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Santa Monica Considers Ban on Male Circumcision

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Photo of anti-circumcision booth taken in 2008 by Lushbunny via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
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Following in the footsteps of our neighbors in San Francisco, the city of Santa Monica may consider a ban on male circumcision of minors, reports the Jewish Journal. A petition to gather signatures was filed with the city of Santa Monica on May 19. It says that circumcision would be outlawed in males under the age of 18, with no exception for religion, but with an exception for the health of the baby. The notice of intent attached to the petition states that "genital mutilation constitutes a major health risk, violates human rights and has lifelong physical and psychological effects."

The Journal notes that the language in the petition is identical to the language used in the San Francisco motion which was approved for the November ballot on May 17.

Unlike female genital mutilation, male circumcision has in fact been shown to have some health benefits. The Huffington Post reports:

International health organizations have promoted circumcision as an important strategy for reducing the spread of the AIDS virus. That's based on studies that showed it can prevent AIDS among heterosexual men in Africa.
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If the measure were to gain enough signatures to go on the ballot in Santa Monica, the practice would become a misdemeanor, with a penalty of up to $1,000 and one year in jail.