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Q: What does this ballot initiative say?

A: The ballot initiative would make it unlawful and criminal to circumcise, excise, cut, or mutilate the whole or any part of the foreskin, testicles, or penis of another person who has not attained the age of 18 years.
Click here to read the initiative.

Q: Is there an exception for religious practice of circumcision?

A: No. The initiative would make circumcision lawful only if there is a “clear, compelling, and immediate medical need with no less-destructive alternative treatment available.”
Click here to read the initiative.

Q: What is the proposed penalty?

A: This initiative would criminalize performing circumcision, putting any physician or
religious clergy person who performs the procedure in county jail for up to a year,
and/or punished with a fine of $1,000. The measure denies parents the right to
choose, with the guidance of their physician or tradition, circumcision for their sons.
Click here to read the initiative.

Q: Wouldn’t this ban be against the law?

A: Probably. California law prevents localities from prohibiting medical professionals from performing procedures within the scope of their profession. In addition, there are significant Constitutional law issues with this proposed measure because it
would infringe upon the right to free exercise of religion.

Q: Why can’t we ignore this as a frivolous ballot measure?

A: Proponents of this initiative refer to “genital cutting” and “mutilation,” implying that male circumcision is analogous to female genital mutilation and hoping to conceal from voters their attempt to criminalize a widely accepted procedure.

Q: Doesn’t circumcision have health benefits?

A: Yes. The World Health Organization reports: “There is compelling evidence that male circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men by approximately 60%.” There are also medical reports of lower rates of penile cancer and urinary tract infections in circumcised males, and reduced cervical cancer in women whose partners are circumcised.

Click below to read about the health benefits of circumcision:

Q: How is male circumcision different from female genital mutilation?

A: Male circumcision has known and documented health benefits, and there is no credible medical evidence that male circumcision is harmful or prevents male sexual
satisfaction. Its purpose is religious and for health benefits. In contrast, the World
Health Organization states that female genital mutilation “includes procedures that
intentionally alter or injure female genital organs for non-medical reasons,” that it
“has no health benefits” and is “internationally recognized as a violation of the
human rights of girls and women.” Female genital mutilation is performed for the
explicit purpose of preventing female sexual satisfaction. Click here to read about

Q: Who opposes this criminalization and ban on circumcision?

A: Medical, civil liberties, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, HIV research/advocacy, and choice communities are coalescing against this attack on parental choice and religious freedom.

Click here to see the coalition
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Q: How do I support the coalition?

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