The shame of the American Academy of Pediatrics

Via PR Newswire:

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. The Policy Statement “Ritual Genital Cutting of Female Minors”, issued by the AAP on April 26, 2010, is a significant set-back to the Academy’s own prior statements on the issue of FGM and is antithetical to decades of noteworthy advancement across Africa and around the world in combating this human rights violation against women and girls. It is ironic that the AAP issued its statement the very same day that Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-NY) and Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (R-CA) announced the introduction of new bipartisan legislation, The Girls Protection Act (H.R. 5137), to close the loophole in the federal law prohibiting FGM by making it illegal to transport a minor girl living in the U.S. out of the country for the purpose of FGM.

Equality Now:

Contrary to the assertion in the AAP Statement that the World Health Organization (WHO) is “silent on the pros and cons of pricking or minor incisions,” the WHO recognizes that pricking, piercing and incising of girls’ genitalia are forms of female genital mutilation (Type IV) with no health benefits and only harmful consequences. The WHO has acknowledged an increasing trend for medically trained personnel to perform FGM and has strongly urged health professions to refrain from performing such procedures. Furthermore, a United Nations interagency statement on “Eliminating Female Genital Mutilation” issued by 10 UN agencies in 2008 states, “[T]he guiding principles for considering genital practices as female genital mutilation should be those of human rights, including the rights to health, the rights of children and the right to non-discrimination on the basis of sex.”

PZ Myers gets it right: What ever happened to “first, do no harm?”

They do say that they offer “nicking” as a compromise to avoid greater harm, so that the parents are satisfied and do not go looking for more severe forms of mutilation to perpetrate on their children. It is not enough. Their whole policy is designed to avoid confronting misogynistic bigots with the horrendous consequences of their traditions.


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