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Some Ethical Considerations Regarding Medicalization of Female Genital Mutilation/cutting (Female Circumcision)

rev.latinoam.bioet. vol.8 no.1 Bogotá Jan./June 2008

Some Ethical Considerations Regarding Medicalization of Female Genital Mutilation/cutting (Female Circumcision)

Ahmed R. A. Ragab

Médico Gineco-Obstetra con Maestría en Bioética. Profesor de investigación de la salud reproductiva aplicada de la Universidad de Al-zhar (El Cairo, Egipto). Email: arragab@yahoo.com

ABSTRACT

According to each society’s condition the ethical attitude of the individual may be colored by the attitude of the society. It is therefore not surprising to find what is ethical in one society might not be ethical in another. Female Genital Cutting, as an example, is seen in some societies as a must and something good for the whole community in general and for girls in particular, while in others, it is seen as mutilation and violation of human rights. The practice of female genital cutting is a complex issue that ties the traditional gender roles, superstition, local concepts on health and sexuality, as well as several other social relations. Worldwide, an estimated 130 million girls and women have undergone FGC.

The current paper examines medicalization of female genital cutting from ethical point of view. The paper discusses the issue in the following themes: definition of the practice, the justifications of the practice, the complications and lastly the ethical reflections. The paper argues that laws that prohibit the practice would not work, without wide socio-cultural change; any effort to eradicate the practice would not succeed.

This article can be accessed in this LINK