This decision — to approve of the idea of a “ritualized nick” on a girl’s genitalia — is as pointless as it is dangerous. For those who insist on following prescribed degrees of mutilation, which are primarily enforced in Muslim countries, a token gesture will not be enough to keep them from traveling overseas or seeking a more severe form of the practice wherever they can. And the girl still suffers the trauma of a ritualized sexual assault — potentially twice, if, for example, the “nick” is the parents’ ruse to throw health care providers off the trail of further intended damage, or if they simply change their minds.
Lastly, and most importantly, there are those four words of the Hippocratic oath that the American Academy of Pediatrics seems to have forgotten: First do no harm. And if it is supposed to be harmless, let the AAP doctors line up forthwith for their own “ritualized nick.”
“‘Compromise’ on Female Circumcision Ignites Debate,” by Katie Drummond for AOL News, May 10 (thanks to DJM):
(May 7) — The American Academy of Pediatrics has moderated its policy on female circumcision — a decision that quickly spurred widespread denunciation from advocacy groups and government officials.
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.
An estimated 100 million to 140 million girls and women in 28 countries have experienced female genital mutilation, according to the World Health Organization. In Africa, 3 million girls are still operated on each year.
In the U.S, the change to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ stance occurred just as a members of Congress proposed a bill that would make traveling overseas for the procedure illegal.
“I am sure the academy had only good intentions, but what their recommendation has done is only create confusion about whether FGM is acceptable in any form, and it is the wrong step forward on how best to protect young women and girls,” Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., who proposed the bill, said in a statement….