Mohels in San Francisco might be out of a job come next November.
San Francisco voters may decide on a measure in the next election to make male circumcision a misdemeanor offense carrying a $1,000 fine. It was proposed by city resident Lloyd Schofield, who contends circumcision is a cosmetic surgery that should be left up to a man upon turning 18.
“People can practice whatever religion they want, but your religious practice ends with someone else’s body,” Schofield told CBS News San Francisco. “It’s a man’s body and... his body doesn’t belong to his culture, his government, his religion or even his parents. It’s his decision.”
Circumcision – the removal of fleshy foreskin from the penis – was primarily a religious tradition but became common practice in the last 50 years for health reasons. The number has been dropping significantly, with about one-third of baby boys born in 2009 being circumcised in a medical facility.
Circumcision helps reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, according to an Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine journal article published earlier this year.
“Men who are uncircumcised are more likely to have a variety of infections under the foreskin, and the inflammation from those infections could increase the risk of ulcerations, which could also increase the risk of infection,” lead study author Ronald H. Gray told the Washington Post in January.
For the measure to reach the ballot, it would require more than 7,000 petition signatures.