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The American Academy of Pediatrics does not condone female genital cutting. If on reading that statement your first thought was, “Was that ever in question?” then you are, in my opinion, both (a) morally sane, and (b) behind on the news .*

The American Academy of Pediatrics has rescinded a controversial policy statement raising the idea that doctors in some communities should be able to substitute demands for female genital cutting with a harmless clitoral “pricking” procedure.

“We retracted the policy because it is important that the world health community understands the AAP is totally opposed to all forms of female genital cutting, both here in the U.S. and anywhere else in the world,” said AAP President Judith S. Palfrey.

The contentious policy statement, issued in April, had condemned the practice of female genital cutting overall. But a small portion of statement suggesting the pricking procedure riled U.S. advocacy groups and survivors of female genital cutting.


Here is my favorite line from the news report:
On Thursday the AAP stated the group will not condone doctors to provide any kind of “clitoral nick.” The AAP also clarified nicking a girl or woman’s genitals is forbidden under a 1996 federal law banning female genital mutilation.

In other words, the AAP decided that it might not be a good policy to condone committing a federal crime.

I can hear your second thought, “But what about male circumcision? Isn’t it a form of genital cutting?” My answer: Yes, but because male circumsicion can be medically beneficial , it is a practice that can be condoned by pediatricians.  Female genital cutting, however, is a purely cultural practice and should not be carried out by a doctor.

Which leaves us with final thought that I’ll leave for you to discuss: Can we legitimately oppose the practice of female genital cutting for religious, ethnic or cultural reasons while defending the practice of male circumcision on the same grounds?

*If you were unaware that this was being considered you can blame me. I was intending to write about the proposal on this blog a few weeks ago and it slipped my mind.

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