Int Urogynecol J. 2016 Nov 17. [Epub ahead of print]
Female genital mutilation: the role of medical professional organizations
Female genital mutilation (FGM) refers to alteration of the external genitalia of girls without medical benefit. It is estimated by United Nations agencies that 200 million living girls and women have been subjected to different forms of FGM worldwide. Despite the criminalization of the procedure in the vast majority of countries where it is practiced, the decline in the incidence of this ritual is far from satisfactory. Immediate and long-term ill effects are well documented. Most publications of relevance originate from countries outside the map of FGM. In addition, there are major gaps in research related to this issue, considering the magnitude of the problem. International medical organizations and societies should assume their responsibility by providing a platform to professionals engaged in the prevention and treatment of the consequences of FGM, especially those living in the communities where the practice is endemic.
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Kennedy Inst Ethics J. 2016 Jun;26(2):105-44. doi: 10.1353/ken.2016.0009.
Between Moral Relativism and Moral Hypocrisy: Reframing the Debate on “FGM”
The spectrum of practices termed “Female Genital Mutilation” (or FGM) by the World Health Organization is sometimes held up as a counterexample to moral relativism. Those who advance this line of thought suggest the practices are so harmful in terms of their physical and emotional consequences, as well as so problematic in terms of their sexist or oppressive implications, that they provide sufficient, rational grounds for the assertion of a universal moral claim–namely, that all forms of FGM are wrong, regardless of the cultural context. However, others point to cultural bias and moral double standards on the part of those who espouse this argument, and have begun to question the received interpretation of the relevant empirical data on FGM as well. In this article I assess the merits of these competing perspectives. I argue that each of them involves valid moral concerns that should be taken seriously in order to move the discussion forward. In doing so, I draw on the biomedical “enhancement” literature in order to develop a novel ethical framework for evaluating FGM (and related interventions–such as female genital “cosmetic” surgery and nontherapeutic male circumcision) that takes into account the genuine harms that are at stake in these procedures, but which does not suffer from being based on cultural or moral double standards.
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Eur J Pediatr. 2013 Aug 28. [Epub ahead of print]
Female genital mutilation: a hidden epidemic (statement from the European Academy of Paediatrics).
Sauer PJ, Neubauer D.
Beatrix Children Hospital/UMCG, PO BOX 30.001, 9700 RB, Groningen, The Netherlands, email@example.com.
Female genital mutilation or female circumcision is frequently performed worldwide. It is estimated by the World Health Organisation that worldwide, 100-140 million girls and women currently have to live with the consequences of female genital mutilation. The article argues that the tradition is one of the causes, while another four possible reasons for undergoing such cruel mutilation of young girls exist. Today, there exists a classification of at least four different ways of such mutilation which has no health benefits, and it harms girls and women in many ways. Long-term consequences like recurrent urinary tract infections, dysmenorrhea, sexual problems, infertility and complications both for the mother and infant at delivery are mentioned. Female genital mutilation is a violation of the fundamental human rights, as well as a savage breach of the integrity and personality. Conclusion: The European Academy of Paediatrics advises its members to initiate appropriate counselling for parents and female adolescents regarding the risk of female genital mutilation and strongly condemns female genital mutilation and councils its members not to perform such procedures.
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J Gynecol Obstet Biol Reprod (Paris). 2010 Feb;39(1):81-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jgyn.2009.10.003. Epub 2009 Nov 18.
[Female genital mutilation – the excision. Reflections of the ethics committee of the medical association Avicenne of France]. [Article in French]
Messaadi N, Chaker A.
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Lancet. 2010 Jul 3;376(9734):15.
AAP retracts statement on controversial procedure.
Lancet. 2010 Oct 9;376(9748):1222; discussion 1222.
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