• Home
  • Our Story
  • Our Team
  • Initiatives
  • Blog
  • Events
  • Support Us
  • Donate

Intact America publishes ad in Washington Post urging pediatricians to protect babies



Tarrytown, NY—July 1, 2010

In the wake of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) short-lived call to amend the national ban on female genital cutting, Intact America – the largest organization championing all children’s human right to an intact body – published an open letter to an AAP Task Force on Circumcision calling on the medical organization to extend its protection to all children, including baby boys.

The AAP issued a new policy statement in April calling for a relaxation in the federal law banning all forms of female genital cutting to allow doctors to perform a “ritual nick” on the clitoris of young girls whose parents, for cultural reasons, might otherwise send them overseas for a more extensive and dangerous form of the surgery. Under pressure from Intact America and others, and in the face of proposed federal legislation (The Girls Protection Act, H.R. 5137) banning the taking of girls outside the country for the purpose of female genital cutting, the AAP withdrew its statement.

Georganne Chapin, founder and executive director of Intact America, welcomed the AAP’s retraction of its policy, but she noted that the Academy recognized that “many forms of female genital cutting are less extensive than the newborn male circumcision commonly practiced in the West.”

“Ultimately this is a gender equity issue – and therefore one of human rights,” reads the open letter to members of the AAP Task Force published as an ad in the July 1 issue of the Washington Post.

Intact America was formed to change the way America thinks and talks about neonatal male circumcision, an unnecessary surgery performed more than a million times a year for cultural or other non-medical reasons. The open letter says it is “an extraordinary betrayal” for the AAP to limit protection from genital cutting to girls only, despite its avowed commitment to “protect the health and well-being of all children.”

“At Intact America, we have focused our efforts on male circumcision, because we had felt there was consensus in law and common sense that female genital cutting was unacceptable in this country,” said Chapin. ”The AAP’s recent flip-flop on this issue shows us we were wrong. We are grateful that the AAP rescinded its call to allow a ‘ritual nick,’ but what were they thinking in the first place? We now call on them to apply the same concern for human rights to baby boys.”

At the same time it proposed, and then rescinded, a call to allow some forms of female genital cutting, an AAP task force is considering shifting its current neutral recommendation on neonatal male circumcision to one in favor of the surgery. This consideration comes despite the fact that no major medical authority in the world – not the AAP, not the Centers for Disease Control and not the American Medical Association, which currently describes the surgery as “non-therapeutic” – today recommends neonatal male circumcision.

The Task Force’s charge apparently arose after African studies of consenting adult men purportedly showed that circumcision may play a role in mitigating HIV transmission from women to men, but not men to women, and not men to men (still the most prevalent modality for sexual transmission of HIV in this country).  Chapin noted that even if these studies’ results are valid for adults in poor countries with very high HIV prevalence, this has nothing to do with babies in the United States.

Because a principle of bioethics requires medical necessity and informed consent to justify something as invasive as surgery – and because neither can be present in neonatal male circumcision – the AAP has a high hill to climb to answer a simple question; Chapin said: “If it’s not right to cut the normal genitals of baby girls, how can it possibly be right to cut the normal genitals of baby boys?”



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.