Galveston: Billboards get snippy about circumcision


by Amanda Casanova / The Daily News

Posted on December 27, 2010 at 8:44 AM

Tucked between restaurant and business billboards lining Broadway in Galveston and next to a church in West Texas City are signs with a message for expecting parents.

"Circumcision: unnecessary, painful and risky, causes lifelong sexual harm," the board reads.

But the advertised organization on the board, Intact America, didn’t put it there, executive director Georganne Chapin said.

"There are many grass roots organizations out there pushing for this same cause," Chapin said. "There are a number of people who have done individual billboards. It just takes an enormous amount of money to do the billboards. This is probably a supporter who decided to take matters into his own hands.

"But I love billboards."

And whoever paid for the sign has the support of Intact America, an organization that opposes infant circumcision, Chapin said.

"Our mission is to do away with forced, unconsented circumcision of children," she said. "The United States is interesting in that we’re one of the only countries in the world that does this."

Circumcision dates back to Jewish practices, with some experts pointing to Egyptian rites of passage as among the first instances of circumcision.

The practice also has been reported to slow the spread of AIDS.

In a presentation at the International Aids Conference in August, a researcher noted that circumcisions have dropped to 32.5 percent of baby boys in 2009 from 56 percent in 2006.

The numbers do not include procedures outside hospitals or ones not reimbursed by insurance.

The Centers for Disease Control are expected to provide recommendations to the public about circumcision, but those studies are ongoing.

Meanwhile, a San Francisco man is pushing for a ballot measure that would make it a misdemeanor to circumcise anyone younger than 18. To make it on to the November ballot, the ordinance proposed by Lloyd Schofield needs more than 7,100 signatures by April.

This story was brought to you thanks to’s partnership with the Galveston County Daily News.