San Francisco Jewish Groups Promise To Fight Circumcision Measure

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Local Jewish leaders have vowed to stop a San Francisco ballot measure that would outlaw circumcision.

Making circumcision performed on a boy under 18 without his permission into a misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000 fine or a year in jail is an unconstitutional attack on religious freedom, Jewish leaders said Wednesday.

“The ancient Greeks tried to prevent Jews from circumcising their children and failed. Hitler tried. Stalin tried,” said Rabbi Moshe Trager, a mohel certified to circumcise infant boys in accordance with Jewish custom.

“This is a tradition that we’ve found meaningful for 3,000 years and we continue to do it,” he said.

KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:

Other Jewish leaders said fighting what would be the first circumcision ban in America is going to waste money and energy that could be put to much better social use.

Lloyd Schofield, the man who succeeded in gathering 7,743 valid signatures to qualify the measure for the November ballot, compared cutting the foreskin of a newborn boy to female genital circumcision, a practice already outlawed in the U.S.

“It’s genital mutilation,” he said.

Schofield said circumcision, whether carried out by religious officials or medical professionals, is a personal decision that should be made with the boy’s consent.

“His body doesn’t belong to his culture, his government, his religion or even his parents. It’s his decision,” he said.

If it does pass, the measure is certain to face a court challenge.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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