APRIL - MAY 2019

Finally! Circumcision enters the mainstream political conversation — even if just briefly.

In case you missed it: On March 14, Andrew Yang — one of many Democrats seeking the nomination for U.S. President in 2020 — responding to a question on Twitter — declared himself to be against cutting off baby boys’ foreskins. The remarkable thing about Yang’s statement was... well, its remarkableness!

First the Daily Beast, then other news outlets, and even late-night comedy shows made hay of Wang’s “wild” and “weird” position. Stephen Colbert suggested a new campaign slogan (“Andrew Yang for a better Wang”), and Jewish talk show host Ben Shapiro invited Wang to appear on his show to talk about — among many issues — Wang’s position on circumcision (that conversation begins at minute 43:20). Unfortunately, though not surprisingly, Wang began to waver, “clarifying” that circumcising a baby boy is a choice parents have the right to make. And — as though that weren’t enough equivocation — Wang tweeted that he’d even been to a bris — Jewish circumcision ceremony — and felt “privileged” to be there.

One has to wonder whether a candidate who took a position against female genital mutilation, or in support of the rash of new state legislation outlawing the practice, would have been branded by the media as “wild,” “unorthodox,” “weird” and infringing on “rather intimate” issues. I sincerely doubt it.

Nonetheless, Wang did us all a favor — even if only briefly — by bringing light to an issue that is still too closeted, but that so appropriately belongs in a campaign whose slogan is “Humanity First.”

And should you, as a supporter of Intact America have any doubt that your donations are making a difference, note that IA was the go-to organization for media that spotlighted Wang’s position; this is a direct result of years of organized outreach by a professional public relations firm, financed by – yes! – you, our donors. Thank you for that.



Los Angeles Times: Bill to ban cosmetic genital surgeries on intersex infants delayed. Doctors opposed it. Read more >>

BBC: 'My son killed himself after circumcision'.

Des Moines Register: Basu: Bill debate shows the thorny side of criminalizing only one culture's harmful practices. Read more >>



For years, I have written to legislators, the courts, and to other “rights” organizations about the genital slicing that was forced on me shortly after my birth. I have written to tell them that cutting the genitals of little boys is exactly the kind of age and sex discrimination they pretend to be against. I have been ridiculed, ignored, and “thrown under the bus.” “MeToo” never answered my letters. My letters to politicians and to Human Rights Campaign, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Anti-Defamation League, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and Amnesty International all have been met with silence. I had thought they supported all humans equally, but it seems I was wrong. Read more >>

Interested in lending your voice? Send an email to [email protected], giving us a brief summary of what you would like to write about, and we will get back to you.



By Brian Earp

It is with great sadness that I report that Robert Darby, a giant in the fight for children's rights, passed away in March 2019. He was a learned historian, a moral philosopher, a skeptic, a literary critic, and an activist in the cause of social justice (on so many fronts). Whatever area of scholarship he took up, his contributions were always brilliant, measured, and deeply-informed. He made important contributions in several fields, from medical history and sexuality studies to anthropology to bioethics. With J. Steven Svoboda, he wrote the landmark paper, "A Rose By Any Other Name: Rethinking the Similarities and Differences between Male and Female Genital Cutting," published originally in Medical Anthropology Quarterly and later expanded and republished in an edited volume (here). This was a truly brave essay, shattering dogmas with impeccable erudition and a gentle touch, paving the way for future scholars to think the unthinkable and say the unsayable in the name of protecting all children from medically unnecessary genital cutting.

Rob’s book, A Surgical Temptation: The Demonization of the Foreskin and the Rise of Circumcision in Britain (Chicago University Press, 2013), is a modern classic: a disturbing, astonishing, and painstakingly researched account of the insidious power of cultural and sexual prejudice to undermine medical practice. Rob's sparkling wit and vast understanding come through on every page.

He was a profoundly moral person, using his energy, skill, and intellect to advocate—day after day—for the most vulnerable among us. He lived his life with incredible wisdom and virtue, as a loyal friend, a patient colleague, a careful scholar, and tireless defender of human rights.

Rob's work and spirit have touched the lives of so many... To say he will be missed is not enough.




Every week, our YouTube curator and former Intactivist of the Month, Shelton Walden uploads both new and vintage clips related to circumcision in the United States and beyond.

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