I’m heading to New Orleans on May 4 to protest outside the annual conference of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). As you may have read in Intact America’s last newsletter, we tried to rent a booth in the Exhibit Hall, but were rejected on the grounds that male circumcision is only “indirectly related to women’s health” and “…of only casual interest to members of ACOG.”
Indirectly related to women’s health? What does that even mean?
Of only casual interest to ACOG members? Now, that would be funny, except for the fact that obstetricians (OBs) perform the majority of the million infant circumcisions that take place each year in the United States! So why are they cutting babies?
For an OB, circumcision is business. A moderately busy Midwestern doctor can easily make an extra $36,000 in annual income, if he’s good at selling circumcisions to the families of the 200 baby boys he delivers (calculating a 90 percent circumcision rate, and a very conservative $200 per circumcision). If he delivers more babies, and charges more per surgery, the income escalates.
Add to the money the fact that, once you’ve started cutting babies, it’s really hard to stop. Denial sets in; fear of admitting that you might be doing something wrong takes over; you worry that if you say “no,” you might lose your client (the parent) to another doctor who’ll be happy to trim up her son’s genitals for a fee.
But there is absolutely no excuse for infant circumcision. It’s an outrage that ACOG not only refuses to allow intactivists to distribute educational materials and engage in conversations with its members at their convention, but actually disclaims any responsibility for perpetuating this violation of boys’ rights. And it’s time for America’s OBs—trained to operate on women’s reproductive organs—to stop selling a surgery that will permanently alter the bodies and future sexual experiences of their patients’ sons.
I hope you can join me in New Orleans as we carry the message that, just as a girl is entitled to autonomy and bodily integrity, when a boy is born, it’s HIS body, HIS rights. Obstetricians need to get out of the baby-cutting business. They need to keep their hands off baby boys’ genitals.
I wish you and the others the greatest possible success in New Orleans!
Emphasize to the passing public how you were denied the right to have space inside.
It only shows how the ACOG is afraid of your message.
when are you people going to give up and accept the medical and scientific findings on the preventative health benefits of circumcision
the SCIENCE IS IN !!
you have NO RIGHT to intrude on an informed decision being made by parents
ABSOLUTELY NO RIGHT WHATSOEVER
Doctors who fail to inform parents of the consequences of NOT circumcising their child may be held accountable in the near future This is alreadfy been discussed by legal experts
From your belittling tone of voice “Adam Fisher” you sound a great deal like one of the main proponents of circumcision.
“the SCIENCE IS IN!!”
(Even the punctuation of that sentence is insane.)
Science is never “IN!!” it is always looking, ever more carefully, at life.
Those who demand their “right” to claim an “Informed decision” to surgically tamper with and mutilate the genitals of children are sociopaths.
Taking cutting instruments to the genitals of infants and children is classic sociopathic/psychopathic behaviour. History will not look kindly on those who use scare tactics, intimidation, lies, junk science; and cover up the horrific life tragedies of botched circumcisions, partial or complete penile amputations and death, to advance a cause of perpetuating abuse.
Circumcision of children is child abuse, of a most obvious and heinous kind. Like all child abuse, forced circumcision of children follows a pattern. Those to whom it was done generally demand the same be done to their children.
Its time for the lies, the harm and the profit to stop.
Its time to protect children.
The most respected medical organizations in the West have weighed the evidence you speak of, and have found it to be insufficient to recommend the circumcision of infants.
No medical organization in the world recommends the circumcision of infants, not even the AAP.
It is fallacious to expect lay parents to examine the same body of evidence, and come up with a more reasonable conclusion than that of entire organizations of medical professionals.
It is medically fraudulent that parents are being allowed to make a “choice” that is inconsistent with the conclusions of entire organizations of medical professionals, that doctors pretend that they can comply with such a “choice,” and that public coffers are expected to reimburse them.
Without medical or clinical indication doctors have no business performing surgery on healthy, non-consenting minors, let alone be giving parents any kind of a “choice.”
An OB’s area of expertise is WOMEN’s genitals.
How they’re even part of the picture is beyond me.
What’s that smell???? Oh, I guess the troll has returned. Just a word of advice, using all upper case letters is a telltale sign of a losing argument.
why not have a foreskin and smegma “Worshipping Ceremony” before your demonstration in New Orleans ?
Did you ever hear of BATHING?
A boy can be taught how to keep himself clean, just like he is taught to wipe his butt.
and just like a GIRL is taught feminine hygiene when she is old enough to have to know it.
Smegma-phobia is RIDICULOUS.
The same reason anti-FGM activists don’t have clitoris and smegma ceremonies before their demonstrations.
How do I subscribe to your newsletter? Ray Akin
I’ll be there in spirit with bells on and a big sign! Hope it goes well. Diane
Adam Fisher, YOU surrendered to the circumcisers, not us. We’re fighting back like men. The circumcisers thought everyone was like you.
Georganne Chapin, the Bloodstained Men & Their Friends will protest beside you & other Intactivists in New Orleans, and we will be there for the entire convention as well. https://www.facebook.com/BloodstainedMenTheirFriends
That Fisher is real idiot and no intellect at all
How much you wanna bet this Fischer fella is nothing more than another one of Brian Morris’ sock puppets?
The serial circumcisers need to be relentlessly demonized as performers of sexual assault. Circumcision needs to be branded as a shameless act in an immoral profession that deserves no respect. We need a well-developed class action lawsuit, some wildly popular national celebrity driving the message home and pound the mainline media to wake up. They can’t get past the notion that it is a religious act and to bring criticism to circumcision somehow rubs Jews and Muslims wrong. Mothers and women seem to have a better grasp of the whole rotten wrongness of this despicable procedure. Give ’em hell in New Orleans. May the force be with you.
Infant male circumcision is most definitely related to women’s health. When that baby boy grows up he will become sexual, most likely with a woman. Intercourse with a circumcised male is painful to a woman. A penis without foreskin is rough and dry, causing irritation to the delicate lining within the vaginal walls. After intercourse with a circumcised male, the woman becomes swollen and irritated. Because of the missing foreskin, the male can suffer from bleeding and oozing cracks of the penis that is painful to him, as well as to the woman he is sexually engaged with. Those cracks can become infected, causing further harm to the male and female, as well. So, male circumcision is most definitely of consequence to women’s health and well-being.
Good luck in New Orleans. I wish you all the greatest emotional impact on both those attending the conference, as well as on the general citizen of New Orleans…it is possible that you will plant seeds of doubt that will begin to affect attitudes within the medical industry…and ultimately lead to the relegatrion of circumcision to the history books.
Tell them that they should at least consider exactly what they are doing and what is being disconnected from the babies body. Do they realize hey are shutting down some of the babies sensory system? Have they considered what all of those nerves are for?
Good luck in NO.
Sadly, Adam Fischer is the perfect example of a male who is acting circumcised. It’s not his fault, someone did that to him. However, one day, when he has the courage to face what someone did to him when he was too little to successfully resist or escape, he will begin to recognize the scar on his penis as the line of demarcation–the boundary remaining after the most protective, immunological, juicy, fun part of his penis was amputated. He, like so many other survivors of unnecessary routine infant circumcision, will begin to realize just how that early trauma has affected his entire life. Genital cutting of infant boys is a trauma that affects brain development and a male’s response to the world around him. Thankfully, many men have dealt with the pain and trauma of their own circumcision and are now standing in defense of infants and children. Adam, we’re not against circumcision of an adult who has chosen it for himself after being fully informed of the harmful consequences (most intact, informed males do not get circumcised), we are standing in defense of the rights of infants and boys to their own bodies until they are old enough to make such personal decisions about their bodies and their religion for themselves.
The writing is on the wall: Ethics trump science! And the anti-foreskin crowd are scrambling to justify their perversion.
Thanks for this Georganne. You’re right, this is a grubby trade. Doctors and obstetricians of the future will look back on it with a great sense of shame.
OB’s have no right mutilating infant boys genitals
The science is clear: circumcision causes psychological trauma and sexual dysfunction later in life. The problem is when medical associations cherry pick often inconclusive studies in order to support their policies (and profit).
As someone who works in a hospital with OB/GYN providers, and who is regularly asked to help with circumcisions, this march seems like a phenomenal waste of time.
Don’t get me wrong – I *HATE* circumcision with everything in me. . . what I mean is, why does Intact America think that spending $20,000 on a street march outside an OB convention will do anything more than make us look like yet another fringe protest group, on par with the abortion clinic protesters of the mid-90’s and the Fred Phelps church? I feel like we could achieve similar results if we each took five dollars out of our wallets and put it in the toilet.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of speaking to a doctor in a casual setting, they’re very set in their ways. They have a list of memorized facts that they’re expected to regurgitate perfectly on prompt, and they’re expected to maintain a place in a very close-knit fraternity of doctors and providers. Any deviation from that list of memorized outdated information, or any fringe stance on an already-decided medical procedure would immediately single out any intactivist doctor as a leper in their respective field.
The money raised for this march could have gone into a media relations campaign. It could have gone into billboards along major highways, it could have bought space in respected newspapers, or helped to host forums where the PUBLIC is educated on the horrors of this procedure. Because THAT is who our message should be targeting! Not entrenched, established institutions, but the average new American parent who blindly consents to the doctor’s question because they’ve never been EDUCATED!
This march isn’t raising awareness in the public, or doing anything to change SOPs in hospitals. It’s drawing bad media to a good cause and making us look like a fringe group.
The problem is that a lot of parents listen to the “doctor”. Some doctors proclaim themselves to be neutral, others list the benefits when asked their opinion. Very few will have the courage to discourage parents from doing it. Intactivists in New Orleans can help tip the balance in one direction.
While I agree with you that informing prospective parents is the best tool, there are a lot of disturbing questions that hospitals should answer: Why is the circumcision question part of the standard birth plan? Why are circumcisions performed in the same room where newborns are given the first bath? Why are parents not allowed to be present when their son is circumcised? And why are the “benefits” of circumcision listed in birth preparation classes and books about childbirth?
One interesting aspect in this regard is that books about childcare spend entire paragraphs explaining how to take care of baby boy’s genitals. What about baby girl’s genitals?
Treana, Your comment is thought provoking. Here is what comes up for me having read it.
You make the assumption that the event’s strategy is to change OB’s minds. Like you, we all know that’s not going to happen, just as it didn’t happen with the AAP.
This is a remarkable opportunity. It is the largest collection of “cutters” in the world and all of them must pass through our gauntlet. There is no other way into the convention center. What I see the strategies being is drawing a line and changing public opinion.
For instance, they will have a mobile billboard driving around the French Quarter during JazzFest, and hosting a press conference across the street from the ACOG convention. What IA is doing is sending ACOG a message that it will no longer tolerate their continued solicitation and performance of this unnecessary and harmful surgery. They are mutilating babies. They are putting them on notice, just like they put the AAP on notice last fall at the same location. All of the tactics in play will communicate this and serve to make OBs uncomfortable. Peer-to-peer education and civil discourse is not part of the plan, we are way past that because they already KNOW circumcision is unnecessary.
So, what OBs think of us is really unimportant. They can think of us as a fringe element or as a serious threat to their revenue. It doesn’t matter, as long as they think something. Here’s why. What is important is what the public thinks about OBs. For instance, they are participating in a fraudulent practice and soliciting an unnecessary surgery, both are illegal in most states.
Sure, we can spend money on other tactics, but to what end? Nifty tactics are useless if they don’t fulfill a smart strategy. What strategists know is that a superb strategy will be successful even if you use not so great tactics.
Speaking in a broader sense, to me, the operational goal isn’t to educate parents or doctors in order to change their BEHAVIOR. That is, for them to make a new decision about circumcision. While saving babies is great, there’s a catch, those same parents and doctors still have the same opinion about circumcising babies. They will still think that circumcision is OK, and whatever parents decide is OK. What I want to do is change public OPINION in order to make circumcision something a “bad” parent, doctor, or nurse does. Eventually, we’ll reach a tipping point and our society will flip and circumcision will be banished in our fair country.
Adding billboard and television ads to this campaign would educate a greater number of people about the Intact America group and the horrors of circumcision. Not enough people know your work. I know of you because of my research to get further information. Anyone who does not know the facts won’t be looking for you. As a nurse, I know the horrors of circumcision. Innocent parents do not. I try to educate parents and most do not believe the truth. Let’s get the word out there about your work with television and billboard ads. Let’s not fight each other. Billboard ads make a huge impact.
We definitely need billboards and TV ads and to hit the media in many different ways. But we also need to be out in the public eye getting attention for protesting as is being done at the AAP, ACOG and AAFP conventions. Believe me, it makes physicians uncomfortable to be confronted on this issue. They need to be made uncomfortable over and over and over again. Circumcision will stop when physicians stop doing them and start to have epiphanies on this. The public, if they start seeing the ads and the billboards etc., will start questioning, whether just in their minds or out loud, what all the fuss is about. All of this is important. Circumcision persists in this country because not enough people have spoken out about the harm, so it has just been accepted without much thought. When I have spoken out among medical people, I find that people come forward with support I hadn’t known existed. Those who don’t agree are usually left speechless and fumbling because they don’t know the facts. They look like shrill idiots and they tend to get quite worked up emotionally and irrationally. It has an impact because it strikes a nerve. Eventually, some of them have to focus on why that nerve is bothering them, and that is when they have an epiphany. Physicians may outwardly have well-rehearsed answers, but inside they are thinking about it on a different level.
While it’s true that, for an admittedly unnecessary elective procedure it’s questionable as to why doctors feel the need ask each new parent if they’d like their child’s penis mutilated, at the end of the day it’s STILL an elective procedure. If parents were better educated on the procedure, they’d be empowered to say ‘no’ when the OB or the pediatrician is making his little courtesy calls.
That’s what Intact America doesn’t seem to be getting: things don’t change by going after an institution directly. That would be like if I were to go to Wal-Mart and start railing at one of the managers because I didn’t like the building’s color scheme. At the end of the day, that manager has NO say as to what the corporate office says are the official store colors.
The only way you can effect change on that kind of level is by starting at the grassroots and working your way up. The public needs to be educated on how horrible this procedure is, and once public opinion shifts away from it, THEN policy can be changed.
ACOG isn’t afraid of picketing. It’s more of a passing annoyance than anything serious to be contended with. What *would* scare a room full of OB/GYNs is coming into a postpartum room to offer their complimentary cutting service, only to receive an education from a parent as to how genital mutilation is scientifically proven to be harmful.
This march, at the end of the day, is a wasted opportunity.
“The only way you can effect change on that kind of level is by starting at the grassroots and working your way up.” Treana, if you, or anyone else, truly believe this then I suggest you read “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell. Change doesn’t happen that way. Sure education helps, but it is not the be-all and end-all many people assume.
I’m in favor of both, civil education and make the point in front of the “perpetrators”. I don’t see why the two should be mutually exclusive. I agree that civil education can be hard, in particular reaching into rural areas and where family tradition is strong. On the other hand, a demonstration in front of the ACOG National Convention can have an impact, especially if it is reported by local and hopefully national newspapers.
And also, the AAP ended up retracting their statement about the clitoral prick because of strong public opposition. Why shouldn’t the same happen with the latest AAP task force report on circumcision?
Good luck in New Orleans!
I could not disagree more. If you look at the countries where circumcision was once commonly performed but now less than 20% of infant males are circumcised, they all have one thing in common: the physicians stopped circumcising. Demand did not drop overnight, the supply of physicians willing to circumcise did. Some of it may have been financial (for example, Australia paid so little for a circumcision that physicians no longer felt it was worth the effort) and some realized that is was not medical care.
By not being there, we are in essence giving our approval of what they do. They need to know that someone is watching them.
Finally, we need to support the pariahs and those on the fence. The OBs would prefer that the pediatricians do the circumcisions and the pediatricians are glad when the OBs do them. They only need a little nudge to stop, because they don’t like doing them already. It is much more likely to reach a critical mass in the medical professionals that deal with the issue on a regular basis than with parents who will only confront the issue a couple times in their lifetime. There are three legs to this stool: the parents who request the procedure, the person performing the procedure, and money that pays for it. I think more headway will be made focussing on the latter two.
I wanted to add that these protests get a lot of grassroots style attention. You end up talking to lots of people from the community.
If you want to know more about Intact America’s demonstration at the ACOG National Convention in New Orleans, see this event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/151258021692250/?ref=22&suggestsessionid=14829048621357660141
the comments reflect the passion of your convictions whether or not anyone agrees with them. My question to all of you is why are you not speaking out to these same doctors who are your target about the murder of innocent unborn human lives known as fetuses? Let’s face it: foreskin or no foreskin the body still lives quite well. Abortion on the other hand kills the baby. Even disregarding the religious convictions and well established traditions that most reasonable people have, murder is murder particularly with late term abortions. Does your silence on the matter send a message that foreskins are more important than life? If so, your credibility is questionable despite your convictions being strong.
So, why is it illegal to trim girls labia or the clitoral hood? Why is that not a parents decision? If we follow your logic, is the prepuce of girls more important than life? Also, just because we are against circumcision does not imply that everybody here is in favor of abortion. Comparing genital mutilation with abortion is just a distraction from the real issue and only shows that pro-circumcision fanatics have run out of arguments.
Just a distraction? It is very clear to me that you are the one running out of arguments. For your information you are wrong in classifying me as a pro-circumcision fanatic. It makes no difference to me one way or the other. I do not know your real agenda but you have clearly dodged the question. That in itself tends to indicate which one of us is the fanatic but leaves the question open. You are silent about abortion but very vocal about circumcision. My friend your reasoning is very distorted.
Circumcision and abortion are motivated by totally different reasons. The latter is about the body of the woman and whether she feels capable of carrying out the pregnancy and giving to the child the best life she and her partner can. Circumcision on the other hand has to do only with the body of the child and is based on a bunch of misunderstandings and myths fueled by a profit-based health care system. I hope that this answers your questions.
With all due respect to you I find that your reasoning is so far off that it is appears pointless to reach a mutual understanding. No, your ‘answer’ is not actually an answer but a weak attempt to divert one’s thinking. Your answer disregards the issue. If the baby is killed by abortion before it comes out of the womb it seems to be okay if that is what the mother wants. However, if the baby is killed immediately after it comes out the womb there is public outrage against the mother and she is publicly accused of murder. Why the different attitude? If you can’t acknowledge this terrible situation then you are a lost cause, whether you have or do not have a foreskin. I know men in each condition. Regretfully I never had the opportunity to meet anyone who was a victim of a successful abortion. Think about it: neither have you or any of your cult.
Late term abortion is fortunately illegal in most states of the US and most countries. And I agree with you, it’s not a good thing.
I have never understood why people bring up the abortion issue when circumcision is discussed. You could have just as easily voiced your outrage at the outrageously high C-section rates, or the 35 million Americans who do not have health insurance, or any of the Fox News conspiracies. I think it would help if you connected the dots between abortion and circumcision.
If you are thinking it is a human rights issue, there is a clear distinction. Once a baby is born it is considered to have the full array of human rights and governments are expected to protect these rights. With very few exceptions, everyone agrees with this.
Before the fetus is born, there is debate on how much autonomy to assign to the fetus and when that should begin. Some people believe the fetus should have the same complement of rights as a baby who has been born. Some people believe that interests of the mother outweigh the interests of the fetus. What both groups agree with is that as the fetus develops, the interests of the fetus worth protecting increase.
You can argue that the fetus has interests worth protecting: there will be some who agree with you, some who believe the fetus has interests but the government has no obligation to protect them, and those who believe the mother’s interests outweigh the interests of the fetus. This is an important area of debate, but it has nothing to do with circumcision.
Circumcision is a human rights violation of a baby, who everyone agrees has the basic human right of bodily integrity and security of person. If you believe that a fetus has the basic human right to bodily integrity and security of person, why wouldn’t you believe that a newborn baby should have the same basic human right?
What is logically inconsistent is someone who opposes abortion but does not oppose circumcision. Why should a mother not be allowed to abort a fetus, but be allowed to cut on the genitals of their baby? This logical inconsistency is one of the reasons why people trying to protect the basic human rights of newborns stay out of the abortion debate. If you care so much about the fetus, you also have to care about the baby.
There is a huge difference between how the law treats a fetus and how the law treats a newborn baby. People looking to protect baby boys from circumcision are relying on aspects of the law that are generally accepted. There is no reason to unnecessarily venture into areas that are murky. Too often the fetus is called a baby hoping that no one will miss the fact that in our culture they are not morally equivalent. So the death of a fetus is not considered the same as the death of a baby. While some may consider this distinction arbitrary, this distinction is real.
I would extend the invitation to anyone who believes in the rights of the fetus to join in helping to protect the rights of the newborn because it is morally consistent. Also when a doctor circumcises a newborn boy, that doctor fails to recognize the dignity and moral worth of that baby. If a doctor can’t recognize the dignity of newborn, how do you expect that doctor to recognize the dignity and moral worth of the fetus? So, the efforts to stop circumcision are helping the cause to protect the fetus.
I like your description, Petite! It shows the complexity of the abortion debate. Especially, I like your statement that if you stand behind the life of your son you should also guarantee all of his rights and dignity. This also expands to the questions about capital punishment and life without parole. Once we recognize the value of life, why is it then ok to simply eliminate those people from society who were not lucky enough to grow up in a nurturing environment? But I guess this is leading us outside of the intactamerica blog.
Leading us outside the intactamerica blog was Pratt Landry’s intention. I wanted to tie up that loose end.
I know. I was referring to my own comment.
To Petite Poulet: Very well-said!! Right on target!
Circumcision is not of casual interest to the OB-Gyn specialty. It directly impacts the sexual experiences of their female clients/patients. Studies show that it causes sexual dysfunction for many females. It alters bonding between mothers and their infant sons and most likely alters the maternal/son relationship permanently, but this has yet to be fully elucidated. It is absolutely not a casual issue.