MGMbill.org - A Bill to End Male Genital Mutilation in the U.S.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Government Responses

 

Below are some of the letters that we have received from government officials in response to our MGM Bill proposals. For an alphabetical listing by state, please see our Site Map page.

 

 

 

Rep. Dan Maffei

 

U.S. Rep Dan Maffei (D)

New York, 24th Congressional District

Website: http://maffei.house.gov/

Email: https://maffei.house.gov/email-me

 

The following letter from U.S. Rep. Dan Maffei was forwarded to us by Mr. Murugan Pandian in Clay, New York:

 

August 25, 2014

 

Thank you for contacting me regarding male circumcision. I appreciate hearing from you and knowing your position.

 

As you may know, in January 2014 a bill concerning male circumcision was introduced in the New York state legislature. The bill, New York State Prohibition of Genital Mutilation Act, would amend state laws to prohibit genital mutilation of minors and non-consenting adults. The bill would also require the Office of Children and Family Services to implement genital mutilation education, preventative, and outreach activities.

 

This bill is current pending in the New York State Assembly. I encourage you to contact your state representatives with any concerns you may have on this matter.

 

Again, thank you for contacting me. I am honored to serve as your representative in Congress. In addition, I encourage you to visit my website at www.maffei.house.gov to sign-up for my e-newsletter updates and for more information. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future on this or any other issue. My door is always open and your feedback is important to me.

 

Sincerely,

 

Dan Maffei

Member of Congress

 

MGMbill.org Response

While we appreciate Rep. Maffei's encouragement to pursue enactment of the New York MGM Bill, we still need his help in Congress. We urge Rep. Maffei to sponsor the federal MGM Bill so that boys in the other 49 states are protected from circumcision, as well

 

 

 

 

Senator Jeannie Darneille

 

Washington Senator Jeannie Darneille (D)

Tacoma, 27th Senate District

Website: http://www.leg.wa.gov/senate/senators/pages/darneille.aspx

Email: jeannie.darneille@leg.wa.gov

 

The following letter from Washington Senator Jeannie Darneille was forwarded to us by Ms. Jennifer Coulter in Shelton, Washington:

 

January 13, 2014

 

Thank you for your letter, and for the testimony of your sons. Typically, you would need to find a sponsor for the bill that is on the committee with closest jurisdiction…in this case, it would be the Health Care Committee. Links to those members can be found at this page on Access WA: http://www.leg.wa.gov/Senate/Committees/HLTH/Pages/MembersStaff.aspx

 

I made a similar choice as yours for my son 27 years ago. If anything, I think the public information on this issue has diminished since that time. Good luck in your efforts.

 

Senator Jeannie Darneille

27th Legislative District

Office: 226 John Cherberg Building

Mail: P.O. Box 40427

Olympia, WA 98504-0427

(360) 786-7652

jeannie.darneille@leg.wa.gov

Legislative Assistants: Lisa Fisch and Nancy Ryan

 

MGMbill.org Response

We thank Senator Darneille for making the compassionate choice for her son, but what about all the other boys being born in Washington who aren't so lucky? A legislator doesn't have to be on the committee with closest jurisdiction to sponsor a bill, and progress on genital integrity won't be made if lawmakers keep passing the buck.

 

 

 

 

 

Maryland Senator Jamie Raskin (D)

Montgomery County, 20th Senate District

Majority Whip

Website: http://msa.maryland.gov/msa/mdmanual/05sen/html/msa14610.html

Email: jamie.raskin@senate.state.md.us

 

The following letter from Maryland Senator Jamie Raskin was forwarded to us by Mr. Michael Dulin in Silver Spring, Maryland:

 

January 13, 2014

 

Dear Michael: Thank you so much for your thoughtful and passionate letter and for sharing your extensive research. I appreciate your thinking of me as a potential sponsor for your legislation but, unfortunately, I already have a full legislative agenda (more than 30 bills!) for this session on top of my duties as Majority Whip and Chair of the Montgomery delegation, so I am unable to take on any more big bills. This legislation is also not in my committee, so you might want to seek a sponsor who is on Education, Health and Environmental Affairs. Thanks again for writing and for thinking of me, and if I can be of assistance in the future, please let me know. All best wishes, Jamie

 

MGMbill.org Response

As Majority Whip, Senator Raskin wields significant influence in the Maryland Senate. If he can't take on any more bills himself, then how about using some of his power to convince a member of the Education, Health & Environmental Affairs Committee to sponsor the Maryland MGM Bill on his behalf?

 

 

 

 

Senator Jay Costa, Jr.

 

Pennsylvania Senator Jay Costa, Jr. (D)

Allegheny County, 43rd Senate District

Website: http://www.legis.state.pa.us...d=254

Email: costa@pasenate.com

 

The following letter from Pennsylvania Senator Senator Jay Costa, Jr. was forwarded to us by a constituent in Pennsylvania:

 

January 31, 2013

 

Thank you for contacting me to relate your support for legislation that would prohibit the practice of male circumcision in Pennsylvania.

 

I appreciate your interest in this issue, and I understand your objection to this procedure. I am unaware of any legislation that would change Pennsylvania law with regard to male circumcision, but I realize that this procedure is becoming less common across the country. I assure you that I will keep your support for a change to our law in mind if any legislation on this issue should come before me.

 

Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me about this matter. Please feel free to contact me if I can assist you in any way.

 

Sincerely yours,

Senator Jay Costa, Jr.

43rd District

 

MGMbill.org Response

The proposed legislation that would change Pennsylvania law with regard to male circumcision is the Pennsylvania MGM Bill, and Senator Costa knows this because it was attached to the message that he responded to above. If Senator Costa understands why forced circumcision is objectionable, then why not sponsor the Pennsylvania MGM Bill so that he and his colleagues in the Senate can vote on it?

 

 

 

 

Senator Sandra Pappas

 

Minnesota Senator Sandra Pappas (DFL)

St. Paul, 65th Senate District

President of the Senate

Website: http://www.senate.leg.state.mn.us/...1046

Email: http://www.senate.leg.state.mn.us/...1046&ls=

 

The following letter from Minnesota Senator Sandra Pappas was forwarded to us by Ms. Kandace O'Neill in Lakeville, Minnesota :

 

January 23, 2013

 

Dear Kadance (sic),

 

Thank you for contacting me with regard to your suggested MGM Bill. As always, I appreciate hearing your views and concerns on critical issues.

 

The topic of male circumcision is one that involves religious, cultural and personal beliefs as they relate to a family's new-born child. While I can acknowledge arguments in favor of your suggested bill, I cannot in good faith introduce such legislation because it is not clear to me this is the answer to the debate at hand.

 

Thank you for contacting me. I hope you will feel free to write again regarding this or any other legislative matter that interests you.

 

Warm regards,

 

Sandra Pappas

State Senator

 

MGMbill.org Response

So what's the answer, then? Sitting on the sidelines while boys needlessly suffer? If Senator Pappas agrees with some of the statements in the MGM Bill, then it is her responsibility to do something to help end the practice of circumcision. Instead she chose to do nothing, and the status quo continues.

 

 

 

 

Rep. Mike Hope

 

Washington Rep. Mike Hope (R)

Lake Stevens, 44th House District

Health Care & Wellness Committee

Website: http://www.leg.wa.gov/house/representatives/Pages/hope.aspx

Email: Mike.Hope@leg.wa.gov

 

The following letter from Washington Rep. Mike Hope was forwarded to us by Ms. Jennifer Coulter in Shelton, Washington:

 

January 17, 2013

 

Hello Jennifer,

 

Thank you for taking the time to email me male circumcision. I appreciate your letter and will be looking into this issue during the upcoming session. We know that this is a tough issue that does not have an easy solution.

 

Thank you again for your concern.

 

Mike Hope

State Representative

44th Legislative District

 

MGMbill.org Response

Actually, it does have an easy solution: enact the Washington MGM Bill. Men who want to get circumcised can choose to do so, and men who don't want to get circumcised can leave their foreskins intact. What's so tough about that?

 

 

 

 

Senator Gregory F. Lavelle

 

Delaware Senator Gregory F. Lavelle (R)

Hockessin, 4th Senate District

Senate Minority Whip

Website: http://legis.delaware.gov/legislature.nsf...OpenDocument

Email: greg.lavelle@state.de.us

 

The following letter from Delaware Senator Greg Lavelle was forwarded to us by Ms. Shelley Wright-Estevam in Selbyville, Delaware:

 

January 15, 2013

 

Dear Ms. Brown,

 

Has Senator Henry really concluded that this is a "harmful practice . . ." based on medical or other evidence? I am a male. At the risk of TMI, I am circumcised and my parents didn't seek my counsel on the issue when I was infant. It was done as part of religious beliefs. Turns out that I've not entered counseling as a result of it and have no ill will toward my parents or my church. In fact, I think I've done reasonably well (have a family and all that) and didn't need the state's protection. I know lots of other males in similar situations.

 

Thank you.

 

Greg Lavelle

 

MGMbill.org Response

We're glad that Senator Lavelle and his male friends are satisfied with their circumcisions, but what about all the other men who feel that they were mutilated when their foreskins were amputated without their consent? The solution to this problem is simple: allow men to choose for themselves whether or not to undergo circumcision when they become adults.

 

 

 

 

Senator Margaret Rose Henry

 

Delaware Senator Margaret Rose Henry (D)

Wilmington East, 2nd Senate District

Senate Majority Whip

Website: http://legis.delaware.gov/legislature.nsf/...OpenDocument

Email: MargaretRose.Henry@state.de.us

 

The following letter from Delaware Senator Margaret Rose Henry's office was forwarded to us by Ms. Shelley Wright-Estevam in Selbyville, Delaware:

 

January 15, 2013

 

Ms. Wright-Estevam,

 

I am Senator Henry’s new Legislative Assistant. Thank you for your communication. As Senator Henry informed you, we will review the information that you provided regarding your MGM Bill proposal to protect male children from the harmful practice of forced (meaning non-consensual, non-therapeutic) circumcision.

 

Attached, please find a copy of Senate Bill 393 that Senator Henry introduced on May 15, 1996 and was signed on July 3, 1996.

 

Kind regards,

 

Tynetta Brown

 

TYNETTA T. BROWN, Legislative Assistant

Senator Margaret Rose Henry, Majority Whip/District 2

Delaware General Assembly

Dover Office: 302-744-4056 Wilmington Office: 302-577-8719

Email: Tynetta.Brown@state.de.us

 

MGMbill.org Response

Senator Rose Henry showed compassion and determination when she crafted legislation to prohibit female genital mutilation. We applaud her for protecting these innocent young girls, but why weren't boys included, too? It's time to finish the job and enact the Delaware MGM Bill so that all children are protected, not just half of them.

 

 

 

 

Senator Adam Kline

 

Washington Senator Adam Kline (D)

Rainier Valley, 37th Senate District

Website: http://www.leg.wa.gov/senate/senators/Pages/kline.aspx

Email: Adam.Kline@leg.wa.gov  

 

The following letter from Washington Senator Adam Kline was forwarded to us by Ms. Tamara Murphy in Shelton, Washington:

 

January 14, 2013

 

I have absolutely NO interest in attempting to outlaw a ritual of the Jewish faith. This bill lumps male circumcision in with the bestial practice of removing a young woman's clitoris in order to deprive her of sexual pleasure. Male circumcision does nothing of the sort to the subject. I noticed three medical exceptions to this rule, but instead of a faith-based exception there was a very explicit provision that faith doesn't matter. Thankfully, this makes your bill a violation of the First Amendment, a violation of the constitutional right to free exercise of religion, so that in the unlikely event that a jurisdiction would ever pass it, it would be ruled invalid by the courts. Perhaps this is a minor matter to you, but I assure you that as a Jew representing a district with a large Jewish population, this is no minor matter to me. Please do not even think about trying to persuade me or any other Washington legislator to outlaw a basic ritual of Judaism. Do not even think you can pretend that the purpose of this bill is strictly medical. Adam Kline

 

MGMbill.org Response

Wrong on 2 out of 3 points, Senator. First, male circumcision came to the U.S. in an attempt to prevent masturbation because it removes 50% of the erogenous penile tissue. Second, the federal Female Genital Mutilation law does not violate the First Amendment, so neither will a Male Genital Mutilation law. But you're right that the purpose of this bill is not just strictly medical, because in addition to causing physical damage, circumcision violates a male's human rights and can cause lasting psychological harm, as well.

 

 

 

 

Rep. Randy Vulakovich

 

Pennsylvania Senator Randy Vulakovich (R)

Allegheny and Butler Counties, 40th Senate District

Website: http://www.legis.state.pa.us.../Senate_bio.cfm?id=1090

Email: http://www.senatorvulakovich.com/contact  

 

The following letter from Pennsylvania Senator Randy Vulakovich was forwarded to us by a constituent in Pennsylvania:

 

January 14, 2013

 

Thank you for your recent email to Senator Randy Vulakovich regarding circumcision of infant boys. He appreciates your concerns and comments. However, he is of the belief that the decision to circumcise a baby is between the parents and the physician in charge of the child. He will not be introducing legislation of this nature. I know this is not the answer you were seeking. We do appreciate your concerns and look forward to hearing from you in the future.

 

Melissa Farabaugh

Chief of Staff State

Senator Randy Vulakovich

 

1407 Mt Royal Blvd

Glenshaw, PA 15116

(412) 487-6600 Glenshaw Office

(412) 487-6607 Glenshaw Office Fax

(412) 862-5731 Cell

 

168 Main Capitol

Harrisburg, PA 17120

(717) 787-6538 Harrisburg Office

(717) 787-8625 Harrisburg Office Fax

 

MGMbill.org Response

So if parents and doctors circumcise a baby girl they get charged with a crime, but if they circumcise a baby boy it's their "decision"? Sounds like pure gender discrimination to us. Perhaps Senator Vulakovich should reread the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

 

 

 

 

Indiana Governor Brent Waltz

 

Indiana Senator Brent Waltz (R)

Website: http://www.in.gov/s36/index.htm

Email: http://www.in.gov/legislative/senate_republicans/5315.htm  

 

The following letter from Indiana Senator Brent Waltz was forwarded to us by Mr. Jeff Cowsert in Indianapolis, Indiana:

 

August 6, 2012

 

Dear Mr. Cowsert:

 

Thank you so very much for taking the time to write me. I am in receipt of your letter dated June 27 regarding male circumcision. There has certainly been a renewed interest in this issue since legislation in Germany was passed early this year that made it the equivalent of the crime of assault to circumcise a child. There does seem to be a discontinuity between the almost universal call to ban female circumcision and the prevailing attitude on male circumcision.

 

The "others" you spoke of who made this decision were presumably your parents. As a matter of law one's parents have certain rights to decide various health and religious matters on a child's behalf, of which this issue could be argued in some cases to be both. Granted few religious decisions, such as baptism, are as invasive or irrevocable as circumcision, so I would prefer to err on the side of caution on the religion component.

 

The past several decades saw lengthy medical research into positive aspects of circumcision which includes the reduction of risk to certain diseases, including HIV. This would seem to be the strongest argument in favor of the status quo, in my opinion.

 

I am confident that this matter will be debated at length in the months ahead. I really appreciate your thoughts on this and will use them to help me cast an intelligent vote on this issue.

 

Again, thanks for writing. If I can be of service to you in the future, please let me know.

 

Sincerely,

 

Brent Waltz

Senator,

State of Indiana

 

MGMbill.org Response

We appreciate Senator Waltz's preference to err on the side of caution when it comes to circumcision. Potential medical benefits apply to almost any amputative procedure, but that doesn't mean parents have the right to remove healthy, functional body parts from their unconsenting children. The decision to undergo circumcision belongs to the owner of the penis, not his parents.

 

 

 

 

U.S. Senator Car Levin

 

U.S. Senator Carl Levin (D)

Website: http://www.levin.senate.gov

Email: https://www.levin.senate.gov/contact/email 

 

The following letter from Senator Carl Levin was forwarded to us by Matt in Grand Rapids, Michigan:

 

July 26, 2012

 

Thank you for contacting me regarding male circumcision.

 

Arguments both for and against circumcision are rooted in medical science, as well as in cultural traditions. Some American medical experts contend that all newborns should undergo the procedure, while many believe that the medical benefits are not sufficient to justify the surgery. In addition, the procedure has deep cultural roots in many societies and religions.

 

Ultimately, a newborn’s parents must make this important decision after weighing their beliefs and the advice of their doctor.

 

Sincerely,

 

Carl Levin

levin.senate.gov

 

MGMbill.org Response

We disagree strongly with Senator Levin's conclusion. Ultimately, each man should be able to decide for himself which parts of his own genitals he gets to keep. Body integrity is a fundamental human right.

 

 

 

 

Indiana Governor Mitchell E. Daniels

 

Indiana Governor Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. (R)

Website: http://www.in.gov/gov/

Email: http://www.in.gov/gov/2631.htm 

 

The following letter from Kristen Kane (on behalf of Indiana Governor Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr). was forwarded to us by Mr. Jeff Cowsert in Indianapolis, Indiana:

 

June 28, 2012

 

Dear Mr. Cowsert:

 

Thank you for your letter and for sharing your thoughts with the Governor. He appreciates the time you took to share your views on this subject.

 

In order to change the laws governing circumcision, new legislation would be required. Members of the Indiana General Assembly would need to provide backing and sponsorship of the legislation. Given your statement of support, I encourage you to also contact your local legislators to express your desire for legislation to be introduced in the General Assembly. Contact information for the Indiana House and Senate is included below.

 

Thank you for your citizenship.

 

Sincerely,

 

Kristen Kane

Constituent Services

Office of the Governor

 

MGMbill.org Response

On July 17, 2012, the Indiana MGM Bill proposal was submitted to all 150 Indiana state lawmakers. Now that this pending legislation is in the hands of the General Assembly, we call on Governor Daniels to publicly encourage its sponsorship and enactment so that Indiana's boys may be protected from the damaging practice of circumcision.

 

 

 

 

U.S. Senator Richard Durbin

 

U.S. Senator Richard Durbin (D)

Illinois

Assistant Senate Majority Leader

Website: http://durbin.senate.gov/

Email: http://durbin.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact

 

The following letter from Senator Richard Durbin was forwarded to us by Mr. Ron Low in Northbrook, IL:

 

February 9, 2012

 

Dear Mr. Low:

 

Thank you for contacting me regarding male genital mutilation. I appreciate hearing from you.

 

As you know, genital mutilation refers to permanent or temporary changes to human genitals. Male circumcision, referred to by some as male genital mutilation, is most often performed on infants. Advocates of male circumcision argue the procedure is beneficial, while opponents believe it is a violation of an individual’s human rights and can have adverse side effects.

 

A proposal entitled the Federal Prohibition of Genital Mutilation Act of 2012 was drafted to rewrite the U.S. Female Genital Mutilation Act of 1996 to protect males from genital mutilation. This measure has not yet been introduced in Congress.

 

Additionally, Representative Brad Sherman of California introduced the Religious and Parental Rights Defense Act of 2011 (H.R. 2400) last year. This bill would prohibit a state from adopting a law that bans the circumcision of males under the age of 18 with parental consent. This bill has been referred to the House Imagery (sic) and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health.

 

While there is no companion measure in the Senate at this time, I will keep your views in mind should this issue be considered on the Senate floor.

 

Thank you again for contacting me. Please feel free to keep in touch.

 

Sincerely,

 

Richard J. Durbin

United States Senator

 

MGMbill.org Response

We agree with Senator Durbin's definition of genital mutilation. We also agree that infant circumcision is a violation of human rights, and that it can have adverse side effects. We hope we can count on Senator Durbin to support the MGM Bill and oppose H.R. 2400 in 2012.

 

 

 

 

 

Senator Loretta Weinberg

 

New Jersey Senator Loretta Weinberg (D)

Bergen, 37th Senate District

Senate Majority Leader

Judiciary Committee

Website: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/members/BIO.asp?Leg=260

Email: SenWeinberg@njleg.org

 

The following letter from New Jersey Senator Loretta Weinberg was forwarded to us by Mr. Michael Serrano in Bayonne, New Jersey:

 

February 2, 2012

 

Dear Mr. Serrano,

 

Thank you for contacting my office concerning male circumcision. I will not be sponsoring any legislation about this issue.

 

Sincerely,

Loretta Weinberg

Senator, District 37

 

 

MGMbill.org Response

On the same day that we finished submitting the MGM Bill proposal to Congress and 11 state legislatures, Senator Weinberg introduced S. 1171 - a bill that would protect girls from genital mutilation, but not boys. Can the gender discrimination be any more glaring?

 

 

 

 

Governor John Kitzhaber

 

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber (D)

Physician

Website: http://governor.oregon.gov

Email: http://governor.oregon.gov/Gov/contact.shtml 

 

The following letter from Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber was forwarded to us by Mr. Cody Holifield:

 

January 26, 2012

 

Dear Mr. Holifield:

 

Thank you for contacting me regarding your support for legislation to ban male circumcision in Oregon. I appreciate hearing from you.

 

For your proposal to become a law, it must first pass in both chambers of the Legislature. I encourage you to also share your proposal with your members of the Legislature and have included their contact information for your convenience.

 

Sen. Floyd Prozanski                               Rep. Bruce Hanna

Phone: (503) 986-1704                              Phone: (503) 986-1200

E-Mail: sen.floydprozanski@state.or.us      E-Mail: rep.brucehanna@state.or.us

 

Should I have an opportunity to consider such legislation, I will keep your views in mind.

 

Thank you again for contacting me. Please visit www.governor.oregon.gov where you can learn details about my transformation agenda and sign up for the most up-to-date information from my office. If you are on Facebook, please follow me at www.facebook.com/johnkitzhaber.

 

Sincerely,

 

John A. Kitzhaber, M.D.

 

Governor

 

 

MGMbill.org Response

One of the best ways to help the MGM Bill pass both chambers is for Governor Kitzhaber to introduce it himself through one of his allies in the Oregon State Legislature. It would then gain immediate credibility by being labeled the "Governor's Bill" (and Governor Kitzhaber also happens to be a physician).

 

 

 

 

Senator Greg Ball

 

New York Senator Greg Ball (R)

Brewster, 40th Senate District

Website: http://www.nysenate.gov/senator/greg-ball

Email: gball@nysenate.gov

 

The following letter from New York Senator Greg Ball was forwarded to us by Mr. Murugan Pandian in Clay, New York:

 

January 24, 2012

 

Hello Murugan!

 

I have received a good number of emails about this topic in the last few days. Should it come to a vote in the Senate, I will certainly give full consideration to your opinion and thoughts.

 

Please keep me in the loop!

 

Greg Ball

 

State Senator, 40th Senate District

Chairman, Veteran's, Homeland Security

and Military Affairs Committee

1441 Route 22, Suite 205

Brewster NY 10509

O: 845-279-3773

F: 845-279-7156

 

MGMbill.org Response

It's a positive sign that so many citizens are now writing their legislators about the MGM Bill. The more letters lawmakers receive, the higher up the MGM Bill will go on their priority list.

 

 

 

 

U.S. Rep. Martin Heinrich

 

U.S. Rep. Martin Heinrich (D)

New Mexico, 1st Congressional District

Website: http://heinrich.house.gov

Email: http://heinrich.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=72&sectiontree=7,72

 

The following letter from Rep. Martin Heinrich was forwarded to us by Ms. Nancy Jay in Albuquerque, New Mexico:

 

January 23, 2012

 

Dear Friend:

 

Thank you for contacting me regarding circumcision. I appreciate knowing your thoughts and concerns on this important issue.

 

Representative Brad Sherman (CA-27) introduced H.R. 2400, the Religious and Parental Rights Defense Act of 2011, which would bar state and local governments from passing laws prohibiting the circumcision of males under the age of 18 years. H.R. 2400 was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. While I am not a member of this committee, please rest assured that I will keep your views in mind should this legislation come before the full House of Representatives for consideration.

 

As you know, the best ideas do not come from Washington but from thoughtful, caring people like you who take the time to participate in government and the democratic process. Please rest assured I will keep your thoughts and ideas in mind as I vote on legislation. I hope you will continue contacting me with your ideas and let me know if there is anything I can do for you or your family.

 

Again, thank you for contacting me. For more information and additional details about legislation, please visit my website, http://heinrich.house.gov. While you are there, you can also sign up to receive periodic updates on my work in Congress.

 

As always, I value your input and hope you will continue to keep me informed of the issues important to you.

 

Sincerely,

 

Martin Heinrich

Member of Congress

 

Web Site: http://Heinrich.house.gov

Subscribe to my e-newsletter.

Look for me on Facebook and YouTube

 

MGMbill.org Response

As Rep. Heinrich indicates, Congress has an important choice to make this year. They can either vote in favor of male genital mutilation, or they can vote in favor of human rights. For the sake of our nation's boys, we certainly hope they will choose the latter.

 

 

 

 

Rep. April Weaver

 

Alabama Rep. April Weaver (R)

Bibb and Shelby, 49th House District

Health Committee

Website: http://www.legislature.state.al.us/house/representatives/housebios/hd049.html

Email: aprilweaver@att.net

 

The following letter from Alabama Rep. April Weaver was forwarded to us by Ms. Christina Perry in Woodstock, Alabama:

 

January 22, 2012

 

Christina, thank you for your email. I will review your bill and consult with medical professionals at the State level for further guidance. April

 

 

MGMbill.org Response

Rep. Weaver might want to consult with some baby boys while they're being circumcised, too. They'll tell her everything she needs to know.

 

 

 

 

Senator Cam Ward

 

Alabama Senator Cam Ward (R)

Bibb/Chilton/Jefferson/Shelby, 14th Senate District

Co-Chair, Judiciary Committee

Health Committee

Website: http://www.legislature.state.al.us/senate/senators/senatebios/sd014.html

Email: camjulward@aol.com 

 

The following letter from Alabama Senator Cam Ward was forwarded to us by Ms. Christina Perry in Woodstock, Alabama:

 

January 22, 2012

 

Christina, I have to admit I am not very familiar with this issue. I will need to research this more before I can commit to sponsoring this bill. I will look into this for you and see what I can do. Thank you for contacting me about it.

 

Respectfully,

 

Cam Ward

State Senator

Post Office Box 1749

Alabaster, Alabama 35007

205-664-1066

334-242-7873

www.camward.com

 

 

MGMbill.org Response

If common sense prevails, it shouldn't take long for Senator Ward to uncover the truth about the harmful effects of foreskin amputation. A good place to start his research is our FAQ page.

 

 

 

 

Rep. Richard N. Gottfried

 

New York Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried (D)

Midtown Manhattan, 75th Assembly District

Chair, Assembly Committee on Health

Website: http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/Richard-N-Gottfried/

Email: gottfriedr@assembly.state.ny.us

 

The following letter from New York Assembly Member Richard Gottfried was forwarded to us by Mr. Murugan Pandian in Clay, New York:

 

April 6, 2011

 

Dear Mr. Pandian:

 

Thank you very much for writing to let me know of your support for prohibiting circumcision of infants. I apologize for the delay in my response.

 

I do not support a ban on circumcision. There is no medical rationale for such a prohibition.

 

Although I disagree with you, I appreciate your consideration in writing to me.

 

Very truly yours,

Richard N. Gottfried

Chair

Assembly Committee on Health

 

MGMbill.org Response

With the publication of the Royal Dutch Medical Association's Circumcision Policy Statement in May 2010, there is now considerable "medical rationale" for a ban on forced circumcision of boys. The statement from this 162-year-old institution representing more than 45,000 physicians and students concludes that:

 

"The official viewpoint of KNMG and other related medical/scientific organisations is that non-therapeutic circumcision of male minors is a violation of children’s rights to autonomy and physical integrity."

 

and

 

"There are good reasons for a legal prohibition of non-therapeutic circumcision of male minors, as exists for female genital mutilation."

 

We couldn't agree more.

 

 

 

 

U.S. Rep Betty Sutton

 

U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton (D)

Ohio, 13th Congressional District

Website: http://sutton.house.gov/

Email: http://sutton.house.gov/about/emailform.cfm

 

The following letter from Rep. Betty Sutton was forwarded to us by Ms. Jennifer McMillin:

 

February 14, 2011

 

Dear Ms. McMillin,

 

Thank you for contacting me regarding men's health. I appreciate you taking the time to express your thoughts and concerns.

 

As you know, the birth of a child is an exciting moment in a parent's life. Decisions about the child's first few days and how best to prepare them for life should be left for the parents to make. I appreciate you expressing your concerns for the decision some make for their children in the earliest days of their lives. Please know that should legislation regarding this issue come to the House for a vote, I will be sure to keep your views in mind.

 

Again, thank you for contacting me and please feel free to do so in the future if I may be of assistance.

 
Sincerely,
 
Betty Sutton
Member of Congress

 

MGMbill.org Response

Rep. Sutton's reply is another clear case of gender discrimination. In 2007 she voted to denounce the practice of female genital mutilation, while here she writes that male genital mutilation is a decision that "should be left for the parents to make".

 

 

 

 

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown

 

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D)

Ohio

Website: http://brown.senate.gov/

Email: http://brown.senate.gov/contact/

 

The following letter from Senator Sherrod Brown was forwarded to us by Ms. Jennifer McMillin:

 

February 1, 2011

 

Dear Ms. Mcmillin:

 

Thank you for sharing your concern about male circumcision and support for legislation that would ban this procedure.

 

Male circumcision is performed each year for reasons that vary from family to family.  While opponents of the procedure argue it may be dangerous to a baby boy’s physical and mental health, some scientific evidence supports the potential medical benefits of newborn male circumcision.  Despite this data, experts are not recommending routine neonatal circumcision.  The American Academy of Pediatrics argues that when a procedure is not essential to a child's health, the decision should be left to the parents and their pediatrician.  

 

Should the medical community determine male circumcision is unsafe and recommend the procedure be banned by law, I would strongly consider its recommendation.  Thank you again for writing.

 

Sincerely,

 

Sherrod Brown

United States Senator

 

MGMbill.org Response

Despite the recently reported drop in the U.S. infant circumcision rate, Sherrod Brown's position has remained essentially unchanged since he first responded to the MGM Bill proposal nearly seven years ago. It is a prime example of how the AAP's 1999 Circumcision Policy Statement continues to exert heavy influence in Congress.

 

 

 

 

Rep. Van Taylor

 

Texas Rep. Van Taylor (R)

Plano, 66th House District

Website: http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/?district=66

Email: District66.Taylor@house.state.tx.us

 

The following letter from Texas Rep. Van Taylor was forwarded to us by Ms. Michelle Richardson in Euless, Texas:

 

January 25, 2011

 

Dear Ms. Richardson,

 

Thank you for taking the time to write to me concerning forced circumcision. Your suggestion for legislation is interesting and I intend to have my staff take a look into it further.  For now though, it is my legislative duty to inform you of your correct State Representative.  You are represented in the Texas House by Representative Todd Smith of District 92.  I am forwarding your email to his office because I know he would want to hear from a constituent.

 For future reference I have included his contact information below.

 

House District 92--Representative Todd Smith

Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0522

Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910, Austin, TX 78768

District Address: 1608 Airport Freeway, Ste. 100, Bedford, TX 76022

Phone: (817) 283-3131

 

Thank you again for expressing your concerns.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

Van Taylor

State Representative

House District 66

 

MGMbill.org Response

After his staff investigates the issue of forced male circumcision, we sincerely hope that Rep. Taylor will step forward and sponsor the Texas MGM Bill so that all children in Texas can grow up with their genitals left intact.

 

 

 

 

Senator Bill Ferguson

 

Maryland Senator Bill Ferguson (D)

Baltimore City, 46th Senate District

Website: http://www.msa.md.gov/msa/mdmanual/05sen/html/msa15347.html

Email: bill.ferguson@senate.state.md.us

 

The following letter from Maryland Senator Bill Ferguson was forwarded to us by Ms. Ashley Burgherr in Takoma Park, Maryland:

 

January 18, 2011

 

Hi Ms. Burgherr,

 

Thank you for reaching out to me regarding this issue.  I appreciate the very thoughtful and well researched information you were able to share with me.  Protecting our children has been and will always be one of my top priorities as a State Senator.

 

At this time, however, I will be unable to sponsor this legislation.  As a new legislator, I am trying to keep a very small number of bills under my sponsorship during this legislative session.  Should you find a sponsor, I would be willing to have further conversations about this legislation.  Please feel free to contact my office if you have any questions or concerns.

 

Bill

 

 

Senator Bill Ferguson

District 46

410-841-3600(office)

410-841-3161(fax)

 

MGMbill.org Response

As a current member of the Joint Committee on Children, Youth, and Families, one of Senator Ferguson's primary responsibilities is to "recommend new laws, regulations, and budget priorities to improve children's well-being". With the state's alarmingly high 72% reported infant circumcision rate in 2009, we can think of few other laws that would improve the well-being of so many Maryland children.

 

If Senator Ferguson won't introduce the Maryland MGM Bill himself, we do hope that we can count on his vote if we find a sponsor.

 

 

 

 

Rep. Todd Atwater

 

South Carolina Rep. Todd Atwater (R)

Lexington County, 87th House District

Website: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/members/bios/0067045447.html

Email: ToddAtwater@schouse.gov

 

The following letter from South Carolina Rep. Todd Atwater (who is also CEO of the South Carolina Medical Association) was forwarded to us by Ms. Brandy Walters in Lexington, South Carolina...

 

January 11, 2011

 

Ms. Walters,

There is no attached file.  I will be happy to review the legislation.  I would be against forced circumcision but I would not support any outlawing of the procedure. 

Sincerely,

Todd Atwater - House 87

 

...and in a follow-up message:

 

January 16, 2011:

 

Thank you for being involved in the process. 

I will keep your correspondence in mind if/as this issue moves forward in the legislature.  I know it is getting some national attention and imagine it will be discussed during the session.

Please do not hesitate to contact me on this or other issues.

 

Todd Atwater

House 87

 

MGMbill.org Response

We appreciate Rep. Atwater's willingness to consider the merits of the South Carolina MGM Bill, and we hope we can count on his support when it comes up for discussion this session.

 

 

 

 

Delegate Shirley Nathan-Pulliam

 

Maryland Delegate Shirley Nathan-Pulliam (D)

Baltimore County, 10th House District

Website: http://www.msa.md.gov/msa/mdmanual/06hse/html/msa12283.html

Email: shirley.nathan.pulliam@house.state.md.us

 

The following letter from Maryland Delegate Shirley Nathan-Pulliam was forwarded to us by Ms. Ashley Burgherr in Takoma Park, Maryland:

 

January 13, 2011

 

Dear Ashley:

 

Thank you for bringing your issue to my attention.  However, female genital mutilation, according to my training as a Registered Nurse, and male circumcision, are two entirely different procedures done for entirely different reasons.  I will not sponsor this bill.

 

Shirley Nathan-Pulliam

Delegate

 

MGMbill.org Response

Female genital mutilation and male genital mutilation are two sides of the same coin. Both have varying types, and each is perpetuated by irrational justifications. Most importantly, both are performed by force. The only real difference between FGM and MGM in this country is that FGM is specifically prohibited by law, whereas MGM is not.

 

 

 

 

elievankovich

 

Pennsylvania Rep. Eli Evankovich (R)

Armstrong County, 54th House District

Website: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/.../house_bio.cfm?id=1208

Email: Eevankov@pahousegop.com

 

The following letter from Pennsylvania Rep. Eli Evankovich was forwarded to us by Ms. Kari Danner in York, Pennsylvania:

 

January 13, 2011

 

Dear Ms. Danner,

 

Thank you for contacting me about a legislation that would prohibit male circumcision.  I appreciate hearing from you.

 

As you are aware, circumcision of the male infant is a controversial issue.  Due to the complexity of this issue, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a policy statement regarding circumcision.  In summary, AAP states, “Existing scientific evidence demonstrates potential medical benefits of newborn male circumcision; however, these data are not sufficient to recommend routine neonatal circumcision. In the case of circumcision, in which there are potential benefits and risks, yet the procedure is not essential to the child's current well-being, parents should determine what is in the best interest of the child. To make an informed choice, parents of all male infants should be given accurate and unbiased information and be provided the opportunity to discuss this decision. It is legitimate for parents to take into account cultural, religious, and ethnic traditions, in addition to the medical factors, when making this decision. Analgesia is safe and effective in reducing the procedural pain associated with circumcision; therefore, if a decision for circumcision is made, procedural analgesia should be provided. If circumcision is performed in the newborn period, it should only be done on infants who are stable and healthy.”

 

In addition, your letter requests that the practice of “forced” circumcision be ended in this Commonwealth.  I am not aware of any Pennsylvania law that requires infants to be circumcised; it is entirely a voluntary decision made by parents based on their own particular views and beliefs. Furthermore, while I am aware that genital mutilation does occur in certain parts of the world, I am not sure it is accurate to suggest that circumcision, a carefully controlled surgical procedure, be equated with genital mutilation.  While you do make a compelling argument, it may be one best settled within the medical community.

 

With that said, I will review the proposed legislation you have enclosed, as well as request that my staff look into this issue further.

 

Thank you again for taking the time to write.  I hope you will not hesitate to be in touch with further information, or comments or questions about issues of state government.

 

Sincerely,

 

Representative Eli Evankovich

PA State Representative

54th Legislative District

 

MGMbill.org Response

Medical opinions on male circumcision are changing rapidly, but as of this writing the AAP's policy hasn't been updated since 1999. The most recent medical society statement is from the Royal Dutch Medical Association, which calls for a ban on non-therapeutic circumcision of male minors.

 

As with any other cosmetic surgery, circumcision is only "entirely voluntary" if the patient himself consents to the procedure. Otherwise, it is being done by force (just like it would be considered "forced tattooing" if a parent had a child tattooed without the child's consent, or "forced mastectomy" if a parent removed the breast tissue of a baby girl to protect her from breast cancer at some point in the future).

 

Lastly, while some genital mutilations are performed in unsanitary conditions using crude instruments, many others are performed in makeshift clinics, which is not so different from how infant circumcisions are performed in the USA.

 

 

 

 

Rep. John Ragan

 

Tennessee Rep. John Ragan (R)

Anderson County, 33rd House District

Website: http://www.legislature.state.tn.us/house/members/h33.html

Email: rep.john.ragan@capitol.tn.gov

 

The following letter from Tennessee Rep. John Ragan was forwarded to us by Mr. Tom Kulaga in Knoxville, Tennessee:

 

January 12, 2011

 

Dear Mr. Kulga:

 

Thank you for expressing your interest in this topic to me. However, I cannot support your position until some other issues have been addressed.

 

First, while your message is informative with some quotes from the Royal Dutch Medical Association, etc., you failed to provide some essential comparative statistics.  Such information is critical for data-based decision making.

 

Specifically, the required, operative statistics for decisions in this area are how many total circumcisions are performed without medical complication versus how many have some sort of serious complication.

Additionally, it would be necessary to include a comparison of how many medical complications develop in uncircumcised males (that could be potentiallhy avoided by the procedure) versus how many of the same types of complications occur in the circumcised population.

 

Such statistics would need to be "controlled" for socio-economic status, race, religion, geographic location, doctor-performed versus Rabbi versus "other," etc.  Statistical confidence intervals, standard deviations, total population size studied, distribution characterizations (Gaussian, Poisson, Laplace, etc.), are also need-to-know information for adequate decision making.

 

Second, you failed to explain how such a bill could avoid running afoul of Constitutionally prohibited, state interference in religion, specifically Judaism.  The Supreme Court has ruled in the past that for such state interference to avoid infringement on the First Amendment to the US Constitution (or Article I, Section 3 of the Tennessee State Constitution), there must be an overwhelming state interest that can be served in no other, less intrusive manner. 

 

Your involvement in your state's governmental decision processes is much appreciated.  I hope the information I have addressed has been helpful to you.  Unfortunately, more data is essential before any bill on this topic could gain my support, or, I suspect, that of other General Assembly members.

 

Regards,

 

John Ragan,

Tennessee State Representative, District 33

 

MGMbill.org Response

To address the first point, the true complication rate is 100% because every circumcision removes erogenous tissue and permanently damages males sexual function. Most physicians tend to ignore this fact and instead count only so-called post-operative complications - a figure that is estimated to be between 2% - 10%, including more than 100 infant deaths per year. The AAP has concluded that the potential medical benefits of circumcision do not outweigh the risks.

 

Regarding parental freedom of religion, that matter was settled in 1944 when the Supreme Court ruled in Prince v. Massachusetts that "Parents may be free to become martyrs themselves. But it does not follow they are free, in identical circumstances, to make martyrs of their children before they have reached the age of full and legal discretion when they can make that choice for themselves." Other states already have laws in place that protect girls from religiously motivated genital cutting and none of them have been declared unconstitutional.

 

 

 

 

Rep. Diane Patrick

 

Texas Rep. Diane Patrick (R)

Arlington, 94th House District

Website: http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/?district=94

Email: http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/email/?district=94&session=82

 

The following letter from Texas Rep. Diane Patrick was forwarded to us by Ms. Michelle Richardson in Euless, Texas:

 

January 12, 2011

 

Dear Mrs. Michelle Richardson,

 

Thank you for sharing your view with our office regarding the proposed MGM bill for Texas. As you know, Texas code does not address male circumcision which allows parents to make this very private decision on their own.

 

I appreciate you participating in our government and taking the time to correspond with me on this issue. Please feel free to contact me or my office in the future.

 

Sincerely,

 

Diane Patrick, Ph.D

State Representative

House District 94

Arlington, Pantego, Dalworthington Gardens

 

MGMbill.org Response

Rep. Patrick's response is emblematic of how our government continues to discriminate against boys. Female circumcision is also a "very private decision" that some parents wish to make for their daughters, but that didn't stop Texas legislators from rightfully prohibiting it in 1999. Don't boys deserve the same consideration?

 

 

 

 

Rep. Randy Vulakovich

 

Pennsylvania Rep. Randy Vulakovich (R)

Allegheny County, 30th House District

Website: http://www.legis.state.pa.us...id=1090

Email: http://repvulakovich.com/Contact.aspx

 

The following letter from Melissa L. Farabaugh (on behalf of Pennsylvania Rep. Randy Vulakovich) was forwarded to us by Ms. Kari Danner in York, Pennsylvania:

 

January 10, 2011

 

Dear Ms. Danner:

 

Thank you for your recent email to Representative Randy Vulakovich regarding your concerns with circumcision of infant boys. He has read your email and would like you to know that he does not have much information on this issue relative to your point of view. However, he will listen to all arguments if or when legislation addressing this issue is introduced and brought forth for his review. He appreciates your comments and will keep them in mind. We look forward to hearing from you in the future.

 

Sincerely,

 

Melissa

 

Melissa L. Farabaugh

Outreach Coordinator

State Representative Randy Vulakovich

30th Legislative District

mfarabau@pahousegop.com

412-487-6600 Phone

412-487-6607 Fax

 

MGMbill.org Response

Rather than wait for our bill to be sponsored by another legislator, we suggest that Rep. Vulakovich and his staff familiarize themselves with the practice of circumcision by following the links on our FAQ and Resources pages. After researching the issue, perhaps Rep. Vulakovich will be willing to sponsor the Pennsylvania MGM Bill himself.

 

 

 

 

Rep. Matt Wingard

 

Oregon Rep. Matt Wingard (R)

Wilsonville, 26th House District

Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/wingard/

Email: rep.mattwingard@state.or.us

 

The following letter from Oregon Rep. Matt Wingard was forwarded to us by Ms. Trisha Darner in Ashland, Oregon:

 

February 9, 2010

 

Trisha:

 

I wanted to thank you for your email concerning the Oregon MGM bill 2010. I wanted to thank you for the letter and bill. This is an important issue an I will be taking your email into account when information on this issue comes across my desk.

 

Thank you

 

Matt Wingard

State Representative

House District 26

900 Court Street NE

Salem, OR 97301

www.leg.state.or.us/wingard

rep.mattwingard@state.or.us

503.986.1426

 

MGMbill.org Response

We appreciate that Rep. Wingard recognizes MGM as an important issue, and we hope that we can count on his vote if the Oregon MGM Bill finds a sponsor.

 

 

 

 

Rep. Susan Davis

 

U.S. Rep. Susan Davis (D)

California, 53rd Congressional District

Website: http://www.house.gov/susandavis

Email: susan.davis@mail.house.gov

 

The following letter from U.S. Rep. Susan Davis was received by Matthew Hess in San Diego, California:

 

February 3, 2010

 

Dear Mr. Hess,

 

Thank you for contacting me about a bill proposal to prevent male circumcisions for non-medical reasons in the United States. I appreciate hearing from you.

 

As a mother and grandmother, I believe all parents should have the tools to make fully informed decisions regarding their child's health needs. I appreciate your advocacy on this issue and for bringing continued public attention to it. However, taking the step of restricting the practice remains far ahead of public consensus on this issue. The procedure is a matter probably left best to parents and their doctors.

 

Again, thank you for taking the time to share your perspective on this issue. As your representative, I both need and value your input and ideas.

 

With ward regards,

 

SUSAN A. DAVIS

Member of Congress

 

MGMbill.org Response

Lack of public consensus is not a license to ignore human rights. Rep. Davis took an oath to support and defend the Constitution, and that includes upholding the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In 2007, she voted to denounce female genital mutilation. We urge her to denounce male genital mutilation, as well.

 

 

 

 

Rep. Matthew E. Baker

 

Pennsylvania Rep. Matthew E. Baker (R)

Bradford County (Part) & Tioga County, 68th House District

Minority Chairman, Health & Human Services Committee

Website: http://www.repbaker.com

Email: mbaker@pahousegop.com

 

The following letter from Pennsylvania Rep. Matthew Baker was forwarded to us by Mr. Peter Keay in West Chester, Pennsylvania: 

 

January 25, 2010

 

Dear Mr. Keay:

 

Thank you for contacting me about your interest in legislation that would prohibit male circumcision. I am always appreciative when interested citizens take the time to express their views to me.

 

As you are aware, circumcision of the male infant is a controversial issue on which there is no consensus at the state and federal level. In addition, it seems that the medical community is unable to formulate a clear and unequivocal position as well. Due to the complexity of this matter, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a revised policy statement in 1999 regarding circumcision. In summary, AAP states:

 

"Existing scientific evidence demonstrates potential medical benefits of newborn male circumcision; however, these data are not sufficient to recommend routine neonatal circumcision. In the case of circumcision, in which there are potential benefits and risks, yet the procedure is not essential to the child's current well-being, parents should determine what is in the best interest of the child. To make an informed choice, parents of all male infants should be given accurate and unbiased information and be provided the opportunity to discuss this decision. It is legitimate for parents to take into account cultural, religious, and ethnic traditions, in addition to the medical factors, when making this decision."

 

Currently, there is no statute in Pennsylvania that requires male infants to be circumcised: it is entirely a voluntary decision made by parents based on their own particular views and beliefs. When parents disagree on whether or not to perform the procedure, they have the ability to ask the courts to rule on the matter.

 

At present, there is no federal law that addresses male genital mutilation or circumcision. Although draft language for a bill prohibiting male genital mutilation was submitted to Congress in 2005 from a California-based health and human rights organization, so far no member of Congress has sponsored such legislation.

 

I am forwarding your letter to my staff on the state House Health and Human Services Committee for inclusion in the committee file on this issue. Your input will be valuable in future policy discussions concerning this matter. If you would like to view and track any state legislative proposal, please visit the General Assembly's website at www.legis.state.pa.us.

 

Again, thank you for your letter. Please do not hesitate to contact me whenever I can be of service in matters relating to state government.

 

Sincerely,

 

Matthew E. Baker

State Representative

68th Legislative District 

 

MGMbill.org Response

We thank Rep. Baker for his willingness to include our input in future Health and Human Services Committee circumcision policy discussions. We take issue with his statement that circumcision is "entirely voluntary", though. Even if parents agree to perform infant circumcision, that does not mean that the patient has agreed. The child is the patient, not the parents.

 

 

 

 

Rep. Mary Liz Holberg

 

Minnesota Rep. Mary Liz Holberg (R)

Lakeville, House District 36A

Civil Justice Committee, Ethics Committee

Website: http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/members/members.asp?id=10262

Email: Rep.MaryLiz.Holberg@house.mn

 

The following letter from Minnesota Rep. Mary Liz Holberg was forwarded to us by Ms. Kandace O'Neill in Lakeville, Minnesota: 

 

January 25, 2010

 

Kandace,

 

Thank you for bringing this issue to my attention. I have not considered circumcision as a genital mutilation. I am not sure how I feel about the issue. Taking away the rights of parents is a big step and I am not sure that it will be well received. Many parents would feel it would be their right to decide.

 

I will continue to consider your request if the bill is brought forward for a vote. You have raised many valid points and it may be that this issue will take a while to move forward as many people will need to educated on the issue.

 

Please keep me informed of any new developments on the issue.

 

Take care,

 

ML

 

Representative Mary Liz Holberg

303 State Office Building

100 Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd

St. Paul, MN 55155-1298

651-296-6926

 

MGMbill.org Response

The intent of the MGM Bill is not to take away rights. Rather, it is designed to give men the right to make decisions about their own bodies. Parents aren't allowed to remove other healthy, functional body parts from their children, and the foreskin should not be treated any differently. We encourage Rep. Holberg to follow the links on our FAQ page so that she may begin the process of educating herself and others about the harmful effects of forced circumcision.

 

 

 

 

Senator Linda Berglin

 

Minnesota Senator Linda Berglin (D)

Minneapolis, 61st Senate District

Health, Housing and Family Security Committee

Website: http://www.senate.leg.state.mn.us/members/member_bio.php?mem_id=1005&ls=

Email: lindab@senate.mn

 

The following letter from Minnesota Senator Linda Berglin was forwarded to us by Ms. Kandace O'Neill in Lakeville, Minnesota: 

 

January 20, 2010

 

Dear Kandace,

 

Thanks for your e-mail about circumcision. I do not have time to author this bill, but I have in the past, made sure that our medicaid program does not pay for circumcision. This was done a number of years ago.

 

Linda Berglin

 

MGMbill.org Response

We greatly appreciate the work that Senator Berglin did to eliminate Medicaid reimbursement for medically unnecessary circumcision in Minnesota. Although she may not have time to sponsor the Minnesota MGM Bill this year, we do hope that we can count on her support if another sponsor steps forward.

 

 

 

 

Senator Jane Nelson

 

Texas Senator Jane Nelson (R)

Grapevine, 12th Senate District

Chair, Health and Human Services Committee

Website: http://www.nelson.senate.state.tx.us/

Email: jane.nelson@senate.state.tx.us

 

The following letter from Texas Senator Jane Nelson was forwarded to us by Ms. Michelle Richardson in Euless, Texas: 

 

January 19, 2010

 

Dear Ms. Richardson:

 

Thank you for contacting me regarding male circumcision.

 

As chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services, I appreciate your thoughtful research. The Legislature convenes for its next session in January 2011. As we begin to prepare, I will review this issue closely with your suggestion in mind.

 

In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me again regarding issues of importance to you.

 

Very truly yours,

 

Senator Jane Nelson

 

MGMbill.org Response

We are looking forward to working with Senator Nelson and the Health & Human Services Committee as we lead up to the next session.

 

 

 

 

Delegate Karen S. Montgomery

 

Maryland Delegate Karen S. Montgomery (D)

Montgomery County, 14th House District

Health and Government Operations Committee

Website: http://www.msa.md.gov/msa/mdmanual/06hse/html/msa13988.html

Email: karen.montgomery@house.state.md.us

 

The following letter from Maryland Delegate Karen Montgomery was forwarded to us by Mr. James Pinkley in Bel Air, Maryland: 

 

January 18, 2010

 

Dear Mr. Pinkley,

 

I read your email carefully and sympathize greatly for your situation. As I understand, circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin, performed for medical or religious reasons. There are, apparently, benefits of circumcision to include: decreased risk of urinary tract infections, reduced risk of sexually transmitted diseases, protection against penile cancer, prevention of balanitis (inflammation of the glans) and balanoposthitis (inflammation of the glans and foreskin), and prevention of phimosis (inability to retract the foreskin.). Some firmly believe that circumcision makes it easier to keep the end of the penis clean. That said, I understand there are a number of risks with male circumcision. There may be pain, a risk of bleeding/infection at the site, irritation of the glans, increased risk of meatitis (inflammation of the opening of the penis) and risk of injury to the penis. Obviously, circumcision is a surgical procedure and complications/injuries can arise due to medical incompetence and other factors. There are even cases of "circumcision" resulting in the complete removal of the skin covering the shaft of the penis, causing it to appear to have been completely surgically removed.

 

The American Academy of Pediatrics does NOT recommend circumcision as a routine procedure for newborn males. And, other major medical organizations agree. However, problems from circumcision are not common and if they do occur, they are usually minor.

 

In my own opinion, I believe male circumcision is a family decision based on traditions and religious beliefs. As stated above, there are some benefits; and yes, as with any surgical procedure, there can be definite risks and problematic outcomes.

 

You may have noted that I do not address female "circumcision". I do not consider the mutilation of female genitalia to be in the same category as male circumcision. Females subjected to this mutilation are victims of a heinous practice, as your attachment outlines.

 

I am sorry that you have personally suffered and consider yourself a victim. And I hope that some type of medical help may alleviate your situation. However, I cannot support such a proposal that prohibits male circumcision.

 

I wish the best to you.

 

Delegate Karen S. Montgomery

Maryland House of Delegates

District 14-Montgomery County

301 858 3110

410 841 3110

Lowe House Office Building

6 Bladen Street

Annapolis, MD 21401

 

MGMbill.org Response

Delegate Montgomery's letter illustrates all too clearly the discrimination that boys are up against when it comes to circumcision. When a girl's genitals are cut, it is a "heinous practice" (we agree). When a boy's genitals are cut, it's a "family decision".

 

This absurd double standard is causing needless suffering for the estimated 73% of boys who are forcefully circumcised in Maryland.

 

 

 

 

 

Illinois State Senator Susan Garrett (D)

Highland, 29th Senate District

Majority Caucus Whip

Public Health Committee

Website: http://www.ilga.gov/senate/Senator.asp?GA=96&MemberID=1477

Email: ilsenate29@sbcglobal.net

 

The following letter from Illinois Senator Susan Garrett was forwarded to us by Mr. Ron Low in Northbrook, Illinois:

 

January 18, 2010

 

Ron:

 

I am in receipt of your fax regarding your proposed bill involving nonconcensual male circumcision. After reading the language and background material, I have to tell you that I would be very uncomfortable carrying this bill. I suggest that you contact Senator Jeff Schoenberg who represents the 9th Senatorial District. His contact information is as follows.

 

District Office

820 Davis St.

Suite 102

Evanston, IL 60201

Phone: (847) 492-1200

Fax: (847) 492-1202

senator@jschoenberg.org

 

I wish you the best of luck in your endeavor.

 

Sincerely,

 

Susan Garrett

District Office of

State Senator Susan Garrett (D-29)

425 Sheridan Rd.

Highwood, IL 60040

Phone: (847) 433-2002

Fax: (847) 433-8002

E-mail: ilsenate29@sbcglobal.net

Web: www.garrett98.com

 

MGMbill.org Response

If the thought of genital mutilation makes Senator Garrett uncomfortable, just imagine how uncomfortable it feels for the boys who are subjected to it! Senator Garrett needs to set aside her discomfort and put her seat on the Public Health Committee to good use by sponsoring the Illinois MGM Bill.

 

 

 

 

 

Oregon Rep. Kim Thatcher (R)

Keizer, 25th House District

Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/thatcher/

Email: rep.kimthatcher@state.or.us

 

The following letter from the Oregon Rep. Kim Thatcher was forwarded to us by Ms. Ava-Nicole Davis in Newberg, Oregon:

 

January 11, 2010

 

Ms. Davis,

 

Thank you for your email regarding forced circumcision. I am not inclined to support this type of legislation because I feel this is an issue for parents and families to decide, not the government. I do appreciate you sharing your perspective.

 

Sincere thanks,

 

Kim Thatcher

State Representative

House District 25

(503) 986-1425

900 Court Street, H-490

Salem, OR 97301

www.leg.state.or.us/thatcher

rep.kimthatcher@state.or.us

 

MGMbill.org Response

Parents and families don't get to decide if their daughters will be circumcised by force, so why should their sons be treated any differently? Assault laws must protect both genders equally.

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Rep. Elton Gallegly (R)

California, 24th Congressional District

Committee on the Judiciary

Website: http://www.house.gov/gallegly/

Email: http://writerep.house.gov/writerep/

 

The following letter from U.S. Rep. Elton Gallegly was received by Matthew Hess in San Diego, California:

 

January 11, 2010

 

Dear Mr. Hess,

 

Thank you for contacting my office with regards to your request for the sponsorship of the MGM Bill.

 

I appreciate hearing from you on this matter; however, jurisdiction of issues such as these would be better served by your Congresswoman, Susan Davis. I have taken the liberty of forwarding your letter to her.

 

I am sure you will be hearing from her shortly.

 

Sincerely,

 

ELTON GALLEGLY

Member of Congress

 

By Myrna Vafee

Congressional Aide

Thousand Oaks District Office

 

MGMbill.org Response

As a member of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Gallegly has a responsibility to ensure that all American citizens receive equal protection of the law, not just those who live in his own district. We appeal to Rep. Gallegly to begin researching the issue of forced circumcision now so that he will be prepared to vote intelligently on the MGM Bill if a sponsor is found.

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Senator Tom Coburn (R)

Oklahoma

Committee on the Judiciary

Website: http://coburn.senate.gov

Email: Senator_Coburn@coburn.senate.gov

 

The following letter from U.S. Senator Tom Coburn was forwarded to us by Ms. Kristi Rath in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma:

 

February 27, 2009

 

Dear Mrs. Rath,

 

Thank you for contacting me regarding issues related to circumcision. I appreciate hearing from you and apologize for the delayed response.

 

As a practicing physician with a specialty in obstetrics, I know firsthand the medical issues related to circumcision. The World Health Organization estimates that 70 percent of American males are circumcised. Many families choose to perform neonatal circumcision because of the demonstrated medical benefits of the procedure. You are right, however, that there are both potential benefits and risks to the procedure, which is why I firmly believe that parents should have the responsibility of making the best decision possible for their children.

 

There are a number of potential medical benefits for circumcision. In addition to making proper hygiene easier for young males, the procedure has also shown to decrease the risk of urinary tract infections (UTI). Severe infections early in life can lead to kidney problems late in life, and a meta-analysis of 12 studies of over 400,000 children determined that circumcision was associated with a significantly reduced risk of UTI. Circumcision has also been shown to prevent other penile problems such as phimosis (when the foreskin will not retract), which can also lead to inflammation of the head of the penis, and decreases the risk of penile cancer.

 

Circumcision has also been shown to reduce the risk of sexually-transmitted diseases. Three controlled studies in Africa demonstrated that circumcision reduced vaginal-to-penile transmission of the HIV virus by 60%, 53%, and 51%, respectively. WHO and the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) have stated that male circumcision is an efficacious intervention for HIV prevention when carried out by well trained medical professionals.
 

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has stated, "Existing scientific evidence demonstrates potential medical benefits of newborn male circumcision. In the case of circumcision, in which there are potential benefits and risks, yet the procedure is not essential to the child's current well-being, parents should determine what is in the best interest of the child." The American Medical Association has expressed support for the AAP policy statement, and almost every other medical association in the United States has expressed similar views.

 

As a physician, I believe that it is important to inform my patients of both these medical benefits and risks. The decision, however, whether made for medical or religious reasons, rests with the child's parents. Parents are expected-and obligated-to make the best medical decisions for their children, based on sound advice from their doctors. Rather than pursue a federal prohibition with significant medical, religious, and parental authority concerns, I believe we should seek to provide individuals with the necessary scientific information.
 

I appreciate you taking the time to express your views on this matter. Thank you again for contacting me, and please stay in touch.

 

Sincerely,

 

Tom A. Coburn, M.D.

United States Senator

 

MGMbill.org Response

First, to address the medical claims, circumcision has not been proven to help reduce urinary tract infections (in fact, at least one recent study found that circumcision increases the risk of acquiring UTIs). The three studies linking circumcision to reduced transmission of AIDS are also very much in dispute, and phimosis is easily treatable without circumcision. Lastly, penile cancer is so rare that that the number of deaths resulting from circumcision exceeds the number of deaths caused by penile cancer, negating any benefit.

 

But even if the medical claims were true, potential medical benefits do not give anyone the right to forcefully amputate a healthy functional body part from an unconsenting patient. There are potential medical benefits to other amputative procedures, too (mastectomy and castration, for example), yet forcing either of those disfiguring and life altering surgeries onto a healthy child would be grounds for prosecution.

 

Religion is not a valid reason to circumcise boys, either. It is illegal to cut any part of a girl's genitalia in the name of religion, and the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees equal protection to all. Senator Coburn is making excuses, and his failure to see the larger human rights issue here is contributing to the perpetuation of forced circumcision.

 

 

 

 

 

California Assembly Member Chuck DeVore (R)

Irvine, 70th Assembly District

Republican Whip

(Chuck DeVore was termed out of office in 2010)

 

The following letter from California Assembly Member Chuck DeVore was received by Matthew Hess in San Diego, California:

 

January 27, 2009

 

Dear Mr. Hess,
 
Thank you for your recent letter regarding your proposed "MGM Bill," banning circumcision for young males in California. I appreciate hearing your thoughts and concerns about this important matter. As an elected representative, it is always good to hear from voters across the state because it enables me to serve you better. If I can ever be of assistance in any way, please don't hesitate to contact me again.
 
All the best,

Assemblyman Chuck DeVore

Seventieth District
 

MGMbill.org Response

As a Republican Whip, Chuck Devore holds considerable influence in the California Assembly. We call on him to use that influence to help build support for the California MGM Bill proposal during the 2009-10 session.

 

 

 

 

 

Oregon Senator Alan Bates (D)

Ashland, 3rd Senate District

Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/bates/

Email: Bates.Sen@state.or.us

 

The following letter from the Policy Advisor for Oregon Senator Alan Bates was forwarded to us by Ms. Trisha Darner in Medford, Oregon:

 

January 12, 2009

 

Hello again, Trisha -
 
Thank you for again taking the time to write with your well-researched position on male circumcision.  While Senator Bates respects and appreciates your opinion, as we have written previously, he would not support a bill to ban male circumcision, nor will he sponsor one - either from a medical perspective or from a cultural perspective.  He respectfully disagrees with you and does not feel that this is an issue that should be legislated.
 
Senator Bates is fully in favor of public education so that parents may make a more informed decision about how circumcision may affect their sons.

Erin Fair
Policy Adviser
Senator Alan Bates
503-986-1703
 

MGMbill.org Response

Senator Bates has written to us before, so we're not surprised to hear that his position is unchanged. However, we welcome his call for public education on circumcision, and we ask him to put us in touch with the appropriate staff member of the Oregon Department of Human Services so that we can work together to develop a statewide educational curriculum on circumcision.

 

 

 

 

 

Oregon Rep. John Lim (R)

Gresham, 50th House District

(John Lim lost his seat in the 2008 election)

 

The following letter from Oregon Rep. John Lim was forwarded to us by Ms. Trisha Darner in Medford, Oregon:

 

February 15, 2008

 

Dear Mrs. Darner,

 

Thank you for your e-mail regarding issues of circumcision. These issues are new and educational for me, and I will look forward to researching them here in the near future. At this time, I have yet to hear of any bills involving matters of circumcision, but would enjoy studying any additional information concerning this issue. I firmly believe that any minors having a circumcision must have written parental approval and will seriously consider your e-mail when a bill of this matter reaches the floor. I have heard of and read many horror stories of this issue and will stand firmly against doctors whom practice in this manner. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any additional questions or concerns. Your time and thoughts are greatly appreciated. I look forward to hearing more from you in the near future.

 

God Bless,

 

Representative John Lim

District 50

 

MGMbill.org Response

We welcome Rep. Lim's willingness to research the health and human rights consequences of forced circumcision. Perhaps after doing so, he will realize that parents should not be allowed to legally approve circumcision for their sons any more than they can legally approve circumcision for their daughters.

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Senator John Warner (R)

Virginia

(John Warner retired from the Senate in 2008)

 

The following letter from U.S. Senator John Warner was forwarded to us by Ms. Kari Kilgore in St. Paul, Virginia:

 

February 4, 2008

 

Dear Ms. Kilgore:


Thank you for sending me a copy of a proposed bill regarding male genital mutilation. I appreciate you making this effort and offering me the opportunity to write to you.


As you know, to date, there has been no legislation related to male genital mutilation introduced in the 110th Congress. Though I am not a member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, which would have jurisdiction over this matter, please be assured that I will be certain to monitor any committee hearings or reports, and will keep your thoughts in mind should related legislation come before the full Senate.


In a related matter, you may be interested to know that on January 5, 2007, Congresswoman Jackson-Lee (D-TX) introduced H.RES.32, a resolution denouncing the practices of female genital mutilation, domestic violence, “honor” killings, acid burnings, dowry deaths, and other gender-based persecutions. This resolution was agreed to by a vote of 378-0. To date, no similar legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Senate.


Again, thank you for contacting me.


With kind regards, I am


Sincerely,


John Warner

United States Senator

 

MGMbill.org Response

We appreciate Senator Warner's response and consideration of our proposed bill. We also wish that Rep. Jackson-Lee and Congress had included male genital mutilation in H. RES.32 as a way to draw attention to the 13 million male genital mutilations that occur annually around the world - a number roughly six times greater than the 2 million female genital mutilations that occur each year.

 

 

 

 

 

Oregon Rep. Tina Kotek (D)

North/NE Portland, 44th House District

Chair, Health Care Subcommittee on Health Policy

Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/kotek/

Email: rep.tinakotek@state.or.us

 

The following letter from Oregon Rep. Tina Kotek's office was forwarded to us by Ms. Trisha Darner in Medford, Oregon:

 

January 22, 2008

 

Dear Ms. Darner,

 

Thank you for writing Rep. Kotek to voice your concerns about male infant circumcision.  Your email is well-argued and well-researched and it is clear that you are very passionate about this issue. I will be sure that Rep. Kotek sees your information. Rep. Kotek's office will look into issue of male infant circumcision for the 2009 session, however, your advocacy would be most effective if you worked closely with your state legislators, Sen.Alan Bates and Rep. Sal Esquivel.

 

Thank you for your advocacy.

 

Best regards,

Nellie

 

Nellie McAdams, Legislative Assistant
State Representative Tina Kotek
North/NE Portland, House District 44
 
(503) 286-0558
900 Court Street H-285
Salem, OR 97301
rep.tinakotek@state.or.us

 

MGMbill.org Response

As Chair of the Health Care Subcommittee on Health Policy, Rep. Kotek could play a key role in helping to pass the Oregon MGM Bill. We look forward to working with her in 2009.

 

 

 

 

Oregon Senator Alan Bates (D)

Ashland, 3rd Senate District

Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/bates/

Email: Bates.Sen@state.or.us

 

The following letter from the Chief of Staff for Oregon Senator Alan Bates was forwarded to us by Ms. Trisha Darner in Medford, Oregon:

 

January 29, 2008

 

Ms. Darner -

Thank you for writing our office about your concerns. Male circumcision is not an easy issue, as there are historical, cultural, religious, and personal issues involved. While Senator Bates certainly respects your position and recognizes the risks of any medical procedure (he is a family physician), he would not support a bill that outlaws male circumcision. It is true that we are not gender-neutral in our laws regarding circumcision, but Senator Bates does not believe that female and male circumcision are comparable from a cultural or medical standpoint. Female circumcision has no medical indication and its cultural practice is used primarily to subjugate women. Although there is not consensus about it, there is evidence that circumcision can be medically advantageous and it's cultural practice is not intended to be abusive or a means of subjugation.

Again, thank you for bringing this issue to our attention and I appreciate having this discussion. Unfortunately, as a family physician, this is not a position that Senator Bates can support, both from a medical and a cultural perspective.

Erin Fair
Chief of Staff
Senator Alan Bates
503-986-1703

 

MGMbill.org Response

Female and male circumcision are far more alike than they are different. Female circumcision also has potential medical benefits, and physicians introduced male circumcision in America to suppress masturbation. While MGMbill.org respects each person's right to alter his or her own genitals, we believe that laws must be enacted to protect children from forced circumcision.

 

 

 

 

 

Oregon Rep. Ron Maurer (R)

Grants Pass, 3rd House District

(Ron Maurer gave up his seat in 2010 to run for another office)

 

The following letter from Oregon Rep. Ron Maurer's office was forwarded to us by Ms. Trisha Darner in Medford, Oregon:

 

January 22, 2008

 

Ms. Darner:

 

Thank you for contacting our office. It is most effective if you work with the Representative in the district where you live. Your Representative is Sal Esquivel and your Senator is Alan Bates. Rep. Maurer respects your views on this issue but is not interested in sponsoring this legislation as this is in direct conflict with the freedom of religion of the Jewish faith.

 

Best Regards,

 

Allison Mac Mullin

 

Legislative Assistant

 

Ron Maurer

State Representative

District 3

Josephine County

 

MGMbill.org Response

Freedom of religion in this country refers to the right of each person to choose his or her own religion. It does not mean that parents may alter the genitals of their children for religious reasons. The Supreme Court ruled long ago in Prince v. Massachusetts that "Parents may be free to become martyrs themselves. But it does not follow they are free, in identical circumstances, to make martyrs of their children before they have reached the age of full and legal discretion when they can make that choice for themselves." Rep. Maurer would serve his constituents well by familiarizing himself with this fundamental legal tenet.

 

 

 

 

 

Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources Marilyn B. Tavenner

on behalf of Governor Tim Kaine (D)

(Governor Tim Kaine and Marilyn Tavenner left office in 2010)

 

The following letter from Virginia Health and Human Resources Secretary Marilyn B. Tavenner was forwarded to us by Ms. Kari Kilgore in St. Paul, Virginia:

 

January 17, 2008

 

Ms. Kari Kilgore

 

Thank you for your email to Governor Kaine regarding your concerns about unnecessary circumcisions. Since the regulation of health care is within the work of my office, he has forwarded your email to me for response.

 

I appreciate that you have become quite knowledgeable on the subject and have a global perspective on situations in other cultures as well as in this country. We are not aware of any Virginia law that requires male infants to be circumcised; it is entirely a voluntary decision made by parents based on their own particular views and beliefs. As you are aware, in the Judaic tradition, male infants are to be circumcised on the 8th day after birth; in the wider community, it is a matter of parental choice.

 

Circumcision is a carefully controlled surgical procedure and should not be equated with the genital mutilation that does occur in some parts of the world. The discussion and opinion about whether it is medically advisable varies from time to time, but no family is compelled or required to circumcise their son.

 

Again, we thank you for taking the time to write with your concerns.

 

Marilyn B. Tavenner

Secretary of Health and Human Resources

1111 East Broad Street

Richmond, Virginia 23219

 

MGMbill.org Response

Medically unnecessary circumcision is not voluntary unless the patient gives his consent. The particular views and beliefs of parents are legally irrelevant if they attempt to modify a girl's genitalia, so why is an exception made for boys? Ripping the foreskin away from a child's tiny, undeveloped penis and then amputating it with a scalpel can hardly be called a "carefully controlled surgical procedure", as the victims of both normal and botched circumcisions will readily attest. And the Jewish tradition of circumcision is no longer routine, as Jews continue to turn away from the practice. Unfortunately, more than one million unlucky baby boys are still being mutilated each year in the USA, which is why we need to enact the MGM Bill.

 

 

 

 

Oregon Rep. Vicki Berger (R)

Salem, 20th House District

Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/berger/

Email: rep.vickiberger@state.or.us

 

The following letter from Oregon Rep. Vicki Berger was forwarded to us by Ms. Trisha Darner in Medford, Oregon:

 

November 9, 2007

 

Dear Trisha,

 

I respect the rights of individual parents to make these kinds of decisions. I would like the government to stay out of this dispute.

 

This is my sincere point of view.

 

Regards,

 

Rep. Vicki Berger

 

MGMbill.org Response

While we understand Rep. Berger's respect for parental rights, some decisions cross the line. We believe that a child's legal right to body integrity supersedes a parent's wish to perform a medically unnecessary circumcision on an unconsenting minor.

 

 

 

 

 

Oregon Rep. Peter Buckley (D)

Ashland, 5th House District

Assistant Majority Leader

Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/buckley/

Email: rep.peterbuckley@state.or.us

 

The following letter from Oregon Rep. Peter Buckley was forwarded to us by Ms. Trisha Darner in Medford, Oregon:

 

August 27, 2007

 

Dear Trisha Darner:

 

Thank you for your letter addressing your concerns about infant circumcision. I certainly appreciate your efforts to bring this issue to the public's attention, and my office will look into the matter as per your request. However, in the 2009 session my main health care focus will be on securing health benefits and rights to children with Autism and their families.

 

If you have any other questions or concerns, don't hesitate to contact my office.

 

Sincerely,

 

Representative Peter Buckley

 

MGMbill.org Response

We welcome Rep. Buckley's willingness to research the issue of infant circumcision. Perhaps when his staff members uncover just how much pain and suffering circumcision inflicts on baby boys, he will find the time to focus on two important children's issues instead of just one.

 

 

 

 

 

Massachusetts Senator Michael Morrissey (D)

Norfolk and Plymouth District

(Michael Morrissey left office in 2011)

 

The following letter from Massachusetts Senator Michael Morrissey was forwarded to us by Mr. Charles A. Antonelli in Quincy, Massachusetts: 

 

April 9, 2007
 

Dear Mr. Antonelli,

 

I am writing today regarding your legislation dealing with genital mutilation in the Commonwealth. The legislation's bill number is Senate Bill No. 966 and has been referred to the Joint Committee on the Judiciary.

 

You can also track legislative histories on the internet at the General Court website at http://www.mass.gov/legis. In addition, I have enclosed a copy of the contact information for the House and Senate Chairpersons of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary for your reference. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Sincerely,

 

Michael W. Morrissey

State Senator

 

MGMbill.org Response

Congratulations to Senator Morrissey on his courageous and historic decision to introduce our Massachusetts MGM Bill to the 185th General Court! We look forward to working closely with the members of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary in the coming weeks as they prepare to debate Senate Bill No. 966.

 

 

 

 

 

Florida Division of Family Health Services Director Annette Phelps

on behalf of Governor Charlie Crist (R)

Website: http://www.doh.state.fl.us/family/fhdescription.html

Email: FamilyHealthServices@doh.state.fl.us

 

The following letter from Florida Division of Family Health Services Director Annette Phelps was forwarded to us by Ms. Nicole Blythe in Stuart, Florida:

 

February 27, 2007
 

Dear Ms. Blythe:

 

Thank you for your January 8 letter to former Governor Jeb Bush expressing your position regarding male circumcision. I have been asked to respond on behalf of the Department of Health.

 

Male circumcision is a clinical practice issue and parent decision, most practice issues are governed by the clinical practice guidelines of care for medicine. In the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Circumcision Policy Statement it is stated, "Existing scientific evidence demonstrates potential medical benefits of newborn circumcision; however, these data are not sufficient to recommend routine neonatal circumcision. In circumstances in which there are potential benefits and risks, yet the procedure is not essential to the child's current well-being, parents should determine what is in the best interest of the child. To make an informed choice, parents of all male infants should be given accurate and unbiased information and be provided the opportunity to discuss this decision. If a decision for circumcision is made, procedural analgesia should be provided."

 

Therefore, the AAP recommends physicians discuss the potential harms and benefits of circumcision with all parents or legal guardians considering this procedure for their newborn son.

 

Thank you again for your thoughts regarding male circumcision.

 

Sincerely,

 

Annette Phelps, A.R.N.P, M.S.N.

Director

Division of  Family Health Services

  

MGMbill.org Response

Director Phelps's reply illustrates how the current AAP Circumcision Policy Statement interferes with a man's right to control his own body. Even though the AAP policy does not recommend circumcision, it still allows parents to cut their son's genitals for any reason. No such allowance is made for female genital cutting.

 

The AAP is now in the process of updating their Circumcision Policy Statement, and public input is encouraged by sending comments to Ed Zimmerman (Co-Director, Department of Practice) and Alison Baker (Staffperson, Committee on Bioethics).

 

 

 

 

 

Florida Office of Family Safety Director Patricia Badland

on behalf of Governor Charlie Crist (R)

Website: http://www.myflorida.com/cf_web/

Email: Pat_Badland@dcf.state.fl.us

 

The following letter from Florida Office of Family Safety Director Patricia Badland was forwarded to us by Ms. Nicole Blythe in Stuart, Florida:

 

February 21, 2007
 

Dear Ms. Blythe:

 

Thank you for your recent letter to the Governor's Office about your proposal of the Florida Prohibition of Human Mutilation Act. Governor Charlie Crist asked me to respond to you on his behalf.

 

Florida appreciates your concern for wanting to ensure all children are protected from child abuse. You raised some interesting points in your letter about circumcision of male infants. Circumcision is a common procedure typically done with newborn males once they are medically stable after birth. Debate exists whether there are no medical benefits or if there are some slight medical benefits. The American Academy of Pediatrics has considered this issue for years. Currently, the Academy neither recommends for or against this procedure.

 

Unlike female circumcision done in unsafe circumstances elsewhere in the world, male circumcision is a carefully done hospital procedure, usually involves pain control, and does not cause appreciable loss of sexual sensation or pain in adulthood.

 

A difference of opinion exists on the merit of this procedure. However, the Academy and others have never considered this to be physical abuse. An interpretation that is child abuse would be unique, be at variance with mainstream medical opinion, and result in an assertion that most parent of boys are participating in child abuse.

 

Thank you again for writing to Governor Crist and for your concern for the safety and well-being of Florida's children.

 

Sincerely,

 

Patricia Badland

Director

Office of Family Safety

  

MGMbill.org Response

Director Badland's letter has many inaccuracies. As of this writing, the AAP does not recommend circumcision, stating that "data are not sufficient to recommend routine neonatal circumcision".  And although most circumcisions in the USA are carried out in a hospital environment, female circumcisions in other countries are often performed in hospitals, too - particularly in Egypt. Furthermore, many circumcisions are still performed without anesthesia, and circumcised men do in fact report an appreciable loss of sexual sensation in adulthood.

 

Circumcision is a form of institutionalized violence, which makes it harder to recognize as child abuse. Most parents who have their daughters circumcised don't see it as child abuse, either, but the rest of the world increasingly classifies it as such.

 

 

 

 

 

Illinois Rep. Tom Cross (R)

Plainfield, 84th House District

House Republican Leader

Website: http://www.ilga.gov/house/Rep.asp?GA=95&MemberID=1145

 

The following letter from Illinois House Republican Leader Tom Cross was forwarded to us by Mr. Ron Low in Northbrook, Illinois:

 

February 7, 2007
 
Dear Mr. Low:

 

Thank you for contacting me regarding legislation concerning genital mutilation.

 

Your views are very important to me and I appreciate your taking the time to write. I always welcome and consider the opinions I receive when making decisions in Springfield.

 

Thank you again for your letter. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future.

 

Sincerely,

 

Tom Cross

House Republican Leader

State Representative, 84th District

 

MGMbill.org Response

As the primary sponsor of the 2007 Illinois Criminal Aggravated Domestic Assault Bill, Rep. Cross is well aware of the painful consequences of domestic violence. Unfortunately, his bill makes no reference to the most common form of domestic violence in the Unites States today: circumcision of male infants.

 

This month another new study published in BJU International has confirmed that circumcision removes the most sensitive parts of the penis. Shouldn't cutting off part of a child's genitals by force be included as a form of assault in Rep. Cross's bill? We believe that it should.

 

 

 

 

 

Minnesota Senator Mike Jungbauer (R)

East Bethel, 48th Senate District

Website: http://www.senate.leg.state.mn.us/members/member_bio.php?district=48&status=active

Email: sen.mike.jungbauer@senate.mn

 

The following letter from Minnesota Senator Mike Jungbauer was forwarded to us by Ms. Brianna Johnson in Waseca, Minnesota: 

 

February 2, 2007
 

Dear Brianna,

 

Thanks for your email regarding the MGM Bill.

 

Unfortunately, I cannot support or sponsor this bill. As an Ordained Minister, I have strong feelings about certain social issues like abortion and gay marriage. However, in this case I do believe that the decision of circumcision should be made by the parents. Until that child is 18 years of age, he/she does not have the same rights as an adult. We allow the parents to make decisions concerning the well being of their children in many other areas and to pass this bill would only open up a proverbial can of worms.

 

Respectfully,

 

Mike

 

Minnesota State Senator Mike Jungbauer

115 State Office Building

100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

St. Paul, MN 55155

 

MGMbill.org Response

It is very concerning to hear an elected government official say that children do not have the same human rights as adults. Infants are the most vulnerable members of our society, and government has a responsibility to protect those who cannot protect themselves.

 

Children may not be able to vote, Senator Jungbauer, but they do have human rights. The most basic human right of all is the right to be free from physical harm. Forced circumcision violates that right in a most painful and unnecessary way.

 

 

 

 

 

Florida Rep. Gayle Harrell (R)

Port St. Lucie, 81st House District

Chair, Health Care General Committee

Member, Health & Families Council

Website: http://www.myfloridahouse.gov...MemberId=4211&SessionId=42

Email: http://www.myfloridahouse.gov...emailrepresentative.aspx?MemberId=4211&SessionId=42

 

The following letter from Florida Rep. Gayle Harrell was forwarded to us by Ms. Nicole Blythe in Stuart, Florida: 

 

January 26, 2007
 

Dear Nicole,

 

Thank you for taking the time to write and express your concerns regarding the Florida Prohibition of Human Genital Mutilation Act and providing me with a copy of the wording submitted to the Florida State Legislature on January 8, 2007.

 

Suggestions, ideas and perspectives are always welcomed in our office.

 

Sincerely,

 

Gayle Harrell

House Representative

District 81

  

MGMbill.org Response

As Chair of the Health Care General Committee and a member of the Health & Families Council, Rep. Harrell is well positioned to work with other state lawmakers on the issue of circumcision. We hope that she uses her influence to help protect Florida children from forced genital cutting.

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D)

Florida

Website: http://billnelson.senate.gov/

Email: http://billnelson.senate.gov/contact/email.cfm

 

The following letter from U.S. Senator Bill Nelson was forwarded to us by Ms. Nicole Blythe in Stuart, Florida:

 

January 24, 2007

 

Dear Ms. Blythe:

 

Thank you for contacting me regarding male genital mutilation.

 

As you are probably aware, the 109th Congress adjourned on December 9, 2006. Any legislation still pending before the House and the Senate must be reintroduced in the 110th Congress, which convened in early January.

 

I am aware of your interest in this issue and will be sure to keep your views in mind should the Senate consider similar legislation. I appreciate your taking the time to be active and involved in the political process. Your communication helps me serve you better in the Senate.

 

Sincerely,

 

Bill Nelson

 

MGMbill.org Response

As we responded to his counterpart, Mel Martinez, simply keeping our views in mind won't protect boys from forced circumcision. What's needed now is action, and Senator Nelson can begin the process by introducing the MGM Bill to the U.S. Senate.

 

 

 

 

 

Maryland Delegate Wendell R. Beitzel (R)

Garrett & Allegany Counties, House District 1A

Website: http://www.msa.md.gov/msa/mdmanual/06hse/html/msa14614.html

Email: Wendell.Beitzel@house.state.md.us

 

The following letter from Maryland Delegate Wendell Beitzel was forwarded to us by Mr. James Pinkley in Bel Air, Maryland: 

 

January 22, 2007
 
Dear Mr. Pinkley,

 

This is a subject that I am inclined not to seek legislative change nor will I support any efforts to do so. These type of decisions are best left to the parents of children and their religious and moral convictions.

 

Sincerely,

 

Delegate Wendell R. Beitzel

6 Bladen Street Room 320

Annapolis, MD 21401

 

410-841-3435

 

MGMbill.org Response

Freedom of religion does not mean that parents have the right to forcefully cut off part of a boy's body for medically unnecessary reasons, and court decisions are beginning to address this. In an October 2006 ruling, a Cook County, Illinois, circuit court judge presiding over a parental dispute ordered that a 9-year old boy not be circumcised, writing that "the injury to the child as a result of an unnecessary circumcision would be irreversible."

 

By misconstruing the meaning of our constitutional guarantee to freedom of religion, Delegate Beitzel is closing his ears to the cries of innocent Maryland boys who need his help.

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Senator Mel Martinez (R)

Florida

(Mel Martinez retired from the Senate in 2009)

 

The following letter from U.S. Senator Mel Martinez was forwarded to us by Ms. Nicole Blythe in Stuart, Florida:

 

January 19, 2007

 

Dear Ms. Blythe:

 

Thank you for contacting me. I appreciate hearing from you and would like to respond to your concerns.

 

I am proud and humbled to serve as Florida's thirty-third United States Senator. Through your correspondence, I am informed of the issues that are important to you and am better able to serve your interests in the Senate. I understand your concerns regarding circumcision.

 

Like you, I realize that our current decisions have ramifications that reach far into the future. While there is currently no legislation that has been introduced relating to your concerns, rest assured that I will keep your concerns in mind as we proceed in the 109th Congress.

 

Again, thank you for sharing your views with me. If you have any additional questions or comments, please do not hesitate to let me know. In addition, for more information about issues and activities important to Florida, please sign up for my weekly newsletter at http://martinez.senate.gov.

 

Sincerely,

 

Mel Martinez

United States Senator

 

MGMbill.org Response

We appreciate this response from Senator Martinez. Instead of just keeping our concerns in mind, though, Senator Martinez can make a real difference in the lives of male children by introducing the MGM Bill himself. Because for every day that he waits, another 3,300 American boys are sexually mutilated through forced circumcision.

 

 

 

 

 

Texas Speaker of the House Tom Craddick (R)

Midland, 82nd House District

Website: http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/dist82/craddick.php

Email: http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/email.php?dist=82&rep=tom.craddick

 

The following letter from Texas Speaker of the House Tom Craddick was forwarded to us by Ms. Michelle Richardson in Fort Worth, Texas:

 

January 17, 2007
 
Dear Ms. Richardson:

 

Thank you for your letter regarding issues with male circumcision. I understand your point of view on this matter.

 

At this time, no committee assignments have been made in the House. I recommend that you contact members of the House Public Health Committee. You may identify those through the House website, http://www.house.state.tx.us/committees

 

Thank you again for your communication and involvement in the process of our state government.

 

Sincerely,

 

TOM CRADDICK

Speaker

 

MGMbill.org Response

We welcome Speaker Craddick's reply and advice. As he suggests, our Texas state office will stay in contact with members of the Public Health House Committee to make them aware of the need to introduce and enact the Texas MGM Bill.

 

 

 

 

 

California Assembly Member Mark DeSaulnier (D)

Martinez, 11th Assembly District

(Mark DeSaulnier vacated his Assembly seat in 2008 to serve in the California Senate)

 

The following letter from California Assembly Member Mark DeSaulnier was received by Matthew Hess in San Diego, California:

 

January 12, 2007
 
Dear Mr. Hess:

 

Thank you for your recent letter expressing your concerns on male circumcision and your inclusion of a legislative proposal to address it. I am sure you will agree that this issue is one that reaches across many spectrums - health, religious and cultural among them, as you have noted.

 

Judging by your address, I see that you are represented in the San Diego area by Assembly Member Lori Saldana as well as Senator Christine Kehoe. I encourage you to work through your local legislative delegation as I will look to them for leadership on this issue.

 

Should any proposal related to this issue come before the legislature, I will certainly take your concerns and comments into consideration.

 

Again, thank you for contacting me.

 

Sincerely,

 

Mark DeSaulnier

 

MGMbill.org Response

We appreciate Assembly Member DeSaulnier's reply, and we have already contacted Lori Saldaña and Christine Kehoe on multiple occasions. What we really want to know is what Mark DeSaulnier thinks about forced circumcision of male infants. Surely he must have an opinion of his own - why not share it with us?

 

 

 

 

 

Maryland Delegate David Rudolph (D)

Cecil County, House District 34B

Website: http://www.msa.md.gov/msa/mdmanual/06hse/html/msa12302.html

Email: david.rudolph@house.state.md.us

 

The following letter from Maryland Delegate David Rudolph was forwarded to us by Mr. James Pinkley in Bel Air, Maryland: 

 

January 12, 2007
 
Mr. Pinkley,

 

Thank you for your email concerning male circumcision.

 

Although this procedure has been common practice for centuries, primarily for social, cultural, and/or religious reasons, its routine use on male newborns is receiving renewed scrutiny. Certainly any decision by parents regarding this procedure should be an informed one.

 

Some studies have indicated there are medical benefits associated with male circumcision including lower rates of urinary tract infections and sexually transmitted diseases including HIV, syphilis and chancroid (Weiss, HA Curr Opin Infect Dis. 2007 Feb;20(1):66-72.) A recent policy statement on circumcision published by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2006 stated that, "Existing scientific evidence demonstrates potential medical benefits of newborn male circumcision; however, these data are not sufficient to recommend routine neonatal circumcision."

 

I assure you that if any legislation addresses this issue comes before the full House for a vote, I will take your comments and views into consideration.

 

Sincerely,

David Rudolph

 

Delegate David Rudolph

231 House Office Building

Annapolis, MD 21401

410-841-3444

 

MGMbill.org Response

Although male circumcision may have some potential medical benefits later in life, that does not mean that "informed" parents have the right to amputate a healthy, functional body part from a nonconsenting infant. The foreskin contains thousands of specialized nerve endings designed to enhance sexual pleasure, making it ethically imperative that circumcision only be performed on adults who have given their consent.

 

 

 

 

 

Washington Senator Steve Hobbs (D)

Lake Stevens, 44th Senate District

Website: http://senatedemocrats.wa.gov/senators/hobbs/

Email: hobbs.steve@leg.wa.gov

 

The following letter from Washington Senator Steve Hobbs was forwarded to us by Mr. Arthur Coons in Snohomish, Washington:

 

January 10, 2007
 
Dear Mr. Coons,

 

Thank you for contacting my office in regards to the MGM bill. I appreciate you bringing this bill to my attention. I am currently familiarizing myself with it and I am sorry for your tragic experience.

 

Please feel free to contact my office again with any of your concerns.

 

Sincerely,

 

Senator Steve Hobbs

44th District


 

MGMbill.org Response

We look forward to working with Senator Hobbs as he familiarizes himself with the Washington MGM Bill proposal.

 

 

 

 

 

Virginia Delegate Harvey B. Morgan (R)

Alexandria, 98th House District

Website: http://dela.state.va.us/dela/MemBios...OpenDocument

Email: DelHMorgan@house.state.va.us

 

The following letter from Virginia Delegate Harvey Morgan was forwarded to us by Ms. Kari Kilgore in St. Paul, Virginia:

 

January 10, 2007
 
Miss Kilgore, I introduced similar legislation several years ago, but was unsuccessful. Harvey Morgan


 

MGMbill.org Response

In 2003, Delegate Morgan stood up for children's rights by sponsoring HB1596, which would have banned Medicaid funding for medically unnecessary circumcisions in the state of Virginia. Unfortunately, the bill failed to pass, as did the Senate version (SB899) sponsored by Senator Frederick Quayle.
 
Since that time, a compelling new study has been published showing that circumcision reduces sexual enjoyment for most men. Considering that this study was not available when Delegate Morgan submitted the Medicaid bill, the Virginia MGM Bill may have a better chance of passing now.
 

We have provided Delegate Morgan with a copy of the study. Perhaps after reading it he will reconsider sponsoring the Virginia MGM Bill proposal.

 

 

 

 

 

Virginia Delegate David Englin (D)

Alexandria, 45th House District

Website: http://dela.state.va.us/dela/MemBios.nsf/...9e8d?OpenDocument

Email: DelDEnglin@house.state.va.us

 

The following letter from Virginia Delegate David Englin was forwarded to us by Ms. Kari Kilgore in St. Paul, Virginia:

 

January 10, 2007
 
Kari,

 

Thank you for getting in touch. I'm afraid that I disagree strongly with you on this issue. It's simply medically inaccurate to compare male circumcision to female genital mutilation. Male circumcision is a medically safe practice that, according to the American Society of Pediatrics, is at best moderately beneficial and at worse harmless in terms of male genital health. There is exhaustive data to support this, since it has been practiced safely for thousands of years by diverse cultures. There is no form of female circumcision / genital mutilation that does not involve permanent debilitating harm to female genital health.

 

Sincerely,

 

David

___________

David Englin

Delegate, 45th District

Virginia House of Delegates

http://www.davidenglin.org

301 King Street, Box 65, Alexandria VA 22314


 

MGMbill.org Response

First, the AAP has concluded that "data are not sufficient to recommend routine neonatal circumcision". Second, the Kim-Pang study released last month found that circumcision "adversely affects sexual function in many men". An earlier study also found that circumcision removes tissue that "appears to be an important component of the overall sensory mechanism of the human penis".

 

As far as being practiced for thousands of years, the same is true for female genital mutilation, but that didn't stop Congress and many state legislatures from passing laws to end forced circumcision of girls. We urge Delegate Englin to re-examine the facts surrounding male circumcision before he decides whether or not to support the Virginia MGM Bill proposal.

 

 

 

 

 

Nebraska Sen. L. Patrick Engel (R)

South Sioux City, 17th Senate District

(Patrick Engel was termed out of office in 2008)

 

The following letter from Nebraska Senator L. Patrick Engel was forwarded to us by Ms. Amanda Craven in Ponca, Nebraska: 

 

January 9, 2007
 
Ms. Craven:

 

I have received your e-mail message and the attached proposal for legislation, which would prohibit circumcision, among other things. I wanted to inform you that I am not interested in sponsoring this legislation. The statutes are currently silent as to whether a male infant should be circumcised and I believe that the government should not interfere with this decision that is made by the infant's parents.

 

Respectfully,

 

Senator Pat Engel

District #17


 

MGMbill.org Response

We remind Senator Engel of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which directs that "No state shall...deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." His comments are a chilling reminder of how easily some members of our government can turn a blind eye to equal protection and universal human rights.

 

 

 

 

 

Maryland Delegate Curt Anderson (D)

Baltimore City, 43rd House District

 Chair, Criminal Justice Subcommittee

Website: http://www.msa.md.gov/msa/mdmanual/06hse/html/msa13208.html

Email: Curt.Anderson@house.state.md.us

 

The following letter from Maryland Delegate Curt Anderson was forwarded to us by Mr. James Pinkley in Bel Air, Maryland: 

 

January 9, 2007
 
Thank you for your email. I would suggest that you contact a member of the Health and Government Matters Committee to introduce a bill such as the one you propose. A bill has a much better chance of passing if it comes from the Committee that will hear it.

 

Best of luck.

 

Delegate Curt Anderson
 

MGMbill.org Response

We appreciate Delegate Anderson's advice, and we have initiated contact with members of the Health and Government Operations Committee as he suggests. The Criminal Justice Subcommittee may also be assigned to hear the Maryland MGM Bill if it is sponsored. If so, we hope we can count on Chairman Anderson's support.

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D)

California, 6th Congressional District

Website: http://woolsey.house.gov

Email: https://woolsey.house.gov//index.cfm?sectionid=80&sectiontree=80

 

The following letter from U.S. Rep. Lynn Woolsey was forwarded to us by Mr. Michael Steffe of Mill Valley, California:

 

 

December 6, 2006
 
Dear Mr. Steffe:
 
Thank you for contacting me about male and female genital mutilation. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with me on this matter.
 
Your concerns about genital mutilation are understandable. While female genital mutilation and circumcision has received a great deal of attention, male circumcision is still far more accepted. Like you, I believe that no family should be pressured into circumcising their child. That's why I am an original cosponsor of H.Res. 970, which condemns the practices of female genital mutilation and other gender-based persecutions throughout the
world. As a member of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, you can be sure that I will continue to work hard to ensure that all of our rights and basic freedoms are protected.
 
Again, it's good to hear from you. The people of Marin and Sonoma counties are the most important voices I listen to as I serve in Congress.
 
Sincerely,
 
Lynn Woolsey
Member of Congress

 

MGMbill.org Response

We welcome Rep. Woolsey's apparent change of heart since her last letter in 2004, where she stated that "For many families, circumcision holds deep religious meaning, and I believe that every parent should be able to determine what is best for his or her son." But while House Resolution 970 specifically condemns female genital mutilation, it does not mention male genital mutilation or circumcision at all, suggesting that MGM is somehow less of a problem than FGM. We urge Rep. Woolsey to amend House Resolution 970 as follows:

 

Add: "Whereas more than 35,000 men and boys around the world are genitally mutilated each day;"

 

Add "and male" to the first Be It Resolved clause: "Now, therefore, be it Resolved, that the House of Representatives denounces the barbaric practices of female and male genital mutilation, domestic violence, `honor' killings, acid burning, dowry deaths, and other gender-based persecutions;"

 

We also ask her to sponsor the 2007 U.S. MGM Bill.

 

 

 

 

 

Oregon Rep. Greg Macpherson (D)

Lake Oswego, 38th House District

Vice-Chair, Judiciary Committee

(Greg Macpherson vacated his seat in 2008)

 

The following letter from Oregon Rep. Greg Macpherson was forwarded to us by Ms. Trisha Darner in Medford, Oregon:

 

September 7, 2006

 

Ms. Darner,

 

Thank you for writing to share your concerns about circumcision and urge support for an Oregon statute on the practice.  I will save your message as background on the bill when it comes up in the next legislative session in 2007.

 

I appreciate hearing from you.  I will start sending my electronic newsletter, The Mac Report, to your email address so you can follow the legislation I'm working on.  I send it out every month or so.  I do not share the addresses with anyone else.  If you prefer not to receive them, just reply to this or any future newsletter with "unsubscribe" in the subject line.

 

Best regards,

 

Greg Macpherson

State Representative

House District 38

 

MGMbill.org Response

MGMbill.org looks forward to working with Rep. Macpherson and his staff when the Oregon MGM Bill proposal is resubmitted to the Oregon Legislature in 2007.

 

 

 

 

 

Oregon Senator Alan Bates (D)

Ashland, 3rd Senate District

Senate Deputy Majority Leader

Websites: http://www.leg.state.or.us/bates/

Email: Bates.Sen@state.or.us

 

The following letter from Oregon Senator Alan Bates's office was forwarded to us by Ms. Trisha Darner in Medford, Oregon:

 

September 6, 2006

 

Trisha, thank you for your email. Senator Bates feels this is personal freedom for which the state government should not interfere.

 

Best,

 

Tyler Reich

 

 

Tyler L. Reich

Legislative Assistant

Dr. Alan C. Bates

Oregon State Senator

District 3

Phone: 503.986.1703

Fax: 503.986.1080

Website: www.alanbates.net

 

MGMbill.org Response

Senator Bates has one thing right: circumcision is about personal freedom, but it's the child's personal freedom that is being violated through forced circumcision. Why not let men decide for themselves if they want to alter their own genitals when they reach the age of consent?

 

 

 

 

Gov. Ted Kulongoski

 

Oregon Citizens' Contact Analyst

Joe Guerra

on behalf of Governor Ted Kulongoski (D)

(Ted Kulongoski left office in 2011)

 

The following letter from Oregon Citizens' Contact Analyst Joe Guerra (on behalf of Governor Ted Kulongoski) was forwarded to us by Ms. Trisha Darner in Medford, Oregon:

 

July 28, 2006

 

Dear Ms. Darner:

 

Thank you for contacting the Governor's office regarding your support for passage of the MGM bill. Governor Kulongoski appreciates your suggestions and has asked me to respond on his behalf. I apologize for the delay in responding.

 

As you know, the Oregon Legislature is responsible for creating new laws and making revisions to existing laws. The House and Senate need to approve legislation before it is forwarded to the Governor for consideration. I would urge you to contact your state legislators directly and share your ideas and concerns with them. Information on your legislators is available by calling 1-800-332-2313, online at www.leg.state.or.us, or by calling your local county elections office.

 

Thank you again for contacting the Governor's office and for sharing your concerns.

 

Sincerely,

 

Joe Guerra

Citizen's Contact Analyst

 

MGMbill.org Response

As Governor of his state, Ted Kulongoski has significant power to influence the agenda of the Oregon Legislature. Rather than brush off Ms. Darner's letter, we feel that Governor Kulongoski should be taking a leadership role in the genital integrity movement by introducing the Oregon MGM Bill through one of his political allies in the House or Senate.

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D)

Washington

Website: http://cantwell.senate.gov/

Email: http://cantwell.senate.gov/contact/

 

The following letter from U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell was forwarded to us by Ms. Katherine Tylczak in Federal Way, Washington:

 

July 17, 2006

 

Dear Ms. Tylczak:

 

Thank you for contacting me with your opposition to the practice of male circumcision. I appreciate the opportunity to learn about your views, and regret the delayed response.

 

As you know, male circumcision has not received the widespread scrutiny or condemnation directed towards circumcisions performed on females. In the United States, the circumcision of a female minor has been criminalized under federal law. Title 18, section 116 of the United States Code requires that offenders pay a fine or serve a prison term of not more than five years.

 

I am aware of efforts by certain organizations to prohibit circumcisions performed on males. At this time, a bill that would achieve this has yet to be introduced in the 109th Congress. Please be assured that I will keep your views in mind should the Senate consider this issue in the future.

 

Thank you again for contacting me to share your thoughts on this matter. Finally, you may be interested in signing up for my weekly update for Washington state residents. Every Monday, I provide a brief outline about my work in the Senate and issues of importance to Washington state. If you are interested in subscribing to this update, please visit my website at http://cantwell.senate.gov. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance.

 

Sincerely,

 

Maria Cantwell

United States Senator

 

 

MGMbill.org Response

Three days after writing this letter, Senator Cantwell urged the Senate to strengthen laws protecting children from sex offenders. Missing from her impassioned speech was any mention of male circumcision - the most common American sex crime of all.

 

If Senator Cantwell truly wants to protect children from sex offenders, she needs to publicly recognize male circumcision for what it is: sexual assault of male infants. She can begin that process by introducing the MGM Bill to the U.S. Senate.

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D)

Washington, 9th Congressional District

Website: http://adamsmith.house.gov

Email: http://adamsmith.house.gov/Contact/

 

The following letter from U.S. Rep. Adam Smith was forwarded to us by Ms. Katherine Tylczak in Federal Way, Washington:

 

July 10, 2006

 

Dear Katherine:

 

Thank you for contacting me to express your concerns over the medical procedure, circumcision. I appreciated hearing your comments and would like to take a moment to respond.

 

As you know, circumcision is a medical procedure given to male infants where some or all of the foreskin is removed from the reproductive organ. The practice of circumcision has a long history in many different cultures and countries. Circumcision remains the most common surgical procedures performed on young males, predominantly members of the Muslim and Jewish faiths, but also the majority of Americans, South Koreans and Filipinos.

 

The reason to circumcise infants vary depending on the culture religion, and history. Proponents point to medical studies that contend circumcision may reduce the rate of HIV and other STD transmissions. However, this issue remains unclear as there is no true consensus in the medical community.

 

I appreciate you voicing opposition to this procedure. Thank you for bringing my attention to the Genital Mutilation Prohibition Act, which would prohibit this procedure. To my knowledge, this bill has not been introduced in either the House or Senate during the 109th Congressional Session. Please let me know if this proposed legislation is, but as I evaluate other healthcare policies, I will be sure to keep your comments in mind.

 

Thank you again for taking the time to write me on this important issue. Please don't hesitate to contact me with any additional comments or concerns.

 

Sincerely,

 

Adam Smith

Member of Congress

 

MGMbill.org Response

We appreciate Rep. Smith's response, and we hope that we can count on his support if the MGM Bill finds a sponsor and makes it to the House floor for a vote.

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Senator Mel Martinez (R)

Florida

(Mel Martinez retired from the Senate in 2009)

 

The following letter from U.S. Senator Mel Martinez was forwarded to us by Mr. Van Lewis in Panacea, Florida:

 

July 2, 2006

 

Dear Mr. Lewis:

 

Thank you for providing me with information regarding circumcision.

 

I am proud and humbled to serve as Florida's thirty-third United States Senator, and I intend to work hard to represent all Floridians here in the United States Senate. Through your correspondence, I am informed of the issues that are important to you and am better able to serve your interests in the Senate.

 

I appreciate being apprised on issues of importance to the people of Florida. I will be sure to keep this information in mind as we proceed in the 109th Congress.

 

Again, thank you for contacting me. If you have any additional questions or comments, please do not hesitate to let me know. In addition, for more information about issues and activities important to Florida, please sign up for my weekly newsletter at http://martinez.senate.gov.

 

Sincerely,

 

Mel Martinez

United States Senator

 

MGMbill.org Response

Although Senator Martinez does not reveal much about his position on circumcision, we do appreciate his response. We will continue to contact his office to push for his public support of the federal MGM Bill proposal.

 

 

 

 

Gov. Christine Gregoire

 

Washington Program Manager, Maternal Infant Health

Kathy Chapman, R.N., M.N.

Department of Health

on behalf of Governor Christine Gregoire (D)

Website: http://www.doh.wa.gov/cfh/mch/default.htm

Email: kathy.chapman2@doh.wa.gov

 

The following letter from Washington Program Manager of Maternal Infant Health Kathy Chapman (on behalf of Governor Christine Gregoire) was forwarded to us by Ms. Katherine Tylczak in Federal Way, Washington:

 

June 1, 2006

 

Dear Ms. Tylczak:

 

Governor Gregoire has asked me to respond to your letter regarding male circumcision. Thank you for sharing your research and views with us.

 

Circumcision of the male infant is a complex and controversial issue. Over the last twenty years, the medical community has moved from promoting circumcision on all male infants in the newborn period, to not routinely recommending the procedure. This has led to questions and varying responses from parents throughout the country.

 

In response to questions posed by parents, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued the policy statement regarding circumcision and referred to in your letter. In their policy, the AAP states, "...to make an informed choice, parents of all male infants should be given accurate and unbiased information and provided the opportunity to discuss their decision." The policy continues, "It is legitimate for parents to take into account cultural, religious, and ethnic traditions, in addition to the medical factors, when making this decision." The AAP also recommends if neonatal circumcision is to be performed, adequate analgesia should be provided.

 

Given the complexity of the issue, the AAP policy is widely supported, allowing parents to make the decision in concert with their own views and traditions. I appreciate your sharing your views and the continued public discussion of this very important issue.

 

Thank you for your continued interest in this matter.

 

Sincerely,

 

Kathy Chapman, R.N.., M.N.

Program Manager

Maternal Infant Health

 

MGMbill.org Response

Contrary to Ms. Chapman's claim, the AAP Male Circumcision Policy Statement is not "widely supported". Rather, it is one of the most disputed medical policy statements in the world.

 

MGMbill.org urges legislators, physicians, and parents to disregard the outdated AAP Male Circumcision Policy Statement and to refer instead to MGMbill.org's Male Genital Mutilation Policy Statement, which contains more accurate information on the harmful effects of male circumcision.

 

 

 

 

 

New Jersey Deputy Commissioner/State Epidemiologist Eddy A. Bresnitz

Department of Health and Senior Services

on behalf of Governor Jon Corzine (D)

(Jon Corzine left office in 2010)

 

The following letter from New Jersey Deputy Commissioner/State Epidemiologist Eddy Bresnitz (on behalf of Governor Jon Corzine) was forwarded to us by Mr. John Soemer in Flanders, New Jersey:

 

May 25, 2006

 

Dear Mr. Soemer:

 

Your letter to Governor Corzine concerning the controversial issue of male genital mutilation has been referred to me for reply.

 

Female circumcision or genital mutilation does not have a medically beneficial purpose. For this reason, it is essential that there be laws to protect females from these procedures in spite of cultural or religious practices.

 

Male circumcision has been studied and medical benefits of the procedure have been identified. There are also medical conditions which require removal of the foreskin from the penis. Over the past several years, some of the conclusions of these studies have been questioned and there continue to be studies surrounding the issue. While the medical societies do not endorse routine male circumcision on neonates, they do not strictly prohibit it either. The published guidelines place the risk/benefit discussion of this procedure between the medical practitioner and the parent. Also, male circumcision has been a major tenet of two major world religions, Judaism and Islam for thousands of years. The State and US Constitutions supports the rights of people to practice their faith within current secular law.

 

Circumcision of the male is a surgical procedure and therefore requires informed consent within a medical setting. This means that before any circumcision can be performed in a health care facility in New Jersey, the individual or the parent, in the case of the child, must be informed of the risks and benefits of the procedure and this individual must sign a consent form.

 

Thank you for your continued interest in this matter.

 

Sincerely,

 

Eddy A. Bresnitz, MD, MS

Deputy Commissioner/State Epidemiologist

 

MGMbill.org Response

Deputy Commissioner Bresnitz states that female circumcision does not have any medical benefit, but there is actually some evidence that it has a preventive effect against AIDS. Does that mean that doctors and parents should start forcefully circumcising baby girls? Of course not. If a woman wants to have her genitals altered when she reaches the age of consent then that's her decision, and her decision alone. Why aren't men given the same choice?

 

Although it is true that most medical societies advise against (but do not strictly prohibit) male circumcision, that situation is rapidly changing. The College of Physicians & Surgeons of British Columbia declared in 2004 that "an infant has rights that include security of person, life, freedom and bodily integrity. Routine infant male circumcision is an unnecessary and irreversible procedure." In addition, the British Medical Association 2003 male circumcision guidance statement advises that "The BMA does not believe that parental preference alone constitutes sufficient grounds for performing a surgical procedure on a child unable to express his own view."

 

Regarding Deputy Bresnitz's religious defense, female circumcision is also an important tenet in Islam. Does that mean he supports religious female genital mutilation? Freedom of religion means that the child is free to choose his own religious beliefs. When another person cuts off part of a child's penis in the name of religion, the child's rights have been irreversibly violated.

 

As far as informed consent, preventive mastectomy would virtually eliminate breast cancer, saving millions of lives each year. Do parents have the right to amputate their daughter's breasts after being informed of the "risks and benefits"? Most people would rightfully consider that to be assault, and amputation of a baby boy's foreskin is no different.

 

As Deputy Commissioner and State Epidemiologist for the state of New Jersey, it is Mr. Bresnitz's duty to protect the health and welfare of all children in his state. On the issue of protecting infant boys from genital mutilation, he has failed miserably.

 

 

 

 

 

Washington Rep. Mark Ericks (D)

Olympia, 1st House District

(Mark Ericks left office in 2010)

 

The following letter from Washington Rep. Mark Ericks was forwarded to us by Mr. Jacob Dahl in Bothell, Washington:

 

April 26, 2006

 

Dear Mr. Dahl,

 

Thank you for contacting my office and bringing this issue to my attention. I appreciate the insight and information in regards to your bill proposal and will certainly share your comments with my colleagues. I will also forward your bill draft to the Office of Program Research for their review.

 

I rely on feedback, opinions, and positions on issues to help me with my decisions. I take all such information very seriously whether it is presented in person, through email, or on the phone. Please don't hesitate to contact me in the future if you have further comments or concerns, and again, thank you for taking the time to write.

 

Sincerely,

 

Mark L. Ericks

State Representative

1st District

Ericks.mark@leg.wa.gov

(360) 786-7900

 

MGMbill.org Response

We welcome Rep. Ericks's response to Jacob's letter. As a representative of all the people in his district, it is Rep. Ericks's responsibility to speak for those who cannot. His reply and planned follow-up action are the first step in fulfilling that responsibility.

 

 

 

 

 

New Jersey Deputy Commissioner/State Epidemiologist Eddy A. Bresnitz

Department of Health and Senior Services

on behalf of Governor Jon Corzine (D)

(Jon Corzine left office in 2010)

 

The following letter from New Jersey Deputy Commissioner/State Epidemiologist Eddy Bresnitz (on behalf of Governor Jon Corzine) was forwarded to us by Mr. John Soemer in Flanders, New Jersey:

 

March 28, 2006

 

Dear Mr. Soemer:

 

Your letter to Governor Corzine has been referred to me for reply.

 

The issue of circumcision has been controversial for some time. There has been debate within both the medical community and the consumer community. The consumer community in New Jersey is made up of individuals from many different cultures including many ethnic and religious backgrounds with some viewing circumcision as a religious rite.

 

Medical circumcision is a surgical procedure and therefore requires informed consent. This means that before any circumcision can be performed in a health care facility in New Jersey, the individual or the parent, in the case of a child, must be informed of the risks and benefits of the procedure and this individual must sign a consent form.

 

Thank you for this interest in this matter.

 

Sincerely,

 

Eddy A. Bresnitz, MD, MS

Deputy Commissioner/State Epidemiologist

 

MGMbill.org Response

Although Deputy Commissioner Bresnitz acknowledges that circumcision is controversial, his response exposes his gender bias against male children. No parent can legally consent to having their daughter's genitals altered for religious reasons, and virtually all circumcisions performed in health care facilities are medically unnecessary. Instead of working to find a solution to this important men's health issue by endorsing the New Jersey MGM Bill proposal, Mr. Bresnitz has chosen to look the other way. 

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R)

Utah

Member of the Committee on Health, Labor, Education, and Pensions

Website: http://hatch.senate.gov/

Email: http://hatch.senate.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Offices.Contact

 

The following letter from U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch was forwarded to us by Mr. Trevor Perry in North Logan, Utah:

 

March 24, 2006

 

Dear Trevor:

 

Thank you for your letter concerning the Male Genital Mutilation Bill proposal. I appreciate you taking the time to contact me.

 

As you may well know, circumcision is a common practice, performed on more than 50 percent of newborn males in the United States. While several studies have shown that neonatal circumcision may be linked to emotional problems in adulthood, no definitive information has come forth as to the long-term emotional effects that neonatal circumcision may have. As is the case in all elective medical procedures performed on children, parental consent must be given before a doctor can circumcise a newborn child. Ultimately, I believe that parents should decide what is best for their children.

 

Once again, I thank you for your letter and hope that you will not hesitate to contact me in the future regarding any question or comment you may have.

 

Sincerely,

 

Orrin G. Hatch

United States Senator

 

 

MGMbill.org Response

It's unfortunate that Senator Hatch (who introduced the Comprehensive Child Protection Act of 2003) is unwilling to sponsor legislation to protect infant boys from genital mutilation. We also find it discriminatory that a senator who voted to protect girls from circumcision feels that boys are not worthy of the same protection.

 

If parents cannot legally consent to cutting off any part of their daughter's genitals for medically unnecessary reasons, why should they be able to consent to cutting their sons? We ask Senator Hatch to read some of the letters that we have received from victims of male genital mutilation before he dismisses the long-term physical and emotional effects of circumcision.

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest (R)

Maryland, 1st Congressional District

(Wayne Gilchrest lost his seat in the 2008 election)

 

The following letter from U.S. Rep. Wayne Gilchrest was forwarded to us by Mr. James Pinkley in Bel Air, Maryland:

 

March 22, 2006

 

Dear Mr. Pinkley:

 

Thank you for contacting me about a proposed bill that would prohibit male circumcision. I was glad to hear from you.

 

As you know, this legislation has not been introduced in Congress. However, I will certainly keep the information you sent me and give it every consideration should pertinent legislation be introduced. I look forward to learning more about this issue, something it is obvious you are very passionate about.

 

Thank you again for taking the time to write. I hope you will not hesitate to be in touch with further information, or comments or questions about issues in Congress.

 

Sincerely,

 

Wayne T. Gilchrest

Member of Congress

 

MGMbill.org Response

We appreciate Rep. Gilchrest's response, and we'll continue to stay in touch with him as the MGM Bill proposal builds support in Congress.

 

 

 

 

 

Oregon Rep. Greg Macpherson (D)

Lake Oswego, 38th House District

Vice-Chair, Judiciary Committee

(Greg Macpherson vacated his seat in 2008)

 

The following letter from Oregon Rep. Greg Macpherson was forwarded to us by Ms. Trish Darner in Medford, Oregon:

 

March 9, 2006

 

Ms. Darner:

 

Thank you for writing to share your concerns about circumcision. I appreciate you taking the time to forward the attached legislation.

 

I will save your message and consider your suggestions in the event that legislation moves forward.

 

Best Regards,

 

Greg Macpherson

State Representative

House District 38

 

MGMbill.org Response

As Vice-Chair of the Judiciary Committee, Rep. Macpherson would play a pivotal role in preparing the Oregon MGM Bill proposal for a full House vote. We encourage him to discuss our legislation with his committee colleagues so they can familiarize themselves with the issue of male genital mutilation and the damage that it causes to male sexual health.

 

 

 

 

 

California Assembly Member Wilma Chan (D)

Oakland, 16th Assembly District

Chair, Assembly Committee on Health

(Wilma Chan was termed out of office in 2006)

 

The following letter from California Assembly Member Wilma Chan was received by Matthew Hess in San Diego, California:

 

February 22, 2006

 

Dear Mr. Hess:

 

Thank you for contacting me regarding your bill idea on male circumcision.

 

My office has received numerous worthwhile ideas for new legislation for the upcoming session, including your own. Unfortunately, the number of ideas far exceeds the number of bills I am able to introduce in the upcoming session.

 

I will keep your views in mind should I have an opportunity to consider any future bill that addresses this issue.

 

Once again, thank you for contacting me and communicating your strong feelings on this matter. If I can be of assistance to you in the future, please do not hesitate to contact my office.

 

Sincerely,

 

Wilma Chan, Chair

Assembly Committee on Health

 

MGMbill.org Response

We're disappointed that Assembly Member Chan will not be sponsoring the California MGM Bill proposal in 2006. Forced circumcision of male infants affects one out of every three boys in California, making it a top health priority for our state.

 

MGMbill.org will continue to provide information and materials to Assemblywoman Chan and her staff to emphasize the importance of this health and human rights issue.

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Senator Paul Sarbanes (D)

Maryland

(Paul Sarbanes retired from office in 2007)

 

The following letter from U.S. Senator Paul Sarbanes was forwarded to us by Mr. James Pinkley in Bel Air, Maryland:

 

February 21, 2006

 

Thank you for getting in touch with my office to express your support for legislation that would ban circumcision on boys under the age of 18. I appreciate having the benefit of your comments on this issue.

 

While legislation has yet to be introduced on this matter, you may be assured that I will keep your views in mind should the full Senate have the opportunity to consider relevant legislation.

 

Again, I appreciate your taking the time to share your views. Please do not hesitate to contact me regarding other matters of interest or concern to you in the future.

 

With best regards,

 

Sincerely,

 

Paul Sarbanes

United States Senator

 

MGMbill.org Response

Senator Sarbanes states on his website that the health and well being of our children should be a national priority. We agree, and we ask Senator Sarbanes to take some initiative by sponsoring the MGM Bill proposal so that our boys will be legally protected from a genital altering surgery that damages their sexual function for life.

 

 

 

 

 

New York Assembly Member James N. Tedisco (R)

Schenectady, 110th Assembly District

Minority Leader

Website: http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/?ad=110

Email: tediscj@assembly.state.ny.us

 

The following letter from New York Assembly Member James N. Tedisco was forwarded to us by Michael in Albany, New York:

 

February 21, 2006

 

Thank you for your recent correspondence in support of amending New York State's ban on female genital mutilation to include males. It was a pleasure to hear from you on this matter.

 

I appreciate you sharing your views and the information that you have provided regarding the proposed legislation creating the "New York State Prohibition of Genital Mutilation Act," which would create a ban on performing genital mutilation, including circumcision on males. Be assured that I will keep your support for this measure in mind during this legislative session.

 

If you have any questions or further concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Sincerely,

 

James N. Tedisco

Minority Leader

 

MGMbill.org Response

Our thanks go out to Assembly Member Tedisco for his response. As Minority Leader of the New York State Assembly, Mr. Tedisco is in a key position to help build support for the New York State MGM Bill proposal among members of his own party. We hope that he chooses to so.

 

 

 

 

 

Maryland Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. (R)

(Robert Ehrlich lost his re-election bid in 2006)

 

The following letter from Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich was forwarded to us by Mr. James Pinkley in Bel Air, Maryland:

 

February 10, 2006

 

Dear Mr. Pinkley,

 

Thank you for your letter regarding genital mutilation. I appreciate the time and effort you have put into writing to me about this issue.

 

As your Governor, I give serious and thoughtful consideration to all matters that come before me. Accordingly, I will keep your comments and suggestions in mind when considering legislative initiatives before the Maryland General Assembly during the 2006 Legislative Session. I also invite you to visit Maryland's government website at www.maryland.gov. You may use this website to access information on current events, legislative initiatives, and federal, state and local resources as well as contact information so that you may directly communicate with members of the General Assembly.

 

Thank you again for sharing your views with me. Knowing of your opinion helps guide me to better serve Maryland. Please do not hesitate to contact my office if I may be of any additional assistance.

 

Very truly yours,

 

Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr.

Governor

 

MGMbill.org Response

In 2005, Governor Ehrlich declared in a press release that his administration is serious about providing the tools needed to help our most vulnerable children grow up safe. As the most vulnerable children of all, infants need and deserve protection from medically unnecessary circumcision, and we urge the Governor to publicly support the Maryland MGM Bill proposal now circulating in the General Assembly.

 

 

 

 

 

Maryland Delegate Don Dwyer, Jr. (R)

Anne Arundel County, 31st House District

Website: http://www.mdarchives.state.md.us/msa...

Email: don.dwyer@house.state.md.us

 

The following letter from Maryland Delegate Don Dwyer was forwarded to us by Mr. James Pinkley in Bel Air, Maryland:

 

February 10, 2006

 

Dear James,

 

Thank you very much for your letter regarding male circumcision. It is because of constituents such as yourself that I am able to keep in touch with the voting public and understand what issues are truly important to them.

 

I understand your concern about male circumcision. Unfortunately, because the timeline for submitting new legislation expires today, it will not be possible for me to submit this legislation this session. However, in the future I will consider developing legislation that will outlaw male circumcision.

 

Thank you again for your letter, if you have any other questions please feel free to contact me.

 

Del. Don Dwyer

Anne Arundel County

District 31

 

MGMbill.org Response

We're very encouraged that Delegate Dwyer shares our concern regarding male circumcision. MGMbill.org will continue to provide information on circumcision to Del. Dwyer and his staff in preparation for next year's bill season.

 

 

 

 

 

Virginia Delegate A. Donald McEachin (D)

Richmond, 74th House District

Website: http://dela.state.va.us/dela/MemBios...

Email: DelDMcEachin@house.state.va.us

 

The following letter from Virginia Delegate A. Donald McEachin was forwarded to us by Ms. Kari Kilgore in St. Paul, Virginia:

 

February 10, 2006

 

Dear Ms. Kilgore,


Thanks you for your email regarding the Virginia MGM bill. I appreciate your input and comments and will certainly take them under advisement. Although I have not yet decided how I am going to vote on that bill, you can be assured I will study it carefully.


Thanks again for writing.


Sincerely,


A. Donald McEachin

 

MGMbill.org Response

We appreciate Delegate McEachin's willingness to study the Virginia MGM Bill proposal. Amputation of a healthy, functional body part (the foreskin) is not in any child's best interest, and the Virginia MGM Bill proposal would protect boys from medically unnecessary circumcision until they are old enough to decide for themselves if they want to undergo the procedure as an adult.

 

 

 

 

 

South Carolina Rep. Nikki Randhawa Haley (R)

Lexington, 87th House District

(Nikki Haley left office in 2010)

 

The following letter from South Carolina Rep. Nikki Haley was forwarded to us by Ms. Brandy Walters in Lexington, South Carolina:

 

February 8, 2006

 

Ms. Walters,

 

Thank you for taking the time to contact me in reference to the possibility of MGM legislation. I am a strong advocate for families making decisions on what they feel is best for their family. I admire you for getting involved in this legislation. I would be happy to help you at anytime but I don't feel that I am the right person to help you sponsor this legislation. Thank you for taking the time to contact me. If I can be of service to you or your family at anytime, please don't hesitate to contact me.

 

With warm regards,

Nikki

 

MGMbill.org Response

While we understand Rep. Haley's support for parental decision making rights, a parent's right to raise a family does not supersede their child's right to be free from physical harm. Male circumcision is medically unnecessary and sexually damaging, which makes it a form of physical assault.

 

 

 

 

 

South Carolina Rep. Kenneth Clark (R)

Aiken-Lexington, 96th House District

Website: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/members/bios/0353409049.html

Email: ClarkK@schouse.org

 

The following letter from South Carolina Rep. Kenneth Clark was forwarded to us by Ms. Brandy Walters in Lexington, South Carolina:

 

February 7, 2006

 

Dear Brandy:

 

I thank you for your interest and concern but do not share your view. I personally requested circumcision, at age 23, while a Midshipman at the US Naval Academy, under a program for graduating seniors who were allowed to request elective surgery before commissioning. Others had "dumbo ears" trimmed, scars and tattoos removed, etc. Circumcision is not in my mind mutilation, does not effect sexual sensitivity and in fact is cleaner. So while it may not be really needed, it really is a very personal choice. Parents have a right to make that decision for their children or they can delay it till the child is old enough to decide for themself, but it should not be legislated.

 

Perhaps someone else may agree with you and want to pursue it with you. Thanks for your initiative and concern.

 

Rep Ken Clark

 

MGMbill.org Response

We thank Rep. Clark for sharing his personal story regarding circumcision. Clearly his experience differs from those of other men who reported a significant decline in sexual sensitivity after undergoing adult circumcision.

 

The South Carolina MGM Bill proposal would not stop any man from having a circumcision if that is his choice. Instead, it would give men a choice by protecting them from being forcefully circumcised until they are old enough to decide for themselves whether or not to undergo this elective surgery.

 

Rep. Clark wrote in his letter that in addition to choosing circumcision, some of his Midshipmen elected to have their ears cropped. Should parents have the right to crop the ears of their children, too?

 

 

 

 

 

Missouri Rep. Jeanette Mott Oxford (D)

St. Louis, 59th House District

Website: http://www.house.mo.gov/billtracking/bills081/member/mem059.htm

Email: jeanette.oxford@house.mo.gov

 

The following letter from Missouri Rep. Jeanette Mott Oxford was forwarded to us by Mr. Ariel Stepp in St. Louis, Missouri:

 

February 7, 2006

 

Ariel,

 

Thanks for drawing this issue to my attention. Intersex rights are important to me, so I will continue to inform myself about MGM. The best time to approach legislators about introducing legislation in Missouri is in summer or fall. We like to pre-file legislation in December or at least get it filed in the first month of Legislative Session. (Legislative Session in MO is Jan.-mid-May.)

 

I am working on all the bills that I believe I can competently handle at this point, so I will not file an MGM bill in 2006. I also need to research the religious freedom implications as I think the model language is based more on the practice of female genital mutilation. If you'd like to talk about how to organize a grassroots campaign around this issue, I'd be glad to talk with you by phone, e-mail, or in person.

 

JMO

Jeanette Mott Oxford

State Representative, 59th MO House District

2910 Lemp, St. Louis, MO 63118

573-751-4567 (Jefferson City)

314-772-0301 (St. Louis)

 

MGMbill.org Response

We thank Rep. Oxford for her willingness to explore sponsorship of the Missouri MGM Bill proposal, which would protect all children - female, male, and intersex - from forced genital cutting. As Rep. Oxford reviews the religious freedom implications of a ban on forced circumcision, we remind her that all state and federal female genital mutilation laws protect girls from having any part of their genitals cut or altered in the name of religion, and boys and intersex children deserve the same protection.

 

 

 

 

 

Massachusetts Rep. Bruce Ayers (D)

Quincy, First Norfolk House District

Website: http://www.mass.gov/legis/member/bja1.htm

Email: Rep.BruceAyers@hou.state.ma.us

 

The following letter from Massachusetts Rep. Bruce Ayers was forwarded to us by Mr. Charles Antonelli in Quincy, Massachusetts:

 

February 7, 2006

 

Dear Mr. Antonelli:

 

I want to thank you for stopping by my office yesterday and leaving the information pertaining to MGM. I appreciate you taking the time to share your concerns about this legislation with me. Please know that I will remain mindful of this when this legislation comes before the Legislature for a vote.

 

Sincerely,

 

Bruce Ayers

State Representative

 

MGMbill.org Response

We welcome Rep. Ayers' response to our Massachusetts MGM Bill proposal. In the coming year we will work with Rep. Ayers and his to staff to ensure that they are fully informed of the harmful effects of male circumcision.

 

 

 

 

 

South Carolina Senator Larry Martin (R)

Pickens, 2nd Senate District

Website: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/members/bios/1172727132.html

Email: SRU@scsenate.org

 

The following letter from South Carolina Senator Larry Martin was forwarded to us by Ms. Brandy Walters in Lexington, South Carolina:

 

February 6, 2006

 

Ms. Walter:

 

Thanks for your email. Although I do not agree with your views in this regard, I appreciate your being in touch with me.

 

Larry Martin

 

MGMbill.org Response

It's unfortunate that Senator Martin is so dismissive of legislation that would protect boys from genital mutilation. Why does he feel that male children don't deserve equal protection of the law?

 

 

 

 

 

Oregon Rep. Dennis Richardson (R)

Central Point, 4th House District

Website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/richardson/

Email: http://www.leg.state.or.us/writelegsltr/

 

The following letter from Oregon Rep. Dennis Richardson was forwarded to us by Ms. Trisha Darner in Medford, Oregon:

 

February 6, 2006

 

Trisha,

 

If parents want to forego circumcision, they are free to do so. If it is as serious a problem as you say, then the focus should be on educating Oregonians about the problem and not passing another bill to try and force one person's opinion on the remainder of society. Dennis R. 

 

MGMbill.org Response

Rep. Richardson's choice of words is quite ironic. In his letter he suggests that he is opposed to forcing one person's opinion onto the remainder of society. But isn't that exactly what circumcision does by forcing genital mutilation onto male infants who cannot protect themselves? Section 163.207 of the Oregon Revised Statutes specifically prohibits all forms of female genital mutilation, which leaves us wondering why Rep. Richardson feels that boys don't deserve the equal protection that the Oregon MGM Bill would provide.

 

 

 

 

 

New York Assembly Member Ronald Canestrari (D)

Albany, 106th Assembly District

Website: http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/?ad=106

Email: http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/?ad=106&sh=con

 

The following letter from New York Assembly Member Ronald Canestrari was forwarded to us by Mr. Mark Hogarth in Albany, New York:

 

November 23, 2005

 

Dear Mr. Hogarth:

 

Thank you for contacting me regarding your request for the passage of a "Genital Mutilation Prevention Act" in New York State.

 

Procedures like the ones outlined in your e-mail are very personal for families and many factors play a role in determining this decision. Cultural and religious beliefs must be considered with a proposal like the one you have made, as do the personal health implications. In addition, as you know, there is no legal requirement that such a medical procedure be performed in New York State.

 

It is my position that decisions of this type are best left to the families unless a compelling case can be made for the health and welfare of the children.

 

Thanks again for contacting me regarding this issue of concern to you.

 

Sincerely,

 

Ron Canestrari

Member of Assembly

 

 

MGMbill.org Response

Assembly Member Canestrari's letter reveals both his gender bias and his lack of knowledge on the harmful effects of male circumcision. Female genital cutting is also a "very personal" decision that involves cultural and religious beliefs, and yet it is illegal for parents to cut or mutilate any part of their daughter's genitals. If girls are afforded this legal protection (as they should be), why do boys deserve less?

 

At least Assembly Member Canestrari indicates that he is willing to change his position on male circumcision if a compelling case can be made for the health and welfare of the children. We have made that case in our Human Rights Report, and we urge Assembly Member Canestrari and his staff to read it.

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Rep. Michael McNulty (D)

New York, 21st Congressional District

(Michael McNulty retired from Congress in 2008)

 

The following letter from U.S. Rep. Michael McNulty was forwarded to us by Mr. Mark Hogarth in Albany, New York:

 

October 17, 2005

 

Dear Mr. Hogarth:

 

I am in receipt of your communication regarding your proposed legislation to amend genital mutilation statutes to include boys.

 

The premise of your legislation would be to prohibit circumcisions, except in cases of health or medical necessity, or if the person is unable to give consent. Nowhere is there an exemption for religious reasons. I do not believe such legislation is necessary.

 

Thank you for contacting me. Please feel free to do so whenever there is a matter of interest or concern.

 

Sincerely,

 

Michael R. McNulty

Member of Congress

 

 

MGMbill.org Response

After reading Congressman McNulty's response, one has to wonder how he feels about the current Female Genital Mutilation statute, which prohibits medically unnecessary genital cutting of girls. That law does not have a religious exemption, either, because one person's freedom of religion does not supersede another person's legal protection from physical harm when the two are in conflict.

 

Protecting all of our nation's children from physically harmful cultural and religious practices is one of the government's most important responsibilities. By stating that a law to protect boys from circumcision is not necessary, Rep. McNulty reveals how little he values men's rights and the equal protection guarantee of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D)

California

Website: http://boxer.senate.gov/

Email: http://boxer.senate.gov/en/contact/policycomments.cfm

 

The following letter from U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer was received by Matthew Hess in San Diego, California:

 

June 15, 2005

 

Dear Mr. Hess:

 

Thank you for contacting my office to express your views. I believe that all citizens should become involved in the legislative process by letting their voices be heard, and I appreciate the time and effort that you took to share your thoughts with me. One of the most important aspects of my job is keeping informed about the views of my constituents, and I welcome your comments so that I may continue to represent California to the best of my ability. Should I have the opportunity to consider legislation on this or similar issues, I will keep your views in mind.

 

For additional information about my activities in the U.S. Senate, please visit my website, http://boxer.senate.gov. From this site, you can access statements and press releases that I have issued about current events and pending legislation, request copies of legislation and government reports, and receive detailed information about the many services that I am privileged to provide for my constituents. You may also wish to visit http://thomas.loc.gov to track current and past legislation.

 

Again, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. I appreciate hearing from you.

 

Sincerely,

 

Barbara Boxer

United States Senator

 

 

MGMbill.org Response

After more than one year of writing letters, sending emails, and making phone calls to Senator Boxer regarding the MGM Bill proposal, we expected to receive more from her than a standard form letter. Senator Boxer's website describes her as a "forceful advocate" for children, yet her letter says nothing about how the rights of male children are routinely violated by medically unnecessary and sexually damaging circumcision. In fact, her letter doesn't even mention circumcision at all, making it unclear which issue she is even discussing.

 

The First Amendment to our Constitution grants all citizens the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances, and it is the responsibility of our elected leaders to acknowledge and take a position on the issues that are presented to them. Unfortunately, it seems that Senator Boxer is choosing to ignore the problem of male genital mutilation.

 

 

 

 

 

California Senator Deborah Ortiz (D)

Sacramento, 6th Senate District

Chair, Committee on Health

(Deborah Ortiz was termed out of office in 2006)

 

The following letter from California Senator Deborah Ortiz was received by Matthew Hess in San Diego, California:

 

May 18, 2005

 

Dear Mr. Hess:

 

Thank you for your correspondence regarding male circumcision. I am aware of the controversial nature of this practice, and appreciate your passion for the issue. At this time, I do not have a position on the issue, but certainly am open to learning more about the arguments and research on both sides of the debate. While the information you shared is compelling, I have also reviewed recent research showing higher HIV and HPV transmission rates in uncircumcised men. I agree with you that circumcision should not be viewed as the first or most important STD prevention strategy. Nevertheless, its impact cannot be ignored.

 

Moreover, I have to concur with Senator Kehoe's comments to you about the need for the support of respected and recognized health and human rights organizations for such an effort to succeed. Finally, my own legislative agenda is quite full, focusing on stem cell research, environmental health protections, the affordability of pharmaceuticals, and cancer prevention. This is not to say that I am not open to new issues, however my priorities for the short time remaining in my term in office have developed over the past many years, reflecting widespread concerns of both my constituents and Californians in general. As a result, I am unable to take on this issue at this time.

 

I do appreciate your desire to provide the utmost health and human rights protections for baby boys, and am confident that other legislators and health professionals will take up your cause.

 

Sincerely,

 

SENATOR DEBORAH ORTIZ

Senator, 6th District

 

MGMbill.org Response

Our thanks go out to Chairwoman Ortiz for reviewing our materials on the damaging effects of male circumcision. We are aware of the recent studies surrounding circumcision and HIV/HPV transmission and we are pleased that Senator Ortiz has chosen not to promote genital mutilation in the name of preventive medicine. As Senator Ortiz advises, we are working to secure endorsements from respected health and human rights organizations in an effort to persuade legislators to take up the issue of MGM.

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Senator Ken Salazar (D)

Colorado

(Ken Salazar left office in 2009)

 

The following letter from U.S. Senator Ken Salazar was forwarded to us by Mr. Craig Garrett in Colorado Springs, Colorado:

 

May 5, 2005

 

Dear Craig:

 

Thank you for your letter. I will consider your comments concerning male circumcision should this issue come before the Congress. Your perspective and comments offer an important perspective to consider.

 

Again, thank you for writing me.

 

Sincerely,

 

Ken Salazar

United States Senator

 

 

MGMbill.org Response

Thanks to Senator Salazar for responding. If the MGM Bill finds a sponsor and makes it to the Senate floor for a vote, we hope we can count on his support. As the former Attorney General of Colorado, Senator Salazar knows that equal protection from genital mutilation is guaranteed not only by the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but by Section 29 of the Colorado Bill of Rights as well, which reads:

 

"Section 29. Equality of the Sexes. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the state of Colorado or any of its political subdivisions on account of sex."

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R)

New Jersey, 11th Congressional District

Website: http://frelinghuysen.house.gov/

Email: http://frelinghuysen.house.gov/contactus/form.cfm

 

The following letter from U.S. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen was forwarded to us by Mr. John Soemer in Flanders, New Jersey:

 

April 27, 2005

 

Dear Mr. Soemer:

 

Thank you for your correspondence in favor of banning the practice of circumcision on infants and for the materials enclosed.

 

If such legislation is introduced in the 109th Congress, I will be sure to keep your views in mind.

 

Again, thank you for contacting me.

 

Sincerely,

 

Rodney P. Frelinghuysen

Member of Congress

 

 

MGMbill.org Response

We thank Rep. Frelinghuysen for his response, but like some other letters we have received it doesn't tell us much about his position on male circumcision. Does he favor allowing genital mutilation of boys to continue in America, or does he believe in genital integrity for all children? We ask Rep. Frelinghuysen to state his position clearly so the public knows where he stands.

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R)

Texas

Member of the Committee on the Judiciary

Website: http://cornyn.senate.gov/

Email: http://cornyn.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.ContactForm

 

The following letter from U.S. Senator John Cornyn was forwarded to us by Mr. Jay Moseley in Fredericksburg, Texas:

 

April 13, 2005

 

Dear Mr. Moseley:

 

Thank you for contacting me about a proposed male genital mutilation bill. I appreciate having the benefit of your comments on this matter.

 

I understand your concern regarding male genital mutilation. To date, no such legislation has been introduced in the 109th Congress.

 

I appreciate having the opportunity to represent the interests of Texas in the United States Senate, and you may be certain that I will keep your views in mind should relevant legislation be considered. Thank you for taking the time to contact me.

 

Sincerely,

 

JOHN CORNYN

United States Senator

 

 

MGMbill.org Response

We appreciate Senator Cornyn's response and we are hopeful that we can count on him to support the MGM Bill if it is formally introduced to the Senate. Rather than wait until the MGM Bill finds a sponsor, though, we ask Senator Cornyn to introduce it himself so that action can be taken now to protect boys from circumcision.

 

 

 

 

 

California Assembly Member Lori Saldaña (D)

San Diego, 76th Assembly District

Assistant Majority Whip

(Lori Saldaña left office in 2010)

 

The following letter from California Assembly Member Lori Saldaña was received by Matthew Hess in San Diego, California:

 

April 12, 2005

 

Dear Mr. Hess:

 

Thank you for attending the beach clean-up this weekend. I appreciate you taking the time to participate in this important event to clean our coast.

 

I have reviewed your materials proposing a bill to end male circumcision. Thank you for sharing your research and other legislators' responses with me.

 

I share the sentiments of my colleague, Senator Christine Kehoe regarding the process of introducing controversial legislation, such as a bill to end male circumcision. It is imperative that you obtain the support of numerous respected health and human rights organizations to demonstrate the widespread support and necessity of such a bill to legislators. I also recommend contacting the Chair of the California State Assembly Committee on Health, Assembly Member Wilma Chan of the 16th District and discussing your proposal with her staff. Her District Office number is (510) 286-1670 and Capitol Office Number is (916) 319-2016.

 

If I may be of assistance with any other state government matter, please feel free to contact my office. Thank you again for your time.

 

Sincerely,

 

Lori Saldaña

Assemblymember, 76th District

 

MGMbill.org Response

We thank Assembly Member Saldaña for her sound advice. We are continuing with our efforts to obtain endorsements from health and human rights organizations to prepare the MGM Bill for introduction to the California State Legislature. We have also provided Assembly Member Chan and her staff with a package of information on the health consequences of male circumcision.

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Rep. Virgil Goode (R)

Virginia, 5th Congressional District

(Virgil Goode lost his seat in the 2008 election)

 

The following letter from U.S. Rep. Virgil Goode was forwarded to us by Ms. M. Davis in Concord, Virginia:

 

March 14, 2005

 

Dear Ms. Davis:

 

Thank you for your email concerning the Prohibition of Genital Mutilation Act. I want to see genital mutilation and other forms of mutilation outlawed to the fullest extent possible and will gladly show every consideration to the Genital Mutilation Act of 2005 and other legislation that deals with this topic.

 

Thank you for your email and comments.

 

Sincerely yours,

 

Virgil Goode, Jr.

 

 

MGMbill.org Response

We are very pleased to count Rep. Goode as one of our supporters in the House of Representatives. Although we have been informed by Rep. Goode's staff that the Congressman is unwilling to personally introduce the MGM Bill proposal this year, we appreciate knowing that he is fully informed on the issue of MGM and that we can count on his support if the bill does eventually find a sponsor.

 

 

 

 

 

California Senator Christine Kehoe (D)

San Diego, 39th Senate District

Website: http://dist39.casen.govoffice.com/

Email: http://legplcms01.lc.ca.gov/PublicLCMS/ContactPopup.aspx?district=SD39

 

The following letter from California Senator Christine Kehoe was received by Matthew Hess in San Diego, California:

 

March 11, 2005

 

Dear Matthew:

 

Thank you for your letter requesting legislation to protect boys from circumcision.

 

Having reviewed your material, I understand how important this is to you. Often when legislation that is highly controversial is considered, it is a long process that involves getting endorsements. In order for this to be introduced as legislation, you will need to obtain the support of numerous health and human rights organizations that are widely recognized and respected. This will indicate that there is widespread support and give legislators the confidence they need to see that they are fulfilling the needs of their constituents. You may also want to contact the chair of the Senate's Health Committee, Senator Deborah Ortiz, at (916) 445-5965 and discuss your proposal with her staff.

 

I appreciate your asking for my assistance and wish you the best of luck with this.

 

Sincerely,

 

CHRISTINE KEHOE

Senator, 39th District

 

MGMbill.org Response

We appreciate Senator Kehoe's candid advice. We have contacted Senator Ortiz's office and we are now working with health and human rights organizations in an effort to obtain their support and endorsements.

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Senator Judd Gregg (R)

New Hampshire

(Judd Gregg left office in 2011)

 

The following letter from U.S. Senator Judd Gregg was forwarded to us by a supporter in Manchester, New Hampshire:

 

September 16, 2004

 

Thank you for passing along your thoughts regarding the Genital Mutilation Prohibition Act. As you may know, this legislation has yet to be introduced in the House or the Senate this session. I understand your support for this bill, and should it come before the full Senate for consideration, I will certainly review it with your views in mind.

 

Again, thank you for contacting my office; I value your input. If there are other issues of importance to you, please do not hesitate to get back in touch with me.

 

Sincerely,

 

Judd Gregg

U. S. Senator

 

 

MGMbill.org Response

We appreciate Senator Gregg's response, but unfortunately it tells us very little about his position on this issue. Does he support every boy's Fourteenth Amendment right to keep their sexual organs intact, or does he believe that male genital mutilation should be allowed to continue? We ask Senator Gregg to speak out against the practice so that our government may begin an earnest discussion on how to protect boys from a harmful surgery that is performed without their consent.

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D)

California

Member of the Committee on the Judiciary

Website: http://feinstein.senate.gov/public/

Email: http://www.senate.gov/~feinstein/email.html

 

The following letter from U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein was received by Matthew Hess in San Diego, California:

 

August 18, 2004

 

Dear Mr. Hess:

 

Thank you for writing to me about your legislative proposal regarding male circumcision. I appreciate hearing from you and welcome the opportunity to respond.

 

I understand that studies regarding health benefits of circumcision have produced varied results. Some studies conclude that the benefits of circumcision are not significant enough to recommend circumcision as a routine procedure, while other studies conclude that circumcision does offer some benefits, such as, preventing urinary tract infections in infants.

 

For more information on this issue, you may want to visit the website for the National Institute of Child Health and Development, part of the National Institutes of Health, at http://www.nichd.nih.gov/. Please know that I have noted your concerns with this medical procedure and I appreciate the time you took to share your legislative proposal with me.

 

Again, thank you for writing. I hope that you will continue to keep in touch on issues of importance to you. Should you have any further questions or comments, please feel free to call my Washington, D.C. staff at (202) 224-3841.

 

Sincerely,

 

Dianne Feinstein

United States Senator

 

 

MGMbill.org Response

Our thanks go out to Senator Feinstein for responding to our letters and telephone calls. Although various studies have indeed touted circumcision as a way to reduce urinary tract infections (UTIs) in infant boys, both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association advise against routine circumcision. That is because any potential health benefits of circumcision do not outweigh the risks, complications, and damage from the surgery.

 

UTIs affect only a tiny percentage of boys and can be treated with antibiotics. On the other hand, the complication rate of circumcision is at least double the rate of UTI occurrence, and every victim of circumcision loses significant sexual sensation. Further, no physicians recommend that girls should have their genitals altered in some way to reduce urinary tract infections, even though females are much more likely to contract UTIs than males. With those facts in mind, it is clear that potential UTI prevention is not a valid reason to recommend male circumcision.

 

As far as the NICHD website that Senator Feinstein suggests, searches for "circumcision" and "circumcise" only bring up a handful of articles on ways to control pain and bleeding from circumcisions. Unfortunately, the physical and psychological scars from circumcision never heal. They last a lifetime.

 

 

 

 

 

California Assembly Member Christine Kehoe (D)

San Diego, 76th Assembly District

(Christine Kehoe vacated her Assembly seat in 2005 to serve in the California Senate)

 

The following letter from California Assembly Member Christine Kehoe was received by Matthew Hess in San Diego, California:

 

August 17, 2004

 

Dear Matthew:

 

Thank you for stopping by my Sidewalk Office Hours in front of Ralph's in Clairemont on Saturday, August 14th.

 

I appreciate your taking the time out of your busy day to come and share your concerns with me. Opportunities like this one are a great way for me to meet you and hear about what you think is important in San Diego and California. I am pleased that, thanks to your participation, this was a successful event that gave me the chance to get to know Clairemont residents better.

 

Also, thank you for bringing me additional information about your legislative proposal. This is something that I will look over and discuss with my legislative staff. We are nearing the end of this legislative session, and no new bills will be introduced until the new session begins in December. However, I will certainly keep your views and your organization in mind.

 

Please know that my door is always open should you need my assistance with any state issue in the future.

 

Sincerely,

 

CHRISTINE KEHOE

Assemblymember, 76th District

 

MGMbill.org Response

We thank Assembly Member Kehoe for meeting with us and agreeing to look deeper into the issue male genital mutilation. We will continue our efforts to encourage Ms. Kehoe to sponsor the California MGM Bill so that the state legislature may vote to protect both girls and boys from the harmful practice of circumcision.

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Rep. Susan Davis (D)

California, 53rd Congressional District

Website: http://www.house.gov/susandavis

Email: susan.davis@mail.house.gov

 

The following letter from U.S. Rep. Susan Davis was received by Matthew Hess in San Diego, California:

 

July 5, 2004

 

Dear Matthew,

 

Thank you for sharing your thoughts about male genital mutilation and interest in seeing legislation to prohibit this practice. I appreciate your work on this issue and apologize for the delay in my response. Since I attempt to answer as many letters as I can, I am sometimes unable to reply as quickly as I would like.

 

Your level of commitment to changing current policy is admirable; you have obviously given this issue a great deal of thought. I believe the most important work occurs at the grassroots level and your efforts are helping to reshape existing attitudes towards circumcision.

 

Traditionally, families have made their decision regarding male circumcision based on their religious, cultural and even public health benefits. Within the Jewish community, the Brit Milah or circumcision ceremony is an important initiation rite marking a covenant between man and God.

 

Speaking as both a mother and grandmother, I believe parents should feel secure with the reasons for their decision. All parents deserve to receive thorough information and surely should not feel pressured in any way if they are uncertain. The Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists are united in their support of providing parents with accurate and unbiased information, encouraging discussion of the associated risks and benefits with circumcision and the use of pain relief.

 

Since circumcision remains optional, I believe increased dialogue can effectively address the concerns you shared in your letter. Your work presents another side to this discussion and will allow parents to make an informed choice.

 

Again, thank you for taking the time to share your perspective on this matter. As your representative, I both need and value your thoughts and ideas.

 

With warm regards,

 

SUSAN A. DAVIS

Member of Congress

 

MGMbill.org Response

We thank Congresswoman Davis for responding to our letters. However, we do not agree that increased dialogue alone can protect boys from genital mutilation. There are already more than twenty different organizations calling for an end to the practice, yet more than one million American boys continue to have their genitals mutilated by circumcision every year. To protect only half of the population by legal statute while denying that same protection to the other half is a clear violation of the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and it must be corrected.

 

If Rep. Davis will not sponsor the MGM Bill proposal this year, then we urge her to at least participate in the dialogue that she references in her letter by formally requesting that the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists revise their current policy statements on male circumcision so they reflect the true facts. Circumcision causes severe sexual damage to every victim who undergoes the procedure, and no doctor has the right to amputate the working body part of a child unless there is a clear, compelling, and immediate medical need to do so, with no less-destructive alternative.

 

As for the Jewish tradition of circumcision, we ask Congresswoman Davis to join other Jewish activists and intellectuals by calling on Jews to replace the Brit Milah with the Brit Shalom so that boys are welcomed into the world with love, not mutilation.

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon (R)

Florida, 15th Congressional District

(Dave Weldon retired from Congress in 2008)

 

The following letter from U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon was forwarded to us by Mr. Robert Kennedy of Cocoa Beach, Florida:

 

May 11, 2004

 

Dear Mr. Kennedy,

 

Thank you for contacting me with further information on male circumcision. I appreciate the information.

 

The legislation proposed by MGMbill.org has not been introduced in Congress. Should Congress consider addressing the issue of male circumcision or hold hearings on this issue, I will keep your support for MGMbill.org's proposal in mind.

 

Thank you again for contacting me. If I can be of assistance to you in the future, please let me know. It is an honor to serve you in the Congress.

 

Sincerely,

 

Dave Weldon

Member of Congress

 

MGMbill.org Response

We extend our thanks to Congressman Weldon for responding to Mr. Kennedy's letters. But instead of waiting for one of his House colleagues to sponsor the MGM Bill, we call on Rep. Weldon to take a leadership role by sponsoring the bill himself. Circumcision is a serious human rights violation that affects more than one million baby boys every year in the United States. Because these boys cannot defend themselves, they need their government to step in and provide protection for them. We encourage Rep. Weldon to begin that process now.

 

 

 

 

 

California Assembly Member Christine Kehoe (D)

San Diego, 76th Assembly District

(Christine Kehoe vacated her Assembly seat in 2005 to serve in the California Senate)

 

The following letter from California Assembly Member Christine Kehoe was received by Matthew Hess in San Diego, California:

 

April 22, 2004

 

Matthew, thanks for your email.

 

I appreciate all the information that you've provided me.  At this time I've assembled my bill package and won't adding on any more new bills.  I know this is an important issue for you and value your involvement.  Thank you, Chris.

 

...and in a follow-up letter:

 

April 23, 2004

 

Matthew, I'm unable to write a letter of support at this time.  Thank you and best of luck in your efforts, Chris.

 

Assemblymember Christine Kehoe

76th Assembly District

1010 University Avenue, C-207

San Diego, CA  92103

619-294-7600

619-294-2348 fax

Assemblymember.Kehoe@assembly.ca.gov

 

MGMbill.org Response

We appreciate that Assembly Member Kehoe has responded to our letters. We are disappointed, though, that Ms. Kehoe is unwilling to speak out against the practice of male genital mutilation. We will contact Assembly Member Kehoe again before the November elections and urge her to reconsider her position on this important human and men's rights issue.

 

 

 

 

 

California Senator Dede Alpert (D)

San Diego, 39th Senate District

(Dede Alpert was termed out of office in 2004)

 

The following letter from California Senator Dede Alpert was received by Matthew Hess in San Diego, California:

 

April 5, 2004

 

Dear Mr. Hess:

 

Thank you for contacting me regarding your MGM bill proposal.

 

I have reviewed the information you sent me however, the deadline for submitting legislation has passed and I am unable to submit any additional proposals this year.

 

Thank you again for contacting me about this issue.

 

Sincerely,

 

SENATOR DEDE ALPERT

39th District

 

MGMbill.org Response

Although we appreciate receiving a response from Senator Alpert, she does not indicate in her letter what her position is on male genital mutilation. Does she support the right of boys to keep their genitals intact, or does she believe that only girls are entitled to this protection? We have written a follow-up letter to Senator Alpert asking her to publicly speak out against male circumcision before leaving office at the end of her term this year. A public statement from this distinguished Senator would help pave the way for her successor to address circumcision in the 2005-06 legislative session.

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown (D)

Ohio, 13th Congressional District

Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Health

(Sherrod Brown vacated his House seat in 2007 to serve in the U.S. Senate)

 

The following letter from U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown was forwarded to us by Ms. Sara Unluagac of Ohio:

 

March 10, 2004

 

Dear Ms. Unluagac:

Thank you for sharing your concern about male genital mutilation and support for legislation that would ban this procedure.

Male circumcision is performed each year for reasons that vary from symbolic ritual to health protection.  While opponents of the procedure argue it may be dangerous to a baby boy's health, scientific evidence supports the potential medical benefits of newborn male circumcision.  Despite this data, experts are not recommending routine neonatal circumcision.  The American Academy of Pediatrics argues that when the procedure is not essential to the child's health, the decision should be left to the parents and their pediatrician. 

Should the medical community determine male circumcision is unsafe and recommend the procedure not be performed, I would support their recommendation.  In addition, should relevant legislation be introduced, I will keep your views in mind.  Thank you again for writing.
 

Sincerely,

SHERROD BROWN
Member of Congress
2332 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Sherrod@mail.house.gov

 

MGMbill.org Response

Our thanks go out to Rep. Brown for replying to Sara's letter. As Rep. Brown correctly points out, a growing number of medical and human rights organizations are calling for an end to the practice of male genital mutilation because of the well documented physical and psychological damage that it causes each of its victims. However, the evidence that supports "potential benefits" of male circumcision has been roundly criticized by many experts as being flawed, inconclusive, or without merit. Even if the results of some of these studies are to be believed, does that mean it is acceptable to cut off a functional body part of a child simply because it might prevent a disease in the future? Should we start cutting off the breast tissue of baby girls when they are born as a preventive health measure against breast cancer? How would those women feel about that when they grow up and realize what had been done to them?

 

It was not so long ago that girls were allowed to be circumcised in America for the same reasons that are now being used to justify male circumcision. When the public learned what was being done to these girls, our country quickly came together to end the practice by passing the Female Genital Mutilation Act of 1996. But that Act protected only half of the population, and it stands in clear violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

 

We hope that Rep. Brown and his colleagues in Congress act as quickly to protect the body rights of boys and men as they did for girls and women in 1996. The double standard of circumcision needs to come to an end.

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D)

California, 6th Congressional District

Website: http://woolsey.house.gov

Email: https://woolsey.house.gov//index.cfm?sectionid=80&sectiontree=80

 

The following letter from U.S. Rep. Lynn Woolsey was forwarded to us by Ms. Brianna de Brito of Sonoma County, California:

 

 

March 9, 2004

 

Dear Mrs. Debrito:

Thank you for contacting me about male genital mutilation.  I appreciate the time you have taken to share your thoughts with me.

Your concerns about male genital mutilation are understandable.  While female genital mutilation and circumcision has received a great deal of attention, male circumcision is still far more accepted.  For many families, circumcision holds deep religious meaning, and I believe that every parent should be able to determine what is best for his or her son.  However, no family should be pressured into selecting male circumcision if they are unsure.

The proposed legislation restricting male genital mutilation that you mentioned has not yet been introduced in the House.  You can be sure that I will keep your thoughts in mind should this or similar proposals come before me for a vote.

Again, it's good to hear from you.  The people of Marin and Sonoma counties are the most important voices I listen to as I serve in Congress.

Sincerely,

Lynn Woolsey
Member of Congress

 

MGMbill.org Response

We want to thank Rep. Woolsey for responding to Brianna's letter, and we appreciate the Congresswoman's support for protecting parents from being pressured into practicing male circumcision. However, we take issue with the statement "For many families, circumcision holds deep religious meaning, and I believe that every parent should be able to determine what is best for his or her son."

 

As a society that respects the body rights of its girls, we do not allow parents to mutilate the genitals of their daughters for religious reasons, regardless of how deeply held their religious beliefs may be. Is there a reason that boys do not deserve equal protection of the law? Shouldn't we care as much about the rights of our boys as the rights of our girls?

 

We ask Rep. Woolsey and other members of Congress to take a public stand against male genital mutilation by sponsoring the proposed MGM Bill that was submitted to each U.S. House Representative and Senator on February 23, 2004.

 

 

 

       

 

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