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ABC News Censorship? CDC Circumcision Story Photo Pulled

A photo attached to a story about the proposed CDC circumcision guidelines has been pulled from ABC News websites. The photo includes an activist holding a sign saying, “I did not consent to male genital mutilation.”
Bay Area Intactivists during the 2011 San Francisco MGM Bill initiative
FILE - In this July 28, 2011, file photo, anti-circumcision activists Frank McGinness, right, and Jeff Brown rally against circumcision with about 25 protesters outside a San Francisco courthouse. On Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014, U.S. health officials released a draft of the government's long-awaited guidelines on circumcision, which say benefits of the procedure outweigh the risks and health insurers should pay for it. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)(Photo: AP)

(PALM BEACH, FL)—On December 2, 2014, ABC News ran an Associated Press (AP) story on their website about the proposed CDC guidelines recommending circumcision.

The story featured a photo from a Bay Area Intactivists demonstration in support of the San Francisco MGM Bill in 2011 which would have barred non-therapeutic circumcision until the age of 18. The ACLU led a successful initiative to pull the SF MGM Bill from the ballot.

Sometime recently, however, ABC News pulled the CDC story from many of its news websites, which IntactNews noticed at 2PM EST today.

“That’s my favorite sign because I did not consent to male genital mutilation,” says Frank McGinness, the man who appears on the right side of the photo holding a sign. “I was circumcised at 4 or 5 years old. If someone chooses it for themselves, I don’t have a problem with that. But I had no choice and a very important part of my genitals was taken from me without my consent.”

“There are three Ms of procedures done on the body: medical, modification, or mutilation. Circumcision on healthy children is mutilation,” says McGinness.

ABC pulled the story from the following locations:

Asked why ABC News would have pulled the story and the photo, McGinness told IntactNews by phone, “I think people have a hard time recognizing that circumcision is genital mutilation. They feel hurt or guilty.”

Lloyd Schofield, who led the San Francisco MGM Bill initiative, told IntactNews his reaction by phone. “It’s not surprising but it’s really disappointing. We have freedom of press but when a subject goes against the status quo it’s subject to censorship. It’s really disturbing.”

ABC News 4, a local ABC affiliate in Charleston, South Carolina also pulled the AP story but replaced it with one by Health Day:

IntactNews sent an email to ABC News but no response has been received yet.

The original story is still live on the AP website:

Update 12/21/14 7:35PM EST:
Correction: Some local ABC affiliates still have the original AP story up, but not with the original AP photo displayed above.

Update 12/21/14 8:00PM EST:
Correction: Some local ABC affiliates have the original photo up:


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This story underscores what I've been saying for a couple of years: that those who care about children's rights to bodily integrity must form a Media Task Force to not only educate the U.S. and international news and entertainment media about critical genital integrity issues, but also to hold them accountable for bias and praise them when they do good work.