Contra Costa Times (10.02.11) - Monday, October 03, 2011
On Sunday, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that
prohibits cities and counties from banning male circumcision.
AB 768 was among 44 measures Brown approved; he vetoed four.
AB 768 was introduced in February by Assembly members Mike
Gatto (D-Burbank) and Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco) to head off a
San Francisco ballot initiative seeking to ban the procedure.
In July, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Loretta Giorgi
blocked that proposed measure. According to Giorgi, it
violated an existing statute that forbids local governments
from regulating medical procedures and flouted federal
protection of religious freedom. AB 768 continued to progress
through the Legislature even after the ruling.
Opponents of male circumcision argue the practice can have
negative mental and sexual health consequences. But medical
experts point to its benefits, including a lower risk for
female-to-male HIV transmission and cancer. Further, male
circumcision is a sacred rite for Jews and Muslims, who
lobbied heavily against the ballot initiative.
Gatto argued the ballot measure would strip Californians of
"an expression of personal, medical, and religious freedom."