Female Circumcision 'Compromise' by AAP

Ez - posted on 05/07/2010 ( 12 moms have responded )




"The academy's committee on bioethics released a new position paper last week, suggesting that doctors perform a "ritual nick" to prevent families from going overseas for full circumcision procedures.

Right now, federal law in the United States prevents "any nonmedical procedure performed on the genitals" of females.

The position statement describes the nick as "a compromise" that could limit the number of young girls forced to endure female genital mutilation in their family's native country."


Here is a blog of a female circumcision being performed on a 3 month old baby girl in Malaysia, where the ritual is still commonly practiced.



*Edited to correct location of FGM in blog.. it's actually Malaysia, not Indonesia.


Ez - posted on 05/08/2010




OK I'll start by saying I am staunchly anti-circ, for both male and female babies. Kathy, I'm aware the correct term is FGM, but in this case the AAP is referring to it as circumcision (I assume because it has fewer negative connotations, although not for me).

The very idea that a medical authority can condone the mutilation of any baby's genitals is abhorrent to me. In this case, the AAP are taking these steps to compromise out of 'cultural sensitivity', when there should be no room to move on this issue, IMO. Every baby has the right to genital autonomy. No parent has the right to sacrifice a piece of their child's flesh - a working, functioning piece of skin - for religious or cultural beliefs. If an adult chooses to undergo a ritual 'circumcision' as part of their religious beliefs, good luck with that. But subjecting babies and non-consenting minors to this practice is wrong. This move by the AAP might as well say 'As long as you only take a little bit of the baby girl's prepuce, and not the whole clitoris, that's ok... cut away!!'. Whatever they say their motivation, this is NOT going to decrease the number of girls having their genitals mutilated.

LaCi - posted on 05/08/2010




Disgusting. All forms of unnecessary infant circumcision should be banned, male and female, regardless of cultural practices. In the situations in which it is a rite of passage, done on older individuals who CHOOSE to go through the ritual, that is a different story and I'll never tell someone they can't mutilate themselves by choice, but it's wrong to mutilate someone else who can't make that choice for NO medical reason. Performing unnecessary surgery on an infant is disgusting.

Groups are working extremely hard around the world to end FGM through education, the acceptance of it compromises all that.

Lucy - posted on 05/08/2010




It would be nice to think that this would make a difference, but having come across this issue doing volunteer work here in the UK, I think those who go to the extreme of taking their child to their country of origin for the ritual (and risking the legal issues involved if UK authorities find out) will not be deterred by it.

On that basis, I also think that if it won't make a significant difference to the number of children suffering this abuse, it should not be introduced, as it gives out the message that it is acceptable. Families who would have otherwise left this practice behind them in their countries of origin because of the financial and legal practicalities may take up this compromise, or be pressurised to by others in their community.

For the record, as it was brought up by another poster, I am also against the circumcision of male infants and children.

[deleted account]

There are actually 4 different types of FGM/C
1.Clitoridectomy: partial/total removal of clitoris &, in rare cases, only prepuce (fold of skin surrounding clit).
2. Excision: partial/total removal of clitoris & labia minora, w/ or w/out excision of labia majora.
3. Infibulation: narrowing of vaginal opening through creation of a covering seal. Seal formed by cutting and repositioning inner/outer labia w/out removal of clitoris.
4. Other: all other harmful procedured to remale genitalia for non medical purposes; incl: pricking, piercing, incising, scraping & cauterizing)

Sorry we just learned about this in my Women around the world class.

Charlie - posted on 05/08/2010




Erin has said everything i believe , i find any form of circ vile and unnecessary .

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[deleted account]

I think the correct term is "Female Genital Mutilation." I think, like Carol, that it might give the impression that it's OK.

Suzette - posted on 05/07/2010




"It is my understanding that female circumcision does not always include cutting the clitoris away.

It may not stop ALL believers from seeking this, but if it will stop even a handfull... I'm all for it."

What does it involve then? I'm confuzzled because I thought that's what it was....

Sharon - posted on 05/07/2010




It is my understanding that female circumcision does not always include cutting the clitoris away.

It may not stop ALL believers from seeking this, but if it will stop even a handfull... I'm all for it.

Suzette - posted on 05/07/2010




Personally I think it's wrong. But then there are those that believe circumsizing a boy is mutilation as well. The only difference is that a boy, once grown, can still gain pleasure from sex. A girl, once grown, will no longer have a clitoris. She will be deformed (from what I understand) in that region and will have to learn other ways to gain pleasure from sex.

The entire thing is just sad in my eyes. However, each culture is different. Judging another person's culture, to be ethnocentric, based upon my own culture(s) isn't something that I like to do. I try not to do it, but in this case I don't know how to be anything but somewhat judgmental. I feel sorry for the little girls who go through this without a say so. (And at the same time I know there are plenty of people out there who feel the same way about the little boys in our culture too.)

So, where do you draw the line? Which culture is right and which culture is wrong?

Johnny - posted on 05/07/2010





I'm not sure that it will likely prevent more than a few of these families from carrying out this barbaric ritual in their home countries, where it can be "done right". Ugh. And it may just make some people feel that it is a legitimate practice. I can see why they would want to find any way possible to prevent this, but this policy alarms me.

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