Many newer intactivists are unaware that the 1990s saw a wave of important documentary films examining the debate over newborn circumcision. To kick off our film series designed to help intactivists to better know their history, in May GALDEF proudly featured Tim Hammond’s 1995 documentary Whose Body, Whose Rights?

We continue our retrospective screening of historic intactivist films with a double feature webinar on Saturday, August 3rdthat examines two groups of medical conscientious objectors to male newborn circumcision.

Nurses of St. Vincent: Saying No to Circumcision (18 minutes). This 1994 film, produced by Barry Ellsworth, profiles the team of nurses at a Santa Fe, NM hospital who collectively refused to assist with newborn circumcisions. Nurses Mary Conant, Betty Katz-Sperlich, Ann Lown, and others explain why they could no longer ethically assist with this inherently harmful surgery on unconsenting infants. These courageous nurses also formed Nurses for the Rights of the Child. Please note: the final two minutes of this film may be upsetting to some viewers as it includes actual footage of an infant being circumcised.

Facing Circumcision: Eight Physicians Tell their Stories (20 minutes). This 1998 film, produced by Nurses for the Rights of the Child, explores the diverse views of eight physicians at the same hospital where their nurses took a stand against circumcision. Some of the physicians refused to perform infant circumcisions while others clearly struggle with attempting  to rationalize their participation in this archaic social custom. The film reveals the ethical dilemmas facing physicians who circumcise newborns.

Immediately following the second film there will be a 30-minute post-screening discussion with filmmaker Barry Ellsworth, as well as Mary Conant, R.N. and Christopher Fletcher, M.D., both of whom appeared in their respective films. The trio will take questions from attendees to help viewers better understand the medical climate of the 1990s regarding male genital cutting. As pioneers in the struggle to help parents and the medical community to understand the importance of recognizing the child’s right to bodily integrity and genital autonomy, Mary and Chris will share their perspective on how much has changed (or not) in the 30 years since these landmark films were produced.

Raising money to build a war chest to help fund future impact litigation that challenges circumcision is an expensive and ongoing process. GALDEF will be there when plaintiffs and attorneys approach us with their grant requests for assistance. We’re constantly seeking creative ways to raise needed funds while at the same time giving back to our donors and giving intactivists creative ways to engage with us. Our retrospective film series is one way to do both.

If you have friends who are nurses or physicians, please encourage them to attend this special film screening. Better yet, but them a ticket!

Screening Times:

Saturday, August 3 – North America
4pm/Eastern | 3pm/Central | 2pm/Mountain | 1pm/Pacific | 12pm/Alaska | 10am/Hawaii

Saturday, August 3 – Europe
8pm (20:00)/Iceland | 9pm (21:00)/U.K. | 10pm (22:00)/Central Europe, South Africa | 11pm (23:00)/Finland, Israel, Turkey

Sunday, August 4 – “Down Under”
4am (04:00)/Perth | 6am (06:00)/Sydney | 8am (08:00)/Auckland

Tickets for this double feature film event are limited to the first 100 purchasers. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased here through Ticket Stripe.

Mark your calendars now!   Please share news of this event with your social media network.


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