Thursday, December. 5, 1996
page 19A - Regional Briefing

Circumcision fight goes on
Bismarck, N.D.

   A Minnesota attorney who wants routine circumcisions out-
lawed says he will continue to fight a North Dakota law that pro-
tects girls, but not boys, from having their genitals mutilated.

   Zenas Baer of Hawley, Minn, said Wednesday he also plans to
challenge a similar federal law.  Meanwhile, other lawyers may
take up the issue in their states, he said.

   "We're networking and trying to provide a challenge in a
number of different jurisdictions," Baer said.

   A law enacted by the 1995 North Dakota Legislature prohibits
the mutilation of genitals in girls age 17 and younger.  Baer
represents four plaintiffs who are seeking to have the law
declared unconstitutional.

   Baer said the law amounts to gender discrimination because it
does not protect baby boys from routine circumcisions, which he
compares to the mutilation of female genitals.

   "I don't know what the distinction is," he said.  That law ...
is providing a benefit to girls that is not similarly there for
young boys."

   U.S. District Judge Patric Conmy in October dismissed Baer's
challenge of the law.  The plaintiffs include a mother and her
infant who was circumcised last year with the father's consent
but not hers.
Compiled from wire reports.

(File revised 25 November 2003)