Religious Groups File Suit over Circumcision Ban

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A coalition of Jews and Muslims have teamed up with medical professionals and public officials to fight a proposal to criminalize male circumcision in San Francisco.

Circumcision is a procedure widely practiced in both faiths. The group filed a lawsuit Wednesday to block the city of San Francisco from putting the ban on the ballot in November.

The proposed law would ban circumcision of children under age 18 and make performing the medical procedure a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine up to $1,000.

"Physicians are concerned this measure would make them criminals" for performing procedures that "patients request and consent to," said Abby Michelson Porth, associate director of the Jewish Community Relations Council.

Opponents argue current California law bans local governments from restricting medical procedures. They add that the decision to circumcise boys for religious reasons is protected under the First Amendment.

Supporters of the circumcision ban submitted more than 12,000 signatures to the San Francisco Department of Elections in April to get the measure on the ballot -- well over the minimum needed to qualify.

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