|Levitt to legislators: I was|
harmed by circumcision.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
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.
By BRIAN LEVITT
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.
at 2:38 AM