Reclaiming My Birth Rights by Adrienne Carmack MD
This is a book that is part autobiography and part thought provoking tour through medicine as it is practiced in America today. Doctor Carmack looks at pregnancy, childbirth, circumcision, unnecessary genital surgery and the early years of parenting with a knowledge of medicine and a compassionate, open mind. I would recommend this book to anyone considering having children. After three different birth experiences Doctor Carmack has a lot of valuable experience to pass on to prospective parents.
That medicine is a practice with it’s own culture should come as no surprise. What is surprising is Carmack’s exposition of the extent to which that medical culture as opposed to medical science influences the practice of medicine. Drug companies and the influence they exert on medicine are insightfully analysed and criticised. The overuse of antibiotics and the misuse of vaccinations is clearly explained. The companies that market baby formula obviously don’t market breast feeding but the importance of breast feeding and co-sleeping with your children is quite rightly stressed, by Carmack, as being both natural and safe.
The encouraging aspect of this book is that there are people questioning cultural norms such as our over reliance on the medical profession, when a visit to an osteopath, physiotherapist or other alternative practitioner may be all that is necessary. The core of this book is how to achieve the balance between living and growing in society rather than just existing in society and letting life take it’s toll on our health. Carmack views health as not just the absence of illness but the total wellbeing that is achievable with a balanced life.
My own journey towards a balanced life has been very different to the author’s but it is progressing. As a person who has made the change from victim of male genital cutting to activist opposing non-therapeutic genital surgery I applaud Doctor Carmack’s realisation that non-therapeutic genital surgery on males and intersex children is inherently harmful and her robust rejection of the practice is most welcome.
To mark the second Worldwide Day of Genital Autonomy, May 7th, a demonstration was staged in Parliament Square, London. The day was the 2nd anniversary of the Cologne Court’s ruling  on the circumcision of a young boy for religious reasons. The Court found that circumcision was not in the child’s best interests and that circumcision caused bodily harm.
Thanks to all those who turned out and to our photographer, there were also a great many photos taken of the demo by the public. Thanks to Glen for coming up with the slogan “Stop the chop”. The facts of circumcision are encapsulated in the slogan, about half the skin on the penis is removed by a circumcision.
Non-therapeutic circumcision is not a “snip” it is a damaging mutilation of an otherwise healthy child. The most sensitive part of the penis, the ridged band,  is always amputated. Nerves are severed and they never rejoin across the scar that the man will grow up with. Blood vessels are also cut leaving the circulation to and from the penis compromised. This is not a complete list of losses to circumcision, so join our stop the chop campaign.
The mainstream media sadly keeps disseminating the steady output of pro circumcision writing that comes from a very few authors who swamp publications with promotional material. One such example is below from The New York Times
Circumcision Benefits Outweigh Risks, Study Reports.
By NICHOLAS BAKALAR
A review of studies has found that the health benefits of infant male circumcision vastly outweigh the risks involved in the procedure.
But the study, published online in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, also found that while the prevalence of circumcision among American men ages 14 to 59 increased to 81 percent from 79 percent over the past decade, the rate of newborn circumcision has declined by 6 percentage points, to 77 percent, since the 1960s.
The authors conclude that the benefits — among them reduced risks of urinary tract infection, prostate cancer, sexually transmitted diseases and, in female partners, cervical cancer — outweigh the risks of local infection or bleeding. Several studies, including two randomized clinical trials, found no long-term adverse effects of circumcision on sexual performance or pleasure.
One cost-benefit analysis that considered infant urinary tract infections and sexually transmitted diseases found that if circumcision rates were decreased to the 10 percent typical in European countries, the additional direct medical costs over 10 years of births would be more than $4.4 billion.
“Male circumcision is in principle equivalent to childhood vaccination,” said the lead author, Brian J. Morris, emeritus professor of medical sciences at the University of Sydney. “Just as there are opponents of vaccination, there are opponents of circumcision. But their arguments are emotional and unscientific, and should be disregarded.”
An excellent letter in response has been written by Steven Svoboda (left), Attorneys for the Rights of the Child.
We were disappointed to see the New York Times publish an article (“Circumcision Benefits Outweigh Risks, Study Reports,” by Nicholas Bakalar; April 8, 2014) so strongly at odds with the Times’ generally high standards. A team of mostly European physicians recently concluded that the only arguable medical benefit of male circumcision is a slight reduction in urinary tract infections, but these can more cheaply and less painfully be treated with antibiotics.
Claims regarding prostate cancer and cervical cancer were disproven decades ago. Studies have suggested that female circumcision may help prevent HIV but everyone correctly avoids proposing this on grounds of medical ethics and physical integrity. The same principles bar male circumcision, as has been recently concluded by the Council of Europe and the Royal Dutch Medical Association.
No objective person could seriously question what the vast majority of studies have documented, that removal of half the surface skin of the penis seriously impacts sexuality. The vaccination analogy is incoherent as unlike circumcision, vaccination doesn’t remove functional tissue.
The New York Times should know better.
Thank you to all our supporters who have donned the bloodstained overalls to campaign against the cutting of children’s genitals. The message is getting out there. Intact America has made the Bloodstained Men “Intactivist of the Month”.
Please join us on our protests this year the first of which will be on the 7th of May for “Worldwide day of Genital Autonomy“. The place will be central London times and exact location are to be decided.
There will also be events in Germany and around the world.
On the 28th of January there was a hearing on male circumcision in the Council of Europe. The meeting was open to visitors, invited guests and members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Men Do Complain attended with Patrick and Richard.
We were there to support Victor Schonfeld whose Channel 4 documentary “It’s a Boy” was shown to those attending the hearing. Flyers were handed out from early morning to promote the showing.
To view the webcast from the hearing please click here or on the image below.
Before the hearing the Channel 4 documentary “it’s a Boy” was shown. The film made it’s point and is still as relevant today as when it was made. The panel were divided and spoke from their various perspectives on the subject of non-therapeutic male circumcision. The encouraging thing from the point of view of children’s rights was the emphasis placed on the right of the child to freedom of conscience thought and religion being the equal of an adult’s right to express their religion. Marlene Rupperecht, second from left above, stressed that children were human beings from the moment of birth with a full set of human rights. An interview was recorded for the Council of Europe with film maker Victor Schonfeld.