On Friday September 25, we took the mobile unit for a tour into Manhattan to coincide with the Papal visit in New York City. While NYC is always a busy place, this past Friday gave us an opportunity to place our message before unusually large crowds. With an overflow crowd well in excess of 80,000 people, Columbus Circle and Central Park West were a solid mass of people. After the Pope departed the area, so many people streamed out of Central Park we were unable to move the vehicle for a period of time. While many people came for a rare opportunity to see Pope Francis, instead they saw “CIRCUMCISION – I DID NOT CONSENT”
Atlanta, GA, May 29, 2015 –The Law Firm of Jonathan W. Johnson, LLC filed a lawsuit on September 25, 2014 in Clayton County State Court on behalf of their client, Stacie Willis, as parent of her infant son, DeJuan Williams, who had the end of his penis amputated during a botched circumcision. Ms. Willis had taken her son to Life Cycle OB/GYN and Pediatrics in Riverdale, Georgia for a routine circumcision in October 2013. Nurse Midwife Melissa Jones performed the procedure with a Mogen clamp. Most nurse midwives do not perform circumcisions.
On May 20, 2015, Judge Aaron B. Mason granted the Plaintiff’s motion to add as defendants,Teleflex Incorporated and Teleflex Medical Incorporated, the alleged manufacturer of the Mogen clamp used during the procedure. Mogen clamps have been found to be defective products which cause circumcision injuries to infants in other cases.
The infant has undergone several corrective surgeries and it is expected that his future medical needs and expenses will exceed $1,000,000.00.
By Stacie Willis:
It all started on Oct 21, 2013 about 2 1/2 weeks after my baby boy (Dejuan) was born. During a time when I should have enjoyed being a mother, my nightmare began! On Oct 21, 2013, my son went in to Lifecycle OBGYN to get circumcised. During this time, I could hear my son screaming and hollering like he was in tremendous pain. I quickly ran to his side too see what the problem was.
I witnessed the glans of my son’s penis gone. The tip of his glands and urethra were severed. I repeatedly asked the midwife what was going on and why was my son bleeding profusely from his penis. She told me everything was okay and my baby would be fine.
I was scared and confused on what was happening, because I knew something was not right.
As a mother I got a second opinion, I arrived at the hospital and had my son checked out, and my suspicion was right. I knew the way his penis was bleeding was not right or normal. I have to other boys, (both have been circumcised) and never experienced this.
Due to this incident, it has caused my son to have corrective surgery on his penis for the rest of his life. Dejuan has already had two surgeries to reopen his pee hole to correct the problem, and he is only one year old. The fact that my son will never live a normal life is devastating and my son’s penis will never be normal no matter how many surgeries he has to have.
My son will never have a sensation feeling at the head of his penis and may never be able to have children due to his damaged nerves from this horrific accident. My son has already started to develop issues due to this horrific incident .
As a parent, it’s very hard to see your child face and live with the difficulties and magnitude of his situation. This pains me, and is very depressing and heart breaking to see my son go through all of this pain and suffering possibly for the rest of his life.
At a very young age my son Wille (will) start seeing a therapist to start helping him understand what he is going through and what he will be dealing with for the rest of his life. My son has had to have his man made pee hole stitched shut because the hole decreased tremendously causing him pain while trying to urinate as well as getting his urethra re-opened, because of his urine stream decreased.
For the most part my son is a very happy and playful little boy. My son will have his third surgery on May 22, 2015 at the Discovery Clinic at The University of Minnesota.
It is not known how many surgeries he will need over his lifetime, and each surgery is expensive. Dejuan is currently without any insurance coverage for Minnesota, and his medical needs have far exceeded what our family will be able to handle over a long period of time.
CDC wants all males to be cut–but it’s harmful psychologically
As psychologists, we are deeply concerned by the recently announced CDC guidelines promoting circumcision for all males, and in particular children. The CDC guidelines are based on a sharply criticized 2012 policy statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The 2012 statement was condemned by a large group of physicians, medical organizations, and ethicists from European, Scandinavian, and Commonwealth countries as “culturally biased” and “different from [the conclusions] reached by physicians in other parts of the Western world, including Europe, Canada and Australia” (Frisch et al., 2013).
The new CDC guidelines highlight methodologically flawed studies from Africa that have no relevance to the United States. They chose to ignore studies that were conducted in the United States and show no link between circumcision and the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV (Thomas et al., 2004).
Worse, the CDC has completely ignored the psychological effects of genital cutting on male children.
Circumcision ‘doubles autism risk’ and increases risk of ADHD
- The findings hold regardless of cultural background, say researchers
- They suggest the pain caused by circumcision may be partly to blame
- This may in turn affect how the brain develops and reacts to stress
- Study looked at 340,000 boys born in Denmark between 1994 and 2003
- But experts have urged caution over the ‘extremely speculative findings’
Circumcision before the age of five can double a boy’s risk of developing autism, research suggests.
Scientists believe the finding may be linked to stress caused by the pain of the procedure.
The study of more than 340,000 boys in Denmark found that circumcision raised the overall chances of an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) before the age of 10 by 46%.
But if circumcision took place before the age of five it doubled the risk.
Circumcision also appeared to increase the likelihood of boys from non-Muslim families developing hyperactivity disorder.
Professor Morten Frisch, of the Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, who led the research, said: “Our investigation was prompted by the combination of recent animal findings linking a single painful injury to lifelong deficits in stress response and a study showing a strong, positive correlation between a country’s neonatal male circumcision rate and its prevalence of ASD in boys.”
While it is considered unacceptable today to circumcise boys without proper pain relief, it is not possible to make the procedure completely pain-free.
The pain of circumcision is likely to be more severe in very young babies both during and after the operation, according to the scientists.
Painful experiences in newborns have been shown in both animal and human studies to be associated with long-term alterations in pain perception, a characteristic often seen in autistic children.
Prof Frisch added: “Possible mechanisms linking early life pain and stress to an increased risk of neurodevelopmental, behavioral or psychological problems in later life remain incompletely conceptualized.
“Given the widespread practice of non-therapeutic circumcision in infancy and childhood around the world, our findings should prompt other researchers to examine the possibility that circumcision trauma in infancy or early childhood might carry an increased risk of serious neuro-developmental and psychological consequences.”
The findings are reported in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.
Professor David Katz, from University College London, who chairs Milah UK, a body that speaks for the Jewish community on issues related to circumcision, said: “This report is far from convincing: correlation does not equal causation.
“There is a long history of attempts to link autistic spectrum disorders to unrelated practices, such as the measles/mumps/rubella association, which proved to be fraudulent.
“There is general agreement that in people suffering from an ASD there are abnormalities that can be identified in brain structure and/or function. There is a strong genetic component, which may be a factor within the faith communities studied here, and which does not appear to have been explored amongst them.
“Some contemporary research does indicate that factors besides the genetic component are contributing to the increasing occurrence of ASD – for example, a variety of environmental toxins have been invoked to explain why these conditions are more prevalent today than they may have been in the past – but again proof of causation is lacking, and these factors are only likely to be relevant in those who are already vulnerable to them.”
Applied statistician Professor Kevin McConway, from the Open University, said: “This study raises an interesting question, but one that cannot be fully answered with these data.
“The study is observational, and in such studies it’s always tricky to tell what causes what. The observed increase in risk of autism spectrum disorder in circumcised boys might be due to the circumcision, or it might not.
“Religions that prescribe circumcision prescribe other things too, such as diet or clothing. Perhaps differences in diet or clothing lead to the increased ASD risk, rather than the circumcision. Cultural and family differences may be crucial.”
Does Circumcision Make Men’s Penises Smaller?
An interesting question to ponder. Does circumcision prevent penises from reaching their full genetic potential? Some experts say that amputation of a body part in infancy can cause the remaining attached tissue and structures to have stunted growth.
Circumcision involves the amputation of healthy function tissue for essentially cosmetic reasons. However few have probably considered that a smaller penis may be the unintended result.
A shocking photo obtained by Intaction shows the results of an accidental amputation of a pinky finger when the subject was an infant. It is clear from the photo that the stump of the amputated pinky finger is significantly shorter than the unaffected finger in the opposing hand.
Amputation severs the nerve endings to the affected area. Circumcision causes total severing of the nerves leading from the foreskin due to the stretching, cutting (laceration), and crushing by circumcision devices. This type of neuron death is known as neurotmesis. Neurotmesis results in neural degeneration. Not only are the nerves lost in the foreskin, but the nerves feeding them atrophy and die back to the spine. Without full enervation of the penile tissues as an infant, growth is likely to be stunted.
Furthermore, an informal study conducted by Dr. Christopher Fletcher, M.D. found that the adult penises of men circumcised as infants are 8mm (3/8″) shorter than their intact counterparts. Dr. Fletcher is an assistant clinical professor of family and community medicine at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. Dr. Fletcher’s conclusions arise from a study of men 18 years and older seeking medical care. The vast majority of his subjects had circumcisions soon after birth for non-medical reasons.
Circumcision should now be considered a man-made handicap that is inflicted upon millions of baby boys every year. Parents that have been mislead into circumcising their sons for make-believe health benefits may have actually stunted the growth of their son’s penis.
Beyond stunted genital growth, it is undeniable that circumcision removes over 20,000 specialized nerve endings and 15 square inches of mobile skin (in the adult male) that accommodates the erection during arousal. Lack of this mobile sliding skin may cause painful or curved erections as an adult.
In his most recent standup act on HBO, comedian Bill Maher makes fun at the anti-circumcision movement. In a bit discussing the posting of online “selfie” pics, he states that he supports circumcision because otherwise penises look like “sea creatures.”
While some intactivists may be upset with the insensitivity expressed by Maher, we here at Intaction are actually delighted by his comments.
First we need to remember this is a comedy show. It’s not meant to be taken seriously. Of course that’s not always easily digested when your the brunt of the jokes. However we need to keep in mind comedians often take on absurd points of view to entertain.
Viewers rarely take what a comedian says seriously because the point of the discussion is to make one laugh. Furthermore Maher is a polarizing figure, when he says something probably half the people automatically take the other position.
Here is the good part for us. Maher used the words “male genital mutilation,” child abuse,” “circumcision” in the same sentence. Associating those terms together is a powerful re-statement of OUR message. He also made mention of a movement to “get rid of circumcision.” I’m sure many people never heard of our movement until Maher told them about us.
Maher gave our movement publicity that we could never afford to buy. He probably sparked more than a few people’s imagination and they will now be encouraged to look into the issue further.
So we can keep our chin up and smile. As they say there is no such thing as bad press. And we will drop Bill a note thanking him for the mention.
– Should we endorse it? –
What if we proposed a law requiring circumcision for all newborns?
That’s right. We would endorse federal legislation requiring all newborn males be circumcised.
I bet your saying “hold on a minute – why would someone who is supposed to be against circumcision support such an idea.” Did Anthony Losquadro lose his mind inhaling diesel fumes from the Mobile Education Unit?
Well not yet, but read on for another shocking statement…….
Guess who would be opposed to such a law? Pro-circumcision advocates.
Confound it! Why would pro-circumcision advocates be against a law requiring circumcision, and anti-circumcision advocates support it? Has the world turned upside down?
No I assure you, the Earth is still spinning on its axis in the proper orientation, and with some discussion I can help you understand this paradox.
The answer lies in the way medicalized infant circumcision was originally framed, and how it gained its foothold.
It’s all about parental choice.
You see my fellow advocate, if the government mandated infant circumcision, the decision to circumcise would be transferred from the parental domain to the government.
Now when babies grow up into men and find out about circumcision, who would they blame? Since it’s a government mandate, parents could no longer be the scapegoat. Instead the government would take the blame. The government is not willing to incur the wrath of millions of angry young men. It could possibly cause great societal upheaval. It would be the end of circumcision. Perhaps it would even topple the government.
The beauty of the cutters strategy is that parents make the perfect scapegoat. They know it is much more difficult to blame your parents. Few men are going to discuss the issue with their parents. And how can you blame your parents for making a mistaken, misguided decision? You can be angry with them, but for how long and to what extent? They are they very people that created you, raised you, and loved you? The cutters are keenly aware of this and have enshrined parental decision making into their strategy.
That is the reason such a law would never happen. To pass a law mandating circumcision would be the end of circumcision. Parental choice and the notion of “the rights of the parent” would end. The pro-circumcision advocates know that. That’s why their propaganda always concludes with, “Ultimately it’s a parent’s choice.”
In order to keep parents handing over their babies to be circumcised, the cutters just have to keep spinning their lies and printing their propaganda. Then they leave it up to parents to do the rest. Feed them the misinformation and watch them bite the hook. That’s their strategy.
But that’s why our advocacy is going to change the paradigm. We are changing the cycle from parents deciding to circumcise to parents choosing to keep sons intact.
We do this by first educating men about the issues and getting them involved. We show them that they can speak out about their feelings of victimization. Secondly, we make parents aware of that they were taken advantage of during an overwhelming moment in their life. That their trust was misplaced.
Then, we show parents they can constructively overcome regret by empowering them to become advocates for intact babies.
This effort is being made possible with our Mobile Education Unit.
It’s sons telling their parents about the issue. It’s parents overcoming regret. It’s a message that can’t be misinterpreted. All of this is contained in “I DID NOT CONSENT.” It’s a rolling demonstration on steroids – right down Mainstreet USA.
We watch the public react in realtime with a range of responses: affirmation, incredulity, picture snapping, thumbs up, wonder, shock, amusement, finger pointing, and awe on every block.
You can break the cycle of circumcision by buying miles for genital integrity. The more miles you buy, the more progress we can make. There are levels of support for every budget. Embark on a journey with us as an advocate for genital integrity. Are you ready?
KEEP IN MIND YOUR DONATION IS FULLY TAX DEDUCTIBLE. THAT MEANS THE U.S. GOVERNMENT COULD BE PAYING AS MUCH AS $.50 ON EVERY DOLLAR YOU DONATE TO INTACTION (depending on your tax situation – check with your tax preparer.) WHY GIVE THE GOVERNMENT YOUR HARD EARNED MONEY TO PAY FOR PEPFAR AFRICAN CIRCUMCISION PROGRAMS WHEN IT CAN BE USED TO FIGHT FOR GENITAL INTEGRITY IN THE USA!
Donors who contribute $500 or more will have their name placed on the vehicle in an area dedicated to LEADERS OF HUMAN RIGHTS.
Anthony Losquadro, Executive Director
A Pennsylvania man has been arrested for allegedly stealing more than $350,000 worth of human skin from a Philadelphia hospital for years – human skin incredibly derived from circumcision.
Gary Dudek, 54, of Wallingford, Pennsylvania, was arrested Monday May 26, and charged with theft and tampering with records. According to investigators, Dudek repeatedly stole skin grafts from Mercy Philadelphia Hospital between November 2011 and July 2013.
From September 2006 to September 2013, Dudek worked as a “tissue-regeneration specialist” – a sales representative – for Organogenesis, a Massachusetts firm that specializes in regenerative medicine, a company spokeswoman said.
Angelyn Lowe, director of corporate communications at Organogenesis said, “Organogenesis developed a product called Apligraf, made of collagen and skin cells designed to mimic human skin.”
According to the Organogenesis website, the company claims “Human keratinocytes and fibroblasts are derived from neonatal foreskins obtained for use under informed-consent guidelines.” Neonatal foreskins are taken from infant boys during circumcision.
Ethicists counter that babies are the true owner of the foreskin, and they cannot consent. Court decisions have upheld the doctrine that any removed body tissue becomes property of the hospital. Hospitals may do whatever they wish with such tissue, including selling it without a patients consent. Such tissues include foreskins removed during circumcision. Hence the “consent” Organogenesis claims to receive is not even a legal requirement.
Intaction was interviewed by VICE Media at the unveiling ceremony of the Mobile Education Unit. Read the article below:
Anti-circumcision activists outside the “mobile education unit.” All photos by Erica Euse
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is the philosophy of Anthony Losquadro, an anti-circumcision activist. Losquadro is the executive director of Intaction, an organization that has been informing the public about the harmful mental and physical effects of circumcising baby boys since 2010. On Saturday, Intaction unveiled their mobile education unit, a large truck plastered with photos of men sullenly holding their baby photos with the text “I did not consent.” Inside the truck are massive screens that play videos castigating the practice of cutting baby wieners.
When I visited the truck on Saturday afternoon, it was strategically parked across from the New York Medical Center on First Avenue in Manhattan, a hospital where thousands of baby foreskins have been and will be chopped off. Intaction plans to take to the streets in their new mobile unit, traveling the Tri-State Area and stopping at college campuses and other hospitals. All this talk of baby boners is not for nothing—according to the Center for Disease Control, the rate for circumcision has dropped 10 percent over the past 30 years, and part of that decline is likely thanks to the outspoken efforts of new grassroots organizations like Intaction.
Losquadro and his crew hope to continue to decrease the practice of circumcision through more education and awareness. To understand the importance of the foreskin, why they see circumcision as genital mutilation, and how the tradition of circumcision has been perpetuated, I sat down with Losquadro outside Intaction’s mobile education unit for a little chat.
VICE: Why is Intaction out here?
Anthony Losquadro: American society discounts the anatomical function of the foreskin. It is a natural body part that all mammals have, and it contains 20,000 specialized nerve endings, which serve an important function, and it’s very painful and stressful to remove it. It is primarily done in America and the Middle East. Europe, South America, and Asia—they don’t practice this. There it is the exception rather than the rule. Here in America, it is the rule rather than the exception, but that trend is changing.
How prominent is circumcision in New York?
Right now, according to New York State health statistics, only 42 percent of boys in New York are being circumcised. To some extent, doctors are pushing it, and the registered nurses on the maternity ward floors. A lot of it is out of ignorance, practice, and custom.
What is Inaction’s main goal with this campaign?
Our main goal is education and awareness. My experience is that once people stop and think about it, they realize how ludicrous it is to circumcise a baby. Today, with the internet, it is very easy to get information. Whereas in the past, they had to rely a doctor’s guidance. Now they can research it on their own and fall back on common sense. If he is healthy and it is a normal body part, why are they removing it?
Doctors sometimes cite medical reasons for why babies should be circumcised. Are those valid?
There are really no medical reasons to amputate a healthy body part. They have claimed that it can prevent HIV, but it is not a reliable means for prevention. A lot of studies that have been cited have been called out by doctor’s groups in Europe. They say that the studies are biased because they are done by researchers who have spent their life being vocal proponents of circumcision.
How has circumcision continued for so long?
Throughout the ages they keep coming up with new excuses for circumcision. It originally started in America during the Victorian age, the age of sexual repression, as a way to keep boys from masturbating. If you cut off the foreskin, they will have less pleasurable sensation in the penis. Then that theory wore thin, so they came up with new ones. They said it’s for better hygiene. Then they came up with HPV and HIV. Now they are trying to claim that it prevents prostate cancer. The United States has one of the highest rates of HIV infection for a Westernized society; we also have the highest circumcision rate. So where is the benefit?
People have been very supportive of ending female genital mutilation abroad. How is this different?
I have traveled to a lot of international conferences focused on all forms of genital mutilation. Other countries tell us, “How can you come here and tell us female genital mutilation is wrong when you do male genital mutilation in your country? You are hypocrites.” We have no standing when we are trying to tell African nations not to circumcise women, when we are doing it to our sons.
Are the men in the group mostly circumcised or not?
It is a mixed group. The majority of the men have been circumcised, and they are unhappy about it. This is something that has been put into the closet. Where can you discuss that you are unhappy that you have been circumcised? There is no venue. That is why organizations like Intaction are providing that venue. We aren’t going to make jokes about it. It is an uncomfortable subject to talk about, so people like to make jokes, but it is a serious issue. It’s a form of men’s rights.
What about foreskin restoration? What is that about?
It is a type of skin expansion process that surgeons use, meaning that if you place the skin under tension for a long enough period of time, the skin cells will grow to relieve that tension. There are various methods that they use to put tension on the skin of the penis to pull it forward and attempt to restore the foreskin. It isn’t a perfect situation. It is also kind of a long process because skin doesn’t grow that fast; it takes years. A few men have done it, and a lot of men are attempting to do it, but our primary mission is trying to keep babies boys from [being circumcised]. Right now there are probably half a dozen circumcisions going on in this building and the hospitals in the area. It happens every day, and most of it is ignorance.
May 10, 2014 (NYC): Today Intaction unveiled an audacious step for the anti-circumcision movement with the introduction of a dedicated Mobile Education Unit. The mobile unit was unveiled in front of the NYU-Langone Medical Center in New York City to Intaction members.
The anti-circumcision movement of the modern era has been in existence for about thirty years, but its recently gained significant momentum for a variety of reasons. There are many visionary concepts that were originally created by other intactivist organizations. We picked best of what we have seen and built on those ideas. However having said that we think this mobile unit is unlike anything ever seen or done before.
It was over four months of intensive work getting this project completed, from the inception, the creative design, logistics, and mechanical upgrades. One thing you will notice is there is a consistency of messaging, from the visual photographs, the captions, the internet URL/domain, and the printed literature handed out from the mobile unit. We feel this consistency is vital to the communication of our message.
When we take on a project we pledge to deliver on our promises. Not only does the end result have to satisfy our vision, but we want to meet the expectations of Intaction members and supporters – who we call THE INTACT NATION. The members have entrusted their hard-earned money with Intaction to get something done, and we take that trust very seriously. In this case, we hope we’ve exceeded their expectations.
Some physical facts about the mobile unit. It has over 466 square feet of fixed graphic display space with lighting, 24 sqft of video screens, and a sound system. There is interior storage space inside the body. The uses & possibilities of this mobile unit are limited only by our imagination.
When you put the whole package together, along with a professional execution, we feel this will have a tremendous impact on the public perception of circumcision.
We want to recognize some people who have made very generous donations to Intaction for this mobile unit, going above and beyond the call, and they are recognized on our dedication plaque (mounted on the right side of the mobile unit) as Leaders of Human Rights & Genital Integrity. Without their support this project could not have reached the level of success that we have achieved.
We plan a busy upcoming schedule which will include weekly outings throughout the tri-state (NY-NJ-CT) area. We plan on visiting hospitals, college campuses, and outdoor public events.
The hope is that when people see this mobile unit, they will understand what the men behind the message are saying. What was done in the past is done, that can’t be changed. But let’s stop repeating the mistakes of the past on the next generation of children.