Bloomberg News

San Francisco Circumcision Fight Prompts Limits Signed by Brown

October 03, 2011

Oct. 3 (Bloomberg) -- California cities and counties no longer will be able to pass local laws banning the practice of male circumcision under a law signed by Governor Jerry Brown.

Brown, a 73-year-old Democrat, signed a bill yesterday inspired by San Francisco’s failed attempt to ban male circumcision. A group called decried the practice as cruel, equating it with female genital mutilation.

The group collected signatures to put a measure on the city ballot. A judge in July removed the measure, ruling that cities have no power to regulate a state-licensed medical procedure.

In June, an activist ended a similar effort in Santa Monica, saying the media had misrepresented her campaign as an attack on religious freedom, according to the Jewish Journal.

The Anti-Defamation League and the Jewish Community Relations Council of San Francisco argued that the San Francisco measure would restrict parental choice and religious freedom. Jews and Muslims circumcise boys as a religious rite.

Male circumcision of newborns fell to 56.9 percent in 2008 from 62.5 percent in 1999, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a Sept. 2 report, citing a national hospital discharge survey.

--Editors: Pete Young, John Brinsley

To contact the reporter on this story: James Nash in Sacramento at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at

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