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Attorney: Outright Ban On Circumcision Goes Too Far

CHICAGO (CBS/WBBM) -- Less than five years ago, a Cook County judge ruled that a 9-year-old Northbrook boy would not have to be circumcised, even though his mother wanted him to be.

As WBBM Newsradio 780's Steve Miller reports, the boy's father did not want him circumcised, and he ultimately came out victorious in the court case.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780's Steve Miller reports


Still, Alan Toback, the attorney who represented the boy's father, says government has no business barring circumcision as a proposal in San Francisco would allow.

"Parents have the right to make medical decisions regarding their children," Toback said.

Voters in San Francisco will cast their ballots in a referendum in November on whether circumcision should be made illegal, CBS San Francisco reports.

Supporters of the ban call male circumcision is a form of genital mutilation, and say it should not be forced on a young child.

More About The San Francisco Bill

The organizer of the campaign, Lloyd Schofield, has said he believes male circumcision is wrong, and likens it to female circumcision practices already banned in the U.S., CBS San Francisco reported.

But Toback says such a ban would be a case of government going too far.

"Barring circumcision? I mean, that's ridiculous," Toback said. "I don't understand how that would even be constitutional."

Toback continued: "That's just government intrusion where it doesn't belong; I mean, I'm as liberal as the next person, but that's absurd."

The Cook County case dates from 2006. The boy's parents had divorced, and his mother wanted him circumcised to prevent painful, recurring inflammation that could have been caused by infections.

But the boy's father did not want him circumcised. He said it could cause the boy long-term physical and psychological harm.

The boy's mother had custody, but the couple's 2003 divorce decree had given the father the right to offer advice on medical decisions.

The mother's attorney, Tracy Rizzo, claimed the father only disagreed with the circumcision because he resented the fact that his ex-wife had remarried and her new husband was Jewish.

But Cook County Circuit Court Judge Jordan Kaplan sided with the father, saying the boy could decide for himself whether he wanted to be circumcised when he was 18, and until then, there would be no circumcision.

In the October 2006 ruling, the judge called circumcision "an extraordinary medical procedure as it relates to a 9-year-old child."

The case highlighted the debate over circumcision and whether it is harmful to young boys.

"It was a rare case that was carried all over the world," Toback said. "We were doing interviews in China. They were so interested in this particular issue."

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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