Intact America

 

 

 


FEBRUARY 2018

 

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!


Voices: The first in our new Voices series appears below. Writer Sally Parker talks about how she became aware of the circumcision issue and the intactivist movement. Sally is also serving as the Editor for Voices. She will happily work with you if you’d like to make YOUR voice heard about how circumcision has impacted your life. We’d love to hear from you! For more information about participating in Voices, see here.

Lawsuit about Forced Foreskin Retraction: Last month, Atlanta attorney David Llewellyn filed a landmark malpractice lawsuit against a major pediatric hospital in that city, describing that organization’s defiance of current pediatric care guidelines, and its nursing staff’s systematic violation of patients’ rights in the case of a 2-month-old intact baby boy. For more information, see this month’s Do You Know, and also my recent blog post.

Intact America is working on an exciting new initiative – our Foreskin Protection Campaign. We’ll tell you more about it in our March newsletter and how you can help.

Stay tuned!



Georganne Chapin

 

 

NEWS & UPDATES:


PR Web: Infant and parents sue Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Inc. for alleged forced retraction of foreskin. Read more >>

Metro UK: Nurse ‘forcibly tore’ baby’s foreskin ‘all the way back’ to deal with vomiting problem. Read more >>

Washington Times: Iceland considers ban on circumcision. Read more >>

Forward: Circumcision rates are slipping — even in Israel. Read more >>

Romper: Let's discuss the circumcision decision, and why moms need to have an opinion on it. Read more >>

Quartz: The industrialized world is turning against circumcision. It’s time for the US to consider doing the same. Read more >>

CPH Post: Ban circumcision for boys under-18s, says Intact Denmark.
Read more >>

Lisa Braver Moss: "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" — Non-circumcising families in the Jewish community. Watch >>

 

INTACT AMERICA'S "VOICES" SERIES — Sally Parker

 


Welcome to Intact America’s new column! Voices is a place to share the stories of how circumcision has affected us. It’s for everyone who has a story to share—men, parents, health care professionals, partners and questioners of all kinds. You don’t have to be a flag-waving, parade-marching, Facebook-savvy intactivist to contribute – just tell us how you became aware, and what you are doing as a result.


As Editor of the new Voices column for Intact America, I thought it only fitting to start with my story. The urgency of this issue is relatively new to me, but over the years it tugged at the edges of my conscience, like a toothache that flares up from time to time. Cutting the penis of a baby just didn’t seem right.

 
On the other hand, I had vague knowledge of health claims in favor of it—disease prevention, that sort of thing. And so, without thinking about it too much, like most people I accepted routine removal of the foreskin as a temporarily painful but necessary thing, like a vaccination or a swab of alcohol on a cut.

 
That all changed last year when I met Intact America Executive Director Georganne Chapin. We talked about collaborating on some writing projects, and she told me about IA. I had no idea such a movement existed. Georganne told me that the U.S. medical community’s claims of health benefits from circumcision were untrue. But I wanted to find out for myself. So I dug in, first googling the history of circumcision and then soaking up all I could about why people say it’s medically justifiable.

 
I came away convinced that it is not. Furthermore, it is a violation of basic human rights, since baby boys have no say in what is being done to their bodies. It causes tremendous pain, and creates an open wound prone to infection. For many, scarring is the result—both physical and emotional.

 
The body is an amazing machine. All the parts have a purpose. Why remove a natural, protective, healthy body part if it’s not medically necessary to do so?
I grappled with the religion question. But I learned that even among parents who might opt to circumcise for this reason, a growing number are forgoing it and preserving the true meaning of the ceremony in other ways.

 
Last summer I spoke with a woman who grew up in England. Sarah has two young boys and is married to an American man who was circumcised as an infant. In Europe, circumcision is the exception. It floors her that the practice is still prevalent in the United States today.

 
Now, this intrigued me. I’d assumed the U.S. was on the leading edge of medical care. Learning that European doctors speak out against child circumcision, I wondered how we could be so out of step with our peers in Europe? What do they know that we don’t? Suffice it to say, Europeans don’t have higher rates of the diseases that circumcision is supposed to prevent.

 
I tend to stay on the fringe of movements, supporting quietly, researching, writing. I’ve been a journalist for years, and I strive to see all sides in matters of debate and do my homework. This issue tugs at my heart—for the needless trauma inflicted on babies, for the U.S. medical establishment’s myopic stance, and for any man who has struggled as a result.

 
I’m taking baby steps to speak up. My friend recently gave birth to a boy. Before he was born, I surprised myself by asking if she and her husband were going to have him circumcised. Her husband didn’t want to, and she was on the fence. I wouldn’t have judged them or been surprised if they had; it is just what we do in this country.

I pointed her to IA’s circumcisiondebate.org and casually mentioned a couple of highlights. When they chose not to circumcise, I was happy and relieved. I may not be a flag waver, but I can point someone to a website. I know progress when I see it.


Sally Parker

 

Interested in lending your voice? Send an email to [email protected], giving us a brief summary of what you would like to write about, and we will get back to you.

 

DO YOU KNOW FORCED FORESKIN RETRACTION IS AN EPIDEMIC — AND IS ALSO MEDICAL MALPRACTICE?

 


Unfortunately, parents who have taken a stand and said NO to the circumcision of their baby boys now have another worry: an iatrogenic1 epidemic of forced foreskin retraction, fueled by the same ignorance and phobias that have perpetrated the uniquely American infant circumcision industry. (I talked about forced foreskin retraction in Intact America’s October-November newsletter.) Preliminary results of a new national survey commissioned by Intact America, and conducted by the reputable polling firm Qualtrics, show that at least one out of three intact boys under the age of six years has had his foreskin forcibly retracted.


As part of our ongoing work, Intact America has been fighting this epidemic, publishing information about care of the intact penis, and answering personal inquiries from parents whose sons have been victims of over-zealous doctors or nurses. Another intactivist organization, Doctors Opposing Circumcision, has filed numerous official complaints on behalf of parents and their sons to state medical boards.

 
Now, the battle is escalating. In January 2018, Atlanta attorney David Llewellyn filed an important lawsuit against a major pediatric hospital in that city, describing that organization’s defiance of current pediatric care guidelines, and its nursing staff’s systematic violation of patients’ rights.

 
Alleging battery; nursing malpractice; intentional infliction of emotional distress; willful, wanton and reckless misconduct; and negligent failure to protect a patient, Park v. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta details the actions of a nurse at Children’s, who – without conversation or warning – ripped away the foreskin of an intact toddler in order to insert a urinary catheter, causing him severe pain, bleeding and emotional distress. The complaint also describes the defiant attitude taken by other hospital staff, who insisted that the hospital’s protocol calling for nurses and doctors to forcibly retract all intact boys’ foreskins was derived from current established medical recommendations, erroneously claimed that the child’s foreskin put him at risk of disease, and shamed his parents for not having had their son circumcised.
 

The medical literature, including guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics, is clear: An intact boy’s foreskin should NEVER be forcibly retracted.

 
If your son has been a victim of forced foreskin retraction at the hands of medical professionals, we encourage you to complain in writing to the doctor who performed the retraction and the facility where this took place. At a minimum, you should provide them with factual information, such as this article by Carmack and Milos and this information sheet. You should also file a complaint with your state’s medical board or office of professional discipline. Finally, you may wish to file a lawsuit. Should you choose to do so, Intact America can help you or your attorney with the pertinent resources. Contact us at [email protected] or write to Georganne Chapin directly at [email protected].

 


 

 

 

1. I.e., caused by the medical system. Iatrogenesis refers to any effect on a person, resulting from any activity of one or more persons acting as healthcare professionals or promoting products or services as beneficial to health that does not support a goal of the person affected.]*

 

INTACT AMERICA IS ON YOUTUBE!


Every week, our YouTube curator and 2011 Intactivist of the Month, Shelton Walden uploads both new and vintage clips, covering the many perspectives of circumcision in the United States and beyond.

Feel free to browse our videos and audio files, and share them with friends.

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CHECK OUT OUR INTACTIVIST GEAR


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Intact America
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IntactAmerica.org
 

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