted diseases compared to the United States," Schofield said.

The MGM Bill garnered the more than 7,000 signatures necessary to get their ban on the ballot in November, the Associated Press reports. If it passes, circumcisions would become a misdemeanor offense carrying a fine of up to $1,000 or up to one year in jail. Opponents slam the proposal as an attack on religious rights and customs. Read more here.

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