Attorneys for the Rights of the Child Newsletter
Executive Director’s Message
As I am writing this, we are nearlya quarter of the way through a new year. We may now have a better perspective on events of the past year and a clearer vision of what may be coming in the future. Personally, 2010 marked my 50th birthday, as well as my 16th full year of intactivism and ARC’s 14th year. Given my initial plans to maintain ARC for no longer than seven years, the approximate time for which my mentor Tim Hammond of NOHARMM was active, I am amazed and delighted to find myself still enjoying the work.
You are holding in your hands (or reading on the computer) the final issue of our eighth volume. Al Fields was the newsletter editor for almost every one of those newsletters, and we recently celebrated our eleventh anniversary of doing the newsletters together. He was literally instrumental to the survival of this organization. I recently went through all the ARC paper files, a real trip down memory lane that included a discovery of the original facsimile sheets of Volume 1, Number 1 (eight pages in length) that he sent me while I was attending a confer- ence on gender issues in rural Jamaica organized by the man who eventually co-authored an Oxford University Press book on gender issues with me, Warren Farrell.
So a big round of applause please for Al as he moves on to other projects and we welcome a new editor, Margaret Copeland.
This issue of the ARC Newsletter contains several items that we hope will be of great interest. Happily, there is much to be excited about.
Last month, South Carolina became the seventeenth state to not fund circumcision through its Medicaid program. Hearteningly, and some might even say remarkably, this decision was made by that state’s officials after consulting with representatives of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Whether this signals a lasting sea change in the AAP’s sympathy for genital integrity remains to be seen, but it is certainly welcome news in any event.
As discussed in the newsletter you have in your hands, signatures are currently being collected on a petition so that San Francisco voters can pass a measure to ban circumcision at the election next year. Details regarding the Vienna International AIDS Conference are reported in this issue thanks to IA and the team of activists present onsite in Vienna including MN (an Intact America volunteer), Stuart Worthington, Brian O’Donnell, and Ken Drabik.
Lisa Braver Moss has published a very accessible, entertaining, and thought-provoking novel that is reviewed in this issue and that should help to further publicize and render more easily accessible our concerns. As reported in detail through text and photos in this issue, keynote speaker Dr. Dean Edell and numerous outstanding presenters helped make NOCIRC’s eleventh symposium, held in Berkeley at the end of July, one of the best ever.
We also include for your reading pleasure Daniel Miller’s excellent first-hand account — exclusive to this newsletter — of his experiences as a circumcised young man, and Maurene White’s report on the October Washington, DC Rally to Restore Sanity. Frank McGinness, Lloyd Schofield, and Richard Kurylo contribute two succinct reports on the success of intactivists at San Francisco’s Folsom Street and Castro Street Fairs, as well as several news reports on Mario Viera’s wrongful circumcision in Florida and the heartening news of the campaign to protect baby boys that has ensued in the wake of that sad event. Intact America Executive Director and ARC Secretary Georganne Chapin updates us on the AAP conference. Two superlative blogs and several news items are also packed into our newsletter. One important news item from December: A Swedish court, for the first time ever in the now ten-year history of their circumcision law, has sentenced a person to prison for per- forming illegal circumcisions.
Death is of course a part of life and we must sadly hold our hats and acknoledge the astonishing ach ievement s of Dr. John Taylor,who passed away earlier this year. Harry Meislahn, who knew him and his wife well, has kindly contributed the remembrance you can read in these pages. I never met the man but greatly benefited from his scholarship over the years, had some engaging and insightful telephone and email exchanges with him, and was treated to Marilyn Milos’s reading of what was probably his final paper at the Berkeley Symposium this past July.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), despite some imperfect and incomplete data, has announced that newborn circumcision rates have plunged to about one in three babies. While a small additional number are presumably being cut after hospital discharge, still this is astonishingly good news. There is not a person reading these words who should not rightly take some credit for this astonishing success, which is certainly attributable in substantial work to all the labors of all intactivists over the years, including of course NOCIRC, Intact America (IA), Doctors Opposing Circumcision, and Attorneys for the Rights of the Child. As we discussed at length in our previous last newsletter, the American Academy of Pediatrics saw fit to issue through its Committee on Bioethics an
astonishingly wrongheaded position statement condoning certain forms of female genital cutting (FGC), then was forced to retract the statement within a month, lamely claiming it didn’t mean what it had said and incidentally also bringing to global attention the issue of male genital cutting.
The Dutch Medical Association proactively contacted us to announce that it had issued what is likely the most robustly and uniformly pro-intact position statement ever crafted. The Royal Australian College of Physicians (RACP) issued a position statement in September that while unfortunately taking a couple steps back from the truly excellent one they issued eight years ago, still clearly rejects the necessity of neonatal circumcision.
We still happily have nothing at all to report regarding new position statements from either the AAP or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It continues to seem possible that all our hard work is delaying, and perhaps even permanently halting, the anti-intact position statements that once seemed imminent from both of these organizations.
ARC website upgrades continue apace, as does work in conjunction with Georganne Chapin on the “Know Your Rights” legal brochure, due to be unveiled later this year. Social Networking Coordinator Travis Konzelman, the newest addition, has energetically taken on intensive work on expanding our exposure and effectiveness at interfacing with Facebook and similar entities.
We appreciate so much the support each of you offers us, whether it be emotional, financial, logistical, as colleagues, or a combination of these roles. I have said it before and will continue to reiterate that we literally could not do it without you! As has always been the case since we started, 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 94705, or made through paypal at our website (www.arclaw.org/donate) or using the paypal address firstname.lastname@example.org.
Inside This Issue
My Circumcision Story
Daniel Miller … 1
South Carolina Medicaid Ceases Funding of Routine Infant Male Circumcision
Michael Tucker … 2
International AIDS Society Conference
Brian O’Donnell … 3
International AIDS Society Conference
MN, an Intact America volunteer … 4
11th NOCIRC International Symposium, Berkeley, CA
J. Steven Svoboda … 6
Folsom Street Fair
Frank McGinness, Lloyd Schofield, and Richard Kurylo … 8
Castro Street Fair
Richard Kurylo, Lloyd Schofield, and Frank McGinness … 9
Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear
Maurene White … 9
Florida Woman Sues Hospital after Son Circumcised Against Her Wishes
Anonymous … 10
Miami Hospital Circumcises Baby by Mistake
Susan Donaldson James … 10
Accidental Circumcision Leads to Lawsuit, Protest
Fred Tasker … 11
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Conference
Georganne Chapin … 12
In Honor of the Memory of Dr. John R. Taylor
Harry S. Meislahn … 13
Letter to My Intact Son: Why I Kept You Whole
Ashley G. … 14
A Post About Very Small Penises
Sarah Schlothan Christensen … 15
Executive Director’s Message
J. Steven Svoboda … 16
J. Steven Svoboda … 18