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The American Medical Association Should Be Ashamed!

Yesterday, the American Medical Association, whose core values are leadership, excellence, integrity and ethical behavior, announced that its membership has voted to “oppose any attempt to legally prohibit infant circumcision.”

The AMA’s president, Peter W. Carmel, M.D., was quoted as saying, “There is strong evidence documenting the health benefits of male circumcision, and it is a low-risk procedure….  [T]he AMA … will oppose any attempts to intrude into legitimate medical practice and the informed choices of patients.”

Strong evidence? Presumably, he’s talking about evidence from flawed studies conducted among adults in parts of Africa with high HIV prevalence? Even these studies show that while female to male sexual transmission of HIV might be lessened when the male is circumcised, male to female transmission actually increases. And it’s not clear what any of this has to do with newborn babies, who don’t have unprotected sex.

Health benefits? Compared to what?  The foreskin is there to protect the penis, keep the glans moist, and enhance sexual pleasure throughout a man’s lifetime. Do the AMA doctors know about recent studies showing higher rates of erectile dysfunction in circumcised men than in intact men? Do they know anything about the benefits of the foreskin?

Low risk? Do Dr. Carmel and the AMA know that more than 100 babies die each year in the United States from circumcision? Do they know about the $2.3 million award made earlier this year to the family of a Georgia baby whose penis was severed and thrown into the trash after a botched circumcision? Or about Jamaal Coleson, Jr., who died in New York City this spring, following a “routine circumcision?” Or about little Eric Keefe, who bled to death following his circumcision in a South Dakota Indian Health Service hospital in 2008?  Certainly, they don’t know that just this week, the blogosphere was ringing with the discussion of another post-circumcision infant death, this one allegedly from a heart attack.

Legitimate medical practice? Do the AMA members who voted to keep the United States safe for circumcisers know that most of their European colleagues believe “routine” circumcision is not legitimate – but, instead, barbaric? Have they read the call by the Royal Dutch Medical Association for doctors to refuse to surgically remove part of the genitals of babies and children, on the grounds that there is no medical reason for it, and it violates children’s rights?

Informed choices of patients? Did the AMA stop to think about WHO IS THE PATIENT who supposedly is making an “informed choice?” Answer: the BABY is the patient – not the parents – and the baby cannot consent. On the contrary, only someone with a vested interest in denying the truth can assert that babies react with anything other than terrorized, panicked protest to the ripping, crushing and severing of their tender foreskins.

In the United States and most of the modern world, cutting a normal, healthy body part from the genitals of a girl is “genital mutilation” and it’s illegal. No ethical, moral or legal rationale distinguishes boys from girls in this regard.

Shame on you, Dr. Carmel. And shame on the AMA.

Georganne Chapin



  • Joseph4GI

    November 16, 2011 10:29 am

    The trend of opinion on routine male circumcision is so overwhelmingly negative in industrialized nations that it would be quite surprising were male circumcision to be recommended in the United States. No respected U.S. based medical board recommends circumcision for U.S. infants, not even in the name of HIV prevention. They must all point to the risks, and they must all state that there is no convincing evidence that the benefits outweigh these risks. To do otherwise would be to take an unfounded position against the best medical authorities of the West, within and outside of the United States.

    “The British Medical Association has a longstanding recommendation that circumcision should be performed only for medical reasons… Recent policy statements issued by professional societies representing Australian, Canadian, and American pediatricians do not recommend routine circumcision of male newborns”.
    ~AMA Report 10 of the Council on Scientific Affairs

    “…benefits are not sufficient for the American Academy of Pediatrics to recommend that all infant boys be circumcised.”
    ~American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)

    “…the association between having a sexually transmitted disease (STD) – excluding human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and being circumcised are inconclusive… most of the studies [of the effect of circumcision on HIV] …have been conducted in developing countries, particularly those in Africa. Because of the challenges with maintaining good hygiene and access to condoms, these results are probably not generalizable to the U.S. population”.
    ~AAFP “Position Paper on Neonatal Circumcision”

    “Current understanding of the benefits, risks and potential harm of this procedure no longer supports this practice for prophylactic health benefit. Routine infant male circumcision performed on a healthy infant is now considered a non-therapeutic and medically unnecessary intervention.”
    ~College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia

    “[We] do not support recommending circumcision as a routine procedure for newborns.”
    ~The Canadian Paediatric Society

    “The BMA considers that the evidence concerning health benefits from non-therapeutic circumcision is insufficient for this alone to be a justification for doing it.”
    ~The British Medical Association

    The Royal Australasian College of Physicians stated in 2010 that the foreskin “exists to protect the glans” and that it is a “primary sensory part of the penis, containing some of the most sensitive areas of the penis.”

    In the Netherlands, the Royal Dutch Medical Association (KNMG) issued a statement in 2010 stating that “The official viewpoint of KNMG and other related medical/scientific organizations is that non-therapeutic circumcision of male minors is a violation of children’s rights to autonomy and physical integrity.” Circumcision can cause complications, including infection and bleeding, and are asking doctors to insistently inform parents that the procedure lacks medical benefits and has a danger of complications. In addition to there not being any convincing evidence that circumcision is necessary or useful for hygiene or prevention, circumcision is not justifiable and is reasonable to put off until an age where any risk is relevant, and the boy can decide himself about possible intervention, or opt for available alternatives. They went on to say “There are good reasons for a legal prohibition of non-therapeutic circumcision of male minors, as exists for female genital mutilation.”

    The Bottom Line
    The foreskin is not a birth defect. Neither is it a congenital deformity or genital anomaly akin to a 6th finger or a cleft. Neither is it a medical condition like a ruptured appendix or diseased gall bladder. Neither is it a dead part of the body, like the umbilical cord, hair, or fingernails. The foreskin is normal, natural, healthy tissue with which all boys are born.

    Unless there is a medical or clinical indication, the circumcision of healthy, non-consenting individuals is a deliberate wound; it is the destruction of normal, healthy tissue, the permanent disfigurement of normal, healthy organs, and by very definition, infant genital mutilation, and a violation of the most basic of human rights.

    Without medical or clinical indication, doctors have absolutely no business performing surgery on healthy, non-consenting individuals, much less eliciting any kind of a “decision” from parents.

    Profiting from medically unnecessary surgery performed on healthy, non-consenting individuals is the epitome of charlatanism. The AMA is being run by charlatans.

    • erin

      November 16, 2011 4:29 pm

      Doesn’t get stronger than that!!!

    • Judith Bakley

      November 24, 2011 12:26 pm

      I notice you haven’t had an update on your blog since October. Why aren’t you putting all this info on it? 🙂 More people need to read what you have to say!

  • Howard

    November 16, 2011 10:38 am

    Put more simply, an old adage, “FOLLOW THE MONEY”

  • Tim Foxx

    November 16, 2011 10:44 am

    The AMA should “Let Go” of these crazy ideas…. The doctors that support this practice should take a close look at their medical oaths…. and their core values….

    • jimfromcalif

      November 17, 2011 1:54 am

      I prefer locking them up in prison.

  • ArtificialTruth

    November 16, 2011 10:55 am

    Clearly, after reading this post, the poachers of infant prepuces are under some kind of compulsion from someone or something that is incomprehensible to any reasonable and sane human being. Why? I just don’t get it!

    • jimfromcalif

      November 17, 2011 1:53 am

      Take a good look at our current society. It starts at the top with greed as the driving force. Greed is one of the most powerful of sins, and that is what drives the genital mutilation machine. The doctor is just a drop in the bucket of what is made from severing one foreskin. Add up the costs of the equipment used, the fees of the hospitals, the commissions paid on selling the equipment, the profits made in manufacturing the equipment, the fees paid to hospitals for the foreskins, the profit made in sellling the aritificial skin made from foreskins to the patients who use it, the cosmetic companies which put foreskins in their face creams, the profits of the stores which sell such cosmetics, and all the rest. Then you’ll get an idea of what is really behind it.

    • jimfromcalif

      November 17, 2011 1:46 am

      You hit the nail squarely on the head. The AMA and the AAP are all about protcting pocketbooks and to Hell with patients. When the infamous statement of the AAP was released, it was clear that the wording was carefully chosen to take all blame from the physicians. The latest piece of garbage from the AMA is no different, being based upon lies.

  • Whose penis is it? (@FamilyPenis)

    November 16, 2011 11:57 am

    Seen on Twitter:

    @KipEsquire: “We just like horsing around with little boys … and scalpels.” –AMA

  • Mark

    November 16, 2011 1:51 pm

    Hopefully this statement from the AMA will make doctors cancel their membership with them.

  • erin

    November 16, 2011 4:22 pm

    I couldn’t have said it better! I get SO frustrated with this and also, struggle with offending many close friends and family members who chose to circumcise! I deep down inside, want to shake some sense into them, tell them to wake up, educate themselves on this subject, and not assume that just bc the majority (hopefully minority) is doing it…doesn’t mean it is right!!!!

  • Mike

    November 16, 2011 7:02 pm

    I am so disgusted I don’t know what to say.

  • Larryk67

    November 16, 2011 7:12 pm

    Thanks for caring. Whenever I see a parent protesting that it’s his or her decision to have a son circumcised, I return to your blog in order to restore my faith in parents.

    • Judith Bakley

      November 24, 2011 12:22 pm

      LOL Yeah, I want to reach through the computer and slap every mother who says it’s her right to have her son sexually abused!

  • Olof Sander

    November 16, 2011 7:50 pm

    One way to fight back against this ignorance and bigotry is to start calling a spade a spade. We are dealing with TORTURE and MUTILATION, and should use that expression instead of the mild euphemism ”circumcision”. If anybody wants to add sexual discrimination that would be alright too!

    Thank you for creating this blog. I look forward to a lively exchange!

    • jimfromcalif

      November 17, 2011 1:42 am

      This is also my contention. We should not pussyfoot around with terms people are comfortable with. Call it what it is. It is disgraceful that a country which was founded on individual liberties ignores one half of its citizenry in such a disgusting manner by trampling on God given rights. The AMA needs to be exposed for what it really is— a machine for protecting its members from legal action against them for battery.

  • jimfromcalif

    November 17, 2011 1:56 am

    I don’t think they’ll yield until they get their rearends sued off. The Constitutional clause on equal protection under the law should be sufficient to win cases.

  • wildwahinepaddler

    November 17, 2011 2:56 am

    the AMA is really stupid,,,just like many doctors are stupid. Until it can be proven that newborn males are at risk for sexually transmitted diseases as infants….they are morons. But parents are the worst offenders…if they would just accept the horrid facts about genital cutting and say NO, this would all stop. I always hear that parents should not be judged for consenting to genital cutting on their babies…. but I just cannot ignore the facts.

    • Judith Bakley

      November 24, 2011 12:19 pm

      I’m with you on that one. Yes, it’s the doctors who do the cutting, and it might even be the doctors who push the surgery on ignorant parents. BUT the internet is filled with the truth about foreskin and the horror of circumcision. All it should take is watching one video of an infant circumcision to persuade any intelligent adult that it is wrong. Any parent who watches one or finds out that the foreskin isn’t just a useless flap of skin, or that there are men who are upset and restoring, should immediately say no. It really is that easy, ignoring what others say and just hold on to that baby and say “NO”.

  • wildwahinepaddler

    November 17, 2011 3:00 am

    It’s like taking “foreskin” from a baby…. oh yeah, they do that and then sell it, that is way sick.

  • Jeganathan Sutharsan

    November 17, 2011 12:50 pm

    Good term I am mentioning about U N is “Humanitarian Cannibals”

  • David R. Ellsworth

    November 17, 2011 2:26 pm

    U.S. citizens are arrogant and ignorant in so many ways and this is another clear example. This vote should have not have accepted votes from doctors who were circumcised themselves. I expect it would have had a different outcome.

  • R. Grunke

    November 17, 2011 5:32 pm

    Like the corporate take-over of the food supply, circumcision is an example of a fairly successful corporate take-over of the human body.

  • Michael N.

    November 17, 2011 7:29 pm

    We should not forget the background on which the vote was taken, namely, the uproar caused by Mr. Matthew Hess. The pro-circumcision-lobby could not have wished for a better gift than the hateful imagery featured in “Foreskin Man.”

    I deeply regret to say this, but Mr. Hess destroyed decades of progress by portraying the perfect intactivist as a violent anti-Semite. The intactivist movement is only loosely organized. Nevertheless, a spokesperson should be chosen to explain to ordinary people that intactivism has nothing whatsoever to do with racism. The movement will need to distance itself from “Foreskin Man.”

    • Georganne

      November 17, 2011 8:54 pm

      Michael – I appreciate your comment, but I disagree that the Foreskin Man comic book series destroyed decades of intactivist progress. Yes, Monster Mohel DID briefly give the pro-circumcision forces a convenient rallying point, but don’t forget – the comic book series’s first villain was the hideous Doctor Mutilator. Doctors are responsible for 99 percent of all circumcisions in this country, and none of those circumcisions have any religious basis (except for some vague claims that circumcision “is in the Bible.) Not surprisingly – it’s the doctors who have mounted the biggest offensive against intactivism; that’s what the AMA statement released this week was all about. I look at it this way: the backlash is evidence that WE ARE WINNING.

      • Michael N.

        November 18, 2011 5:52 am

        Thank you for responding to my comment, Georganne, and thank you for your inspiring blog. Your optimism is contagious. You are really spreading good cheer throughout the larger intactivist community.

      • Michael N.

        November 18, 2011 2:06 pm

        Thanks for helpful feedback, Dan.

        Dr. Lewis Sayre is mentioned in Leonard B. Glick’s book, Marked in Your Flesh (2005), pp. 158-162. Glick’s book ought to be read by anyone interested in this subject.

        I hope you are right that there will be no long-term negative effects on the circumcision debate as a result of “Foreskin Man.” It’s just that, as a general rule, I think people should be decent and respectful to each other, even if the controversy is a highly emotional one.

      • Joseph4GI

        November 21, 2011 12:00 am

        Dan, I think we need to gather the courage to call a spade a spade.

        Part of the reason why it’s been a difficult uphill battle is that nobody wants to be labeled an “anti-Semite.”

        This is where I think the Foreskin Man issue was a huge breakthrough; Hess, as well as others, are tired of the fact that nobody wants to call shenanigans on circumcision for fear of being called “anti-Semite,” even though only about 3% or so of all circumcisions in the US are Jewish brisses, while the rest are secular operations that happen in hospitals.

        I think that was the real problem with the comic book. While it did use disturbing imagery (what comic book doesn’t?), the bigger issue is that somebody dared to point out that infant circumcision is an important religious tradition for Jews. Circumcision advocates, shrill about this comic book, focused attention on the “monster mohel” caricature, but seemed to intentionally ignore the fact that a secular non-Jewish doctor was also vilified in the previous issue.

        I think it is important that we show how circumcision began and continues to be perpetrated in this country. Non-Jewish doctors and “researchers” play a role, but we must not pussyfoot around the fact that Jewish doctors and researchers have also been very actively involved in promoting the circumcision lie. We shouldn’t ignore the fact that circumcision is an important custom for Jewish people. Nay, some see it as divine commandment.

        Lewis Sayre may have brought circumcision to America, but who jumped onto the circumcision-as-medicine bandwagon to invent more myths? What doctors were calling to universalize circumcision in America?

        Abraham Wolbarst invented the lie that penile cancer was not possible in a circumcised man. That myth continues today. Aaron Fink invented the lie that circumcision could prevent HIV transmission out of thin air. To date it *still* cannot be demonstrably proven that the foreskin facilitates HIV transmission. HOW many times has Edgar Schoen tried to call for “universal circumcision?” Who invented the GomCo clamp? Who is Daniel Halperin and why does he lecture at “Moyels Without Borders?”

        Greed and self-reassurance are definitely incentives for doctors and “researchers” to be “studying” and promoting circumcision. But let’s not ignore the fact that circumcision is an important tradition for Jewish people, one that they have been vehemently defending since Greco-Romanian rule. Jewish doctors and “researchers” have centuries-old incentive to exaggerate the “benefits” of circumcision, while downplaying all the risks.

        Let’s stop trying to ignore this obvious bias and conflict of interest for fear of being labeled racists. Accusations of “anti-Semitism” might make sense *if* circumcision were exclusive to Jewish people. It’s not. 97%, or so, of circumcised men in the US are secular non-Jews.

        What’s more, some of the most outspoken voices in our movement happen to be Jewish. Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon has recently finished his “CUT” film tour. Leonard Glick has written the amazing book chronicling the rise of circumcision in America. Dr. Dean Edell does not hold back his tongue to criticize Jewish promoters of circumcision.

        Intactivism isn’t limited to non-Jews!!!

        Labeling the intactivist movement as some sort of Nazi plot against Jews is absolutely ridiculous!

    • Tim

      November 18, 2011 6:54 pm

      Michael: I see the AMA statement, and San Francisco’s proposed ban, differently. As unsettling as this news is, it can still be viewed as progress.

      The very fact that the AMA had to issue such a statement is itself recognition of the power of our arguments. It’s a sign that they recognize that male genital cutting is now becoming a political issue that can no longer be ignored.

      I liken this to the preemptive votes over the last 10 years taken by organizations, legislatures and the citizenry of some U.S. states to ‘protect’ traditional marriage from the those seeking marriage equality for same-sex couples. Yes, it was a setback for marriage equality advocates, but the existence of actual policies or laws that are plainly discriminatory always provide advocates of social change with clear targets over which to mount campaigns that become newsworthy and foster societal dialogue.

      The California legislature passed a bill to protect male genital cutting from being banned by municipal initiatives. Another is pending in Congress. The AMA issues a similar statement. Contrasting these positions to those taken on female genital cutting makes the discrimination even more blatant.

      These events now mean that intactivists must develop the acumen to take this to the next level of political organizing, perhaps calling on celebrities to publicly endorse genital integrity equality, or maybe creating an annual Genital Integrity Awareness walk in cities around the country to draw media attention and raise funds, etc. The possibilities are endless, if intactivists are prepared to take some lessons from other civil rights and social justice movements and get better organized.

  • roger desmoulins

    November 18, 2011 5:02 pm

    A major problem here is a number of peer-reviewed articles published since 1995 or so, claiming that the intact penis is positively correlated with HIV, HPV, and some other STDs. These studies are methodologically flawed, and inapplicable because most of the subjects live in the Third World, often in abject poverty.

    Routine circumcision is not a medical or public health measure, but a major problem in the sociology and social psychology of American sexuality. Doctors are not competent to analyse and reflect on that fact. Doctors are surprisingly ignorant of how sex works and of the precise nature of passion and intimacy. Any young American woman who has had 2-3 long term relationships with intact men knows a great deal about the foreskin and sexual acts that the good doctors who voted on this AMA resolution emphatically do not know. I find it very curious that there never has been a study of a random sample of the penises of American and Canadian men over 50, to document the claims we intactivists make about the gradual deterioration of the circumcised penis over the life cycle.

    I agree with Micheal N. that Foreskin Man #2 gave the enemies of intactivism a splendid pretext to tar all of us with anti-semitism. The plain truth is that most intactivists are concerned mothers of reproductive age, his focus is entirely on routine infant circumcision, not Jewish and Moslem ritual. The founders of this concerned women’s intactivism are Rosemary Romberg and Marilyn Milos. Romberg is married to a Jew, by whom she had 4 sons. Milos is not an antisemite, period. A fair fraction of intactivists are Jewish.

    I oppose banning circumcision within the limits of a city, because doing so is foolishly ineffectual. It’s just too easy to drive a baby to a suburban clinic. The correct body to regulate/ban circumcision is the state legislature. I am for a religious exemption, because the lack of religious exemption led Jewish organisations to pull out all stops to destroy any circumcision bans. If the California legislature had declined to slap down the SF initiative, intactivists would have had to raise 0.5 to 1 million dollars to fight off court challenges.

    Doctors detest being told what they can and cannot do by anybody except doctors they acknowledge as more knowledgeable than themselves. As my mother has said for 50 years, the USA has aristocrats; they are called doctors!

    American doctors silently accept that intactivism has made major inroads among white mothers. They silently accept that many hyphenated Americans, and many parents whose ancestors immigrated to the USA since WWII, find the circumcised penis distasteful. Hence American doctors and hospitals are more respectful of a mother’s decision not to circumcise. But the recent AMA decision reveals that American doctors remain strongly committed to the principle that the parents have the right to get rid of a son’s foreskin very soon after birth. The ostensible reason is that “circumcised is healthier”; the real reasons are unspoken and shameful. Again, circumcision is a problem of the realm of Freud, and not a solution in the realm of Robert Koch.

    American medicine at a high level also wishes to take away states’ option to defund RIC, and to remove all obstacles to doctors and nurses twisting the arms of underclass moms until they consent to have their newborn sons circumcised. Why? Because of a strong but unspoken patronising belief that underclass people do not know how to restrain their sexual urges and are too poor to afford condoms, and hence are at grave risk of HIV and HPV. American medicine silently accepts that in 20-30 years, suburban white kids will have all have natural penises because there is no profit in fighting educated moms. But they want slum boys to have bald penises “for their own good.” If you find such attitudes deeply patronising and racist, you are in good company.

  • Susanne

    November 19, 2011 11:19 am

    Does anyone have a link to the baby Georganne mentioned in her post that is said to have died after a circumcision induced heart attack?

    • Michelle

      November 21, 2011 7:45 pm

      That was a baby with a congenital heart defect here in the Midwest that the parents insisted on circumcising. The mother blogged about this online, so you might want to check out the internet.

  • Jeganathan Sutharsan

    November 19, 2011 11:24 am

    About the Health benefits I have few words. I am not behind the arguments of whether it is increasing or decreasing erectile dysfunction, because the what we need to concentrate is men is more than erection and sexuality. He can be sensitive enough as like as women from his gender rights and living rights. So genital integrity has become a gender rights issue, where routine circumcision could be considered as a gender based violence or Physical Assault on Men.

    I won’t accept to determine a man by his sexual functionality. So It is a hateful act of promoting anything in the name of erectile efficiency.

    The “Marketers” of Routine Circumcision are using sexuality as a tool such as Media and film industry are using it. Hence they put a statement about dysfunction. Men are more vulnerable targets in this case where they are always made as consumers of Sex, sexuality and violence.

    In our case, intact activism have to be careful when handling the harmful concepts such as masculinity and sexuality, originated by Pure Benefit and Profit oriented sources.

    Are we only going to limit the activism inside the intact activism, or expand it into a Global Domain by achieving men rights collaborated with Gender rights?

  • roxanne nelson

    November 22, 2011 10:42 pm

    Yes, shame on the AMA. They babble about the professed right of the patient to make informed choices, but they seem to forget exactly who the patient is. Its the baby, and the baby can’t make an informed choice. He is dependent on his parents and physicians to care for him, and not to mutilate him.

    Reading that about the AMA only more strongly enforces my resolve to continue to advocated against circumcision> I’ve gotten into a few battles over the “religious reasons” but again, do we sanction all things that are considered to be part of a religion? For example, the Bible says that we should stone adulterers and people who work on the Sabbath, but is that carried out? Men in the Bible often had more than one wife and mistresses, and it was perfectly acceptable. But how many Jews insist on having multiple wives because Abraham did, or King Solomon did, etc. Do we sanction honor killings as just being part of a religion and therefore acceptable?

  • Chris

    November 26, 2011 1:07 pm

    Would it be a good idea to contact the AMA and tell them how frustrated we are by this decision? (I found a contact form here: https://extapps.ama-assn.org/contactus/contactusMain.do)

  • Larry W

    November 27, 2011 9:25 pm

    I think that part of the AMA ploy is political. Part of it is guilt (how to explain all those…).

    From my experience, however, it is more a matter of knowledge. Many doctors simply don’t keep up with the research. I had a sinus surgery years ago that left my sinuses permanently dry. I went to another doctor about 4 years later who was very surprised that I had had that particular surgery, since “We stopped doing that a long time ago.”

    I had a hernia operation that left me with chronic pain. I found out later that the method used had been researched and extensively reported as being useless and leading to more complications–3 years before!

    The chronic pain led me to seeing a lot of doctors. I was amazed at how many times I actually knew more about the research and I never had a single doctor say: “I don’t know much about that, so let me research it.”

    So, when it comes to something as politically and emotionally charged as circumcision, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that the AMA has come out with an ill-informed statement.

  • Paul Frohlich

    December 7, 2011 3:19 am

    So many in America believe in God the Creator. Really? Where is the common sense in this? The Creator did not create the male perfect and man must have part of his genital cut of? Who is screwing up, the Creator or man? America say ” In God We Trust” what a joke those words on the dollar. For a large part of Americans God is just a bumper sticker, the real God for them is the doctor who they really trust blindly. Politically I am a conservative and use any opportunity on the web sides to show my opposition to genital mutilations of babies. A true conservative conserve the way Nature evolved all things over millions of years. I am not religious but there is an intelligent design in all things we see and experience from nuclear particles to all on our bodies including the male folds, or the Universe we are part of and its endless Suns. Its very disturbing to me that there are so many doctors that think they know better than Nature and Her evolution.

  • Paul Frohlich

    December 7, 2011 3:56 am

    I was born and raised in Czech Republic under the communist in those days and they did not promote genital mutilation as USA still do even today. How is this possible in a country that pride itself with its constitution, human rights and so on. A new born is not a person he is a property of the parent who let cut of a functional part from his body by a doctor? And nobody get punished for this brutal act? Why should I care , I am not cut. I must care because of many reasons, and the most important one is , this is done on a little child that is totally helpless to prevent this Bronze Age stupidity

  • Chris

    December 10, 2011 2:20 am

    The AMA is nothing but a bunch of thugs who use NAZI tactics. They should be exposed for the child molesters that they are.

  • Rose M. B.

    December 12, 2011 2:48 pm

    I agree that the AMA should be ashamed for being unwilling to look at the medical evidence-based information and still support circumcision. But then doctors are human beings and subject to the mental juggling that humans do. George Bernard Shaw said it best when he said, “Familiarity will accustom people to any atrocity.” But, how they can accustom themselves to causing considerable pain to tiny infant boys remains a mystery to me.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


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.