Thursday, July 28, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO: Democracy Hits A Brick Wall

I wasn't holding my breath. I knew that some way or another, the effort to ban circumcision in San Francisco would not succeed... but I wasn't expecting it to end like this...

It appears a judge has expressed intention to strike down the measure to ban circumcision that activists worked so hard to get on the ballot.

Quoth Superior Court Judge Loretta Giorgi: "It serves no legitimate purpose to allow a measure whose invalidity can be determined as a matter of law to remain on the ballot."

According to Giorgi, California law makes regulating medical procedures a function of the state, not cities. However, her ruling is based on a dubious premise; that both ritual and routine circumcision are medical procedures. She also demonstrates a real or feigned ignorance; the proposed law makes an exemption for necessary medical procedures.

What's not being mentioned is the fact that the law Giorgi cites was enstated to allow vets to declaw cats. Animal rights activists were making headway passing laws that would keep vets from reaping profit from this, another medically unnecessary procedure.

Aren't kids special? They're about as important as your pet.

I'm not fooling myself. I know that this law didn't have a chance. As a matter of fact, in an earlier post, I expressed that I didn't think the ban would, nor SHOULD pass, because America is not ready for a ban on circumcision. Still, it would have been nice to see the measure given due democratic process, and put before the people for them to vote on. The people would have voted and the ban would have not passed by a majority vote. That's usually the way democracy is supposed to work, right?

Remember Proposition 8? Proposition 8 was deemed unconstitutional. It was deemed unconstitutional. And yet when this is challenged, when human rights activists ask judges to repeal the law, religious right-wing groups get technical and talk about "the voice of the people." Judges should not repeal, they said, what the people have voted on. Well, where are advocates for "the voice of the people" now? What would have been the reaction if gay rights activists had struck down the measure before it even got to the ballot? I could only imagine the outcry. The outrage. "BLASPHEMY!" They would cry. "THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE!!!"

Circumcision advocates are mistaken though, if they think that it ends here. Oh no. This is far from over. Consider this; religious groups blocking the democratic process didn't stop New York from legalizing gay marriage. It's a matter of time, and the conservative right-wingers are going to fight tooth and nail to protect their right to mutilate boys (but not girls?) in the so-called name of "religion" and "parental rights." But as cases such as the one in New York demonstrate, legally blocking democracy proves nothing. Today, African Americans are free, women can vote, and, at least in a few states, gays can marry.

As intactivists, we have made strides, and we've come a long way; things are much, much different than when we first began in the 70s. As we persevere, we move closer to our goal. The forced genital mutilation of boys has its advocates, and they will fight tooth and nail for their cause. But past injustices also their advocates who fought with much effort for their cause. In the end, justice prevailed and their efforts did not prosper. Perhaps not today, perhaps not in San Francisco, but one of these days, justice WILL prevail, and boys WILL get the same constitutional protection as girls.

I conclude with my usual bottom line:
The foreskin is not a birth defect. Neither is it a congenital deformity or genital anomaly akin to a 6th finger or a cleft. Neither is it a medical condition like a ruptured appendix or diseased gall bladder. Neither is it a dead part of the body, like the umbilical cord, hair, or fingernails. The foreskin is normal, natural, healthy tissue with which all boys are born.

Unless there is a medical or clinical indication, the circumcision of healthy, non-consenting individuals is a deliberate wound; it is the destruction of normal, healthy tissue, the permanent disfigurement of normal, healthy organs, and by very definition, infant genital mutilation, and a violation of the most basic of human rights.

Doctors have absolutely no business performing surgery in healthy, non-consenting individuals, much less giving their parents any kind of "choice."

May one day boys in this country enjoy the same protection under the law as girls.


  1. Indeed! Your usual bottom line sums up the situation well, and we must keep repeating it.

    Legally, the right way to go would seem to be to stress the notion that the circumcision of a healthy child is not a valid medical procedure.

    The proposed bill made provisions for medical necessity, so striking it from the ballot because it regulates a medical procedure doesn't really seem correct.

    At best, the circumcision of a healthy child is preventative medicine, and so these questions are the only ones that remain:

    * Is destructive genital surgery a valid practice of preventative medicine?

    * Are the children being circumcised for reasons of preventative medicine?

    I think it can be argued that it is not valid based on the positions of the medical establishments around the world and based on the American Academy of Pediatrics's own policies. Moreover, there are numerous studies that show parents have their children circumcised primarily due to social norms ("to look like daddy") rather than as a step of preventative medicine.

    Consequently, this is a nonsensical ruling.

    If possible, you should allow more HTML tags in comments so that better formatting (like bulleted lists) can be achieved.

  2. WHAT is circumcision supposed to prevent?

    *Aren't there better, more effective, less invasive ways to prevent it?

    *How many of these conditions are rare and/or already easy to treat?

    *Why aren't "researchers" trying to find ways to prevent disease that DO NOT require a historically contentious and controversial surgical amputative procedure?

    *Doesn't medicine dictate that surgery be reserved as a last resort, for conditions that are require it, and when all other methods of treatment have failed?

    *WHAT is circumcision supposed to prevent that can't already be better prevented by other means?

    American medicine and medical "research" is ass-backwards as far as I can tell. American circumcision "researchers" are a disgrace to modern medicine. They're supposed to be looking for ways to make surgery OBSOLETE, not indispensable.

    They're supposed to be looking to PRESERVE the integrity of the human body, NOT legitimize, necessitate, or even REQUIRE its deliberate destruction, especially in healthy, non-consenting individuals.

    American circumcision "researchers" are the Josef Mengeles of our time. Sooner or later they're going to be held responsible for their actions.

  3. Why aren't "researchers" trying to find ways to prevent disease that DO NOT require a historically contentious and controversial surgical amputative procedure?... They're supposed to be looking for ways to make surgery OBSOLETE, not indispensable.

    That's an excellent point.

    Sooner or later they're going to be held responsible for their actions.

    No they're not.

    Shameful things like routine circumcision are just consciously forgotten over time, because most people can't bear to acknowledge them.

  4. You're probably right. American doctors performed female circumcision and American insurance companies like Blue Shield paid for it. Playgirl even wrote a promotional article for it back before it was banned. Now it's "mutilation" and it might as well never have happened, 1984 style.

    Well, I'm not sure about you, but I'm at least going to try to keep circumcision advocates from covering this shit up. Mark my words; one of these days male circumcision wil be seen for the mutilation and human rights violation that it is, and anyone who ever advocated for it will be ashamed to ever admit they did.

    In a perfect world, all circumcision "doctors" and "researchers" that ever promoted this quackery under the guise of medicine would be tried one by one, Nuremberg style... Highly unlikely, but hey. A guy can dream, can't he?