Declaring Circumcision 'Health Positive' A Terrible Mistake

The below testimony was given on Tuesday in Sacramento opposing proposed California law, AB-768, seeking to declare the benefits of male circumcision and to prevent local governments from restricting its practice in any way.  

Levitt to legislators: I was
harmed by circumcision.
Good afternoon. My name is Brian Levitt and I live in San Francisco. I’ve come today to Sacramento to urge this committee to shelve this badly thought-out measure. This is an emergency bill, but there is no emergency on the part of its sponsors. There is no pending ballot measure that they object to, there is no imminent harm to children or families, and laws exist already that deal with this. Please do not rush into endorsing legislation that duplicates existing law yet creates favored status for religions and practitioners over the rights of those of us who have to bear the surgery.
I am Jewish, the eldest of 3 children and the son of a doctor. What troubles me most about AB-768 is that it aims to establish, as a matter of California law, that circumcision is "health-positive" and "affiliation-positive." This would be a terrible mistake, as such claims are not supported by any medical or psychological association in the world. This language is a “hail Mary pass” by circumcision supporters and has no business becoming part of the Code of California. It is biased, misleading and inaccurate.
When I came to understand the many losses from circumcision, both in function and sensation, I became angry. Personally, I feel deeply harmed by circumcision, and this view has only been confirmed over time. I do not feel closer to Judaism because of my circumcision. On the contrary, I deeply wish one thing had nothing to do with the other. The genital cutting of infants has driven me away from my religion, and I'm far from alone in this view. Eventually my father understood these issues, and even apologized for having allowed my brother and I to be circumcised at birth.
I stand before you as proof that the idea that circumcision definitely has positive bonding, health, and sexual benefits is a lie. There are hundreds of thousands of men who resent their infant circumcision. There are tens of thousands of intact Jewish boys and men around the world who thank their lucky stars they were not circumcised. The claims of better health and better "affiliation" come from those who desperately need to rationalize their condition and their choices -- and predictably, these claims originate only where circumcision is already widespread. Most of the world finds these assertions laughable. I urge this committee to halt the backwards step of becoming the first jurisdiction anywhere to write glowing, but misleading, descriptions of circumcision into law.


  1. their agenda from the very beginning was to groom America's euphemism:'circumcision' as a "health-positive". Why else did they publish halted fabricated "studies" with manipulated "findings" to show "benefits"? This is why a law prohibiting forced genital cutting need to be in place. It would prevent any future "studies" on male genital cutting. Why not study female genital cutting? No one would stand for it. There aren't any special interest groups taking a stand for it, like male genital cutting. That is why we're not seeing "study after study" for the removal of other healthy body parts.

  2. Mr Levitt, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your courageous and blunt testimony. It takes great courage for a Jew to take a public stand against circumcision.

    "Affiliation-positive" may be the silliest rationalisation for ritual circ I have ever encountered. It is also blatantly false. With the rise of Islam over the past 1500 years, the circumcised penis long ago ceased serving as a sign denoting that its owner was a Jew. When infant circumcision became fashionable amongst English speaking peoples 100 years ago, the problem only worsened. Circumcision is afflicted with semantic overload, and thus has come to mean many things to many peoples.

    The belief that circumcision is a divine mandate can be satisfied by going under the knife any time between one's 21st birthday and wedding day.

  3. Here are some facts to prohibit baby mutilations.

    University of Washington study tested for HPV infection at the head of the penis (or glans), on the shaft/scrotum skin, and in urine samples. Researchers found that the shaft/scrotum skin were the most likely sites of HPV infection in circumcised males, with a higher percentage of infections at these sites in circumcised males as compared to intact males.

    Since shaft and scrotum skin together comprise the vast majority of the surface area of the penis in circumcised males, and are the most likely sites for HPV infection in circumcised males, any research done on circumcision status and HPV infection must necessarily include these sites.

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