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JCRC Applauds Governor Brown for Signing Legislation Preventing California Cities from Banning Circumcision

San Francisco – In the wake a ballot measure that would have criminalized doctors for performing circumcision in San Francisco, Governor Jerry Brown has signed Assembly Bill 768, which will prevent California municipalities from banning circumcision. The Jewish Community Relations Council strongly supports this new law, which recognizes “a wide array of health and affiliative benefits” in male circumcision.

AB 768 was authored by Assembly Member Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) and Assembly Member Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco and San Mateo Counties).  It received near unanimous support in the Legislature.  Governor Brown’s signature now codifies the bill, which reaffirms that it is within the State’s province to regulate medical procedures, pre-empting local jurisdictions from enacting a patchwork of local regulations and/or bans. A similar measure, H.R. 2400, by Congressman Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) has been introduced at the federal level. 

This issue garnered national attention when a small group of anti-circumcision activists placed on San Francisco’s municipal ballot a measure that would have criminalized those who perform male circumcision of minors.  A broad coalition of over 200 civil liberties, medical and HIV/STD experts, faith community leaders, and public officials organized to defeat the measure.  They were successful in a lawsuit to remove the measure from the November 2011 ballot by a Superior Court Judge, who ruled that the measure would have violated California Business and Professionals Code § 460(b), which affirms that municipalities cannot restrict medical procedures performed by professionals in the healing arts.  The bill signed by Governor Brown yesterday reinforces the code’s provision by explicitly preventing municipalities from restricting or prohibiting male circumcision.
 
Abby Michelson Porth, Associate Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, stated today “Governor Brown’s signature on AB 768 reaffirms that municipalities cannot take away parents’ rights to make medical and religious decisions for their own children.”
 
The Committee for Parental Choice and Religious Freedom, which led the effort against the proposed ban in San Francisco, can be seen at www.StopCircBan.com.