Intact America Celebrates Its 15th Anniversary and Gears Up Two New Initiatives to Fight Baby Boy Circumcision
The New ‘SKIN IN THE GAME’ Storytelling Campaign Will Feature the Victims of Circumcision to Show How ‘Circumcision Cuts Through Us All’
The DoNoHarm.Report Project Will Make It Easy for the Public to Report Circumcision Solicitation, Harm, and More
‘Americans will never think the same thing about circumcision again.’
(Tarrytown, New York—September 29, 2023)…Fifteen years ago, the country’s grassroots anti-circumcision movement founded Intact America, a national, professionally run not-for-profit, to strategically change the way Americans think about the routine circumcision of baby boys. Despite Intact America’s notable progress—today, 22.5 percent of Americans think baby boys should be kept intact (uncircumcised), up from 10 percent in 2014—systemic forces continue to make the United States the only Western developed nation that routinely cuts the genitals of its baby boys, approximately 1.3 million baby boys a year.
One big reason circumcision persists is that, unfortunately, Americans erroneously believe that circumcision is harmless. Intact America plans to upend such thinking by putting a face to circumcision’s victims: parents who cannot forget their babies’ screams, men who live with scarred, desensitized penises, and women who suffer through painful, dry sex, to name only a few of the adverse ways circumcision affects lives.
“If we look at every successful social change movement, from the abolition of slavery, to the fight for women’s suffrage, to the Civil Rights movement, to the LBGTQ and same-sex marriage movements, to the more recent “MeToo” movement, we can see that key to effecting change was making public the personal stories, the voices, and the faces of the victims,” explains Georganne Chapin, MPhil, JD, founding executive director of Intact America.
“Intact America’s work has unleashed a groundswell of people aching to tell their stories, and we are going to ensure the public hears their stories,” Chapin adds.
This fall, Intact America will launch SKIN IN THE GAME: Circumcision Cuts Through Us All, a compelling storytelling campaign that uses photography and narratives to put human faces on circumcision victims—men and their partners, parents, and loved ones. The campaign features people of all ages, genders, ethnicities, and sexual orientations who are outraged, sad, angry, and determined to end a senseless practice that no medical society in the world—including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)—recommends.
“These stories will hit a nerve with the American public,” Chapin says. “Soon, we will reach a tipping point when popular opinion turns against cutting baby boys’ genitals, just as we currently denounce cutting little girls’ genitals.”
‘This Penis Business’
Chapin will further spread the anti-circumcision message when her memoir, “This Penis Business,” is published in February 2024 by Lucid House Publishing. The book will be released together with “Please Don’t Cut the Baby,” a memoir written by Marilyn Milos, one of the country’s earliest intactivists (or anti-circumcision activists) and currently a member of Intact America’s board of directors.
Holding Doctors Accountable
Intact America also is breaking new ground by developing DoNoHarm.Report, an online tool that will let parents and guardians do three things: (1) report incidents of circumcision harm, such as excessive bleeding, fever, infection, and physical complications; (2) report whether doctors and nurses pressured them to have their sons circumcised; and (3) report that their intact son was a victim of forcible foreskin retraction by a medical professional, a practice that is not condoned by the AAP. Each reported incident will be submitted to both hospital management and the state medical board.
“We must hold doctors and nurses accountable for the harm they inflict on healthy baby boys and intact children,” says Chapin. “Right now, it is an arduous process for any individual to file a complaint with a medical board or society. Whom do they contact? How do they word the complaint? DoNoHarm.Report makes it simple. Parents will fill out a single form and we will direct the complaint to every place it needs to go.”
Chapin notes that no one knows how often circumcisions go awry, but DoNoHarm.Report will make that such information available. “We should know how often routine circumcisions harm boys, even when the procedure is not ‘botched’, but we don’t,” she says. “Hospitals commonly fail to cite circumcision as the cause of infant hemorrhaging or other complications once the child goes home.
“I predict DoNoHarm.Report data will shock the public,” Chapin says. “Americans will never think the same thing about circumcision again.”
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 Intact America on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.