Tuesday, August 30, 2011

AB768 UPDATE: California State Senate Unanimously Approves

As a reaction to intactivist efforts to limit circumcision to medically necessary procedures in San Francisco, Assemblyman Mike Gatto guts and amends Assembly Bill 768, and instead makes it into a law that decrees circumcision to be "medically beneficial."

Not only did the Senate Judiciary Committee vote unanimously, 5-0, in favor of passing it, the State Senate has actually approved of the bill, again unanimously, 37-0. It now returns to the Assembly for a final vote on Senate amendments.       

If this bill goes through, it will codify medical statements that no medical organization in the world, not even in the United States, has ever dared to make.

This, the claim that male infant circumcision is a surgery with health benefits, enough to endorse the practice, is not at all consistent with the view of male circumcision given in the statements of medical authorities in and outside of the United States.

"The British Medical Association has a longstanding recommendation that circumcision should be performed only for medical reasons... Recent policy statements issued by professional societies representing Australian, Canadian, and American pediatricians do not recommend routine circumcision of male newborns".
"...benefits are not sufficient for the American Academy of Pediatrics to recommend that all infant boys be circumcised."
"...the association between having a sexually transmitted disease (STD) - excluding human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and being circumcised are inconclusive... most of the studies [of the effect of circumcision on HIV] ...have been conducted in developing countries, particularly those in Africa. Because of the challenges with maintaining good hygiene and access to condoms, these results are probably not generalizable to the U.S. population".
"Current understanding of the benefits, risks and potential harm of this procedure no longer supports this practice for prophylactic health benefit. Routine infant male circumcision performed on a healthy infant is now considered a non-therapeutic and medically unnecessary intervention."
~College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia 
"[We] do not support recommending circumcision as a routine procedure for newborns."
"The BMA considers that the evidence concerning health benefits from non-therapeutic circumcision is insufficient for this alone to be a justification for doing it."
~The British Medical Association
"...the level of protection offered by circumcision and complication rate of circumcision do not warrant a recommendation of universal circumcision for newborn and infant males in an Australian and New Zealand context."
"The official viewpoint of KNMG (The Royal Dutch Medical Association) and other related medical/scientific organizations is that non-therapeutic circumcision of male minors is a violation of children’s rights to autonomy and physical integrity. Contrary to popular belief, circumcision can cause complications – bleeding, infection, urethral stricture and panic attacks are particularly common. KNMG is therefore urging a strong policy of deterrence. KNMG is calling upon doctors to actively and insistently inform parents who are considering the procedure of the absence of medical benefits and the danger of complications."
The trend of opinion on routine male circumcision is so overwhelmingly negative in industrialized nations that it would be quite surprising were male circumcision to be recommended in the United States. No respected U.S. based medical board recommends circumcision for U.S. infants, not even in the name of HIV prevention. They must all point to the risks, and they must all state that there is no convincing evidence that the benefits outweigh these risks. To do otherwise would be to take an unfounded position against the best medical authorities of the West, within and outside of the United States.

And yet, despite this clarity, self-serving politicians like Gatto have managed to get a 5-0 vote from California judges. And now, apparently, the State Senate has unanimously approved the bill 37-0. How is this possible?

California judges and senators are either ignorant of current medicine, or they've been bought out by special interest groups. Either that, or they've been frightened by the unspoken understanding that not signing on is tantamount to implicit antisemitism.

It should be noted that Mike Gatto is a beneficiary of the ADL, a Jewish organization, and one of the most vocal opponents of the San Francisco circumcision ban. (This can be investigated here.) Additionally, Gatto is former employee and understudy to Brad Sherman, a Jewish man who is working on a similar law that would silence the circumcision debate on a federal level.  Ironically enough, Gatto is also currently alleging that the current democratic process has been "hijacked by special interests."

Gatto and his ilk may have been successful in ramming this self-serving law past the democratic process in California, but he is gravely mistaken if he thinks this law will stand. It has absolutely no basis in reality, and it is clearly an attempt to protect religious interests in the name of medicine. The truth will eventually be known, and this law which defies all of medicine will be repealed.

"Though a lie be well drest, it is ever overcome."

The 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 on healthy, non-consenting individuals, much less stoking a parent's sense of entitlement.

This law basically places legal protection on charlatanism; it allows doctors to push quackery on naive parents. Placing on parents the responsibility of determining the medical necessity of a surgical procedure is clear professional abuse, and it is this doctor-parent-patient "relationship" that Gatto wishes to preserve.


  1. You are so right on! The whole sham is a shameful one and i hope you are right, that it will not stand. I just wondered, where were the medical doctors at the hearing to talk about why the AAP does not recommend circumcision, and the holes in the health benefit claims? And where were the doctors who could have substantiated the facts about the functions of the foreskin, and verify the important natural functions of the foreskin? Why was no one bringing up the discrepency of the 14th amendment which states "equal protection under the law"? Even if female circumcision is somewhat different, it doesn't make it all that different, it is still cutting healthy infant genitals in both. I don't understand why there wasn't more opposition voiced?

  2. Strong post! Please make sure that California politicians are sent copies.

    As an aside, change "Placing the responsibility of determining the medical necessity of a surgical procedure on parents" to "Placing on parents the responsibility of determining the medical necessity of a surgical procedure"; I would also explicitly mention the bizarre nature of the deference shown to laymen by highly-trained physicians (whose own professional medical organizations don't put much stock in the surgery, no less).

  3. Thanks for the compliment! I've made the change.

    If I may ask, what do you mean by your usage of the word "deference" here?

    Do you mean the way in which the doctors completely wash their hands of responsibility and say "those nasty parents made me do it!"?

  4. Sexual genital mutilation is a multibilliondollar-an-year business in California. Politicians love money. This is how it works.

    As for the AntiDefamationLeague, it started out protecting the civil rights of Jews trampled upon by religious bigots, but since about 2000, it has been hijacked by Jews religious biggot and violates the rights of Jewish Minors. That is why intactivisticaln Jews no longer support the ADL. The ADL has become what it hates.

  5. By deference, I specifically mean this:

    S: (n) complaisance, compliance, compliancy, obligingness, deference (a disposition or tendency to yield to the will of others)

    I have a feeling that there is a more specific word for what I mean. I was trying to express succinctly what you state here:

    He seems to be forgetting that "putting the practice in the hands of a layperson" is precisely what happens when parents are asked whether or not they want their children circumcised.

    Indeed, how can it be considered good medical policy to push the decision for destructive genital surgery from highly educated doctors to laymen parents when, as the AAP puts it, "the procedure is not essential to the child's current well-being"?

  6. @Walabio
    In my recent intactivism, I've actually been surprised to meet Jewish people who are against circumcision, and they tell me the exact same thing. The ADL started out as something good, but it has slowly become that which it was supposed to protect others from; one giant bully who uses the "anti-Semite!" victim card to get their way. I've talked about this in a recent post, but whereas in the past, pulling the "anti-Semite!" card out would usually shut down debate, as you can see by how much the intactivist movement has grown, that's not so much the case anymore.


    How I envy those with flowing eloquence. In case you haven't already noticed, I can ramble on for hours and never quite get to the point. Some people have a way of getting their point across in just a few carefully chosen words. I suppose that will come with time and practice. I always appreciate your take on things.

  7. Please read this excellent report, especially the passages about patriarchy.


  8. Oh you poor Americans, you're falling behind the rest of the developed civilized world....

  9. What does AB768 (2011) and AB768 (2014) have in common? see below (I don't know, too busy and madcat about Equality California endorsing these politicians while also drawing your attention to EQCA saying they are 100% for "Equality" and so they gives us, the GLBT community, the even more draconian and sexually oppressive - Fiona Ma and Mike Gatto. These two and Mark Leno, must not continue forward politically. Stopping these three can be the shot across the bow for other politicians. Got to start somewhere, to lose support from the biggest Queer org. in California is a good start. A Human Rights start.

    Here's the Equality California PAC endorsements:
    CA AB768 | 2013-2014 | Regular Session | LegiScan

    2013 CA AB768 (Summary) Sexually violent predators: conditional release.