INTACTIVIST OF THE MONTH: Dr. Adrienne Carmack
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.
OCTOBER 2014: One of the outstanding speakers at this summer's Genital Autonomy Symposium in Boulder, Colorado, was Dr. Adrienne Carmack, a Board-certified urologic surgeon and author of Reclaiming My Birthrights: A Mother's Wisdom Triumphs Over the Harmful Practices of Her Medical Profession. Dr. Carmack is an outspoken advocate for natural childbirth and an opponent of unnecessary medical interventions, including “routine” circumcision.
Dr. Carmack began her medical career in a traditional fashion, but soon began to question some of the medical system’s orthodoxy. Among other things, she realized that the system’s approach to circumcision and other perinatal interventions is profoundly flawed. Driven to learn the truth, she reviewed international medical research, first on circumcision and then on natural birth and breastfeeding. She realized that most American birth practices are not founded on fact-based science, but rather on current cultural norms.
Dr. Carmack believes that all parents have a right to know the medical facts around birth rights, which she defines as the rights of mothers and children to experience safe, natural births free of unnecessary interventions. As a doctor, she supports medical intervention when it is appropriate and necessary. However, she has made it her life’s work to free parents and children from the unnecessary medicalization of normal life events.
Dr. Carmack's book has received wide praise. "This profound memoir is the incredible journey of a woman who was able to complete a medical education with mind and heart still willing to learn," says Marilyn Milos RN, founder of the National Organization of Circumcision Information and Resource Centers (NOCIRC). "Even when new information challenged ingrained medical and cultural dogma, Dr. Carmack was willing to listen, to question, and to grow. The United States is 50th in the world for infant mortality and 47th in the work for maternal mortality, so changes in our obstetrical system are long overdue. Her story moves us from the myths inherent in fear-based medicine to an approach that is in alignment with wholesome healthcare, especially as it relates to birth."
Georganne Chapin recently invited Dr. Carmack to join Intact America's Board of Health Professionals, a title which Dr. Carmack graciously accepted. "When Intact America asks me for clinical advice, it is clear that I am working with an amazing group of individuals thoroughly dedicated to human rights. One of my personal agendas is to do what I can to increase the level of empathy and connection in this world, and I am pleased to work with Intact America to achieve this goal."
“The importance of Dr. Carmack’s work cannot be overstated,” says Georganne Chapin, Executive Director of Intact America. “It is a great honor to work with her. I am confident that other physicians will recognize her leadership, and decide to step forward.”
Visit our Intactivist of the Month Archive page to read about previous intactivists we've highlighted.