There is a growing and large group of activists called “intactivists” that are lobbying to end circumcision. The intactivists believe that circumcision is wrong and it is their mandate to protect generations of baby boys from the knife. The activists’ argue that circumcision has no health related benefits and compare it to female genital mutilation. Inactivists have successfully gotten an ordinance on the ballot in San Francisco that will make circumcision illegal. What is the relationship between circumcision and parents’ rights?
Parents have a right to act on behalf of their children, but the right is not unlimited. Clearly, parents cannot hurt their children and the court has ruled that a parent’s failure to give their child chemotherapy is a criminal offence. The court has not found that the affirmative act of snipping the penis is a criminal act. Why? It is not a criminal act because our laws originate from Judeo-Christian beliefs and a long held belief is that circumcision is healthy. Several modern day studies show that there are health benefits to circumcision. The combination of scientific proof and 5,000 years of history is sufficient to continue to give parents the right to decid if their son should get his penis snipped.
If the San Francisco no circumcision ordinance gets passed, then it will be interesting to learn if preventing circumcision is a violation of a parents’ first amendment rights. What do you think?