MARCH 2019

Intersex & FGM Legislation

The legal landscape for cutting children’s genitals is changing

As you probably know, in November 2018, a federal judge in Michigan declared the federal law prohibiting female genital mutilation (fgm) to be unconstitutional. In refusing to convict a group of defendants, including Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, who participated in the genital cutting of three little girls, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman said Congress “overstepped its bounds” in prohibiting the practice in 1996, adding that FGM is a “’local criminal activity’ which, in keeping with long-standing tradition and our federal system of government, is for the states to regulate, not Congress.”

As of this writing, 28 states already have anti-fgm laws on their books. As a result of the ruling in Michigan, additional states are now rushing to get laws on their books to criminalize any genital cutting in girls under 18 years of age.

Ironically, these state laws are also ripe for being challenged as unconstitutional, especially if the states that implement them have any type of equal protection clause(s) in their respective constitutions. Yes, the conduct they seek to regulate is properly under states’ purview. But by denying equal protection to children who are not girls (i.e., boys and intersex children), they will be violating their own constitutions.

The action by state legislators provides a golden opportunity for those of us who want to see all children protected. Appropriately, intersex advocates have seized on this legislative opportunity by introducing bills in Iowa, Connecticut, and California that would criminalize cutting the genitals of an intersex child.

But what about boys? Unlike fgm, which sparks pretty much universal revulsion among Americans, both intersex “normalization” surgeries and “routine” infant male circumcision are embedded in current medical practice — and thus wear a cloak of legitimacy even though these surgeries are medically useless and violate the rights of the children who undergo them.

Nonetheless, the conversation is shifting dramatically. And here’s what you can do:


  • If your state lawmakers have approved or are considering implementing laws against the cutting of girls or intersex children, get active! (To see what’s happening in your state, click here.)
  • Contact your legislators, and tell them that all children — not just some children — must be protected. If your state has a clause in its constitution that lauds the principle of equality or equal protection, point out that any law that does not give boys the same protections violates that constitution.
  • Contact your governor.
  • Write to your local newspaper and your state’s largest newspaper.
  • Comment online.

You might say, for example: “I fully support the efforts of my state to protect girls [and intersex children — applicable in California, Iowa and Connecticut] from medically unnecessary genital mutilation. Boys need the same protection. “Routine” infant circumcision violates boys’ rights, and also violates our state Constitution, which says that the benefits and protections offered to one group cannot be denied to another.”

  • Search your state government’s website to track the status of relevant legislation. Show up at your State House to protest, and to read your statement.

And let us know how it goes. Share your efforts on Facebook, or send us a note to [email protected], so we can tell the world that the times are indeed changing.

Please visit our blog for more information on these developing state bills:

State of California


State of Connnecticut

State of Iowa

State of Washington





The Stranger: A new study in favor of circumcision draws fierce criticism. Read more >>

Amnesty International UK: Iceland — Healthcare failures subject intersex people to 'lifetime of suffering' — new report. Read more >>

Organic Lifestyle Magazine: Nurses against circumcision.

TIME: California bill seeks to limit genitalia surgery for intersex children. Read more >>

Allure: Uncircumcised penises are totally normal, and it's not OK to shame a partner who's uncut. Read more >>

QX Magazine: This Netflix doc about foreskin will blow your damn mind. Read more >>

ACLU: Stop performing nonconsensual, medically unnecessary surgeries on young intersex children. Read more >>

Vanguard: Fate of the foreskin.



For most of my life, circumcision was not an issue. I was circumcised, and I noticed one of my childhood friends was intact, but aside from that I didn't give it much thought. Sometime in my mid-40s, however, I read an article about the unnecessary circumcision of American baby boys.

Everything changed for me that day. It was like a light had been switched on, and as the thought stayed with me, I became angrier. Foreskins are part of the whole male infant at birth. 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.



Routine infant circumcision is one of the most debated issues in the country right now. This means intactivists have a tremendous opportunity to join the conversation, spark discussion, and spread the message that routine circumcision is harmful, unnecessary, and unethical.

Supporters contact us regularly and ask how they can get involved. You can help the movement right now by sharing our websites and resources available at: and You may also subscribe to our blog, follow us on social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube), and offer your personal experiences with us through the "Voices" series.

You can and should take every opportunity to comment on articles and news items about genital cutting (female, intersex and male) in local and national newspapers, and in online media. Editors and publishers pay a lot of attention to feedback; if nobody responds to an article, they figure the topic isn’t of interest to the public, and they won’t cover it again. So, even a sentence or two offering the intactivist perspective will go a long way toward spreading the word.

Finally, for intactivists already taking part in these advocacy efforts, but who want to do more to help Intact America, you may be interested in making financial contributions.

Intact America is a part of the Hudson Center for Health Equity and Quality — a non-profit organization registered under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. This means that there are several ways to make a tax-deductible donation to Intact America (consult your accountant for details)

Recurring donations

Automatic monthly donations are the best way to support Intact America. Your recurring donation affords Intact America the capacity to sustain our yearly campaigns and initiatives — helping us keep up the momentum toward the tipping point. Additionally, your monthly gifts help Intact America to budget for and uphold our basic operating expenses, website and public relations.

One-Time Donations

One-time donations provide indispensable support for Intact America's one-off efforts — projects, actions, petitions, surveys and events. During the year, our top donors issue a fundraising challenge to our staff in which they match every dollar we raise. These gift-match challenges provide opportunities to double the value of your donation.

Legacy Giving & Gifts of Stock 

More and more, we receive questions about how to name Intact America in a donor's will or as a beneficiary of an IRA, or other investments. We also have set up a brokerage account which allows us to receive gifts of appreciated stock. For more information on how to make these important gifts to the cause, contact Stephen Patterson at [email protected].


If you shop on Amazon or have an Amazon Prime subscription, you may designate the Hudson Center for Health Equity and Quality (Intact America’s “parent” non-profit) as your AmazonSmile charity. Then, whenever you make a qualifying purchase on, a portion of the purchase will go to Intact America (all contributions that come through Amazon go straight to Intact America). This is an easy way for online shoppers to support Intact America at no extra cost. More details about AmazonSmile can be found below.



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.

Feel free to browse our videos and audio files, and share them with friends. Subscribe today!



Do you shop frequently on Are you an Amazon Prime subscriber? If so, be sure to add Intact America (registered under Hudson Center for Health Equity and Quality) as your AmazonSmile charity.

What is AmazonSmile?

AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon that lets customers enjoy the same wide selection of products, low prices, and convenient shopping features as on However, the difference is that when customers shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the charitable organizations selected by customers.

Remember, every purchase helps to support Intact America's efforts to protect boys and the men they'll become. Sign up for AmazonSmile today and designate Intact America (Hudson Center for Health Equity and Quality) as your charitable organization!





Visit Intact America's online store to browse fun intactivist gear that helps spread our message.

Intact America is now selling Intact America "10 out of 10 babies Say No! to circumcision" t-shirts. Show your support wherever you go with these intactivist shirts!

Remember, every purchase helps to support Intact America's efforts to protect boys and the men they'll become. Order yours today!

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