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Holiday Gifts and Peace on Earth

Earlier this month, I received the following message from a reader of my first blog post, “Why I Got Into this Penis Business“:

Thank you for making me understand why I should leave my son intact. This is my first baby and I didn’t know which way to go, but after doing a lot of research and reading all of your comments, I have decided not circumcise my baby. Thank You!!!!

At this time of year, with all the emphasis on seeking happiness through material possessions, this message wafted across my face like a warm tropical breeze. For me, a dream gift — another intact baby, and a mom willing to take the time to share the news!

We know that, in the past couple of years alone, in the time since Intact America was founded, the intact rate among newborns in the United States has risen to well above 50 percent. (The exact rate is hard to determine; a Centers for Disease Control study last year said that only 33 percent of infant boys are circumcised before leaving the hospital, but that didn’t include circumcisions paid “out-of-pocket.”) This means that thousands upon thousands of helpless babies have been spared the trauma and betrayal of trust that circumcision entails.

A  Jewish friend of mine recently said, “The greatest mitzvah (act of human kindness) you can bestow upon an infant boy is to leave him intact!”

My first blog post, the one referred to above by the mother who wrote to thank Intact America, said how fortunate I feel to have left my own son — now 31 years old — intact. Similar to my friend’s concept of mitzvah, I used the metaphor of “gift,” saying that my awareness at the time gave both my son and me “the gift of not having to say ‘I’m sorry’ to each other” about circumcision.

So as I spend time this season with my family, I find myself feeling gratified that the work of Intact America has inspired so many parents to give a gift, bestow a mitzvah — by protecting the rights of their infant sons to an intact body. Every person who has saved a baby by spreading the word, every parent who has considered circumcision and decided against it, can bask in the light of knowing he or she has contributed in this way to the peaceful beginning of a new life — and thus to Peace on Earth.

Thank you all for caring, and happy holidays to all!

— Georganne

P.S. If you’d like to help Intact America keep up the momentum we’ve gained over the last year, please consider making a donation. Future intact babies will thank you for it!







  • Gregory Tutko

    December 29, 2011 11:35 pm

    Bigs hugs to you, Georganne. You have done great work in spreading the Peace of a smiling intact baby. May you continue for many years. We are every where, now thanks to your efforts. Be well.

  • Marilyn Milos, RN

    December 31, 2011 8:52 pm

    Thank you, Georganne, for taking the movement to the next step! Your work and your leadership are phenomenal…and, I am grateful! May the New Year keep you well and happy in the work you’re doing to protect infants and children worldwide.

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Marilyn Fayre Milos, multiple award winner for her humanitarian work to end routine infant circumcision in the United States and advocating for the rights of infants and children to genital autonomy, has written a warm and compelling memoir of her path to becoming “the founding mother of the intactivist movement.” Needing to support her family as a single mother in the early sixties, Milos taught banjo—having learned to play from Jerry Garcia (later of The Grateful Dead)—and worked as an assistant to comedian and social critic Lenny Bruce, typing out the content of his shows and transcribing court proceedings of his trials for obscenity. After Lenny’s death, she found her voice as an activist as part of the counterculture revolution, living in Haight Ashbury in San Francisco during the 1967 Summer of Love, and honed her organizational skills by creating an alternative education open classroom (still operating) in Marin County. 

After witnessing the pain and trauma of the circumcision of a newborn baby boy when she was a nursing student at Marin College, Milos learned everything she could about why infants were subjected to such brutal surgery. The more she read and discovered, the more convinced she became that circumcision had no medical benefits. As a nurse on the obstetrical unit at Marin General Hospital, she committed to making sure parents understood what circumcision entailed before signing a consent form. Considered an agitator and forced to resign in 1985, she co-founded NOCIRC (National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers) and began organizing international symposia on circumcision, genital autonomy, and human rights. Milos edited and published the proceedings from the above-mentioned symposia and has written numerous articles in her quest to end circumcision and protect children’s bodily integrity. She currently serves on the board of directors of Intact America.


Georganne Chapin is a healthcare expert, attorney, social justice advocate, and founding executive director of Intact America, the nation’s most influential organization opposing the U.S. medical industry’s penchant for surgically altering the genitals of male children (“circumcision”). Under her leadership, Intact America has definitively documented tactics used by U.S. doctors and healthcare facilities to pathologize the male foreskin, pressure parents into circumcising their sons, and forcibly retract the foreskins of intact boys, creating potentially lifelong, iatrogenic harm. 

Chapin holds a BA in Anthropology from Barnard College, and a Master’s degree in Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia University. For 25 years, she served as president and chief executive officer of Hudson Health Plan, a nonprofit Medicaid insurer in New York’s Hudson Valley. Mid-career, she enrolled in an evening law program, where she explored the legal and ethical issues underlying routine male circumcision, a subject that had interested her since witnessing the aftermath of the surgery conducted on her younger brother. She received her Juris Doctor degree from Pace University School of Law in 2003, and was subsequently admitted to the New York Bar. As an adjunct professor, she taught Bioethics and Medicaid and Disability Law at Pace, and Bioethics in Dominican College’s doctoral program for advanced practice nurses.

In 2004, Chapin founded the nonprofit Hudson Center for Health Equity and Quality, a company that designs software and provides consulting services designed to reduce administrative complexities, streamline and integrate data collection and reporting, and enhance access to care for those in need. In 2008, she co-founded Intact America.

Chapin has published many articles and op-ed essays, and has been interviewed on local, national and international television, radio and podcasts about ways the U.S. healthcare system prioritizes profits over people’s basic needs. She cites routine (nontherapeutic) infant circumcision as a prime example of a practice that wastes money and harms boys and the men they will become. This Penis Business: A Memoir is her first book.