J. Steven Svoboda, Esq.

J. Steven Svoboda, ARC founder and executive director

J. Steven Svoboda, ARC founder and Executive Director

J. Steven Svoboda is founder and Executive Director of Attorneys for the Rights of the Child (ARC), a federally and state-certified non-profit corporation that Steven founded in early 1997. Steven graduated summa cum laude in Physics and English (with awards as one of the top two students in each of his majors) from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1983, received a Master’s Degree in physics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1985, and then graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1991. Currently in addition to serving as Executive Director of ARC, he works as a patent lawyer for his own law firm as well as for a prominent Chicago-based law firm and practices human rights law in Richmond, California. Steven obtained 37 patents for Fetch Robotics, which Zebra Robotics purchased for $305 million in July 2021.

Steven has been a social crusader since an early age. He founded ARC in 1997 at the suggestion of Tim Hammond of NOHARMM. He went to law school to be a human rights lawyer, training in human rights work in three trips to Guatemala, work that included visiting morgues to examine corpses for signs of human rights violations and confronting army generals over military violations.

Steven co-led an international team (the International NGO Council on Genital Autonomy or INGOCGA) that in March 2022 completed a five-year project by producing a “core report” on human rights that is posted on the ARC and INGOCGA websites for adaptation for future UN submissions by local activists throughout the world, based on the particular protections and/or violations of genital autonomy occurring in their individual countries. Steven also drafted an “intervention” (a written submission) from INGOCGA as a third party non-governmental organization to the UN’s Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in a Finnish case involving a parental dispute about circumcising their child.

In October 2013, Steven debated the AAP’s Dr. Michael Brady at the Twentieth Annual Thomas A. Pitts Lectureship in Medical Ethics, held at the Medical University of South Carolina pursuant to a conference titled, “Ethical and Legal Issues in Pediatrics. Steven proved that activists know the science far better than the Task Force and Brady found himself unable after hearing Svoboda’s five-minute presentation in the seminar to rebut a single one of our arguments. As they each personally told Svoboda, two of the five physician presenters who are not AAP Task Force members were completely convinced by our arguments and went from being pretty strongly pro-circumcision prior to the event to coming to oppose the procedure based on our arguments. The Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics published the paper by Svoboda and coauthors Bob Van Howe, Peter Adler, which is the longest article Svoboda has ever published and which is already regarded as comprehensive, persuasive, and “groundbreaking.”

In July and August 2001, Steven and ARC organized a team that traveled to Geneva on behalf of ARC to consult with the United Nations’ (UN’s) Sub-Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, making oral and written submissions, the latter of which became part of the official UN record and the first document ever accepted by the UN focusing on male circumcision.

Steven has presented at twelve consecutive international symposia on genital autonomy and children’s rights, starting in 1996 in Lausanne, Switzerland, with the most recent one held in August 2022 in Atlanta. His presentations were published as papers in all eight of the symposium conference proceeding books published by Plenum/Kluwer. One of Steven’s and ARC’s proudest accomplishments is publication, since 2000, of 39 issues of our free newsletter, which strives to be more or less a newspaper for intactivism. Our newsletter is carried by all three of the top content providers that electronically provide journals to libraries throughout the world.

Steven has more than forty publications relating to genital autonomy including

  1. Newborn Male Circumcision is Unethical and should be Illegal,” with Peter Adler and Robert S. Van Howe, Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics, Summer 2016;
  2. Circumcision of Male Infants as a Human Rights Violation,” Journal of Medical Ethics, July 2013;
  3. Out of step: fatal flaws in the latest AAP policy report on neonatal circumcision,” with Robert S. Van Howe, Journal of Medical Ethics, July 2013;
  4. Tortured Bodies, Tortured Minds, Informed Consent as a Legal Fiction Inapplicable to Male Circumcision,” in The Rights of the Child: Ensuring Every Child’s Fundamental Right to Body Ownership and Protection from Medical, Cultural, and Religious Infringements (G.C. Denniston et al., eds., Springer, 2012);
  5. Promoting Genital Autonomy by Exploring Commonalities Between Male, Female, Intersex, and Cosmetic Female Genital Cutting,” Global Discourse, Summer 2012;
  6. A Treatise from the Trenches: Why Are Circumcision Lawsuits So Hard to Win?” in Circumcision and Human Rights (G.C. Denniston et al., eds. Springer, 2008);
  7. A Rose by any other Name: Rethinking the Similarities and Differences between Male and Female Genital Cutting,” with Robert Darby, Ph.D., Medical Anthropology Quarterly, Volume 21, Number 3 (September 2007), pp. 301-323;
  8. Gender Equity and Genital Integrity,” in Bodily Integrity and the Politics of Circumcision: Culture, Controversy, and Change (G.C. Denniston et al., eds., Plenum/Kluwer, 2006);
  9. Educating the United Nations about Male Circumcision,” in Flesh and Blood: Perspectives on the Problem of Circumcision in Contemporary Society (G.C. Denniston et al., eds., Plenum/Kluwer, 2003);
  10. The Limits of the Law: Comparative Analysis of Legal and Extralegal Methods to Control Child Body Mutilation Practices,” in Understanding Circumcision: A Multidisciplinary Approach to a Multidimensional Problem (G.C. Denniston et al., eds., Plenum/Kluwer, 2001);
  11. Prophylactic Interventions on Children: Balancing Human Rights with Public Health,” with Frederick M. Hodges and Robert S. Van Howe, Journal of Medical Ethics, October 2001; and
  12. Informed Consent for Neonatal Circumcision: An Ethical and Legal Conundrum,” with Robert S. Van Howe and James G. Dwyer, Journal of Contemporary Health Law and Policy, Winter 2000.

Steven was deeply honored after the sad passing in June 2011 of his dear friend, the late, great activist Van Lewis, to be invited to deliver a memorial speech in Van’s honor at Van’s memorial service in Tallahassee. Many activists contributed to Steven’s memorial talk.

Both in his writing and in his activism, Steven cooperates with numerous other people and organizations to leverage ARC’s work to protect genital autonomy. Steven has represented plaintiffs in state and federal lawsuits to protect genital integrity.

Penn & Teller shot a full-length feature on male circumcision broadcast in 2005 in which Steven’s and ARC’s work are prominently featured. Montreal’s Sex TV shot a feature in 2006 in which Steven and ARC also figured prominently. Steven was for several years the genital autonomy correspondent for KKZZ in Ventura, California, appearing on that radio station numerous times. Steven discusses the movement to promote genital autonomy in Cassie Jaye’s excellent 2016 film about the men’s movement, “The Red Pill,” at a showing of which he met his wife.

In April 2002, Steven received the Human Rights Award for his work with ARC from the International Symposium on Human Rights and Modern Society. ARC’s work has been recognized by Harvard Law School, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Men’s Health Magazine, and numerous other well-known organizations and publications. Steven’s invited 2017 article on circumcision as iatrogenic (doctor-caused) wounding was held one of the ten most cited articles of the year that were published by the American Medical Association Ethics Journal. In November 2014, Steven was named by Intact America as Intactivist of the Month.

Steven coauthored a gender studies textbook with Dr. Warren Farrell and Dr. James Sterba, published in 2008 by Oxford University Press and entitled, Does Feminism Discriminate Against Men?: A Debate. Steven served for over a quarter-century as Public Relations Director and Board Member of the National Coalition of Free Men (NCFM), the world’s largest and oldest organization promoting genuine gender equity. In 2020-2021, he co-authored a brief to the United States Supreme Court that nearly resulted in the Supreme Court hearing a challenge to male-only draft registration as unconstitutional sex discrimination against both men and women. Steven is a proud husband of a Bay Area corporate consultant and a proud father of two children, born in 2002 and 2005.

David Wilton, Esq.

David Wilton, ARC Legal Strategist

David Wilton’s interest in genital integrity began in his teens, but did not become full blown activism until 2006 when he attended that year’s International Symposium on Circumcision and Human Rights in Seattle, Washington. The same year, it became apparent that the HIV/AIDS industry was anticipating desperate measures, notably circumcision, in prevention technologies. He began the blog Male Circumcision and HIV after studying the issue and concluding that the studies in support were inadequately designed and interpreted, the ethics were left un-examined, and the world outside the US and Africa was largely complacent towards the inevitable human rights problems and deleterious practical effects of mass circumcision campaigns.

Through the years, David continued his engagement with the issue at the 2008 International Symposium on Circumcision and Human Rights at the University of Keele (UK), and later with a presentation at the 2010 International Symposium on Circumcision and Human Rights in Berkeley on the issue of developing a sustainable blogging model. He’s organized a strong presence at the Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco every year since 2009 under the sponsorship of Attorneys for the Rights of the Child. He was invited to help staff the NOCIRC booth at the 2010 AAP conference in San Francisco. The following year he ventured internationally to help with outreach efforts on behalf of Intact America at the 2011 International AIDS Conference in Rome, Italy. He’s leveraged a strong interest in photography to document the Bay Area Intactivists-organized and MGMBill.org-sponsored presence at Pride San Francisco every year since 2009 and has made the resulting photos and video available for activists and others online.

David’s day job involves helping society’s least sympathetic and most reviled as a criminal defense attorney. Since being licensed in both Texas and California, he’s worked as an Assistant District Attorney for the 34th Judicial District of Texas and as a Deputy Public Defender in Stanislaus County, California (Modesto) before opening his own office in 2002 in San Francisco. Before entering law school, David worked as an English teacher in Mexico and the US after completing teaching credentials in the UK in 1993 and 1995. His other interests include international relations, journalism and foreign languages.

David Llewellyn

David Llewellyn, Litigation Advisor

DAVID J. LLEWELLYN, is a trial attorney and civil mediator, whose practice emphasizes cases involving medical malpractice, particularly in the areas of genital injury, circumcision damage, and wrongful circumcision, as well as other cases of negligence resulting in personal injury, and cases involving personal and business torts and contract disputes. He was born in Salem, Massachusetts in 1950, attended elementary school in South Carolina and junior high and high school in Pennsylvania, and thereafter matriculated to the University of Virginia, taking a B.A. With Distinction in History in 1972. From 1972 to 1976 he served in the U. S. Navy as a sea-going officer, attaining the rank of Lieutenant. Following the Navy he attended the University of Virginia School of Law, taking a J.D. in 1979. He is admitted to the bars of the Superior Courts of Georgia, the Georgia Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, the U. S. District Courts for the Northern and Middle Districts of Georgia, the U. S. Courts of Appeals for the Second, Fifth, and Eleventh Circuits, and the U. S. Supreme Court.

While he has practiced in virtually all areas of civil litigation, since 1995 his practice has increasingly included cases involving male circumcision, on which he has lectured internationally. He has handled such cases throughout the United States and has been admitted pro hac vice in cases in the courts of several states. He is also registered with the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution in General Mediation, having completed Harvard Law School’s Program of Instruction for Lawyers Mediation Workshop.

Practice Areas: Medical malpractice, including wrongful circumcision, circumcision damage, and other genital injury; personal injury; brain injury; spinal injury; wrongful death; automobile negligence; false arrest; false imprisonment; police brutality; libel and slander; dental malpractice; nursing malpractice; hospital liability; hospital negligence; legal malpractice; premises liability; toxic torts; products liability; Federal tort claims; government tort liability; fraud; credit fraud; commercial fraud; insurance fraud; insurance bad faith, employment litigation; business litigation; commercial litigation; business torts; collections; copyright litigation; college and university litigation; healthcare fraud litigation; False Claims Act litigation; Qui Tam litigation; Medicare and Medicaid fraud and abuse; land use litigation; general litigation; contractual matters; trials and appeals; mediation.

Member: Mr. Llewellyn is a member of the State Bar of Georgia; Atlanta Bar Association (Pictorial Roster Committee 1980-81); The American Association for Justice [formerly The Association of Trial Lawyers of America]; Georgia Trial Lawyers Association; Attorneys for the Rights of the Child (Board of Directors, 1998 –present); Lawyers Club of Atlanta; Old War Horse Lawyers Club. He also belongs to The Newcomen Society of the United States; Metropolitan Atlanta Alumni Association of Phi Beta Kappa (Board of Directors and Program Chairman, 2000-2001); Atlanta Committee on International Relations; Episcopal Cathedral of St. Philip (Parking Committee @1987-2001); East Point Lodge No. 288, F. & A. M. (Past Master); Scottish Rite; Yaarab Temple, A.A.O.N.M.S.; and Waldo Slaton Post No. 140, American Legion. He is a lifetime member of the University of Virginia Alumni Association and of Delta Tau Delta Fraternity.


Georganne Chapin

Georganne Chapin, Technical Advisor

Georganne Chapin is the executive director of Intact America and the Secretary of ARC. Georganne is also President and CEO of Hudson Health Plan and the founder of Hudson Center for Health Equity & Quality. Chapin writes and presents widely in the U.S. and abroad on bioethics and health care reform. She earned her B.A. in Anthropology from Barnard College, her M.A. and M.Phil. degrees in Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia University, and a J.D., cum laude, with certificates in Health Law and International Law from Pace University School of Law. She has taught as an adjunct professor of law at Pace.

Matthew Young

Matthew Young, Medical Malpractice Expert

Matthew Young, remarkably enough, earned both M.D. and law degrees from Harvard. After Matthew tragically lost his own father to medical malpractice, he decided to become an attorney and patient safety advocate and now focuses his legal work on representing plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases. Matthew has a number of peer-reviewed publications in prestigious medical journals and has also contributed several book chapters to published medical treatises. Matthew remembers being deeply affected when he was doing a pediatric rotation at Boston Children’s Hospital, where he saw a neonate who was admitted from an outside hospital after suffering a complete transection of the glans penis during an attempted circumcision. He subsequently trained at a hospital where a few doctors and midwives actually refused to perform circumcisions. He is proud to say that he has dissuaded many parents from circumcising their sons through education and evidence-based medicine. Matthew is also a classically trained concert pianist.