In the late 19th century in the U.S., doctors were the ones who decided if their male newborn patient should be circumcised. By the middle of the 20th century, hospitals began asking parents to decide and consent to have their sons circumcised, without really knowing what their son’s wishes might be. Now it’s time to let the person who must live with the consequences of circumcision make his own decision when he’s old enough to understand and consent. GALDEF exists to push forward legal efforts to refocus individual choice to where it matters most.

What is Genital Autonomy? 

“All forms of genital cutting – female genital cutting (FGC), intersex genital cutting, male genital cutting (MGC),
and even cosmetic forms of FGC – are performed in a belief that they will improve the subject’s life.
Genital autonomy is a unified principle that children should be protected from genital cutting that is not medically necessary.
Safeguarding genital autonomy helps societies and individuals explore wounds (common across different forms of genital cutting)
regarding gender, power, the quest for cultural belonging, and social and sexual control.”

J. Steven Svoboda.

Promoting genital autonomy by exploring commonalities between male, female, intersex, and cosmetic female genital cutting.

Global Discourse 2013, Vol.3, No.2: 237-255

Did you know?

· Most of the world’s men and boys (70%) are genitally intact. [1]

· In the US, circumcision began as a 19th century attempt to prevent boys (and girls) from masturbating. [2]

· The US is the only country that circumcises the majority (55%) of its newborn boys for non-medical and non-religious reasons. [3] Countries that once routinely circumcised male newborns have all but abandoned the custom (Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand).

· Mothers in US hospitals are routinely solicited to consent to circumcision an average of 8 times. [4]

· In the US between 1.2 and 1.5 million male newborns annually are needlessly subjected to non-medically indicated circumcision. [4]

Pioneering legal and medical advocates endorse GALDEF

I think this is a great idea. We have needed such a fund for a long time. I have had to do a number of cases to stop a circ either free or at greatly reduced rates. It would be wonderful to have a fund to support such litigation. For example, if we had had a big fund in advance I would have pushed to get involved in the Hironimus case early on and I think we might have had an entirely different result.

David J. Llewellyn


Interest by those subjected to unnecessary childhood genital cutting in seeking legal recourse for the harm done to them is steadily growing. A legal defense and education fund is the next logical and very crucial step in raising the funds needed to bring successful lawsuits in defense of children’s genital autonomy.

J. Steven Svoboda

Exec. Dir., Attorneys For The Rights of The Child

I too support your excellent plan and enthusiastically! There are an endless number of lawsuits that can be brought for battery, breach of fiduciary duty, intentional fraud and constructive fraud as no healthy boy should ever be circumcised; to stop spite circumcisions; to end Medicaid funding in various statutes; to sue the AAP based on its guidelines, and also hospitals for false advertising and inadequate forms for parental permission.

Peter Adler

Prof. of International Law, Univ. of MA

“Doctors will put down their scalpels when they realize that the profits from non-therapeutic infant male circumcision are no match against lawsuits asserting fraud and establishing the rights of children to bodily integrity.”

George Denniston, MD

Founder, Doctors Opposing Circumcision

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