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Frank O'Hara
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"Defenders of the proposed anti-circumcision laws will claim that the narrow exception is only for compelling health reasons and that the law is otherwise of general applicability." This law is written to apply to all clases of citizens therefore it is of general applicability. Essentially, there are no exemptions. Providing medical treatment when necessary does not affect the general applicability as it could affect anyone regardless of religion or other factors. "While it is not constitutionally required to afford an exception for religiously motivated circumcisions, the specific prohibition of such a claimed exemption surely is evidence of a motive to suppress this religious conduct." No, affording a religious exemption would violate the 14th Amendment's "Equal Protection Clause" which requires that all laws be applied equally across all demographics. "Second, even if purpose analyis is irrelevant, one would like to know the proportion of all infant circumcisions that are religiously motivated. To the extent that is a very high proportion, the argument that the effect of the law is neutral diminishes" Jews are 1.75% of The US population and Muslims are an even smaller portion. These are the only two religions that support male circumcision. So, about 3% of all circumcisions in The US are religiously motivated. Christians are specifically forbidden to circumcise per The New Testament. "According to this poll of Wall Street Readers, 77% of the respondents are opposed to the San Francisco proposal. I know -- it's hardly a scientific sampler of public opinion." Yes, very unscientific and very inaccurate. The 2009 infant circumcision rate was 32.5% in The US. This probably is a much better indicator. "So, the question becomes whether the claim that a parent has a fundamental right to direct the upbringing of their male child by subjecting him to religiously inspired circumcision is colorable." Well, Professor Massey, please explain to me how the 1996 Female Genital Mutilation act is legitimate and defensible. It gives no quarter for religious beliefs and specifically prohibits any challenges based on religious belief. These male circumcision bans should have no religious exemption based on The Equal Protection Clause contained in The 14th Amendment to The US Constitution. "Certainly the claim is colorable; the ultimate question of whether the government has a compelling interest in prohibiting a parent from so directing the child's upbringing is debatable." It is not debateable at all. Every year, children die as a direct result of their circumcisions. Three studies have quantified this. Studies in 1979, 1989 and 1999 found 228 - 230 infant circumcision deaths in the previous years and a 2009 study found 118 deaths. The fall in deaths in 2009 is attributible to the falling infant circumcision rate (Approximately 66$ to 32.5% in 2009). It would follow that if the rate of procedures fall, the deaths would also correspondingly fall. However, the RATE has remained the same at approximately 1 death per 7,000 procedures. The government has a compelling interest in preventing the deaths of it's children/citizens. "So, the question becomes whether the claim that a parent has a fundamental right to direct the upbringing of their male child by subjecting him to religiously inspired circumcision is colorable. Certainly the claim is colorable" Please explain to me why it is not permissible to circumcise a girl for religious reasons or why only the male prepuce is the only body part that can be removed electively and without justification. I see a tremendous conflict with The Equal Protection Clause. Why is the MALE foreskin the only body part that can be amputated without justification (simply on demand) or pressing medical need? .
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May 27, 2011