There is a movement afoot to ban circumcision. Like many weird notions, it is bubbling in the cauldron of San Francisco, where a group of “intactivists” has gathered enough signatures to put an anti-circumcision measure on the fall ballot.
The New York Times tells us “a similar effort is under way in Santa Monica to get such a measure on the ballot for November 2012.” According to the local ABC affiliate, the Santa Monica activists think they’ll get at least double the number of petition signatures they need.
The intactivists claim they’re trying to “protect children from an unnecessary procedure,” which they see as “male genital mutilation.” The bill they’re pushing is called the “Male Genital Mutilation Ballot Initiative.” They believe circumcision is harmful, and don’t think it should be forced upon children who are too young to provide informed consent for the procedure. They note that female genital mutilation (which is vastly more painful, debilitating, and dangerous) is illegal, and maintain that the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment should prohibit the application of such a ban to female persons only.
Of course, religious groups raise First Amendment concerns about legal sanctions leveled against a practice integral to their faith. ACLU legal director Peter Eliasberg told the Los Angeles Times that anti-circumcision measures might pass a First Amendment challenge if there is “some support” from the medical community “for the idea that circumcision huts children.” Something tells me a 51% majority of doctors will not be required to suspend the First Amendment.
The New York Times notes that “many medical groups take a neutral approach” to circumcision, saying “the practice is not harmful, and that there is not enough scientific evidence to conclude that it is necessary,” so the decision should be left up to parents and their doctor. This is also the official position of the Centers for Disease Control, although a spokesman told the Los Angeles Times that “many options are still being considered.” The practice, which is common to both the Jewish and Muslim faiths, has been declining over the past few years.
Dr. Dave Baron, a doctor who is also a mohel trained to perform circumcisions in accordance with the Jewish faith, says “there is no arguing with the scientific evidence that exists” for the beneficial effects of the practice, which include lower rates of urinary tract infections and sexually transmitted diseases. He thinks the effort to ban circumcision would be as “ridiculous and dishonest” as telling parents it is medically necessary.
The anti-circumcision activist who filed the paperwork for the Santa Monica initiative, Jena Troutman, describes herself to the New York Times as “just a mom trying to save the little babies.” Her website encourages parents that “your baby is perfect, no snipping required.” The man behind the San Francisco initiative, who also wrote the Santa Monica bill and is preparing similar measures for other states, is named Matthew Hess.
This is very nearly a two-person crusade – Hess and Troutman are only “intactivists” quoted in dozens of stories I Googled about their movement, although they’re obviously having success rounding up petition signatures. A study of these two tells you everything you need to know about the anti-circumcision movement, which is the intersection of two dangerous cultural forces.
Troutman is a sneering elitist busybody who has decided the ancient practice of circumcision must end because it doesn’t meet her personal approval. “If you raise your child to be smart and practice safe sex, circumcision is unnecessary,” she told the L.A. Times. “If you’re raising a dumb kid who won’t use a condom, then go ahead and cut off the two thirds of his nerve endings and one-half of his penile skin.” Thus does Commissar Troutman lay out your choices, Jewish and Muslim parents. Circumcise the stupid babies.
“My goal is to educate parents to give them a choice, because our babies are perfect as they come out,” she declared to the Santa Monica Outlook. No, your goal is to pass a law taking that choice away from parents, Ms. Troutman. Their level of education concerning the traditional and medical aspects of circumcision will be irrelevant, once the procedure is illegal.
Troutman sells the “intactivist” cause to elitists who like to feel superior to the benighted fools who call themselves religious. Matthew Hess caters to a somewhat… different clientele.
Hess, you see, has published a comic book called Foreskin Man to support the San Francisco anti-circumcision measure. The titular character is a blond Aryan superman who saves babies from a demonic Jewish supervillain called Monster Mohel, who travels with a pack of gun-toting Hasidic thugs and circumcises children by force. It is said that “nothing excites Monster Mohel more than cutting into the penile flesh of an eight-day-old infant boy.” Foreskin Man hands the children over to the Intactivist Underground, who promise to raise each child “as one of our own.”
Here’s a sample. Pajamas Media has more, if you can stomach it.
If you’re one of those arrogant West Coast liberals who loves to use government power to push the church and temple rubes around, and were thinking about voting for one of these ballot initiatives to remind the primitives of your superior intellect and wisdom, be advised this is the kind of slavering hatred you’re endorsing. You’ll be doing your part to mainstream anti-Semitism.
Of course, you’ll also be expanding the power of the State, especially if the anti-circumcision movement goes national. I’m sure the Federal Bureau of Male Genital Mutilation Prevention will require an enormous budget. I can hardly wait to see what their uniforms look like.