J. Steven Svoboda

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J. Steven Svoboda is a patent lawyer who has been an attorney since 1991. Svoboda is the founder of the California-based organization, Attorneys for the Rights of the Child. As an attorney, Svoboda is involved in educating, writing, and working with the United Nations on behalf of genital integrity issues. He also works as a patent lawyer.

J. Steven Svoboda
Nationality American
Occupation Human rights attorney


Svoboda graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1991. Previously, he received a bachelor's degree in Physics and English from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), receiving awards as an Outstanding Student in each of his two majors as well as being one of five Outstanding Seniors chosen from his undergraduate class. He then received a master's degree in Physics from the University of California at Berkeley.[1]


Svoboda has been working as a full-time patent lawyer since May 2004. His first two patents became two of the core patents behind GPS navigation and Yelp. He has helped Fetch Robotics, Inc. receive eight patents to date with two more expected before the end of 2018. Svoboda founded Attorneys for the Rights of the Child in 1997.[1]

In July 2018, an international team of which Svoboda was a member--the International NGO Council on Genital Autonomy, submitted to the United Nations a report on circumcision as a human rights violation, capping nearly two full years of work. He has published over 200 reviews of books relating to men, boys, and gender. For eight years, he wrote a column for Everyman magazine titled, "Gender, Law, and Society," which he renamed after his first child's birth, "Gender, Law, and Fatherhood." He is co-author, with Warren Farrell and James Sterba, of the gender studies textbook Does Feminism Discriminate Against Men? (Oxford University Press, 2007). He has also been a contributor to the website Men's News Daily.[1]

Svoboda was invited by the United Nations to participate in a 2001 human rights meeting in Geneva where his presentation was the basis of a committee of experts writing a UN document entirely devoted to the subject of male circumcision.[1]

He was interviewed on Penn and Teller's television program Bullshit! on Showtime, where he explained his view of some of the legal aspects concerning male circumcision in the United States.[2]

After the death in June 2011 of his friend, the activist Van Lewis, Svoboda was invited to deliver a memorial speech in Lewis' honor at a memorial service in Tallahassee. Many activists contributed to Svoboda's memorial talk.[3]

ARC's work has been recognized by Harvard Law School, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Men's Health magazine, and numerous other well-known organizations and publications.[1]

Svoboda is also the founder of the Bus Stop Co-op, a vegetarian organic cooperative in Berkeley, California.[4]

He is a former performance artist and a tournament chess player rated as an expert (the ranking below master) by the United States Chess Federation.[4][citation needed]

He is the senior board member of and Public Relations Director for the National Coalition for Men, which claims to be the world's oldest and largest non-profit devoted to publicizing the alleged harm done to men and boys by gender discrimination.[4]

Steven remarried in 2018 to the former Gina Maria Mele, a business consultant with a Master's degree in neurobiology. He has two children, a boy and a girl.[4]


His publications include "Newborn Male Circumcision--Is it Ethical, Is it Legal?" [written with Peter W. Adler and Robert S. Van Howe, M.D. ' 'Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics' ', 2016 (paper published pursuant to a debate Svoboda unofficially won against Michael Brady of the American Academy of Pediatrics at the Medical University of South Carolina in October 2013); "Growing World Consensus to Leave Circumcision Decision to the Affected Individual," ' 'American Journal of Bioethics' ', 2015; Out of step: fatal flaws in the latest AAP policy report on neonatal circumcision" [written with Robert S. Van Howe, M.D.], Journal of Medical Ethics, 2013, an article about the American Academy of Pediatrics' 2012 policy statement on circumcision to which the AAP actually replied in the same issue of the Journal of Medical Ethics; "Circumcision of Male Infants as a Human Rights Violation, Journal of Medical Ethics, 2013; Tortured Bodies, Tortured Minds, Informed Consent as a Legal Fiction Inapplicable to Male Circumcision," in The Rights of the Child: Ensuring Every Child's Fundamental Right to Body Ownership and Protection from Medical, Cultural, and Religious Infringements (G.C. Denniston et al., eds., Springer, 2013), "Promoting Genital Autonomy by Exploring Commonalities Between Male, Female, Intersex, and Cosmetic Female Genital Cutting," Global Discourse, Summer 2012, "A Rose By Any Other Name: Rethinking the Similarities and Differences between Male and Female Genital Cutting," in Fearful Symmetries: Essays and Testimonies Around Excision and Circumcision, edited by Chantal Zabus (Rodopi, 2009); Van Howe R, Svoboda JS, "Neonatal pain relief and the Helsinki Declaration," Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics 2008: 36: 803-823;[5] "Prophylactic Interventions on Children: Balancing Human Rights with Public Health" (Journal of Medical Ethics 2002), and "The Limits of the Law: Comparative Analysis of Legal and Extralegal Methods to Control Child Body Mutilation Practices" (2001).


  1. ^ a b c d e "J. Steven Svoboda bio". Attorneys for the Rights of the Child (ARC). Retrieved March 12, 2016.
  2. ^ "Penn & Teller video". Attorneys for the Rights of the Child (ARC). Retrieved March 12, 2016.
  3. ^ "Van Lewis Eulogy by Steven Svoboda". Attorneys for the Rights of the Child (ARC). Retrieved March 12, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d "J. Steven Svoboda, Esq". National Coalition for Men. Retrieved March 12, 2016.
  5. ^ http://www.cirp.org/library/ethics/hodges3/

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