Santa Monica Circumcision Ban Proposed As Ballot Initiative

05/25/2011 06:47 pm ET | Updated Jul 25, 2011

Santa Monica residents may be voting on circumcision in their November 2012 ballot, according to the LA Times.

The MGM Bill (Male Genital Mutilation bill), an organization dedicated to placing circumcision bans on ballots across the country, has just proposed an initiative in Santa Monica that would ban the procedure on males under the age of 18. Female circumcision, or what most call female genital mutilation, is already outlawed in California and the United States.

This same organization has successfully proposed a circumcision ban in San Francisco, which means the initiative will appear on the city's ballot for an upcoming vote this fall. Lloyd Schofield, a San Francisco resident who is leading the charge to ban the minor surgery in his city, told the Associated Press, "Parents are really guardians, and guardians have to do what's in the best interest of the child. It's his body. It's his choice."

Neither the San Francisco nor the Santa Monica proposals contain an exception for religious reasons, which for some transforms the ban into a First Amendment issue. David Lehrer, a Jewish leader, told the LA Times that "It takes the notion of the Mommy State to a ridiculous extreme. It probably touches upon being anti-Semitic." But others in the Jewish community are using the proposal as an opportunity to openly discuss the ambivalence and feelings of conflict that many Jewish parents have when they decide to circumcise their sons. Rabbi Brad Hirschfield recently penned an op-ed in the Jewish Journal in reaction to the Santa Monica initiative. Hirschfield confessed that after the birth of his three daughters, he felt "a certain inchoate sense of relief at being spared the obligation to circumcise them eight days later."