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Female circumcision/female genital mutilation in the United States: legislation and its implications for health providers.

J Am Med Womens Assoc. 1997 Fall;52(4):179-80, 187.

Female circumcision/female genital mutilation in the United States: legislation and its implications for health providers.

Key FL.

Law and Policy Project, Columbia University School of Public Health, New York City, USA.

ABSTRACT

Criminal laws prohibiting female circumcision/female genital mutilation (FC/FGM) have recently been passed in the US Congress and in several state legislatures. The full effect of criminalization on prevention and on the overall well-being of immigrant groups from FC/FGM-practicing countries is currently unknown and will ultimately depend on, among other things, the precise interpretation of the laws by courts and local authorities. Meanwhile, the content of these laws prompt questions about their intended and inadvertent effects on FC/FGM, including: What acts are criminalized under these laws? Will criminalization prevent them? Do the laws have the potential to do more harm than good? The appropriateness of prosecuting FC/ FGM under existing child protection statutes is also raised.

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