SAN FRANCISCO — A San Francisco judge Thursday struck a proposed circumcision ban from the city's November ballot.
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The proposed ordinance is "expressly pre-empted" as it "attempts to regulate a medical procedure," San Francisco Superior Court Judge Loretta Giorgi said in a tentative ruling issued a day earlier. "Moreover, it serves no legitimate purpose to allow a measure whose invalidity can be determined as a matter of law to remain on the ballot after such a ruling has been made."
After hearing oral arguments Thursday morning, Giorgi said, "I will stick with the tentative ruling and have this stricken from the ballot," public television station KQED tweeted.
Michael Kinane, an attorney for proponents of the ban, argued that circumcision was not a medical procedure. He also said the ballot measure included an exception in cases where circumcision was needed for health reasons.
Kinane also likened the procedure to female circumcision, which is regulated, and argued that the ballot measure would protect boys the same way.
The ballot measure would have prohibited circumcision throughout San Francisco. The only exception would have been "a clear, compelling and immediate medical need." It would have made all other foreskin snipping a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and jail time for up to a year.
Lloyd Schofield, the San Francisco resident who spearheaded the successful signature drive to qualify the measure for the ballot, was not immediately available for comment but previously said, "The base of our argument is you're spending incredible amounts of money doing painful and damaging surgery to an unwilling patient."
Giorgi agreed with the Jewish Community Relations Council and Muslim religious groups that had filed suit claiming the initiative violated a state law that bars local governments from regulating health care professionals.
Abby Porth, associate director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, told the San Francisco Chronicle she was delighted that the "extreme and hurtful" measure will not appear before voters.
"The idea we would put doctors in jail for performing a procedure with known health benefits that parents request for their children is outrageous," she said.
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