Despite the overwrought claims made by its opponents, male circumcision is not remotely tantamount to mutilation. Complications are rare and generally minor and short term. And circumcision has been linked to various health benefits.
Nevertheless, a measure to ban male circumcision in children has obtained the required 12,000 signatures to qualify for the November ballot in San Francisco — and an anti-circumcision group is now targeting Santa Monica for a similar ballot proposal. These are attempts to intrude on parents' ability to make private medical decisions for their children. And by that, we don't just mean for Jewish and many Muslim parents for whom circumcision is part of religious tradition, but for any family.
Religion is not the main reason to reject this movement. Female genital mutilation is part of the cultural or faith traditions of some groups, yet it is rightly illegal because it is a form of child abuse. According to the World Health Organization, it bestows no health benefits and carries terrible long-term consequences, among them higher rates of maternal and newborn mortality, repeated pelvic and urinary tract infections, fistulas and difficulty urinating. Our society accords religious traditions strong legal protection, but it rarely allows the personal beliefs of parents to take precedence over serious health and safety concerns.