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Press Release: Having a Baby Boy? Get Ready for the Circumcision Sellers!

Media Contact:
Jeannie Ashford, Harrison Edwards PR
[email protected]
914.242.0010 x 3 (office) or 914.318.1568 (mobile)
 

A Groundbreaking Intact America Survey Finds Doctors, Nurses,
and Midwives Actively Solicit Moms to Have Their Sons Circumcised

 

78% of Mothers Had Their Sons Circumcised if Health Providers Asked,
Compared to Only 45% of Mothers Who Were Not Asked

 

“Doctors Tell Us They Circumcise Boys Only Because Parents Want It. This Survey Proves Otherwise”— Georganne Chapin, Executive Director, Intact America

 

(Tarrytown, New York—November 16, 2020) — A new study released by Intact America reveals that circumcision of baby boys is routinely and often aggressively pushed by physicians, nurses, and midwives, even if parents have not expressed interest in the procedure. Survey results, tabulated by Qualtrics, a widely used survey provider, show that new mothers are solicited eight times on average by health care professionals, “even though no medical society in the world, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommends surgically removing the foreskin of healthy baby boys,” said Georganne Chapin, executive director of Intact America, the nation’s largest advocacy organization seeking to end routine circumcision in the United States.

The Intact America 2020 survey is the first time researchers have shown the direct correlation between solicitation and an increased circumcision rate. Survey results indicate that solicitation increased circumcisions by 173%. Only 45% of new mothers circumcised their sons without being asked, compared to 78% of new mothers who had been solicited. New mothers agreed to the procedure after only one or two asks. Even a “soft sell,” such as giving the mother a consent form to perform the procedure, increased circumcisions by 137%.

Tellingly, the survey also found that 21% of mothers who agreed to allow their sons to be circumcised wished they had done more research on the topic, and 10% regretted their choice.

“For years, we’ve heard from parents, especially mothers, about having been pressured or coerced by doctors and nurses to circumcise their sons, but the impact and scope of solicitation has never been measured before,” said Chapin. “The survey shows solicitation directly and dramatically drives up the infant circumcision rate. Soliciting this unnecessary surgery has to end.”

Chapin continued, “Doctors tell us they circumcise boys only because parents want it, but this survey proves otherwise. Both doctors and nurses (including nurse midwives) give mothers the impression that circumcision is, if not necessary, ‘normal’ or desirable, so parents agree to permanently alter their sons’ genitals. But they don’t tell parents the whole story: that circumcision is painful, reduces sexual sensitivity for the man the baby will become, and can lead to lifelong trauma.”

About the Survey
Intact America worked with Qualtrics to send the circumcision solicitation survey to a national, random sample of 2,519 mothers who had given birth to a boy in the past four years. The survey defined “solicitation” as every time a physician, midwife, or nurse either verbally asked the mother if she wanted to circumcise her son; recommended she circumcise her son; told her that circumcision was required; handed her a circumcision consent form; or assumed (as perceived by the mother) that she wanted to circumcise her son.

Survey results (with a 3% margin of error) revealed numerous noteworthy facts:

  • 94% of mothers were solicited to have their baby boys circumcised.
  • 78% of mothers who were solicited agreed to have their sons circumcised.
  • 45% of mothers who had not been solicited allowed their sons to be circumcised.
  • “Soft sells,” such as being handed a consent form, increased circumcisions by 137%.
  • The average number of solicitations was 8.
  • Solicitation, in all forms, increased circumcisions by 173%.
  • 71% of mothers said they would have asked about circumcision without prompting.
  • 18% of mothers said they would not have thought to ask about circumcision.
  • 21% of mothers who agreed to having their sons circumcised said that they wish they had done more research.
  • 10% of mothers regretted their choice.
  • Physicians were responsible for 3 out of 5 solicitations; nurses and midwives were responsible for the remainder.

Why This Matters
Each year, an estimated 1.5 million baby boys are circumcised in American medical settings. Intact America estimates that if circumcision solicitations were to cease, 600,000 boys—and the men they will become—would be spared every year from the trauma and lifelong consequences of the procedure.

Chapin, an attorney with broad knowledge of health law and bioethics, believes that medical solicitation of infant male circumcision breaches several well-established ethical boundaries (see link) and the goal of health care equity.

Chapin said that Intact America will use the survey’s findings to mount a major campaign to halt the solicitation of circumcision by U.S. medical professionals, end public and private insurance payments for the procedure, and create an intact-informed society that is foreskin-positive and educated about the male genitalia.

“Instead of handing out consent forms, medical professionals should distribute educational materials on how to care for a baby’s intact penis,” Chapin said. “It’s so easy. Leave it alone and wash his penis like you do his fingers. His foreskin will retract in its own good time, by late puberty, if not before.”

The public is invited to begin its research into circumcision by visiting CircumcisionDebate.org, a companion site of IntactAmerica.org.

About Intact America
Intact America is the largest national advocacy group working to end involuntary child genital cutting in America and to ensure healthy sexual futures for all people. It does this by challenging social and sexual norms and empowering supporters and volunteers through advocacy and education. To learn more about the issues involved in the current conversation about newborn male circumcision, visit IntactAmerica.org and CircumcisionDebate.org, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Pride 2020

Join Our Intactivist Pride Virtual Event!

Virtual pride event hosted by Intact America
Pride 2020 events have been cancelled around the country, but Intact America is making it easy for you to come out as a Proud Intactivist from the safety of your home. Here’s how:

Download and print your “PROUD INTACTIVIST” button (below). Cut it out and fill in your name. Then – after dressing in your best Pride regalia (or boring everyday outfit) – hold that sign up, smile, shoot a selfie, and send it to us at [email protected].

We’ll assemble the photos into an awesome online Pride celebration later in the Summer.

Remember, nobody ever changed the world by staying anonymous!

Virtual Intactivist Pride Event Button 2020

Click on the image to download the button PDF to print.

 

Intact America Tells Sandra Bullock and Ellen DeGeneres That Using Korean Baby Foreskin in a Facial Product Is No Laughing Matter!

TARRYTOWN, NY—MAY 23, 2018

Georganne Chapin, executive director of Intact America, released the following statement today in response to the highly insensitive comments made last week by Sandra Bullock and Ellen DeGeneres about using Korean baby foreskin in a facial procedure. The comments were made when DeGeneres interviewed Bullock on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” that aired Thursday, May 17, 2018. The interview can be viewed here; the insensitive comments begin at 2:45.

“That Bullock and DeGeneres could joke about using foreskins, taken without consent from Korean baby boys, for a beauty treatment indicates a total lack of understanding of the ethics involved.

“The foreskin is a normal, healthy, integral part of the male genitalia. It belongs to the baby—and to the man he will become. Its removal is painful, not medically necessary, and will deprive its owner of a lifetime of sexual pleasure. How ironic it is that these celebrities think of the male foreskin as something that’s okay to be chopped off and thrown away, but at the same time are willing to spend a fortune on luxury beauty products containing extracts from this pirated tissue.

“Imagine the outrage and shock if parts of the female genitalia were removed and used in hair-loss treatments for men.

“Celebrities and others with megaphone power need to think first before they joke about what amounts to tissue piracy.”

ABOUT INTACT AMERICA
Intact America is the largest national advocacy group working to end involuntary circumcision in America, and to ensure a healthy sexual future for all people. Intact America is based in Tarrytown, New York. For more information, visit Intact America at https://www.intactamerica.org, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/intactamerica, and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/intactamerica.

New Survey Finds That 4 Out of 10 Uncircumcised Boys Have Had Their Foreskins Forcibly Retracted by the Age of 7

New Survey Finds That 4 Out of 10 Uncircumcised Boys Have Had Their Foreskins Forcibly Retracted by the Age of 7

Medical Literature Says Forced Retraction Is Never Indicated, but Doctors, Nurses, and Parents Persist in This Painful and Damaging Practice

Intact America Releases the Survey Today at the 15th International Symposium on Genital Autonomy and Children’s Rights in San Francisco

Tarrytown, NY—May 6, 2018

Although the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) explicitly states that a baby’s or young boy’s foreskin should never be forcibly detached from the glans, a new survey shows that doctors, nurses, and parents routinely ignore this warning because they do not understand the anatomy and development of the normal penis in babies and young boys.

The groundbreaking survey will be released today by Intact America, the nation’s largest anti-circumcision advocacy group, which conducted the study. The survey found that a staggering 43.4 percent of intact (uncircumcised) boys have had their foreskins forcibly retracted by the age of seven.

According to the AAP, “Forcing the foreskin to retract before it is ready can cause severe pain, bleeding, and tears in the skin.”

“We have heard many anecdotal stories about little boys suffering pain, bleeding, and scarring because a doctor, nurse, or parent forcibly separated the boy’s foreskin from his glans,” explains Georganne Chapin, executive director of Intact America. “But when we analyzed the survey results, we were shocked to see how prevalent this practice really is.”

The Intact America survey found that close to 50 percent of forced retractions were done by physicians, and nine percent of them were performed by nurses. More than 25 percent of parents said either they or their spouse had forced their son’s foreskin back.

Foreskins Retract Naturally
Ms. Chapin explains that at birth, a boy’s foreskin is attached to the glans (or head of the penis) by a membrane that dissolves gradually as the boy approaches puberty. The age at which the foreskin naturally detaches from the glans varies. According to the British Medical Journal, only 25 percent of five-year-old boys can comfortably pull back their foreskins. The Intact America survey discovered, however, that 70 percent of retractions occurred before boys reached the age of three, leading Ms. Chapin to ask, “so why are doctors and nurses tearing the membrane to retract the foreskin in one-year-old and two-year-old boys?”

The answer, she says, is that circumcision is so ingrained in American culture that health professionals know little about caring for intact boys. “They think you have to clean under the foreskin, but the foreskin actually protects the baby boy’s penis from bacteria and irritants because it tightly adheres to the glans. Germs and dirt can’t find a way in,” she says.

Permanent Damage
In addition to the pain it inflicts on the child, forced foreskin retraction can permanently damage the boy’s genitals. The Pediatric Urology Department at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles advises parents of intact sons that “The foreskin should be left alone until it can be pulled back easily. The head of the penis does not need to be cleaned until this occurs. Trying to pull the foreskin back too soon may result in tearing it from the head of the penis, with scarring, bleeding, and phimosis.”

“It has become quite common in the United States for doctors, nurses, and other parents to tell mommies that they need to retract their son’s foreskin when he bathes,” writes Adrienne Carmack, MD, a board-certified urological surgeon and author of The Good Mommy’s Guide to Her Little Boy’s Penis. Dr. Carmack warns parents, “Do not retract your son’s foreskin, and do not allow anyone else to do so…Pulling on this sensitive tissue can cause tearing and lead to infections and scarring. Many boys who need emergency care and even circumcision (removal of the foreskin) do so because of premature retraction of the foreskin by parents or caregivers.”

Parents Take Legal Action
In January, Cassie. N. Parks sued Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and two staff for allegedly forcibly retracting her two-month-old baby’s foreskin, causing the boy severe physical and mental pain and suffering, according to the complaint. Ms. Parks had taken the boy to the emergency room because he was vomiting. The complaint states that the nurse “without warning” tore back the boy’s foreskin to insert a catheter to collect a urine sample.

In conversations with Ms. Chapin, Ms. Parks has described what happened next. “[My son] cried like I had never heard before. It pierced straight to my core, and I knew he was in pain.” She added, “For days after I would sit him in the sink filled with water to dilute his urine, because he would cry from the pain every time he urinated. I avoided leaving the house because the car seat buckle put pressure on his penis, and he would cry.” The complaint states that the boy’s foreskin has a permanent tear in it.

Ms. Chapin says, “Not a week goes by that Intact America doesn’t get a call or email from a parent who has seen his or her child suffer needlessly because his foreskin was torn from his glans.” She adds that falling circumcision rates are putting more intact boys are at risk. “It is ironic that our successes in preventing medically unnecessary circumcision have resulted in another problem—forced foreskin retraction,” she says. “Our survey illustrates the need to take action. Our next step is to launch a Foreskin Protection Campaign. We must educate the medical community and parents to stop hurting intact baby boys.”

About the Survey
Intact America surveyed U.S. parents of 401 intact boys under the age of seven. Of this group, 173 boys, or 43.3 percent, had had their foreskins forcibly retracted. The survey, which was conducted under the auspices of Qualtrics Research Services in Provo, Utah, has a five percent margin of error. Intact America released the survey results today at the International Symposium on Genital Autonomy and Children’s Rights in San Francisco.

About Intact America
Intact America is the largest national advocacy group working to end involuntary circumcision in America, and to ensure a healthy sexual future for all people. Intact America is based in Tarrytown, New York. For more information, visit Intact America at www.intactamerica.org, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

When They Ask If You’ll Circumcise Your Baby Boy, What Will You Say?

CircumcisionDebate.org, a New Website, Now Makes It Easier for Parents to Answer That Question

TARRYTOWN, NY—SEPTEMBER 13, 2017

The Internet has made it easier for expectant parents to research everything about having a baby, from choosing a stroller to buying the right diapers. But it hasn’t been easy for parents to find reliable information on a question that invariably arises: whether or not to circumcise their son?

Now, a website called CircumcisionDebate.org can give parents, as well as anyone else interested in knowing more about the surgery, an overview from different viewpoints on the topic. Consumer-friendly and easy-to-use, this new online reference includes a parents’ guide and advice on how to talk to your doctor, as well as possible benefits, harms, and risks from circumcision.

“The average person doesn’t know where to begin to research circumcision information. CircumcisionDebate.org provides a great overview, in everyday language, so the public can understand what the debate is about,” explains Georganne Chapin, executive director of Intact America, the site’s sponsor and the nation’s largest organization advocating to keep baby boys intact (not circumcised).

Even though Intact America takes a side in the debate, it has created an entry-level website where anyone can feel comfortable exploring the subject. “Doctors have told us they wished they could refer parents to a website that acknowledges that circumcision is a difficult decision,” Ms. Chapin says. “CircumcisionDebate.org recognizes that by presenting different perspectives on the debate.”

What a visitor will find:

  • An overview of diverse viewpoints from people who are uncertain about, against, and in favor of circumcision;
  • A history of the practice, from prehistoric times to the present;
  • Discussion of possible benefits of circumcision, as well as harms and risks;
  • An overview of the foreskin’s function;
  • Links to sources for further information.

Intact America is in the process of obtaining Health on the Net Foundation Code of Conduct (HONcode) certification for CircumcisionDebate.org. Certification is awarded to health websites that are deemed to be authoritative and reliable.

Responding to the Public’s Need for Information

Intact America decided to launch CircumcisionDebate.org after examining the analytics for its own website, Intactamerica.org. “We found that more than 30,000 unique visitors a month were landing on our ‘Circumcision Decision’ page,” explains Ms. Chapin. “That page lists 10 reasons not to circumcise baby boys. However, Intact America realized that presenting one side was not necessarily enough for parents struggling with opposing viewpoints from doctors, family members and friends.

“People google circumcision when they want to begin thinking about the issue, but the information they find is either overwhelming, incomplete, or one-sided,” Ms. Chapin says. “We recognized a need to provide basic information so visitors can gain a sense of the entire picture.”

She adds that the website is also useful for journalists and students who want to understand the subject, as well as doctors and nurses who would like to refer patients to an authoritative source on circumcision. In addition, CircumcisionDebate.org supports parents who leave their sons intact by including advice on how to talk to doctors, friends, and relatives about their decision. It’s also a great primer for men—whether intact or circumcised—who want to learn more about their bodies.

Ms. Chapin points out that the need for a website such as CIrcumcisionDebate.org shows that America is approaching a tipping point in how we think about the subject. “A decade ago, the only people talking about circumcision were intactivists. Now it’s become more mainstream, as evidenced by a stream of articles about it in the media,” she says. “But it’s still a difficult conversation for many people. We hope that by providing a safe and informative website, we can encourage more people to engage in the debate.”

About Intact America

Intact America is the largest national advocacy group working to end involuntary circumcision in America, and to ensure a healthy sexual future for all people. Intact America is based in Tarrytown, New York. For more information, visit Intact America at https://www.intactamerica.org, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

Intact America Calls for Further Research into the Long-Term Physical, Sexual, and Psychological Harm Caused by Neonatal Circumcision

Do Men Experience Life-Long Trauma from Being Circumcised as Infants? Yes, According to a New Study Indicating That Circumcision Results in Physical and Emotional Harm

Many Respondents Thought They Were the Only Ones with Such ‘Defects’

Tarrytown, NY—March 22, 2017

Today, Intact America Executive Director Georganne Chapin hailed the results of the first comprehensive study, co-authored by a board-certified urologist and a human rights activist, that demonstrates the long-term adverse physical, sexual, emotional, and psychological outcomes experienced by men who were circumcised as baby boys.

The University of Texas IRB-approved study, which surveyed 1,008 men, was published last month in The International Journal of Human Rights. Titled “Long-Term Adverse Outcomes from Neonatal Circumcision Reported in a Survey of 1,008 Men: an Overview of Health and Human Rights Implications,” the article was written by Tim Hammond and Adrienne Carmack, MD. Mr. Hammond created the Global Survey of Circumcision Harm, upon which the article is based. Dr. Carmack is a board-certified urologist and member of the Intact America Board of Health Professionals.

Ms. Chapin, in citing the significance of the study, called for more in-depth research to further explore the life-long harm caused by male infant circumcision, as expressed by circumcised men in the self-reported survey. She urged the public to read the study with an open mind, and consider that “circumcision is performed on baby boys who cannot consent to a procedure that not even the American Academy of Pediatrics says is medically necessary.”

Intact America is the largest national advocacy group working to end involuntary circumcision in America. According to Ms. Chapin, the American public has not been willing to listen to what many men have been saying for decades – that circumcising baby boys negatively affects their future sexual and emotional health as adults. “We have always known that babies feel excruciating pain when their foreskins are forcibly removed,” she said. “This study shows that the men they become will bear the physical, emotional, and sexual pain for the rest of their lives,” Ms. Chapin said.

The 44-question survey asked men to describe physical abnormalities and sexual consequences that the researchers deemed to be the result of having been circumcised as infants. The survey covered other possible consequences, including the possible effect of circumcision on self-esteem.

Physical Abnormalities
The survey included photographs so respondents could correctly identify evidence of damage associated with circumcision.

Sexual Health
According to study co-author Dr. Carmack, circumcision can affect sexual health because the foreskin is the most sensitive tissue on the penis and supplies natural lubrication during intercourse, among other sexual functions. The respondents reported numerous sexual issues.

About Intact America
Intact America is the largest national advocacy group working to end involuntary circumcision in America, and to ensure a healthy sexual future for all people. Intact America is based in Tarrytown, New York. For more information, visit Intact America at www.intactamerica.org, on Facebook, and on Twitter.