Well, in whacky San Francisco, boys might have a choice.
Lloyd Schofield has come one step closer to achieving his mission to ban circumcision -- the surgical removal of the penile foreskin -- in the City by the Bay.
San Francisco city officials said Wednesday that Schofield had collected enough signatures -- more than 12,000 -- to put the measure on the city ballot in November 2011.
"The foreskin is there for a reason," said Schofield, who is retired from a career in the hotel industry. "It's not a birth defect. It serves an important function in a man's life, and nobody has a right to perform unnecessary surgery on another human being."
Schofield began researching circumcision several years ago and found a local group of "intactivists," people who believe that infant boys have the right to keep their foreskin intact. Together they created an advocacy group called the Prohibition of Genital Cutting of Male Minors. The ban would make it illegal to "circumcise, excise, cut or mutilate the whole or any part of the foreskin, testicles, or penis of another person who has not attained the age of 18 years."
I got no dog in this race, but I think his argument equating the procedure with female genital mutilation is a bit much.
Nonetheless, this will be an interesting debate to watch. Because there are some powerful groups* who do have a dog in this race. (Bold mine.)
Male circumcision is the surgical removal of some or all of the foreskin (prepuce) from the penis. The word "circumcision" comes from Latin circum (meaning "around") and cædere (meaning "to cut"). Early depictions of circumcision are found in cave paintings and Ancient Egyptian tombs, though some pictures are open to interpretation. Religious male circumcision is considered a commandment from God in Judaism. In Islam, though not discussed in the Qur'an, male circumcision is widely practised and most often considered to be a sunnah. It is also customary in some Christian churches in Africa, including some Oriental Orthodox Churches. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), global estimates suggest that 30% of males are circumcised, of whom 68% are Muslim.
Could this be a uniting factor among/between usually unfriendly parties? As in Egypt, protesters could chant: 'Muslims, Christians, Jews, one, er, hand'.
*Interesting (NSFW) photos at the wiki link.