The American Academy of Pediatrics has come out with a position statement on female genital mutilation (FGM) in America that provides doctors with guidance around accommodating this cultural practice which is banned in the US.
Rather than allow the full FGM procedure, or variations, doctors can now administer a ritualistic “prick” or “nick” that will perform the same cultural function while respecting the laws of civilized countries everywhere that have otherwise banned this heinous practice.
On first glance, hmmm… maybe that’s not such a bad idea, harm reduction is a good thing and this policy has been thought up to reduce the risk to young girls whose parents wish to follow cultural traditions and who would go abroad to have the surgery done in less than optimal conditions.
But, the cultural practice that this “nick” will represent is one that denies women the freedom – can we call it a “right” yet – to enjoy her sexuality. Female genital mutilation is undertaken as a means of control over female sexuality. There is no other reason for it. To represent this with even the tiniest pinprick serves to further perpetrate the belief that women are subservient to men, especially in the expression of their sexuality.
And, as the Times article states, this is slippery slope. What is a “nick”? Can it become a slice, maybe even a cut? How many drs will restrict themselves to just a pin prick when money is involved (health care is a business) and their client wants a more realistic ceremony? Especially those who share a cultural background with their clients.
What is it they say about good intentions and the road to hell?