Attorneys for the Rights of the Child Newsletter

Executive Director’s Message

Greetings. Newsletter editor Al Fields and I hope you enjoy the current newsletter issue, which is jam-packed with news and features, reflecting the recent wealth of developments relating to genital integrity. And here’s the best part: a lot of the recent news has been positive. This issue includes several wonderful feature articles including not one but TWO first-hand reports by Dan Bollinger and Aubrey Taylor on the recent HIV conference held in Atlanta and organized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); and a delegate’s report by longtime activist Martin Novoa on the movement’s successes at the recently concluded International AIDS Society meeting in Cape Town, South Africa. Tasmania Children’s Commissioner Paul Mason has authorized us to transcribe and print his historic speech at the groundbreaking FORWARD-NORM-UK press conference held in London on September 3, 2008. James Loewen contributes an eyewitness photojournalistic report on Genital Integrity Awareness Week and the first Intact America Awards in March-April of this year in Washington, DC.

John Geisheker provides yet another of his learned yet accessible updates on the ongoing drama of the Boldt v. Boldt legal case in Oregon. (The latest news is very good.) Also included are a review of an important new book on female genital cutting that also addresses issues relating to male genital integrity, and a list of contents of two recently published books: the Springer volume Circumcision and Human Rights collecting essays from the 2006 Seattle NOCIRC Symposium and Rodopi’s Fearful Symmetries book. (We have one article in the Springer book and two in the Rodopi book.) News items include stories from the US, South Africa, Uganda, and Australia, and regarding lawsuits in the US and UK. Press releases are reprinted from the International Coalition for Genital Integrity (ICGI), MGMBill.Org, and from the Tasmania Law Reform Institute regarding their Issues Paper Number 14 on Non-Therapeutic Male Circumcision. One major new development: News stories on circumcision are starting to routinely mention intactivism. Since our last issue, articles have appeared in the New York Times (as reprinted here), the Chicago Tribune (also reprinted here), the San Francisco Chronicle, Cleveland Plain Dealer, and other publications too numerous to mention.

The Tasmanian Issues Paper is an important development as it may be the first position paper to be issued by law reform institute that centrally addresses male circumcision. Its creation by the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute (TLRI) may reflect the growing understanding of the importance of protecting male as well as female genital integrity, the precise topic of the article by Rob Darby and myself in the Fearful Symmetries book. ARC has submitted a formal response to this Issues Paper along with a number of articles we urged the TLRI to review.

Perhaps the best recent news is a backpedaling statement that the CDC posted on August 27 ( The CDC was apparently directly responding to the intactivist presence at their HIV conference, which ended the preceding day. The statement said that the CDC’s upcoming circumcision recommendation would be “completely voluntary” and may simply be a recommendation that parents be educated about risks and benefits so they can make an informed decision. Also welcome was the Royal Australian College of Physicians’ (RACP’s) recent reaffirmation of their previous findings that neonatal circumcision lacks medical justification and raises ethical and human rights concerns. (Go to and select the August 27, 2009 position statement.)

Much has been happening at ARC. In late April, Marilyn Milos of NOCIRC and I teamed up for a well-received presentation, "Circumcision: Past, Present, Future," given at the annual convention of the Association for Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and Health (APPPAH), held this year in Pacific Grove, California.

As noted elsewhere in this issue, our publication success has continued in 2009, with the appearance of the Fearful Symmetries and Circumcision and Human Rights books and the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics paper written by Bob Van Howe and myself addressing—for the first time, we believe—the incompatibility of circumcision research with ethical and human rights obligations imposed by the Helsinki Declaration. Social & Legal Studies is publishing two of my book reviews that originally appeared in the ARC Newsletter. Our writing efforts continue to strive to broaden perspectives on genital integrity and related issues.

Webmaster Rick King and I were able to find the time to accelerate extensive enhancement of the ARC website. I am excited that, with the help of ARC Secretary Georganne Chapin, Intact America General Counsel Irene Dillon and I are nearing completion of two different “Know Your Rights” brochures for potential plaintiffs.

I am very pleased that in addition to the ARC Newsletter’s longstanding and mutually beneficial relationship with ProQuest, the two other leading content providers, EBSCO and Gale, have now also selected this Newsletter to be included in the journals it provides to thousands of libraries across North America and the world.

Thanks as always to every one of you for your emotional and financial support. When I say we could not do it without you, I am quite serious, and it is something we never take for granted. As always, no one at ARC receives any sort of stipend, so that 100% of your tax-deductible donation is put to work defraying the costs of protecting children. Donations can be sent to J. Steven Svoboda, ARC, 2961 Ashby Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94705, or made through Paypal at our website ( or using the Paypal address

Our next issue will be out for the Winter Holidays. Until then, we wish you all the best this world has to offer!

J. Steven Svoboda
Executive Director
Attorneys for the Rights of the Child