I awoke this morning with a serious cold which I caught from my already sick 3-month old daughter. As such a situation generally warrants, I was not starting the day in the greatest mood. Multiply that by a billion now that I’ve read this post by PZ Myers on the American Academy of Pediatrics creating a loophole for female genital mutilation to be permitted.
You read that right. Female genital mutilation. Permitted. By the American Academy of Pediatrics. Shit.
International human rights organization Equality Now is stunned by a new policy statement issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which essentially promotes female genital mutilation (FGM) and advocates for “federal and state laws [to] enable pediatricians to reach out to families by offering a ‘ritual nick’,” such as pricking or minor incisions of girls’ clitorises.
What a way to reach out to families. As PZ mentioned in his post, a new bipartisan legislation called The Girls’ Protection Act, which prohibits families from taking their daughter out of the country for the purpose of female genital mutilation, was passed the same day. It’s kind of like the AAP is saying to these families, “Well I’m sorry we can’t allow you to leave the country to remove and/or damage your daughter’s genitals… So how about we just poke them with a scalpel and call it even?”
Taina Bien-Aime, Equality Now‘s Executive Director explains, “Encouraging pediatricians to perform FGM under the notion of ‘cultural sensitivity’ shows a shocking lack of understanding of a girl’s fundamental right to bodily integrity and equality. The AAP should promote awareness-raising within FGM-practicing immigrant communities about the harms of the practice, instead of endorsing an internationally recognized human rights violation against girls and women.”
Yes. And why should such a ritual receive cultural sensitivity? It shouldn’t. The practice is barbaric and needs to be stopped everywhere, not accommodated by the US. Female genital mutilation is recognized as a form of gender-based violence by the World Health Organization and International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, and rightly so. There is no medical need for it. The purpose of it is to maintain control over your daughter’s sexuality throughout her life and to ensure that she’s a virgin at the marriage you will undoubtedly arrange for her.
To the parents of the girls having their genitals partially or fully removed:
Go fuck yourselves. There is nothing wrong with embracing one’s sexuality. You are wrong. Furthermore, the job of a parent is to protect your children and keep them from harm. If your goal in life is to deter your daughter from leading the life she wishes to live, you’ve already failed your ultimate parental duties.
To the American Academy of Pediatrics:
Go fuck yourselves. Your job is “to first do no harm”. What exactly do you think you’re accomplishing by allowing such a practice to happen in the United States? Do you not think that such a decision could potentially start a trend in other countries to allow this to happen to young girls? These are babies and children. They don’t have a say in the matter and it should not be an option. If your goal is to compromise with families who wish to damage their child’s body and offer them a slightly less damaging alternative, you’ve failed your ethical duties.
For what it’s worth, I’m also against male circumcision as an at-birth practice, but as far as I know it isn’t used as a control over boys to prohibit sexuality and keep them eternally obedient.
If “ritual genital nick” had been an option at the hospital where I delivered my daughter, I would have gone to a different hospital. Something needs to be done about this. Please go over to Equality Now and take action in an effort to have the AAP retract their statement. If we have any hope of fixing gender equality problems in third world countries, we can’t compromise on them here.