Attorneys for the Rights of the Child Newsletter

Message from the Executive Director

Greetings to all. We are back, and we are happy (and astonished) to be presenting our twentieth newsletter to the intactivist community. Back in 2000, when newsletter editor Al Fields and I started faxing each other drafts of the first issue with me at a conference in Jamaica and him at home in Pennsylvania, little did we suspect we’d make it this far. Heartfelt thanks, Al, from me and, if I may so presume, from all of us!

We have a number of items we are able to present in this issue of the ARC Newsletter that we hope and trust will be of great interest.

The issue in your hands features a first-hand account by Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon of the making of his excellent film Cut: Slicing Through the Myths of Circumcision and an adapted version of Zenas Baer’s presentation at the NOCIRC Symposium regarding a hospital’s duty relating to “informed consent.”

We are excited to also present a story by ARC Secretary Georganne Chapin about a new organization, Intact America (IA), of which she will be Executive Director. I am one of a small number of activists working closely with IA as a charter member of its board, and am hopeful that its arrival will herald further change in the air in 2009 and beyond.

This issue also includes my report on the September NOCIRC Symposium at the University of Keele in England, and a review by Amber Craig of David Gisselquist’s recent book about HIV, the developing world, and public health, Points to Consider: Responses to HIV/AIDS in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean.

As reported elsewhere in this issue, this year has been utterly unprecedented in terms of our success at publishing our articles and reviews. We had two very productive, rewarding trips to conferences in England, the Keele symposium and the July interdisciplinary event in London that brought together activists from a broad range of disciplines relating to genital cutting.

We have been so busy with our projects (not to mention the most demanding paying job I have ever held in my nearly 49 years) that upgrading the ARC website ( has temporarily slowed, but with ARC Webmaster Rick King’s able assistance, it continues and will be accelerating in January and afterwards. Further improvements are coming next year, as is—with ARC Secretary Georganne Chapin’s invaluable help--finalizing the long-nascent “Know Your Rights” brochure for potential plaintiffs.

Thanks so much to each of you for your emotional and financial support. We literally could not do it without you, and we never forget that! As always, no one at ARC receives any sort of stipend, and 100% of all taxdeductible donations are directly applied to defraying the costs of protecting children. Donations can be sent to J. Steven Svoboda, ARC, 2961 Ashby Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94707, or made through paypal at our website ( or using the paypal address

 Our next issue will be out in the Spring. Until then, we hope you had the Merriest Christmas and the Happiest Hanukkah, and we wish you a truly Joyous New Year!

Steven Svoboda