Oregon Supreme Court blocks circumcision! - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 60 Old 01-30-2008, 03:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by fruitful womb View Post
Thank you for sharing this information. I wonder if perhaps a new Judge could be requested in the case. I'm not that knowledgeable about how the system works but I've heard of Lawyers pulling strings to replace jury members.

This Judge would be a good one to handle this case since he has dealt with this before. He is clearly in favor of genital integrity.
To be fair, it's not going to be that simple. You have certain elements to work with in each case.

And I think ruling that the boy's opinion matters is a positive thing.

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#32 of 60 Old 01-30-2008, 08:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by fruitful womb View Post
Thank you for sharing this information.
No problem. Always happy to help when I can.

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Originally Posted by fruitful womb View Post
I wonder if perhaps a new Judge could be requested in the case. I'm not that knowledgeable about how the system works but I've heard of Lawyers pulling strings to replace jury members.

This Judge would be a good one to handle this case since he has dealt with this before. He is clearly in favor of genital integrity.

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Originally Posted by MoonJelly View Post
To be fair, it's not going to be that simple. You have certain elements to work with in each case.

And I think ruling that the boy's opinion matters is a positive thing.
You're right it isn't really that easy. Unfortunately, one was a trial judge in Illinois Misha is going through the Oregon court system so no amount of legal maneuvering is going to get that judge on Misha's case. Too bad to. However, it does make a good citation to try and establish how similar cases have fallen in the past. Unfortunately, the Oregon Supreme Court didn't go as far as the Judge in Illinois if I read the ruling correctly (and someone be sure to correct me if I am wrong) they asked the lower court to determine what the boy wants if he chooses to be circumcised they're done. If he chooses not to be they will have yet another hearing to determine if the custodial order should be amended to allow him to make that choice. So he isn't quite out of the woods yet.

ETA: Actually MoonJelly I think the cases are quite similar. In Illinois, the mother married a Jewish man and was then seeking a circumcision for the boy seemingly on medical grounds in Misha's case the father is the one seeking the circumcision. The biggest difference is that I think that the custody order in Illinois was joint anyway and there might even have been a clause to require consent of both parents for non-medically necessary issues. So while there are differences they are not too different.
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#33 of 60 Old 01-31-2008, 11:48 AM
 
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I'm wondering if the ACLU has taken a position on this. Don't they usually weigh in on cases involving religion?
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#34 of 60 Old 02-01-2008, 02:10 PM
 
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This case is really positive for our cause. Sometimes it is not immediately obvious what has happened and what will happen and it takes some amount of reflection to come to conclusions.

The Supreme Court of Oregon has ruled that Misha's (the son) opinion is paramount in the issue. This indicates that any child who can object to the procedure (or rite) has a legitimate say in the matter and that makes forcible non-consensual circumcision of minors illegal if they can voice their objection. This is significant progress but does not eliminate circumcisions of infants.

The court deftly sidestepped the issue of infant circumcision but in their ruling, they did set significant legal precedence that can be used in future cases.

I suspect the court surmised the eventual outcome of the case. If Misha were fully on board with the circumcision, James Boldt, the father and custodial parent could have had Misha circumcised and Lia Boldt (the mother) would only have found out about it after the fact. The evidence suggests that James Boldt told Misha that he was going to circumcise him and Misha told Lia Boldt that he didn't want the circumcision and this prompted the court case to prevent it.

The lower court found for Lia Boldt and that is what prompted the appeals. James Boldt is a lawyer and filed the appeals and represented himself. My suspicion is that he believed that the appealate process would be financially devastating to Lia Boldt and she would not be able to finance the case. Fortunately for her, intactivist organizations stepped in and provided her with legal help that enabled her to go forward with the case to a conclusion.

Since this case is in Oregon, it does establish law in Oregon and legal precedence and legal precedence can be used in any state in the union and even in foriegn countries.

On the whole, this was very favorable for us. It just didn't go as far as we would wish. This issue is not one that will be finally settled in one fell swoop. It will be like cutting a tree down with an axe. Each blow of the axe brings us closer to felling the circumcision tree. We are working with amazing speed at bringing the tree down and it will fall eventually.

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#35 of 60 Old 02-01-2008, 03:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Phoenix Rising View Post
This case is really positive for our cause. Sometimes it is not immediately obvious what has happened and what will happen and it takes some amount of reflection to come to conclusions.

The Supreme Court of Oregon has ruled that Misha's (the son) opinion is paramount in the issue. This indicates that any child who can object to the procedure (or rite) has a legitimate say in the matter and that makes forcible non-consensual circumcision of minors illegal if they can voice their objection. This is significant progress but does not eliminate circumcisions of infants.

The court deftly sidestepped the issue of infant circumcision but in their ruling, they did set significant legal precedence that can be used in future cases.

I suspect the court surmised the eventual outcome of the case. If Misha were fully on board with the circumcision, James Boldt, the father and custodial parent could have had Misha circumcised and Lia Boldt (the mother) would only have found out about it after the fact. The evidence suggests that James Boldt told Misha that he was going to circumcise him and Misha told Lia Boldt that he didn't want the circumcision and this prompted the court case to prevent it.

The lower court found for Lia Boldt and that is what prompted the appeals. James Boldt is a lawyer and filed the appeals and represented himself. My suspicion is that he believed that the appealate process would be financially devastating to Lia Boldt and she would not be able to finance the case. Fortunately for her, intactivist organizations stepped in and provided her with legal help that enabled her to go forward with the case to a conclusion.

Since this case is in Oregon, it does establish law in Oregon and legal precedence and legal precedence can be used in any state in the union and even in foriegn countries.

On the whole, this was very favorable for us. It just didn't go as far as we would wish. This issue is not one that will be finally settled in one fell swoop. It will be like cutting a tree down with an axe. Each blow of the axe brings us closer to felling the circumcision tree. We are working with amazing speed at bringing the tree down and it will fall eventually.

.
With all due respect, this is not an accurate description of what the Court has done. The lower court did not find for mom - it stayed the circumcision until appeals were exhausted but found against mom on the child's right to decide, mom's right as non-custodial parent to interfere, and whether forcibly circumcision was reason to reconsider custody. While the Supreme Court reversed the lower court, it did so on only one point - whether there should have been a hearing to reconsider custody. The Supreme Court ordered that there be an evidentiary hearing concerning whether the boy consents and whether, if he does not consent, forcible circumcision would damage his relationship with his father such that there should be a change in custody. The Supreme Court was clear that minors do not have the option to decide whether they will be forcibly circumcised in Oregon. If there had been no custody question here, Misha would have no way of preventing the circumcision. If the trial court now decides that forcible circumcision will not adversely affect his relationship with his father, or will not do so sufficiently to warrent giving custody to mom, this boy will be forcibly circumcised.

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#36 of 60 Old 02-02-2008, 12:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mamajake View Post
With all due respect, this is not an accurate description of what the Court has done. The lower court did not find for mom - it stayed the circumcision until appeals were exhausted but found against mom on the child's right to decide, mom's right as non-custodial parent to interfere, and whether forcibly circumcision was reason to reconsider custody. While the Supreme Court reversed the lower court, it did so on only one point - whether there should have been a hearing to reconsider custody. The Supreme Court ordered that there be an evidentiary hearing concerning whether the boy consents and whether, if he does not consent, forcible circumcision would damage his relationship with his father such that there should be a change in custody. The Supreme Court was clear that minors do not have the option to decide whether they will be forcibly circumcised in Oregon. If there had been no custody question here, Misha would have no way of preventing the circumcision. If the trial court now decides that forcible circumcision will not adversely affect his relationship with his father, or will not do so sufficiently to warrent giving custody to mom, this boy will be forcibly circumcised.
I agree with mamajake here, I am not really overjoyed by the outcome of this case, yet. All we really have is a bit of a "stay of execution" as it were. If I'm not mistaken they simply told the lower court to consider Misha's opinion if it is yes then he gets circumcised if it is no then there will be another hearing to determine if he can say no; what a crock.
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#37 of 60 Old 02-04-2008, 02:34 AM
 
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This is something I also disagree STRONGLY about. If they are talking about religion, than what happens to the boy's right to religious freedom? What if he wants nothing to do with his father's conversion. To say that one person's religious standing implies a right to force another person to have an unnecessary surgery DEFINITELY goes against the most basic of rights guaranteed to ALL Americans. This disgusts me.

I'm 19, circumcised, and seeking justice.
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#38 of 60 Old 02-04-2008, 12:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry to serial post, but I have a small plea from the OP (me ):

can we not stray into territory that will get the thread closed? (taking my own advice as well )

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#39 of 60 Old 02-04-2008, 02:39 PM
 
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Wow, just wow. I can't even say what I'm thinking here.
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#40 of 60 Old 02-04-2008, 03:11 PM
 
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I'm rethinking saying so much.
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#41 of 60 Old 02-04-2008, 03:17 PM
 
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Well he has been fighting since the kid was 9 to be able to cut his son. : Adding in flimsy medical excuses and the fact that he is having it done by a urologist.
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#42 of 60 Old 02-04-2008, 04:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Their brief:

http://www.adl.org/civil_rights/ab/B...rits%20(3).pdf


Quote:
Children who are circumcised must re-affirm their commitment to
being a Jew upon reaching the age of 13. The importance of circumcision is recognized
by the largest streams of Judaism in the United States. Orthodox, Conservative, and
Reform Judaism all require circumcision for male children born as Jews. Conservative
Judaism (which is the stream of Judaism at issue in this case) requires circumcision for
uncircumcised male converts. Jewish law does not allow forced conversions. The person
who conducts the circumcision is always a trained specialist who has studied all the
relevant laws and has also completed a prolonged, intensive apprenticeship. Often, these
individuals are also doctors and are licensed at hospitals.
Quote:
It ir the position of amici that routine male circumcision is precisely the type of religious and medical decision that is squarely within the rights of a custodial
parent and that discretion to make that decision has been granted by Oregon law and by
constitutional right to the custodial parent. Enabling the circumcision of a child, whether
as part of a religious conversion or for medical reasons, cannot as a matter of law indicate
any infirmity in a parent's ability to function as a parent.

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#43 of 60 Old 02-04-2008, 04:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Moreover, and decision to
single out circumcision as a basis for questioning the fitness of the custddial parent would
violate the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of religion. Finally, there is no
analogy between male circumcision and female genital mutilation, eithetr in terms of the
type of conduct involved or the potential risks presented, to sustain an equal protection
claim.
I dunno why some of the spellings get mixed up when I cut and paste from adobe, sorry about that.

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#44 of 60 Old 02-04-2008, 04:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Nor does it matter that the medical procedure in this case is elective.
Surely a parent has the same authority to have a child's vision corrected or a birthmark on
his face removed even if those procedures are also elective and even if the other parent
objects. All of these decisions fall within the custodial parent's right and duty to care for
his child, and they are not open to challenge by the non-custodial parent.
They argue that MIsha wants to be circumcised based on affadavits given by various people (none of which are the child himself, mind you). But then they argue that his opinion doesn't matter because it is the custodial parent that gets to decide:

Quote:
As explained above, without the showing of a substantial change in circumstances
in the capability of a parent, Oregon law does not require an evidentiary hearing to
determine the best interests of the child. In any event, it is not apparent phat a hearing
would have accomplished in developing the record that was not apparent from the
pleadings filed on both sides.
Again the errors in spelling are coming from my copy and paste from adobe.


And this bit is especially telling:

Quote:
If the Court decides that routine circumcision requires a hearing to determine
whether it is in the best interests of the child, it will open the door to endless litigation
about every medical or religious decision on which the divorced parents disagree.
Assigning a parent custody is intended to vest decision-making power in the person who
is most responsible for the child's upbringing.

I also recommend reading their take on how FGM and MGM are different and cannot be compared in any way.

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#45 of 60 Old 02-04-2008, 05:11 PM
 
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I also noticed reading that the father had a hatafat dam brit when he converted which means he was circ'd already. Which leaves me with further questions regarding his insistance that the boy be circ'd. That, combined with his 3 year fight to cut his son, his attempts to add an unproven medical reason to his supposed religious one seriously makes me question his true motivation in this suit.

Because if the child really does want to convert and be circ'd there is nothing stopping him in a few years when he is an adult.
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#46 of 60 Old 02-04-2008, 05:17 PM
 
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I'm rethinking saying so much.

I just hope the courts listen to Misha and respect his wishes.
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#47 of 60 Old 02-04-2008, 05:18 PM
 
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I'm rethinking saying so much.
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#48 of 60 Old 02-04-2008, 05:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post
I also noticed reading that the father had a hatafat dam brit when he converted which means he was circ'd already. Which leaves me with further questions regarding his insistance that the boy be circ'd. That, combined with his 3 year fight to cut his son, his attempts to add an unproven medical reason to his supposed religious one seriously makes me question his true motivation in this suit.

Because if the child really does want to convert and be circ'd there is nothing stopping him in a few years when he is an adult.
I agree. There are many things that don't add up between what Mommy and Daddy are saying.
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#49 of 60 Old 02-04-2008, 05:28 PM
 
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But they did also express a distinct wish that the boy not be heard as part of this case and that the statements of others about his wishes should suffice.
Yeah that is the part that was clearly self serving and totally squicked me out.
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#50 of 60 Old 02-04-2008, 05:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by carriebft View Post
Don;t worry, you won't get yelled at by me I agree with you that they tried to remove themselves from Boldt in some ways, yet they travel outside the realm of religious circumcision (talkijng about FGM, Misha's adhesions, HIV protection, etc)
I think it's an automatic thing these days that when defending any type of circ., even ritual, one adds medical benefits too. Perhaps that's because many people might not respect religion but they will respect doctors (irrelevant of the accuracy of the doctor's statements).

Quote:
But they did also express a distinct wish that the boy not be heard as part of this case and that the statements of others about his wishes should suffice.
I don't think I read that far in the letter but I'm not sure why they would say that.
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#51 of 60 Old 02-04-2008, 05:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The big reason is preservation. BY letting Misha speak, a court precedent may be created. Thus, others may get a say in their circumcision. So, the brief uses language like the following:

Quote:
As explained above, without the showing of a substantial change in circumstances
in the capability of a parent, Oregon law does not require an evidentiary hearing to
determine the best interests of the child. In any event, it is not apparent phat a hearing
would have accomplished in developing the record that was not apparent from the
pleadings filed on both sides.
Quote:
If the Court decides that routine circumcision requires a hearing to determine
whether it is in the best interests of the child, it will open the door to endless litigation
about every medical or religious decision on which the divorced parents disagree.
Assigning a parent custody is intended to vest decision-making power in the person who
is most responsible for the child's upbringing.

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#52 of 60 Old 02-04-2008, 05:35 PM
 
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Sara I did really appreciate reading your thoughts before they went *poof*.

What a messed up world we live in. This should not be a parenting decison, to alter a child's body against their will without clear medical indication. Every human being should have the right to an intact body guaranteed under law.

We protect girls, yet boys can have their genitals altered at their parent's whim...how obviously ridiculous.

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#53 of 60 Old 02-04-2008, 05:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I hope you didn't feel offended by our conversation. I think your opinion and take are very worthy to be discussed here. (i can edit my posts as well if you want me to, please let me know)

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#54 of 60 Old 02-04-2008, 07:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by carriebft View Post
And for those who are interested the Amicus brief from Doc can be found here and a second document, brief supporting the petition for review is here.
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#55 of 60 Old 02-04-2008, 08:42 PM
 
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I appreciate the kind words. It's always hard to understand how one's words are taken when using a medium such as the internet.
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#56 of 60 Old 02-04-2008, 09:53 PM
 
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Thanks for everyone for the great info and pespectives.

I wonder if more will come of this case as far as appeals and legal precedent? I mean if in this case the boy has the right to choose at his age then why wouldn't any child have the right to choose?

And I am sure I am not the only one who is sick of people saying 'oh by FGM is DIFFERENT!!' OK so how about it we have it done in a hospital with a bit of a numbing agent and just take the prepuce off? She'll only be a day or two old but won't remember. Even if we're comparing apples to apples it is still horrifying to think of so I don't get why people can't see that!
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#57 of 60 Old 02-04-2008, 10:48 PM
 
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Thanks for everyone for the great info and pespectives.

I wonder if more will come of this case as far as appeals and legal precedent? I mean if in this case the boy has the right to choose at his age then why wouldn't any child have the right to choose?
See http://www.mothering.com/sections/ne...eligiouschoice for some discussion of what happens now. Remember that the court decided that he did not have the right to choose.

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#58 of 60 Old 02-11-2008, 02:46 PM
 
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I have removed a great deal of posts from this thread that discussed religious circumcision. Please remember our forum guidelines Religious Discussion in this Forum regarding religious discussion in this forum. If you have any further questions, please address your moderators via PM, not within this thread.

I have returned this thread because it's an important discussion. Please remember our user agreement and guidelines while continuing this discussion.
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#59 of 60 Old 02-11-2008, 04:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Moreover, and decision to
single out circumcision as a basis for questioning the fitness of the custddial parent would
violate the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of religion. Finally, there is no
analogy between male circumcision and female genital mutilation, eithetr in terms of the
type of conduct involved or the potential risks presented, to sustain an equal protection
claim.
I really got angered with this statement. They talk about protecting religious rights, but yet forget to mention the rights of the person (which in most situations in law, comes first). I am fine with parents making choices that effect me during my childhood, choices that NEED to be made. But parents should not have the right to forever take away rights of a future adult.

Also, if this was a court case where a father wanted to cover his sons body with tattoos, or piercings, maybe because of native religious rights, I seriously doubt this judge would be saying the same things, even though (legally) it would be the same situation.

I HATE that they said that FGM and MGM are nothing alike. Considering FGM is an umbrella term for anything as small as a pin prick on female genitals. So OBVIOUSLY there are areas where the two overlap, and where girls are being protected and boys are not.

What all these FGM people say about it being totally different, would be true, IF legally in the US the only protection girls had was from extreme FGM, because then (legally) the two terms would be completely different, but since they very much overlap, what the court said is completely untrue!
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#60 of 60 Old 02-11-2008, 06:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by perspective View Post
I really got angered with this statement. They talk about protecting religious rights, but yet forget to mention the rights of the person (which in most situations in law, comes first). I am fine with parents making choices that effect me during my childhood, choices that NEED to be made. But parents should not have the right to forever take away rights of a future adult.

Also, if this was a court case where a father wanted to cover his sons body with tattoos, or piercings, maybe because of native religious rights, I seriously doubt this judge would be saying the same things, even though (legally) it would be the same situation.

I HATE that they said that FGM and MGM are nothing alike. Considering FGM is an umbrella term for anything as small as a pin prick on female genitals. So OBVIOUSLY there are areas where the two overlap, and where girls are being protected and boys are not.

What all these FGM people say about it being totally different, would be true, IF legally in the US the only protection girls had was from extreme FGM, because then (legally) the two terms would be completely different, but since they very much overlap, what the court said is completely untrue!
Sadly it is in large part the way Oregon law is written that this is possible. There is an Oregon state law setting the age of consent for medical procedures - I don't have it in front of me but I believe it is 15 or 16 - which allows parents to impose medical procedures, even unnecessary ones (including cosmetic surgery), on non-consenting children. Also the Oregon law against FGM says:

"163.207 Female Genital Mutilation

(1) A person commits the crime of female genital mutilation if the person:
(a) Knowingly circumcises, excises or infibulates the whole or any part of the labia majora, labia minora or clitoris of a child; or
(b) Is the parent, guardian or other person legally responsible for the care or custody of a child and knowingly allows the circumcision, excision or infibulation of the whole or any part of the child’s labia majora, labia minora or clitoris.
(2) Female genital mutilation is a Class B felony.
(3)(a) A person who circumcises, excises or infibulates the whole or any part of a child’s labia majora, labia minora or clitoris does not violate subsection (1) of this section if:
(A) The person is a physician, licensed to practice in this state; and
(B) The surgery is medically necessary for the physical well-being of the child.
(b) In determining medical necessity for purposes of paragraph (a)(B) of this subsection, a person may not consider the effect on the child of the child’s belief that the surgery is required as a matter of custom or ritual. [1999 c.737 §1] "

If this law referred to the cutting of genitalia, without making specific reference to female genitalia, the equal protection argument would be much easier in Boldt. Though I think the argument (ignored by the Court) that it is unequal protection to pass a law protecting female genitalia without passing one protecting male genitalia, is a very good one. FGM and MGM don't have to be similar procedures (or arise from similar motivation) other than for both to involve surgical alteration of genitals for non-medical reasons. Addressed that way, one could challenge the constitutionality of the FGM law. The risk in that is that it could lead to a finding that states can't outlaw FGM unless they outlaw MGM - in practice a tough sell since who wants to effectively support keeping FGM legal.

Also keep in mind that the quote you posted about is not from the Court decision, it is from the amicus brief filed by the Jewish organizations. The Court does not discuss FGM at all.

The Court here had the opportunity, through deciding the constitutional issues, to find that minors have a constitutionally protected right to bodily integrity. The Court didn't do that. The case has not been decided based on anyone's religious rights. The Court's holding is that this is the parents' decision, regardless of the parents' motivation.

J.D. and mother to three. Sustainable Mothering and check out my Writing and Speaking
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