San Francisco may outlaw circumcisions

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Circumcision with a carrot

It may not have a lot of traction (yet), but a ballot initiative that would outlaw circumcision in San Francisco could be a sign of an emerging and powerful movement against the ancient practice.

A man named Lloyd Shofield told the Daily News he believes that circumcision is "genital mutilation," which his proposal specifically bans. Of course, despite the fact that fewer babies are getting circumcised every year, that doesn't mean people will vote to ban the practice entirely. Some people are still convinced that the practice is "healthy," although these people could be stubbornly misguided and/or desperately clinging to pointless religious traditions.

Schofield told KCBS-TV… "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."

Supporters of male circumcision say it leads to better hygiene. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not come out for or against the practice, but statistics show that the practice has become less popular among parents.

The CDC reported that 32% of boys underwent circumcision in 2009, down from 56% in 2006, according to The New York Times. [NYDN]

Of all the subjects I've written about for Nerve, none has consistently sparked more flamewars in the comments than this one, but we can all be civil if we really try.