SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) — The city that will soon outlaw toys in McDonald’s Happy Meals could have a measure banning circumcision on next November’s ballot.

“It’s genital mutilation,” said Lloyd Schofield, the author of a San Francisco ballot measure that would make it a “misdemeanor to circumcise, excise, cut or mutilate the…genitals” of a person under 18.

Baby boys in San Francisco may be relieved but not everybody agrees with a proposed ban.

“I just had him circumcised 3 weeks ago,” said Heather Wisnicky of Sacramento, mother of Tyler, a 6-week-old baby boy. “It’s a health issue. It’s cleaner,” she said.

Scientists with the Centers for Disease Control are still studying whether circumcisions are healthier, and have promised recommendations to the public. Meanwhile, according to the New York Times, a CDC researcher reported a sharp drop in the number of American parents choosing circumcision in hospitals — from 56 percent in 2006 to less than 33 percent last year.

“Most medical groups have not come out with strong opinions regarding pro or con circumcisions,” said CBS 5 medical reporter Dr. Kim Mulvihill. “Most are saying leave it up to the families, let them decide what’s right for their son.”

“Ah, that’s a little much,” said Earl Phillips of San Francisco about the proposed ban. “That goes a little bit too far.”

“You shouldn’t be performing cosmetic surgery for other people,” said Schofield, who points out that female circumcision is banned, but was covered by Blue Cross insurance in the United States into the 1970s.

“It’s your choice, it’s your child…government can’t rule us on everything we do,” said Wisnicky, the Sacramento mother.

“Tattooing a child is banned as a felony and circumcision is more harmful than a tattoo,” said Schofield, who believes religious traditions should change.

“People can practice whatever religion they want, but your religious practice ends with someone else’s body,” said Schofield. “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.”

The measure is not on the ballot yet. Schofield needs to collect more than 7,100 signatures.

(© CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (52)
  1. Minimal says:

    Don’t try to govern everything! Let people make their own decisions for once!

    1. Jenny says:

      it is cleaner If the child isnt taught how to properly clean…as a lady, me and most of my friends prefer it cut… dont let this one super weirdo speak for ALL San Franciscans. We are liberal yes but most of us believe in LESS GOVERNMENT control. This wont even make ballot. IDK y this is even a “story” waste of space imo

      1. J says:

        It is not “cleaner”. An open wound being surrounded by feces and urine is NOT cleaner. The foreskin actually protects the glans, and manufactures cells that inhibit infection. Get your facts straight. Also, are you seriously saying that you would shun the person you love because their genitals look different? That is callous, and ignorant. How would you feel if your lover or spouse said your labia were too long/short/stretched etc.? I think we need to realize this is not about looks—it’s about a child being able to choose to keep his entire body until he is 18.

      2. Balanced Approach says:

        Believing that your sexual prefence should dictate public policy is an absolute disgrace. If men said you should have breast enlargments because they prefer it, I think you’d find it equally offensive. It’s not your body, lady. Back off.

      3. Josh Baker says:

        @Jenny: “as a lady, me and most of my friends prefer it cut”

        Thats nice. So your personal preference entitles you to cut off parts of other people’s bodies without their permission?

        You are one selfish person.

    2. CynDaVaz says:

      It it not a health issue, and it’s not ‘cleaner’. People seriously need to educate themselves on this issue.

    3. Jen says:

      Let children make important decisions about the function and appearance of their most private area for THEMSELVES! Bodily integrity is a human right. We can’t remove parts of our children b/c we somehow think that healthy, functional tissue is ugly, dirty or pathological. Foreskin is not a birth defect and belongs to the owner of the body, male or female.

      1. Loretta Stanley says:

        truth spoken…..
        human rites….well written jen

    4. decis says:

      “Don’t try to govern everything! Let people make their own decisions for once!”

      Right, let the owner of the genitals decide for himself when he’s an adult.

      Don’t let the parent FORCE a decision onto their child.

    5. Greg H says:

      Yes, I agree…we should boys decide if they want the most sensitive portion of their genitalia chopped off. And yes, it contains the highest concentration of specialized sensory receptors (look it up).

      1. Joe says:

        Really? Because I had mine removed and I prefer it without it. So you can look it up all you’d like but I’m going with the only proof I need. I’m MUCH happier without it.

  2. Big G says:

    Get these freak progressive liberals out of our personal lives. We live in a demorcracy, not a socialist or communist country. These freaks think they can tell us what is right or wrong, is really startine to annoy people. Take youir issues Schofield & go see a Shrink. I have a 10 month old son & I was there when it happened & there is no mutalion, it looks good & its cleaner. Don’t care what you clowns like you think.

    1. jenny says:

      i dont feel like we live in a democracy at all. Everything we do is controlled by government. If it were a democracy then my property should have no jurisdiction to government. My body should be able to do anything (sex, drugs, expressions) as long as i am causing no harm to others. SO why is personal drug use and prostitution illegal? its my body if im at home smoking weed, etc. then why should the government care? its one thing to be a drug dealer its another thing to do what i want with my property, my business, my money, my body… I think the government should mind their own business as far as trying to arrest people for minor things. We should be financing educating our youth vs. financing all these prisons.

      1. CynDaVaz says:

        Jenny & Big G – do you believe parents should have the ‘right’ to cut their baby girls?

      2. Jim says:

        ‘It is cleaner If the child isnt taught how to properly clean…as a lady, me and most of my friends prefer it cut… dont let this one super weirdo speak for ALL San Franciscans. ”

        So how much off a woman’s parts should we cut off, if this is a question of cleanliness, Jenny?

        So you think cutting men’s bodies for some woman’s preferece is acceptable Jenny?

        Disgusting much?

      3. KennyB says:

        Exactly jenny. You, and no other person, have the rights to your body. This ban has to do with protecting the bodily rights of male babies, understand?

        Some are acting like this is rocket science.

    2. Matt says:

      You are a horrible person. I can’t believe you would mutilate a child in that way. Let alone a child you love. You disgust me.

  3. jack philby says:

    who told you its cleaner & healthier ??
    Its a friggin jewish & arab practice from the friggin nutcase bible you dolt.
    The only healthy thing it provides for is the doctors/hospital wallets…..stop cutting kids for dumb ass religious reasons….it is absolutely NOT better – what a stupid thing to say – how would you know ?…I suppose you would be OK with cutting young girls as well ?

  4. John says:

    While I agree with the intention, it’s poor to regulate such a thing. I am a father and no, my son in not mutilated, as I thought the exact same thing when he was born. But I would never impose that on others, just like it wasn’t imposed on me to do it.

    Live in the wild, only bathe occasionally, etc you could have a problem. But it is fully accessible to be cleaned, and all the child needs to know is that’s it’s not a problem. My only fear in relation is other people’s small minded views – like a woman (or man) who sees it for the 1st time and has only seen the mutilated version and does something negative. My hope is that I teach him that the rest of us are not normal, that he is and as such, he will be able to offset stupidity.

  5. NRA Life Member says:

    One more reason not to live in Ban Francisco. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

  6. SOM says:


  7. CynDaVaz says:

    It’s disturbing how many people feel it’s their ‘right’ to carve up part of their son’s body. Baby girls are protected from any sort of cutting/modification down there – baby boys deserve the same constitutional protection. It’s no one’s ‘right’ to subject another human being to permanent mutilation of their body – this is a decision that belongs to the individual himself.

  8. Kathleen Platt says:

    Where do I sign? The cutting of infant boys should have never been carried out this long…end genital mutilation worldwide for all ages and genders….no one should be cut against their will

  9. JP says:

    Protecting children is the opposite of living in a communist country. Protecting children’s rights is a stand alone, basic issue and does not speak to bigger political issues.

  10. Vlad Metrik says:

    Lets wait to hear what the CDC says.

  11. Megan says:

    It’s so sad to see how ignorant people can be… it’s even sadder that until a month ago I used to be ignorant just like them. Please do yourselves a favor and research this huge human rights issue!! All it will take is just a little bit of your time, and who knows maybe it could save one more little baby boy from having the most sensitive part of his body cut off!!!

  12. Joshua Willis says:

    I’m not usually a fan of SF trying to ban everything under the son, but a ban on infant genital mutilation wouldn’t be a bad thing IMHO. I’d vote for it.

  13. John says:

    If we make it law, the ignorant will ignore it. Especially if there is a religious bend to their belief, in which case we could have it happening in poor conditions (like my basement). My take is because of that, the CDC is having a very hard time trying to word the release in relation, as the argument that has been used for a very long time is it’s cleaner. It’s not, but going against a church or saying a churches teaching is wrong they cannot do.

    I have been to a bris, it’s not a pleasant experience, but is part of the religion and was important to the family. Remember, desiring a woman when you are supposed to be married and procreating is a sin. By removing this portion you reduce the sensitivity of the area, hopefully reducing your desires, it’s part and parcel of the structure to prevent sin. It’s the same logic used for female mutilation and even if you find it horrid (like I do), you must accept it as part of the belief system that person holds. Protect them if you can, save them if you must, but be careful, it’s a slippery slope.

    Interesting how people against banning it are women. Not all, but isn’t that weird? I mean, it’s still in the news protecting little girls from this practice – why on earth is this not seen as the same thing? The women I know against it to a one cannot equate it. Blows the mind, but I have always found the more open minded (or liberal, conservative, any extreme) you THINK you are, the less in practice you truly are.

    1. Josh Baker says:

      If cutting off parts of someone else’s body without their permission is mandatory and important to your religion, you need to take a serious look at the values of your religion.

      Religion should NEVER be an excuse for violating basic human rights.

  14. Kathleen Legler says:

    My how the ignorance abounds. IT IS NOT CLEANER PEOPLE. Would it be cleaner for me to snip off the outer labia of my daughter to keep her Va-JJ clean? It’s the same idea folks. It looks like some of you need to get up to speed with the facts.

    My new book called “What happened?” educates children about the “it’s cleaner” fallacy. It is also a fine resource intended for those of you who don’t seem to understand that we do not need to cut off parts of out children to keep them clean.

    “Snip” from the book:
    “It’s so simple. Clean like a finger” 🙂

    Kathleen Legler
    Autor & Activist

  15. Franny says:

    Yay for San Francisco! Here is hoping that MGM IS OUTLAWED. Hopefully, other states will follow, and this will become a national trend!
    Not one national pediatric association in the world recommends it. NOT ONE.

  16. David B. Thomas says:

    As a fifth-gen SFer, I’m glad that new laws are tried out first in CA or SF because they are either good ideas (no smoking in restaurants, no pay public toilets, emission standards for cars, decrminalizing marijuana, etc) or they prove to NOT be good ideas and the rest of the country/world and avoid them (degredgulating electrical power, Prop 13, etc)

    But I’m proud of the ways in which CA/SF are often first on civil rights issues: marriage equality, free speech, genital multilation, etc Not only because it is right, but because it is easier for others to follow than to lead.

  17. rocker says:

    So you folks don’t think the government should have laws against cutting babies? What you “libertarians” really carry that far. I think laws against cutting babies are a good thing.

    1. April says:

      I agree. I find the double-standard disturbing.

      Female genital mutilation = horrible and argued against.
      Male genital mutilation = honored and argued for.

      What in the world?

  18. Nicole Smith says:

    Oh how I wish I lived in SF, not Missouri where every single male is mutilated.

  19. Sarah P says:

    Proud wife and mother of intact CLEAN men and boys. They don’t do it in Canada, you know. When I heard of a boy bleeding almost to death I swore i would never do that to my boys. 100 boys die every year from MGM. Who wants to take that chance?

  20. Kim says:

    This law is about protecting rights, not taking them away. Only the owner of the genitals should get to decide if they want to have it surgically altered. This is a human rights issue and it is deplorable that this is now legal. A few generations from now everyone will be appalled that strapping down baby boys and forcefully slicing part of their genitals off was ever a common and “normal” practice.

  21. Kathleen says:

    Actually, it is assault and mayhem, and should be a felony, not a misdemeanor. Even if done with misguided good intentions.

  22. steve says:

    So, the nanny-city of San Fran would like to ban a 4,000 year old Jewish sacred tradition in the name of political correctness! And to compare a Brit (bris) to female mutilation is fundamentally insulting to millions of Jews and others around the world.

    1. AMB says:

      “Tradition will accustom people to any atrocity.”
      ~ George Bernard Shaw

      A more intelligent Jewish perspective is that:
      “A foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of truth.”
      -Albert Einstein,

    2. Knite says:

      Making animal sacrifices was a 4000 year old tradition too. Along with wife swapping, slave owning/trading, and many other things outdated, barbarous and/or now considered savage.

      You get offended because you think it’s about Jews. Muslims and Protestants also do it. So Why do you have to bring race and religion into it? There is nothing sacred over harming someone against their will, especially when they are helpless children.

      A child’s RIGHT to be safe and unharmed trumps your NEED to be offended.

  23. Jane says:

    My man is intact and our twin boys are too. 🙂 I would never subject any of my children to the cutting of their most sensitive body part at such a young age. Of the men that I have been with the men who were intact were much more gentle and aware lovers although some of the cut men I have been with were too. I think the woman who claims that she prefers it cut is speaking from a “what I’m used too” idea. As for cleanliness, for health reasons we teach our girls to wash their bodies, is it so hard to teach our boys the same? I am not sure I like a ban as in gov’t telling me what to do. But It would be nice if parents had to face the fact that they were causing their children true pain. I would like to see drs have to give all the facts and tell parents the stats on how often it can go wrong.

    1. TimothyS says:

      I applaud your decision to allow your sons to grow up with their intact bodies as nature intended. Someday they will thank you. My parents also made the rational decision and to this day I am grateful!

  24. Wendy says:

    Okay, how about comparing apples to apples. It is illegal to slice off the labial hood of a girl- it’s illegal to intentionally nick any part of a baby girl’s genitalia. It’s perfectly legal to do the same to a baby boy. How is this okay? Yes, the Jewish ritual mutilation of genitalia with no regard to the “owner’s” wishes usually removes less tissue than the Islamic ritual mutilation of genitalia with no regard to the “owner’s” wishes. But it’s still mutilation.

  25. norm says:

    @Jenny: “as a lady, me and most of my friends prefer it cut”
    you are one sicko lady , you and your friends opinion makes it ok to alter tiny babies genitals surgically causing pain and life long alterations a major reduction in sensetivivity for life and permanent exposure of a genital area meant to remain protected because you prefer it , get a life moron you think its ok cos you don’t feel the pain yourself , its people like you that need treatment not the babiea.

  26. Larry says:

    We actually have people here defending the genital mutilation of a little baby? Is this real?

  27. Jeff Winston says:

    Just because some of you worship the foreskin and like to “dock” doesn’t mean the rest of us are into your sick fetishes. I got cut when I was a baby, it looks great and feels good too. Personally I think we need an anteater-free zone, helmets only.

  28. A.M. Burning says:

    3 ad hominems only prove one thing: you know how to hit below the belt line not above the neckline.

    I could hurl a few insults back at you about your inability to make good intellectual arguments, but I’m not sure we have a Jerry Springer audience here.