Charleston Debate Audio Leaked to the Public

Debate 2013 Pitts Lectureship Medical Ethics MUSC circumcision vaccination
(l. to r.) Steven Svoboda, Eric Graham, Michael Brady, and Stan Block

December 17, 2016

Filmmaker Brendon Marotta, director of the upcoming movie "American Circumcision," has very generously worked with ARC this fall to prepare releases by of audio clips in part, and the full audio recording from the second day of a debate in Charleston, South Carolina between ARC’s J. Steven Svoboda and Dr. Michael Brady of The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Circumcision task force.  The event was the Twentieth Pitts Lectureship in Medical Ethics, held on October 18-19, 2013 at the Medical University of South Carolina.

A special issue of the Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics earlier in 2016 published the proceedings of the event, including an article by Svoboda, Peter W. Adler, and Robert S. Van Howe, titled, "Circumcision is Unethical and Unlawful” which can be found here:

The two day forum was successful in engaging students and other attendees in this much needed conversation. They asked for themselves, and were witness to others’ important questions about how we decide where we draw our ethical lines.  Two physicians on the Charleston panel (there to debate other issues) even told Svoboda that they changed their positions to pro-intact based on the evidence argued by Svoboda and other human rights activists present.

The audio also demonstrates that the AAP may have lied in the past when claiming that circumcision does not reduce sexual sensation in the penis.  Event organizer and editor of the JLME special issue, Dr. Robert Sade, stated that the reduction in sensation is beneficial and preferred by men, and this statement was not challenged by Task Force members Brady and Diekema. 

The sad reality revealed by the recording is that doctors in charge of circumcision policy at the AAP use their bias to inform their work, and cannot see the issue in the light of the best interest of the children they are supposed to serve because they believe such absurdities as “men do not value their foreskins”.  A simple phrase uttered after a long point was made about the inappropriateness of using the risk benefit analysis when no action is actually necessary shows us that they will continue to use their own conditioned opinions in place of objective reasoning: “it’s better”.

Hear the full audio release here: