The MGM Bill - Should male circumcision be banned? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 27 Old 05-26-2011, 06:45 AM - Thread Starter
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The MGM Bill has presented a proposal initiative in Santa Monica and San Fransisco that will ban circumcision on males under the age of 18. If it is approved residents may be voting on circumcision in their November 2012 ballot.

 

In addition to banning circumcision, the MGM Bill prohibits premature forcible retraction of the foreskin and the cutting of ambiguous or hermaphroditic genitalia to protect intersex children.

 

 

 

 

 

The bill borrows from the U.K. Female Genital Mutilation Act of 2003:

 

Quote:

 

(a) making it a crime for persons to assist with or facilitate the practice of genital mutilation on minors or nonconsenting adults, (b) increasing the maximum penalty of offense to 14 years imprisonment, (c) specifying that genital mutilation may only be performed if it is medically necessary to the physical health of a child, and (d) prohibiting persons in the U.S. from taking or sending children or nonconsenting adults on circumcision holidays where arrangements are made to have their genitals mutilated in other countries under the pretext of a holiday or vacation trip.

 

You can read more about the bill and its history here. You can read the LA Times article here.

 

Neither of the proposals contain an exception for religious reasons, which makes it a First Amendment issue for those who claim the right to religious observance and see this ban as a restriction of religious freedom.

 

Should we ban circumcision? Or should the decision to circumcise be the right of the parents to decide on behalf of the child? 

 

More reading: Whose Decision is It? by By Gussie Fauntleroy

Video: Marilyn Milos Discusses Circumcision

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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#2 of 27 Old 05-26-2011, 09:37 AM
 
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It should be the Parents choice to make this decision at birth, i would never have my child circumcised as there is no reason to as long as you keep everything clean, but who doesn't clean down there everyday? That is my choice as a parent.

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#3 of 27 Old 05-26-2011, 09:47 AM
 
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I would love to see an end to male genital mutilation and I don't feel that my civil rights are being encroached upon by my not being allowed to cut my son with no medical reason.  If all boys are not mutilated then in tact boys won't be looked upon oddly so that is a plus too.   It's not likely to become a banned though because it can be tied to religion and will therefore not regulated. 

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#4 of 27 Old 05-26-2011, 09:48 AM
 
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I think it should be banned. We don't give parents the "choice"of whether or not to circumcise girls. Even some of the more "mild" forms of female circumcision that are less drastic than male circumcision are illegal, thankfully. Boys deserve the exact same protection as girls under the law.

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#5 of 27 Old 05-26-2011, 10:02 AM
 
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Patrick--it's a great idea for parents to make their own decisions.  Here's the problem: most parents I know don't do any type of research on anything that happens to their newborns.  They don't educate themselves on breastfeeding vs. formula, vaccines, or procedures that happen at the hospital.  If we were a nation of cautious, research-driven soon-to-be parents, then go ahead, leave it as parent's decision.  But that's not the case.

 

Why is it illegal to cut the genitals of female babies in the US?  As far as I know, male babies are just as human as females and deserve to be given the same type of treatment.

 

I have a son whom I did not circumcise and it's one of the decisions I made in his early life that I have never regretted.  I made that decision based on a lot of soul-searching and research.

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#6 of 27 Old 05-26-2011, 10:16 AM
 
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There are several issues to consider here.

 

 

 

First is bodily ownership.  Who owns the body of a minor child?  I believe each of us as individuals own our bodies and have sovereignty over them.  To grant a parent the right to choose to alter the natural form of the body is a breech of the child's right to his body.  We cannot ethically sign consent for another for any other amputation of healthy, normal, non diseased tissue.  The foreskin is a part of the normal male penis of boys.  Girls also have a foreskin, it's the small flap of skin that covers the clitoris, called the clitoral hood.

 

The Unites States government enacted a federal law banning any cutting on the genitals of female minor children.  According to this site:  http://mgmbill.org/usfgmlaw.htm 

 

(c) In applying subsection (b)(1), no account shall be taken of the effect on the person on whom the operation is to be performed of any belief on the part of that person, or any other person, that the operation is required as a matter of custom or ritual. 

 

 

And in the congressional findings:

 Section 645(a) of div. C of Pub. L. 104-208 provided that: ``The Congress finds that--

        ``(1) the practice of female genital mutilation is carried out by members of certain cultural and religious groups within the United States;

        ``(2) the practice of female genital mutilation often results in the occurrence of physical and psychological health effects that harm the women involved;

        ``(3) such mutilation infringes upon the guarantees of rights secured by Federal and State law, both statutory and constitutional;

        ``(4) the unique circumstances surrounding the practice of female genital mutilation place it beyond the ability of any single State or local jurisdiction to control;

 

        ``(5) the practice of female genital mutilation can be prohibited without abridging the exercise of any rights guaranteed under the first amendment to the Constitution or under any other law; and

        ``(6) Congress has the affirmative power under section 8 of article I, the necessary and proper clause, section 5 of the fourteenth Amendment, as well as under the treaty clause, to the Constitution to enact such legislation.''

 

Clearly, the United States government recognized that female genital cutting is performed as a religious and cultural practice in the areas where it is commonly done.  Clearly the US govt recognizes that our laws and Constitution allow for the govt to over ride these religious and cultural practices to ensure the rights of the minor child to their whole body, and to not be forced to experience an act that is the religious or cultural beliefs of another.  It is very clear.

 

The FGM law does not not equally protect minor male children from forced genital cutting.  (I say forced because the child is restrained and a painful amputative procedure is performed upon him without his consent - clearly meeting any definition of forced.)  I don't think you can have it both ways.  You either protect all children or none.  Gender should NEVER be the deciding factor between what is and what is not a crime - ever.

 

As to the rights of an individual to practice their religion, I fully support that as long as their religion does not harm another.  The US courts have certainly limited religious exercise before.  A parent cannot refuse life saving medical intervention for their child based upon the parent's religious beliefs and the courts have intervened to protect the child.

 

How do you feel about Christians tattooing a cross on the neck of their children?  That would be a permanant mark of the parent's religion, just as circumcision is upon a Jewish or Muslim boy.  Our acceptance of male circumcision is deeply steeped in cultural acceptance of the bogus medical reasons used to justify it and a misguided respect of religion.  I say misguided because our laws guarantee an individuals right to practice their religion, not force it upon the body of another.   I recently read an article about religious trends in the US.  It stated that approximately 60% of adults did not follow the religion they were raised with.  I think it is a violation of a man's religious freedom to mark him with the religious belief of another (his parents) before he is of age to make such decisions.  As to religious circumcision, I would think it would carry a far greater meaning for a man if he were to elect to embrace a religious belief and choose circumcision for himself as a part of that embrace instead of having it forced upon him at a time when he had no ability to choose for himself.

 

I fully support this ban and I hope to live long enough to see this issue before the US Supreme Court where they will either extend equal protection or repeal the FGM law.  I believe in real and genuine equality.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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#7 of 27 Old 05-26-2011, 10:16 AM
 
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It absolutely should be banned. Cutting a child's genitals without a medical indication is a violation of that individuals basic bodily rights. No medical organization in the world recommends it. Girls are protected and per the 14th amendment, boys are too. Religious freedom ends where someone else's body begins. Cutting children's genitals is bizarre sexual assault and it needs to stop now. Only the owner of the penis should be making any decisions about whether to cut some off or not. I wouldn't want anyone making that decision for me. It's not your penis, not your choice.
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#8 of 27 Old 05-26-2011, 10:27 AM
 
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Yes, of course circumcision should be banned (under age 18 and w/o a true medical need).

However, I doubt enough people would vote against it, even in California (here's hoping I'm wrong).
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#9 of 27 Old 05-26-2011, 10:41 AM
 
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patrick:  i don't agree that it should be the parents' choice.   no one - not even a parent - has the right to cut off a part of their child's genitals.   it should be outlawed, and in the meantime, physicians should refuse to perform circumcisions and instead educate parents who request it. 

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Yes it should be banned.


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Yay!  What a wonderful idea, and I especially like the part about leaving for a religious "holiday" to perform circumcision also being illegal.

 

I don't see this as religious restriction at all--there are places where it is a crime to use "faith healing" on children (denying medical treatment in favor of healing through prayer).  Faith healing is not even a direct action of harm, but rather harm through a form of neglect/lack of action (in my opinion).  If harm through inaction is punishable and illegal (and upheld constitutionally), why not harm through action (such as circumcision) as well?  Wish I lived there and could vote against circumcision!

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#12 of 27 Old 05-26-2011, 11:20 AM
 
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There is no way the Jewish lobby is going to let this bill get passed.

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Perhaps an extremely small ritual drop-of-blood cutting should be allowed in Jewish families, with numbing pain relief provided to the baby. According to my research, the original circumcision practiced in Biblical times did not remove any or much tissue. If it had, many more people would have died from it in those times without the medical care we have today.

 

Other than that, sure, ban it.

 

I am not that what I described above would be an ideal situation, but it would be a lot better than what we have now. I don't think the ban will go through, and I would love to see the tide turn more quickly than it currently is, perhaps if doctors would refuse to do them, or medical insurance would refuse to cover them and any complications resulting from them, the rate would be cut drastically.


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#14 of 27 Old 05-26-2011, 11:35 AM
 
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Bananabread girl, this is exactly what the AAP suggested for girls recently in lieu of their parents taking them out of the country to have a more radical (damaging) form of genital cutting performed upon them.  The public outcry was HUGE and the AAP quickly changed their tune.  In their original proposition, they clearly stated that what they were proposing (a ritual nick) was less invasive and dramatic than male infant circumcision.  I don't have time to give you some links on this but it was really interesting reading and the hypocrisy of those outraged, yet not bothered by male infant circumcision was shocking to me.

 

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Yes, it should be banned. The parents are not morally and ethically entitled to modify the genitalia of a child. They don't realise that he is a very young man, with 80 years or more in front of him, MOST of which he will be a sexual being. Circumcision is promoted with one aim, to blunt the pleasure of masturbation and intercourse, both Jewish and Muslim authorities admit this. Christians are told in the Bible that circumcision is NOT required as a follower of Jesus. Humanists think for themselves.

At 60 years of age my husband and I stopped having intercourse, as he got no pleasure from his numbed penis and I was too dry after 30 minutes or more of thrusting. Circumcision as a child, recommended by the family doctor, ruined his penis. That is why the outdated practice must be banned, as it is in Finland.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickquirke View Post

It should be the Parents choice to make this decision at birth,

 

That is my choice as a parent.



Why isn't it the childs choice, it's his body not yours.

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#17 of 27 Old 05-26-2011, 05:06 PM
 
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Yes it should be banned, just as female genital mutilation is banned in this country. Your religious freedom ends when it comes to cutting off healthy normal body parts of helpless infants ( or any minor child), feel free to do it to yourself though once you are an adult and are making a free will choice. 

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Thank you for the info, that is interesting. I had kind of heard of that but didn't know much about it. One difference is that I don't know that the Muslim faith or any faith actually requires girls to be circumcised. Isn't it just a cultural thing that happens in some cultures that happen to practice the Muslim faith? I agree that the double standard of the public is shocking.
 

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Bananabread girl, this is exactly what the AAP suggested for girls recently in lieu of their parents taking them out of the country to have a more radical (damaging) form of genital cutting performed upon them.  The public outcry was HUGE and the AAP quickly changed their tune.  In their original proposition, they clearly stated that what they were proposing (a ritual nick) was less invasive and dramatic than male infant circumcision.  I don't have time to give you some links on this but it was really interesting reading and the hypocrisy of those outraged, yet not bothered by male infant circumcision was shocking to me.

 



 


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BananaBreadGirl, (love the user name!)

I do believe that the Muslim faith does not require circumcision in the way that the Jewish faith claims it is required of them (a direct commandment).  I think you will find some within the Muslim faith that do consider female circumcision as a part of their religion and some that consider it a cultural coming of age event and not connected to their Muslim faith.  I do not pretend to be even remotely knowledgeable on the religious connections with circumcision.  I believe the facts of circumcision's harm upon a child are clear and inargueable so when discussing and educating on the topic, I stick to those details.  I have been accused of being anti-Semitic several times in the course of discussions.  I explain that because I believe the facts clearly state that circumcision is harmful to all who undergo it, I would be anti-Semitic and discriminating against Jewish and Muslim boys if I did not include them in my concern for the rights of all children.

 

Here is the first page of results from Google on the search terms "aap ritual nick female".  The New York Times carried a story about the AAPs suggestion.  I really blew up.

http://www.google.com/search?q=aap+ritual+nick+female&sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&ie=&oe=&rlz=1I7SKPT_en 

 

Here is a link to a newsletter from Attorneys for the Rights of the Child where they address the AAP/Female ritual nick situation.  It's in section 3 of the newsletter.  (The first page of the newsletter leads of with the story I wrote for them of how I became active on this issue.)

http://www.arclaw.org/Newsletter/8-2.pdf 


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Quote:
Originally Posted by PuppyFluffer View Post

 

How do you feel about Christians tattooing a cross on the neck of their children?  That would be a permanant mark of the parent's religion, just as circumcision is upon a Jewish or Muslim boy.  Our acceptance of male circumcision is deeply steeped in cultural acceptance of the bogus medical reasons used to justify it and a misguided respect of religion.  I say misguided because our laws guarantee an individuals right to practice their religion, not force it upon the body of another.   I recently read an article about religious trends in the US.  It stated that approximately 60% of adults did not follow the religion they were raised with.  I think it is a violation of a man's religious freedom to mark him with the religious belief of another (his parents) before he is of age to make such decisions.  As to religious circumcision, I would think it would carry a far greater meaning for a man if he were to elect to embrace a religious belief and choose circumcision for himself as a part of that embrace instead of having it forced upon him at a time when he had no ability to choose for himself.

 


This is how I feel. I *chose* to be a Jew, and I want my son to feel he has the freedom to be a Jew or not! It's not my penis, it's his! My husband disagrees (unfortunately), but DS remains intact and will until HE makes the choice. 

 

Also, there is a movement within Judaism that is questioning the validity of circumcision at all, based on ethical reasons.

 

ETA: for more info on the Jewish perspective against circ'ing: 

http://www.jewsagainstcircumcision.org/

http://www.amazon.com/Questioning-Circumcision-Perspective-Ronald-Goldman/dp/0964489562/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1306464675&sr=8-1

 

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#21 of 27 Old 05-27-2011, 09:46 AM
 
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Thank you for the additional info, PuppyFluffer.


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#22 of 27 Old 05-27-2011, 04:02 PM
 
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What are your thoughts on it?

 


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#23 of 27 Old 06-04-2011, 12:40 PM
 
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I believe that both girls and boys deserve equal treatment.  If cutting the genitals of girls should be illegal (which it is, in any degree) then cutting the genitals of boys should be, too.

 

 


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This afternoon the petition to get signatures in Santa Monica for an MGM bill (Nov. 2012) was withdrawn after the sponsor called it off. Apparently the accusations and misrepresentations got to be too much, and Jena Troutman has decided to dedicate her efforts to other ways to educate local parents about how unnecessary infant circumcision is.

 

Her local newspaper recently published an "editorial" that speaks for itself, especially the last sentence. Words fail me.

 

 

 

 

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#25 of 27 Old 06-09-2011, 09:21 AM
 
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Originally Posted by brant31 View Post

 

Her local newspaper recently published an "editorial" that speaks for itself, especially the last sentence. Words fail me.

 

 



The responses I read (only the first page) were excellent, though!

 


 

 

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#26 of 27 Old 06-10-2011, 02:46 PM
 
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Having previously lived in So CA for 30 years I'm not the least bit surprised at the "editorial". 

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#27 of 27 Old 06-10-2011, 02:53 PM
 
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The responses I read (only the first page) were excellent, though!

 



The vast majority of the responses were not from people that live in So CA. Although they were good, I agree.

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