Attorneys for the Rights of the Child Newsletter

Executive Director’s Message

Here we are in the middle of 2010 already, on the eve of NOCIRC’s eleventh symposium (and my eighth in a row). I am excited that this event will be held in my hometown of Berkeley, at the university where I studied physics over a quarter century ago!

We hope this issue of the newsletter, our 23rd in all, finds you well. It is our largest, both in terms of page length and number of individual contributions. Thanks to our numerous generous contributors, we had an opportunity to explore a few timely issues in depth—the recent flurry of statements on female genital cutting (FGC) by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Genital Integrity Awareness Week 2010, and the hearing on the Massachusetts legislation to outlaw male and female genital cutting. (The Massachusetts bill was eventually rejected behind closed doors.)

Above all else, the AAP flip-flop involved a puzzling, even bizarre series of events. (In addition to several different perspectives on the AAP’s reversal of its position, this issue’s AAP section also includes our published letter to Pediatrics and our letter to the AAP Committee that authored the position statement.) We also look more briefly at the Royal Dutch Medical Association’s outstanding statement opposing male circumcision and the American Medical Students Association convention.

Continued thanks to veteran editor Al Fields. I keep saying I couldn’t do it without him (and without our financial supporters) for the simple reason that it is true.

Two entertaining blogs are reprinted with permission, and the titles say it all—“Feminism and Male Circumcision” and (with tongue planted firmly in cheek) “The Case for Female Circumcision.” We are pleased to report two pieces of good news from Scandinavia--a lawsuit ordering Finnish parents to compensate their son for a circumcision, and Swedish doctors who are refusing to perform circumcisions. The health benefits of circumcision are reported to be virtually non-existent in a newspaper article we are reprinting.

We happily still have nothing at all to report regarding new position statements from either the AAP or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). At this point, it seems certain that it is primarily the movement’s hard work and strenuous activism that is continuing to delay, perhaps permanently, pro-circumcision announcements from these organizations.

I am pleased to introduce experienced attorney and new ARC Legal Analyst Peter Adler, who hails from Massachusetts and who authored several of the pieces in this newsletter. Welcome aboard, Peter! ARC Webmaster Rick King continues to do a fantastic job upgrading and updating our website’s organization, appearance, and content. Thanks to Georganne Chapin’s and Intact America’s help, the appearance on our website of two “Know Your Rights” brochures for potential litigants—a short version and a long version—is imminent.

We recently learned that the American Cancer Society has apparently retracted their previous strongly anti-circumcision statement, and are working with colleagues to undo the changes they made in their website relating to these matters.

Thanks so much to each of you for your support, be it emotional, financial, or both. We literally could not do it without you! As has always been the case since we started over thirteen years ago, no one at ARC receives any sort of stipend, and 100% of all tax-deductible donations go directly to defraying the costs of safeguarding 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 Fall. Until then, I look forward to seeing many of you at the symposium.

J. Steven Svoboda
Executive Director