News Story Edit:
California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Sunday a bill that prevents local governments from banning the practice of male circumcision.
The legislation comes in response to an effort this summer by a San Francisco Bay Area advocacy group opposed to the practice.
The legislation prohibits local governments from “restricting the practice of male circumcision” and “declares that the laws affecting male circumcision must have uniform application throughout the state.”
Once again, in California, the state steps in to prevent the prevention of harm to people, while allowing local laws that protect animals to stand.
Just as Californians in the same ballot took marriage away from gays and lesbians while voting for more legal protection for chickens and how they are caged and managed; does California now strike down the ability of cities and counties to ban the surgical alteration of infant male penises but allows cities to pass bylaws to prevent veterinarians from de-clawing cats, such as is the case in Hollywood.
Now usually, I’m happy when animals get considered on par treatment with humans, but there’s something wrong with not giving humans the same consideration as we give to animals.
Yes, we need to humanely manage livestock – yes, we need to ensure the best health care and maintainance of animals we choose to have as pets/companions in our homes.
But we also have to remember that the same compassion that we extend to factory farm animals and house pets, is also needed for people.
When a parent endangers their child, there are state mechanism to intervene – parents who forgo medical treatment for faith healing do get criminally charged when their children die of preventable and treatable illnesses. When parents neglect, abuse, starve or otherwise torture their child, the state intervenes.
So when parents opt to surgically alter their child, when there is no medical need, based solely on personal preference and religious traditions – the state has an interest to intervene.
That city and regions are able to legislate for their community is a setting of community standards – and perhaps that’s what’s needed for the state to set the standard, when enough communities have said, it is no more acceptable to declaw cats than it is to de-foreskin male infants.
Of course, any comparison of how animals and humans – as if humans aren’t also animals – are treated medically brings us to the entree issue: euthanasia – death with dignity, a chosen death at the juncture of when there is no or too little quality of life to ensure the pain, humiliations, intolerable conditions of a slow decent towards oblivion.
Just as we pet owners must decide when our pet’s ability to be comforted by petting, consuming food and water and ability to toilet itself is no longer possible or sufficient against the effort of achieving these, so too must people be allowed to determine at what point continued and declining existence is no longer worth the effort of going through the motions of life.
And, a medical profession that is sworn to do no harm, is not at all in conflict with death with dignity.
Because dying peacefully through medical assistance – something that is done in every American state with the death penalty – is something that the state could sanction and doctor’s administer and this would reduce harm to the dying person by ending the long and painful, drawn out deaths. Save wear and tear on the families who watch helpless as their loved one dies bit by bit.
Doing no harm needs to be understood on a larger scale than simply attempting to treat and then maintain and then manage the patient – but to actually prevent the injury to their last days, to their family – to provide a cleaner and more dignified death, at a time of their choosing – what could be less harmful than to make death itself less painful for everyone connected to the passing?