New Law Brings End to Proposed Circumcision Ban

New bill signed by California Governor Jerry Brown prevents local governments from banning male circumcision.

Elad Benari ,

Governor Jerry Brown
Governor Jerry Brown
Israel news photo: Wikimedia Commons/State of California

California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Sunday a bill that prevents local governments from banning the practice of male circumcision, CNN’s website reported.

The legislation came in response to an effort this summer by a San Francisco Bay Area advocacy group to get a measure proposing a citywide ban added to the November 8 city ballot.

Lloyd Schofield, 59 year old anti-circumcision activist, was determined to have male circumcision banned by legislation in San Francisco. He gathered 12,000 signatures of support that would ensure that his proposal would be placed on the ballot.

The measure, which was to apply only in San Francisco, was intended make it a crime to circumcise a minor, regardless of the parents' religious beliefs. The maximum penalty would be a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

The ban’s campaign material included anti-Semitic comic books depicting a Jewish mohel, or circumcision practitioner, as the sinister villain "Foreskin Man", in the inimitable style of the Protocol of the Elders of Zion and the Nazi Der Sturmer.

The move was met with criticism by rabbis, doctors, and others who oppose the idea to ban circumcision, with the doctors citing its benefits in preventing infection and the spread of AIDS.

In July, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Loretta Giorgi issued a tentative ruling which said the proposed ballot measure to ban circumcision in the city must be withdrawn, calling it “expressly preempted” by state law.

Judge Giorgi said that the California Business and Professions Code prohibits local regulation of medical procedures, adding that it "serves no legitimate purpose" for an illegal measure to remain on the ballot and ordering elections Chief John Arntz to remove it.

According to CNN, the legislation signed by Gov. Brown on Sunday, which takes effect immediately, prohibits governments at the local or county level from “restricting the practice of male circumcision” and “declares that the laws affecting male circumcision must have uniform application throughout the state.”