Tag Archives: intactivist

***Trigger Warning!*** Why Extreme Intactivists Will Lose Their “WAR” on Outlawing Circumcision


The parallels between extreme anti-abortion activists and intactivists have become the real elephant in the room. I’m not sure how “educating about the benefits of foreskin”  has ended up mirroring Operation Rescue’s tactics in the 80’s and 90’s, which I fought so hard against. How did I suddenly find myself involved with intactivists, who over the last two years,  began promoting the same tactics? How do the extreme pro-life activists mirror the extreme intactivists? Let’s take a look at the similarities.

On Operation Rescue’s web page, they describe their  organization as “one of the leading pro-life organizations in the nation” and their activities as being “on the cutting edge of the abortion issue, taking direct action to restore legal personhood to the pre-born and stop abortion in obedience to biblical mandates” (see source below.)  Operation Rescue held demonstrations at the White House, in an eerily familiar fashion as what is now seen during Genital Integrity Awareness Week in Washington D.C. The behavior escalates with every new year; from the intactivists who are now also “on the cutting edge” as they “rip off the Band-Aid.” In 1996, President Bill Clinton signed a bill into effect called F.A.C.E., the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances, to keep patients safe while entering a medical establishment to receive medical services. The pro-life demonstrators used to block the access or hold signs and SCREAM horrible thing at the women entering clinics. So, a bill was necessary to protect American women from dangerous activists who eventually ended up murdering doctors and blowing up clinics.





In an ironic twist of fate, this bill has been the saving grace for the clinics that have recently been targeted by lone wolf intactivists, who picket doctors’ offices based on speculation. It’s also the reason why police don’t take kindly to extreme protesters who don’t comply with the requests of the officers. The bill was created to keep the public safe from extreme activists and, thankfully, it does its job. Unfortunately, the law hasn’t stopped harassing phone calls and death threats, which  intactivists are now making against doctors and judges. Are you seeing the similarities between the two groups yet? What we know from the history of abortion is that outlawing abortion doesn’t work, in fact in countries where abortion is illegal; there is  a higher abortion rate than in countries where it is a safe and legal procedure. Education, not extreme demonstrations, is what lowers abortion rates and it will be education about the benefits of foreskin that lowers the circumcision rate in America.


I realized earlier last year that things were getting out of control within the intactivist movement. The men were becoming more and more aggressive and eventually abusive toward the women on their side when the women started to speak up about the aggression. A smattering of women have joined up with the extremism of these men.  Now, we are seeing more and more “Angry Men” who are threatening the lives of doctors, nurses and even their own mothers. It’s only a matter of time before a life is lost and the term “intactivist” will carry nothing but the connotations of mentally unbalanced extreme pseudo activists.









Why I Don’t Go With The Flow

Interestingly, you would think this blog would be a hub for parent’s choice advocates, parents who are upset about being bullied, and people looking for some information about intactivist claims.  Instead, it’s usually a hate read, or a way for certain intactivists (like Brother K, for example) to pretend to be victimized.  It’s a place to solidify outrage.  But why?  I’m not lying about anything.  The questions about Carol weren’t an attack, merely someone finally asking the questions a lot of people have quietly been asking each other (and by the way…a picture of a sandwich and a video of a male and female voice with the camera pointed at a Facebook page?? L.O.L) for awhile now. The bad behavior shown here is not photoshopped, or made up.  It’s just a light shined.  Yes it’s a one-sided story.  But a lot of the time, there really is no excuse for that bad behavior.  And it shouldn’t be excused.

This is a legitimate advocacy.  I want to see it succeed.  I know some people will say that I’m some sneaky snake or an intactocop (a word used to prevent self-correcting).  That’s because I’m not going with the flow, I’m not sitting down and shutting up, and I refuse to.  Anti-circumcision advocacy should be better than this.  Those voices shouldn’t be the overwhelming voices, shouting down the more reasonable advocates.  Read nearly any mainstream media piece about intactivism (or the comments section in any story about circumcision) and intactivists look unhinged.  Why would I want to be a part of or excuse that kind of behavior?

When an advocacy has more in common with extremist anti-abortion advocates, including threats of violence, that’s an advocacy I’m not ashamed to speak out against.  And the thing is?  That kind of advocacy isn’t the majority of anti-circumcision voices.  If I’m not highlighting your behavior, I’m not talking about you.  If you’re getting offended on behalf of someone else because they’re ‘saving babies’, you need to really consider that.  Really think about it.  Sure, it does work sometimes.  But it certainly hasn’t done much to change the numbers significantly over the last decade, which is about the point the advocacy got really aggressive.  Keep in mind, the majority of your audience is simply reading silently.  It’s only a small portion of the people that are actually reading that will be interacting with you.  How do you think most people react to people raging at them, threatening them, calling them ‘cutters’, telling them their abusing their children, raping their children, that they themselves should be mutilated and raped, and ascribing essentially every negative action by a person to them being circumcised?  Yes there is room for aggressive advocacy, but there isn’t room for it to be shouting down more moderate, information-based advocacy.

We also know that fear-based approaches don’t work.  Over-emphasizing risks and minimizing benefits (to the point that many claim there are none) is a fear-based approach. It’s also not a truthful approach.  The best evaluation of the current science is that there are few benefits, fewer risks, and it is unnecessary.  That is hard to hear when you’re being told over and over and over that circumcision is the biggest atrocity perpetuated on helpless infants, that doctors are just out for your money and don’t care about their patients, and that there’s some big conspiracy to keep circumcising infants to steal their foreskin for face creams.

Finally, there is the all-too-common anti-Semitic attacks on Jews.  Claiming that because members of the AAP taskforce were Jewish that they are biased, for example.  Well, Jews don’t proselytize.  They don’t want Goyim circumcising.  That is their covenant with their G-d.  It is an important covenant that cannot be replaced with a made up ceremony.  And yes, some very ultra-orthodox Jews engage in a practice called metzizah b’peh.  This is oral suctioning of the blood from the infants penis.  Yes I find it abhorrent.  But presenting it as a common practice in Brit Milah is bullshit.  And that doesn’t even begin to address the claim of the ‘traditional Jewish circumcision’.  Most intactivists don’t know anything at all about Judaism, but they want to tell Jews how to be Jews.

Lastly, the constant comparison to FGC.  It is done to shock, because most people know the picture painted by anti-FGM advocates instead of those who study it.  They picture a 14 year old girl thrown down and having her genitals cut out and sewn up shut, leaving only a small hole for menses and urine, for her husband to cut open when he takes her virginity.  Then the intactivists yell about how that’s not the most common type.  But that’s the reason they use the comparison, because they want to transfer that same horror onto infant circumcision in the US, which really isn’t comparable and which really is less invansive.  But yes, there are methods of FGC that are less invasive, like in Malaysia.  Yes, that is true.  And yes, people are still horrified by even that, despite it being less invasive.  Because they are trained not to think critically when it comes to FGC.  Trying to take the horror from a procedure that is, in most ways, completely incomparable to male circumcision in the US, is disingenuous.

These are my biggest issues with the advocacy.  Not the basis of the advocacy.  The attitude.  The aggression.  The parroting of information (accurate or not).  The lack of self-correction.  The lack of critical thought.  The constant confirmation bias.  The Dunning-Kruger effect. The threats.  The echo-chamber.  The refusal to converse with people who don’t agree with their tactics.  The labeling and shunning of ‘other’.  The violent language.  The willingness to lie.  The bullying.  The harassment.  Not the fact that they are against infant circumcision.

Because I am against infant circumcision.  I want it to be widespread knowledge that infant circumcision isn’t necessary.  I want people to willingly choose not to do it, not have their hand forced because advocates are impatient.  I want advocates to leave Judaism and Brit Milah alone, no matter how much they don’t agree with it (AND NO, THERE IS NO RELIGIOUS REQUIREMENT TO CUT A GIRL).  I want solid science used.  I want advocates to know how to understand the science, and how to use it effectively, not to parrot what they see on Dr. Momma.  Not to post idiotic memes.  Not to regurgitate un-sourced claims.  Not to repeat lies pulled straight out of the ass of Dr. Fleiss.  Not to rely on the well-meaning-but-erroneous math of Dan Bollinger.  Not to bully well-meaning parents or cuss out well-meaning doctors.  Not to threaten people or use violent language.

I want to see anti-circumcision advocates to use critical thinking, including critical thinking of their information and their tactics.  Because I think what they are doing now is failing to accomplish anything.  That makes me angry and sad.  I want them to succeed.  But that isn’t going to happen through fear, and anger, and lies.  Please.  You are better than this.

The Dehuminization of Mr. and Mrs. ‘Cutter’

When I read intactivism threads, which isn’t often lately, I noticed a near constant trend of dehuminization of the ‘other’.  It does tend to occur mostly, but not exclusively, by intactivists against parents who circumcise, parents choice advocates, and anti-intactivism advocates like myself.  (I do tend to stay off of other websites lately but not exclusively,  however, because the sheer amount of advocacy on Facebook by people using their real names the time spent is much greater there).


There have been a lot of posts lately, that have addressed intactocopping.  That is when one intactivist tells another what to do.  In true hypocritical fashion, it is completely acceptable when levelled against someone telling an aggressive intactivist to quit calling well-meaning parents rapists, but totally and completely UNacceptable when levelled against someone aggressive telling an intactivist working together with non-intactivists they’re ‘sleeping with the enemy’ (yes someone keeps being told that only because they are actually willing to have a conversation with people who think differently).  In other words, aggressive behavior is groomed by those who are fond of the term, and working together is sharply frowned upon and those doing it are to be shunned.


How does that relate to this post? Because that is the other group of people that are dehumanized by these aggressive intactivists.  If you are not using their tactics, not only do they now consider you against them, but also a full-fledged target.    A shorter way to say this is that any who do not think of this as a war are NOT welcome by these types of intactivists…brother k, holly de leon, brian herrity, william ortega, etc.   You join, you ‘fight’, or you are a target.


The intactivists who do not want to be in a war, they are supporting the now-targeted.  And they themselves, in doing this, will become targeted too.  But they have INTEGRITY.  They know this is not what they support and they will not cross that line just to increase their status.


This must stop.  This kind of activism accomplishes nothing.  They form multiple groups soley for talking about this or that other group of activists, again, dehumanizing them.  Trying to shore up their position above or better than that group.


They set up secret ‘boot camp’ groups whose goal is literally to make men hate their body in order to recruit them into intactivism.  They teach other activists how to overcome men to make them loathe their own bodies, just to bulk up their numbers.


They lie.  They ostracize.  They rob you of your self-esteem and then they demand you do it their way.  And if you will not?   You are a target.


Tell me, activists.  Is this what and who you want to be?

AIDS workers baby rapists

Screenshot_2014-07-18-14-08-10Screenshot_2014-07-18-14-26-24 Screenshot_2014-07-18-14-27-07 IMG_159939358271360



Any questions?



I suppose it’s obvious that I don’t feel that it’s necessary to post any commentary on this.  However, I am shocked that so little response was given to such a heinous thread.  Why is this ok, intactivists?  Sure, a few prominent intactivists distanced themselves FROM THIS POST.  FROM THIS OPINION.  But not THIS PERSON.  To me, that is an EXPLICIT acceptance of this behavior.

This is not ok.

What More Can I write

I don’t know.  At this point it sorta feels like chasing my own tail to update this blog.  There really is only so much that can be said on this topic.  Despite the Google Alert Brigade posting endlessly, they’re also repeating themselves over and over.  In amusingly pseudo-intelligent language.  Quite hilarious, that.   In any case, the Intactivism blogs tend to post updates of what Slate or The Baskerville Times said about circumcision that they think was wrong (BTW did you see that piece from Slate?  It really was a good piece!).  So THEY have stuff to write about, but I don’t really want to update multiple times a day to complain about what the Intactivism blogs are doing.  After all, it might end up just giving them more traffic.   No thank you.  Also I’m just not into that kind of minutia.

So I suppose I have a few topics that were promised to be addressed, so I could address those.  Religious Circumcision (though really, I’d prefer someone much more educated on myself to write on that particular topic, and you bet your cutie mark the comments will be closed on THAT blog), more on the AAP, maybe about how next year there’s not going to be some mind blowing ruling outlawing circumcision (and yeah the misunderstanding of the 14th Amendment in that manner makes me chuckle).  But honestly that’s still really not that much to write about.

Oh but I do have an idea.  I definitely have an idea. So for tonight, let’s just leave you guys with this little bit of positivity, from the totally sane, not fucked up or obsessed Intactivism crowd.  L’Chaim!

“My heart sure doesn’t break for her. On the contrary, she got exactly what she deserved. If every baby who was mutilated died, it might put a stop to the practice. This so-called tragedy is good publicity for outlawing genital mutilation. I hope she feels guilty for the rest of her miserable life & my sympathy for her is ZERO.”

“They didn’t care. It was more important that his penis be cut up than he live.”

“The doctors are trying to feed them the lie that the circumcision didn’t kill their son. This is why, even though it doesn’t seem ‘compassionate,’ people need to let’er rip on her. No, people should not be silent and ‘compassionate.’ While everyone is feeling sorry for the mother, what about the child?”

Intactivists – Anything to Make Them Stop!

Intactivists.  You may not have met them, but they are everywhere.  Walking around the mall, wondering about whether you circumcised your son.  Ready to greet every woman who hasn’t circumcised her son in to The Sisterhood.  Yes, there are a few male intactivists, though online it’s hard to know whether it’s actually a male, or if it’s a female using a sock puppet, so they can say ‘See?! Look!  Men wished they weren’t circumcised! Here’s one now!’.    You see, intactivists goals are to stop RIC (routine infant circumcision), but they’re also happy to go ahead and show the Jews the error of their ways.  See, to them your right to your religious freedoms begins where your body ends, no matter what kind of negative consequence it might have on the son and his family.  I find this statement so odd, considering most of them know next to nothing about Judaism, and are unaware of the spiritual necessity of a Bris.  But hey, anything to make them stop circumcising their sons, right?

I didn’t start this blog in a desire to touch only on Jewish circumcision, and it’s far from the only information intactivists are scant on.  Many of them use only studies that support their position, whether they’re old, they’re methodology is flawed, or it’s not been replicated.  They’ll use statistics that support them (such as the NYT article stating that circumcision was 32.9% in 2009) even if those statistics are totally and utterly flawed.  I’ve even seen them discuss that amongst themselves.  Some people wanted to use the statistic knowing that it was misleading and others encouraged that!  There were a few sane voices in the group that said they shouldn’t do that.  A very few.    Which is sad, really.  These people think that their way is The Truth, so you’d think more people in the group would  stand up for using The Actual Truth.  Oh well.  Anything to keep them from mutilating their children.

Why do I know so much about Intactivists?  I used to be one.  I was happy to hand out literature, talk to uncomfortable pregnant women, weep when a friend circumcised their child.   The thing is, I was always really uncomfortable with their take on Judaism.  It was all wrong, you see.   I didn’t say much about it, and just kept going lockstep with the rest of the intactivists.  Which is what they expect you to do.  You better be willing to spit out the same information every other intactivist is parroting online (most of them have never sourced this information, they’re simply repeating what all the other intactivists are saying), because if you don’t, you’re The Enemy.

That’s me.  I’m The Enemy.  I’m here to tell you a dirty little secret: Intactivists will do almost anything to get you to not circumcise your child.  Anything.  Give you false information (such as the NYT article),  cry, plea, beg, bargain…I once had a younger intactivist woman she promised to have intercourse with a man she knew who was having a boy…if he’d just not circumcise his son!  She told me this herself, devastated that it didn’t work.  I’ve heard of people losing friendships over circumcision, but it’s worth it to end circ according to them.  Anything to make them stop!

There are many many very reasonable people that label themselves intactivist.   They’re nice people are are just as interested in the truth as you or I.  Unfortunately, the loudmouths at the front are doing all the damage.  They color public perception of what intactivism is.  I think we can greatly reduce the number of circumcisions without being total A-Holes or alienating all our circumcising friends and family.  Without being bullies.  Because that’s what intactivists are represented by.  Bullys.  To the reasonable people that label themselves intactivist, I beg you!  Find another way to label yourself!  People will be more likely to listen if you don’t have to carry the intactivist baggage around.

In case someone is new to the world to intactivism and doesn’t know what I’m talking about, intactivists are a group of women and men who spend 99% of their effort online, trying to bully new moms into not circumcising.  They’re wondering whether every male baby they see is circumcised, and feeling sorry for him, if he is.  They mail anonymous packages to their husband’s co-workers pregnant wife.   Intactivism could’ve been something so much better than what it’s turned out to be.

I’m not putting any links up on my introductory post.  But I will in the future.