Timeline of Recognition for ARC and Intactivism
Our work has borne very satisfying fruit over the past year. As opposition continues and even expands in certain areas, ARC and our fellow intactivists are making unprecedented inroads in safeguarding genital integrity, achieving goals of which we could only have dreamt in past years.
ARC’s work in educating policy and lawmakers has paid off greatly in 2012-2013. In the summer of 2012, a local court in Germany ruled that circumcision constitutes a criminal assault. This set off an international firestorm of debate. Before the German Parliament responded, another major event occurred: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released their new circumcision policy statement. Their conclusion—that “the benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks”—contradicts earlier policy statements and goes against the rising tide of medical literature documenting the harms of circumcision, and the consensus of the international medical community.
While this was a major setback, we sat tight and wrote a letter to the AAP’s Pediatrics journal, which was not published by Pediatrics but was published elsewhere. The German Pediatrics Association read our statement online and cited us in their report on male circumcision to the German Parliament, perhaps the most incriminating report ever on male circumcision from a doctors organization. We were cited for our exemplary efforts in the United States working to end circumcision.
List of ARC’s Achievements
- We helped to end Medicaid funding for routine infant cirumcision in seventeen states through hundreds of phone calls, letters, and scholarship.
- Work at the UN (part of the UN permanent record):
- We presented a petition to the UN Sub-Commission on August 9, 2001, available here on our website: http://arclaw.org/our-work/presentations/oral-intervention-united-nations-regarding-male-circumcision
- We presented an oral intervention to a session of the UN Sub-Commission on August 14, 2001, available here on the UN website (first link): http://ap.ohchr.org/documents/alldocs.aspx?doc_id=7400
- We received the 2002 Human Rights Award from the International Symposium on Human Rights and Modern Society.
- Our 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.
- ARC has represented plaintiffs in several state and federal lawsuits to protect genital integrity. Winning in court can be difficult as there is not much legal precedent in circumcision lawsuits. Many of these cases settle before trial for often undisclosed amounts.One case that ARC worked on was a federal civil rights lawsuit involving a doctor in New York City who circumcised infants born to Latino parents without informed consent. The judge ruled in the doctor’s favor. Even though there were legitimate issues of bias on the judge’s behalf, we did not have enough support to appeal the case.
Another case involved a man who went in for a vasectomy and doctors performed a circumcision by mistake. The plaintiff eventually won a $30,000 settlement, but only after he rejected a pre-trial settlement offer of $100,000.
- We have published 30 issues of our Newsletter in the past 11 years, helping to spread news about intactivism and to maintain spirits among activists in this often demanding work. Our newsletter is carried by all three of the top content providers that electronically provide journals to libraries throughout the world! These three are ProQuest, EBSCO and Cengage (formerly Gale). Click here to view our latest issue: http://arclaw.org/newsletter/latest
- We recently released a list that we have been painstakingly compiling since our founding in 1997 of all known significant legal awards and settlements in circumcision-related lawsuits. Click here to view the list: http://arclaw.org/resources/settlements
- We recently marked the one-year anniversary of the release of our “Know Your Rights Brochure,” available on our website for potential litigants on how to see legal compensation for the wrong of circumcision. Click here to view the brochure: http://arclaw.org/announcements/circumcision-your-legal-rights
- We helped organize a special issue on circumcision of the world’s top ethical journal, the UK’s Journal of Medical Ethics. The JME published two of ARC’s articles in this issue, one concerning male circumcision, human rights, and customary law, and the other analyzing the AAP’s policy statement and technical report. The Jewish Press favorably mentioned the article by Steven Svoboda and pediatrician Robert S. Van Howe. The Jewish Press is the largest weekly newspaper read by Orthodox Jews. Click here to view our press release: http://arclaw.org/resources/press-releases/new-arc-article-finds-fault-p…
- J. Steven Svoboda debated the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Michael Brady, M.D. in a talk entitled, “Newborn Male Circumcision is Unethical and Should be Illegal,” at the Medical University of South Carolina in October 2013.
- Steven Svoboda and Jonathan Friedman were honored by Intact America as Intactivist of the Month for November 2014 and February 2015 (respectively).
- J. Steven Svoboda’s and Robert Van Howe’s article, “Out of step: fatal flaws in the latest AAP policy report on neonatal circumcision,” published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, was the 12th most cited article from a bioethics journal in 2014.