ARC maintains a bodily integrity legal defense fund and is preparing to expand its activity in direct litigation to protect babies. We have been actively participating as both attorneys of record and a legal support center on circumcision issues in cases chosen to advance the struggle to secure equal protection for, and broaden judicial and public recognition of, children’s legal and human rights to bodily integrity and self-determination. One important case is still in progress. This case pits an Armenian man against his doctor who, when he went in for a vasectomy, instead erroneously circumcised him. The error has seriously harmed the plaintiff’s sexuality, directly causing a recent separation from his wife. We were forced to delay the mediation due to the need to object to a serious conflict of interest that became evident with the original mediator. Trial is scheduled for September 2005. Co-counsel in this case is ARC Advisory Board Member Paul Garner, and Marc Angelucci, a 2000 graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles Law School, and Director of the National Coalition of Free Men-Los Angeles.
In a recently concluded case, the Armatas v. Elmhurst Hospital civil rights case, was filed in Federal Court over discrimination against Spanish speakers in provision of unconsented-to circumcisions, took us to Brooklyn for one month in July-August 2003. The child plaintiff in the case was circumcised despite his parents’ repeated requests that he be left intact after a consent form signature was extracted from the mother while she was still upset following delivery and without an explanation to her in her native language, Spanish. Despite the dedicated work of our team that included Charles Bonner, Paul Garner, and myself, a highly biased Jewish visiting judge from Michigan managed to forestall justice through a series of startlingly arrogant maneuvers.
One of our main roles is strategizing on legal approaches to protecting bodily integrity in consultation with other activist individuals and organizations. Preparation continues for a possible qui tam action over state expense of taxpayer money for medically unnecessary and harmful procedures, such as circumcision. We regularly receive requests from plaintiffs for referrals to attorneys familiar with genital mutilation issues. We refer each of these cases to appropriate attorneys for case evaluation. Often this results in lawsuits being filed. ARC maintains a bodily integrity legal defense fund and is preparing to expand its activity in direct litigation to protect babies.