INTACTIVISTS OF THE MONTH: Dr. Christiane Northrup
One of Intact America's greatest strengths is the diverse and supportive intactivist community. Our "Intactivist of the Month" series highlights some of the most ardent opponents of infant and childhood circumcision, whose tireless efforts will ensure a future where all babies are kept intact.
MAY 2013: As Intact America heads to New Orleans to protest outside the annual conference of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), we celebrate one of the most well-known obstetricians in the country—Christiane Northrup, MD.
Dr. Northrup is a visionary pioneer in the field of women’s health and wellness. She is also a mother, business owner, speaker, and teacher—but she is perhaps best known as the author of the New York Times bestselling Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom, which has been an indispensable resource for women for nearly two decades.
As a staunch supporter of baby boys’ rights to genital integrity, Dr. Northrup (a member of Intact America’s Board of Health Professionals) has often spoken out against circumcision. “I know firsthand how brutal, dangerous, and unnecessary this procedure is,” she told Intact America. “We wouldn't cut off an infant girl's genital anatomy. Why continue to violate the basic human right of a baby boy to an intact body?”
Early in her career, Dr. Northrup performed circumcisions herself. “In medical school, I was taught that babies couldn’t feel when they were born and therefore wouldn’t feel their circumcision,” she explains. “Why was it, then, that when I strapped their little arms and legs down on the board (called a ‘circumstraint’), they were often perfectly calm; then when I started cutting their foreskin, they screamed loudly, with cries that broke my heart?”
Dr. Northrup—a leading proponent of medicine that acknowledges the unity of mind, body, emotions, and spirit—writes with sensitivity and compassion about the many issues surrounding circumcision. “We justify male infant circumcision by pretending that the babies don’t feel it because they’re too young and it will have no consequences when they are older. This is not true. Women who experience memories of abuse in childhood know how deeply and painfully early experiences leave their marks in the body. Why wouldn’t the same thing apply to boys? The time has come for us to look at this common practice with fresh eyes and do what we can to stop this dangerous and unnecessary medical intervention. Happily, the tide is turning on this. I applaud the work of Intact America for helping take a stand for genital integrity for all!”
“Dr. Northrup’s public stance on circumcision is helping change how Americans view it, medically and culturally,” said Georganne Chapin, executive director of Intact America. “There are few inside the medical profession who are willing to speak out as she does. Intact America is profoundly grateful to count Christiane Northrup as a supporter. We know for a fact that her message has helped many, many parents welcome their children into the world as nature intended.”
Visit our Intactivist of the Month Archive page to read about previous intactivists we've highlighted.