A set of beliefs concerning the nature, cause, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency. It usually involves devotional and ritual observances and often a moral code for the conduct of human affairs. (Random House Collegiate Dictionary, rev. ed.)
Facts and controversies on female genital mutilation and Islam.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. email@example.com Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a very ancient traditional and cultural ritual. Strategies and policies have been implemented to abandon this practice. However, despite commendable work, it is still prevalent, mainly in Muslim countries. FGM predates Islam. It is not mentioned in the Qur’an (the verbatim word of God in Islam). Muslim religious authorities agree that all types of mutilation, including FGM, are condemned. ‘Sensitivity’ to cultural traditions that erroneously associate FGM with Islam is misplaced. The principle of ‘do no harm’, endorsed by Islam, supersedes cultural practices, logically eliminating FGM from receiving any Islamic religious endorsement.
Harvard Law School Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics.
Under what circumstances should a citizen be able to avoid the penalties set by the citizen’s home country’s criminal law by going abroad to engage in the same activity where it is not criminally prohibited? Should we view the ability to engage in prohibited activities by traveling outside of the nation state as a way of accommodating cultural or political differences within our polity? These are general questions regarding the power and theory of extraterritorial application of domestic criminal law. In this Article, I examine the issues through a close exploration of one setting that urgently presents them: medical tourism. Medical tourism is a term used to describe the travel of patients who are citizens and residents of one country, the “home country,” to another country, the “destination country,” for medical treatment. This Article is the first to comprehensively examine a subcategory of medical tourism that I call “circumvention tourism,” which involves patients who travel abroad for services that are legal in the patient’s destination country but illegal in the patient’s home country–that is, travel to circumvent domestic prohibitions on accessing certain medical services. The four examples of this phenomenon that I dwell on are circumvention medical tourism for female genital cutting (FGC), abortion, reproductive technology usage, and assisted suicide. I will briefly discuss the “can” question: assuming that a domestic prohibition on access to one of these services is lawful, as a matter of international law, is the home country forbidden, permitted, or mandated to extend its existing criminal prohibition extraterritorially to home country citizens who travel abroad to circumvent the home country’s prohibition? Most of the Article, though, is devoted to the “ought” question: assuming that the domestic prohibition is viewed as normatively well-grounded, under what circumstances should the home country extend its existing criminal prohibition extraterritorially to its citizens who travel abroad to circumvent the prohibition? I show that, contrary to much of current practice, in most instances, home countries should seek to extend extraterritorially their criminal prohibitions on FGC, abortion, assisted suicide, and, to a lesser extent, reproductive technology use to their citizens who travel abroad to circumvent the prohibition. I also discuss the ways in which my analysis of these prohibitions can serve as scaffolding for a more general theory of circumvention tourism.
A Tradition in Transition: Factors Perpetuating and Hindering the Continuance of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) Summarized in a Systematic Review
Rigmor C. Berg & Eva Denison
Understanding the forces underpinning FGM/C is a necessary first step to prevent the continuation of a practice that is associated with health complications and human rights violations. To this end, a systematic review of 21 studies was conducted. Based on this review, the authors reveal six key factors that underpin FGM/C: cultural tradition, sexual morals, marriageability, religion, health benefits, and male sexual enjoyment. There were four key factors perceived to hinder FGM/C: health consequences, it is not a religious requirement, it is illegal, and the host society discourse rejects FGM/C. The results show that FGM/C appears to be a tradition in transition.
What is the name of the useless bit at the end of a penis? A man of course, but circumcision is no joke. If you crave controversy, choose a topic concerned with sex or religion. The ancient ritual of circumcision meets both criteria. In the second century BC, tribes on the Red Sea, now Egypt, practised both female and male circumcision. One possible explanation relates to the belief that gods were bisexual and humans, like gods, had both a female and a male soul. The man’s female soul which resided in the prepuce and the woman’s male soul which resided in the clitoris had to be removed for healthy gender development…
Male versus female genital alteration: differences in legal, medical, and socioethical responses.
Solomon LM, Noll RC. Proskauer Rose LLP, New York, New York 10036-8299, USA. Lsolomon@proskuaer.com
The different legal, social, and medical approaches to ritually based male and female genital circumcision in the United States are highlighted in this article. The religious and historical origins of these practices are briefly examined, as well as the effect of changing policy statements by American medical associations on the number of circumcisions performed. Currently, no state or federal laws single out male circumcision for regulation. The tolerant attitudes toward male circumcision in law, medicine, and societal opinion stand in striking contrast to the attitudes of those disciplines toward even the least invasive form of female genital alteration. US law tacitly condones male circumcision by providing exemptions that are not available for other medical procedures, while criminalizing any similar or even less extensive procedure on females. The increase in immigration, over the past few decades, of people from countries in which female genital alteration is a cultural tradition has brought the issue to the United States. The medical profession’s changing approach over time toward male circumcision is primarily responsible for such different legal and societal reactions toward female genital alteration.
Bodily integrity and male and female circumcision.
Dekkers W, Hoffer C, Wils JP.
Department of Ethics, Philosophy and History of Medicine, University Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands. firstname.lastname@example.org
This paper explores the ambiguous notion of bodily integrity, focusing on male and female circumcision. In the empirical part of the study we describe and analyse the various meanings that are given to the notion of bodily integrity by people in their daily lives. In the philosophical part we distinguish (1) between a person-oriented and a body-oriented approach and (2) between four levels of interpretation, i.e. bodily integrity conceived of as a biological wholeness, an experiential wholeness, an intact wholeness, and as an inviolable wholeness. We argue that bodily integrity is a prima facie principle in its own right, closely connected with, but still fundamentally different from, the principle of personal autonomy, that is, autonomy over the body.
Female genital mutilation — an exported medical hazard.
Elgaali M, Strevens H, Mårdh PA.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Lund University, Sweden.
BACKGROUND: Female circumcision (FC) has remained a common practice in the countries where it has traditionally been performed. Following increased global mobility, it has also become a common medical issue in the predominantly non-Islamic countries where an increasing number of immigrants from regions where FC is still traditional, have settled. OBJECTIVES: To investigate types of FC found in a group of immigrants from northern Africa with a current domicile in Scandinavia. To characterize these women with regard to education, socio-economic status and experienced complications and sequelae. To report attitudes to FC among the women and their husbands. METHODS: An autoquestionnaire was distributed to 220 immigrant women (16-42 years old), who belonged to an African community in Scandinavia and who had all been circumcised. Information was also gathered concerning 76 of their daughters (aged 1-13 years). Of the women’s husbands, 95 were asked about their attitudes to FC. RESULTS: Of the 140 women, who had been circumcised in their home country before they migrated, 78 (35%) had been clitoridectomized, 38 (17%) had been subjected to genital excision and 24 (11%) to infibulation. The corresponding percentages in the remaining women, who had had FC when returning home for a visit, were 0%, 14% and 22%, respectively. Of the daughters, 15 (19%) had been circumcised whilst living in Scandinavia; all had been clitoridectomized. Twenty-eight (13%) women reported having experienced late complications or post-FC sequelae. A positive attitude to stopping the tradition of FC was reported twice as often by the husbands (69%) as by the circumcised women (35%). Religion (95% of the responders were Muslims and 5% Christians), cultural tradition, and increased chance of marriage or of continued health were the reasons put forward in favor of the continuation of FC by 58%, 27%, 10% and 4 %, respectively. Five per cent could not supply an opinion. CONCLUSIONS: FC is performed in immigrant women even after settling in areas where this practise is legally banned. Circumcised immigrant women experience medical and sexual problems which have to be dealt with in their new domicile country. Many African Islamic women, who have migrated to Scandinavia, seem still to be in favour of the continuation of circumcision for varying reasons.