AAP California Opposes SF & Santa Monica Ballot Measures That Would Make Newborn Male Circumcision A Crime (Mar 2011)

A proposed ballot measure in San Francisco in November 2011  and then in Santa Monica would have made it illegal to perform a circumcision on males under the age of 18 with punishment of a fine of up to $1000, and prison and jail for up to one year, or bows for those violate the law. (This  would’ve apply to  physicians & religious leaders whether the procedure was performed in a hospital, doctors office or non-medical home.)

There are benefits & risks to newborn male circumcision, & while the American Academy of Pediatrics policy on circumcision concludes that the health benefits are not great enough to recommend routine circumcision for all male newborns, it also concludes that the benefits of circumcision are sufficient to justify access to this procedure for  those families who choose it after having been informed of the health benefits & risks in an unbiased and accurate  manner.

Systematic evaluation of English-language peer-reviewed literature from 1995 through 2010 indicates that preventive health benefits of elective circumcision of male newborns outweigh the risks of the procedure. Benefits include significant reductions in the risk of urinary tract infection in the first year of life and, subsequently, in the risk of heterosexual acquisition of HIV and the transmission of other sexually transmitted infections.  Criminalizing the procedure is, therefore,  is a highly inappropriate intrusion of the  state into personal & family medical decisions.

Staff Note: In July 2011, a  CA Superior Court judge citing existing state law concerning medical procedures struck the above initiative from the ballot,  and in October 2011 Governor Jerry Brown signed an AAP California-supported bill that specifically prohibited local bans on male circumcision statewide.