AAP okays some forms of FGM, prepares to usher in gender neutral circumcision policy?

The American Academy of Pediatrics is moving backwards fast. It has now decided that female genital mutilation also known correctly and rightly as female circumcision (so as not to differentiate and distance it from male circumcision) is okay as long as it is medicalized and can be characterized as a “ritual nick.” This is all said to be in deference to communities who practice this atrocity and in an effort to confer beneficent cultural sensitivity to their way of life, no matter how it impinges on the rights of their often US citizen daughters, who enjoy or should enjoy the protections of US law and the Constitution said laws are founded upon.

aap

Really, AAP? Dedicated to the unhealthy agenda of all its members, maybe?

The first big issue is the fact that one person’s ritual nick is another person’s mutilation. So what definitions are to be used? The U.N.’s? Those written into various state, federal or foreign jurisdiction laws? Perhaps those of the ethnic community from which the girl comes? Genital cutting always takes on a life of its own and often devolves into the most invasive where perceived to be minor or cosmetic. Any examination of cosmetic surgeries generally, and male circumcision particularly, will reveal this truism. Medical opinion as to what a “nick” is will be ever changing just as medical opinion changes as to what a complication in male circumcision is. The conflicts of interests between the doctor, the victim, the parents, and any prosecuting authority to characterize and define will create chaos and pain and suffering only the surgery itself can rival.

Second, the whole concept of equality under the law is that exceptions to prohibitions against violating the rights of others are prohibited even where a whole community’s cultural identity is at issue. Supposedly, we’re living in the 21st Century and not the 8th. Hence, we adhere to the decidedly modern notion of equal protection. A little girl’s right to genital integrity is not abridged solely due to her age and ethnic derivation. If a grown Somali woman wants to submit to blood-letting, let her. However, she should be thrown in jail if she does it to her daughter and so should any doctor complicit in it.

Advocates such as the AAP should be civilly held accountable for encouraging such barbarism.

So why is the AAP making these terrible policy statements? It may not be about the girls. Rather it could be about the upcoming revision to the male circumcision policy statement. The equal protection argument works just as well against infant circumcision of boys. You can’t say girls deserve protection, but boys don’t and hide behind a thin argument of health benefit that will never reach consensus in the medical community. Eventually, something has to break. Either boys and girls can be cut or they can’t. Collectively. Either the laws of the land protect children from genital cutting. Or they don’t. Taken as a whole.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the AAP is looking far and wide to adjust all its positions to be able to counter any argument that supports male children over doctors and parents who wish to cut them. If the AAP decides to cave in to pressure to recommend male circumcision against all reasonable assessments of the evidence, this will be exactly how it appears.

Links: Equality Now calls on the American Academy of Pediatrics to retract a portion of their policy statement endorsing Type (IV) female genital mutilation of female minors

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Is Advocating for U.S. Pediatricians to Perform Certain Types of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

About David Wilton

fronterizo, defense lawyer, intactivist
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8 Responses to AAP okays some forms of FGM, prepares to usher in gender neutral circumcision policy?

  1. Joseph Lewis says:

    Welcome to equality, ladies…

  2. Check this entry in a Malay woman’s blog: http://aandes.blogspot.com/201…..ision.html.
    The woman refers to her own circumcised status and that of her mother and presumably the generations of female relatives who came before her. Her daughter had the procedure carried out in a medical centre by a doctor using sterile instruments. This custom continues out of cultural habit. There is no malice behind it. Circumcised Malay women have sex and give birth as easily as intact women in most of the world.
    I am not saying I approve, but I have no doubt this woman would be very offended if anyone were to tell her that she had no right to do this to her daughter, that it is harmful and unethical. She would calmly and politely tell them that what she decides is in her daughter’s best interest is none of their concern. If you stop to think about it, this is no different than the rationalizations put forth to justify the cutting of newborn boys, which is equally harmful and unethical.

  3. Joseph Lewis says:

    I just think this is amazing.
    There were two solutions in which the situation surrounding genital mutilation could have been made “equal” in this country.
    Rather than move completely against male genital mutilation, they chose endorse female genital mutilation.
    Their unwillingness to let go of male circumcision is simply astounding!
    I have a feeling though, that this will completely backfire on them, and before long they’re going to be wishing they would have never touched the issue.
    I dare say this could be a blessing in disguise; dialogue is finally happening where male and female circumcision is being discussed in the same breath.
    It’s actually forcing people to look closer at the similarities between male and female circumcision.
    May logic and reason prevail!!!

  4. Joe says:

    Geoffrey, your link was broken. Here is the link again.
    http://tinyurl.com/293ga7y

  5. David Wilton says:

    When I read the above linked blog post on that poor infant girl’s circumcision, I was overcome with the most profound sadness and anger. Because male circumcision has been the center of trauma for me personally, I have never focused on female circumcision as I did after reading the post and seeing pictures of it. There is no question remaining in my mind that these two acts perpetrated on unsuspecting children are inextricably linked and share every detail of horror. The AAP has entered a realm where up is down and black is white and everything is distorted by the acceptance of male circumcision. Circumcision of one sex would appear to make circumcision of the other possible. And the evidence for that is in the shifting position of the AAP on female circumcision, probably in preparation for a change in the male circumcision policy statement in favor thereof that we have objected to on equality grounds. The AAP is preparing to give us equality just as we’ve demanded, and in a wholly unexpected way. No one should question any longer whose side the AAP is on.

  6. Joe says:

    Dave, for a real trip be sure to read the comments too. Between the post and the comments it’s clear by the rhetoric from those defending this how closely FGM and MGM are linked.
    For example (from the comments): “You should delete the comments of these people because it is ruining a good celebration of your daughter. It’s unfair of them to judge Muslims for our sunnan when they do not know what it is or how we do it or what it means.” For a real trip follow that commenter back to their blog, it’s scary
    Or (from the original poster in the comments): “Hi all,
    Thanks for the insight. I’m not going to defense myself but it’s our decision.
    I did what I think right (when it’s wrong to you).
    And yes, you can educate people but don’t be rude. It’s part of the education.”

  7. Dr Calvert09 says:

    Cosmetic surgeon Los Angeles has lot’s of details about having circumcission. It has definitely a good and bad outcome. But male circumcission has been traditional. That every men should go through this procedure.

  8. David Wilton says:

    Dr. Jay just spammed me.

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