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Dhimmi Doctors

May 9, 2010

When I first read the following headline from The Jawa Report, I hoped that it wasn’t true.  I was so wrong.

Female Genital Mutilation Coming To A Pediatrician Near You?

In America?  Yes.  The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a policy statement (PEDIATRICS Vol. 125 No. 5 May 2010, pp. 1088-1093) on female genital mutilation.  The statement was written by their committee on bioethics.  I never would have guessed that bioethics could be used to justify cutting a young girl’s genitals as part of a ritual.  Their argument is that pediatricians should offer to perform a “ritual nick” or a minor cut of the genitals to satisfy the religious/cultural/family demands.  Without this “minimal” FGM, families are likely to take their young daughters back to the home country to have more extensive FGM performed.

Here are their recommendations:

The American Academy of Pediatrics:

  1. Opposes all forms of FGC that pose risks of physical or psychological harm.
  2. Encourages its members to become informed about FGC and its complications and to be able to recognize physical signs of FGC.
  3. Recommends that its members actively seek to dissuade families from carrying out harmful forms of FGC.
  4. Recommends that its members provide patients and their parents with compassionate education about the physical harms and psychological risks of FGC while remaining sensitive to the cultural and religious reasons that motivate parents to seek this procedure for their daughters.

Guilticultural doublespeak.  There are no harmless forms of FGM.  All forms of FGM have risks and are without benefit (see the WHO fact sheet).  Who decides what is enough tissue to remove for the “nick”?  We should be acting to make the procedure less prevalent, not easier to obtain.  Parents who subject their daughters to any type of FGM should be prosecuted.  It’s worked in other countries.

There is also some evidence (eg, in Scandinavia) that a criminalization of the practice, with the attendant risk of losing custody of one’s children, is one of the factors that led to abandonment of this tradition among Somali immigrants.36

I’m still stunned that pediatricians would approve of this.  And I’m not at all surprised that they try to pretend that FGM isn’t associated most often with a specific religion.

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