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American Academy of Pediatrics Supports Female Genital Mutilation

June 30, 2010

Ah for those alarmists who mentioned that Americans’ desire to be politically correct would be the death of women’s rights and civil rights:  they may be right.  The American Academy of Pediatrics has changed it’s language regarding female genital mutilation to female genital cutting, and has condoned a “pinprick” to satisfy parents who want their daughter’s genitals mutilated, thereby ensuring that American doctors are now accepting of “cultural norms/assault on women” with immunity:

But the latest squall to blow back on the AAP’s offices is about an issue very few American parents will ever have to deal with. On April 26, the organization changed its long-held stance on female genital cutting (FGC), a ritual that is practiced mostly in Muslim, Arabic and African counties, such as Ethiopia and Somalia — but also in certain largely Christian nations like Kenya — and is illegal in much of the West. The group now wants to explore allowing American doctors to perform a ceremonial pinprick, or small nick, on young girls if it would keep their families from pursuing circumcision. “It might be more effective if federal and state laws enabled pediatricians to reach out to families by offering a ritual nick as a possible compromise to avoid greater harm,” the academy’s committee on bioethics says in a policy statement.

Immigrant families that wish to preserve their local traditions sometimes approach Western doctors to perform FGC on their daughters. In its new report, the AAP advises doctors to inform families that the procedure is medically unnecessary and even dangerous. Should the families be resolute, the AAP raises the idea of legalizing a less-severe ritual cutting — akin, the policy statement says, to an “ear piercing” — to dissuade parents from sending their daughters to be circumcised in their home country, where medical conditions are likely to be far worse. “We knew that it was a controversial idea,” says the report’s lead author, Dena Davis, a professor at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University. “We knew simply making the language more neutral was highly controversial.” (Previously, the ritual had been known as female genital mutilation, or FGM.)

The reaction was not muted. “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,” says Taina Bien-Aime, executive director of the human rights organization Equality Now. “If foot-binding were still being carried out, would the AAP encourage pediatricians to execute a milder version of this practice?”

Reactions regarding immigrant customs have been at an all-time abhorrence, unless you count the “red scare” of the Cold War era, so the AAP’s stance on this is quite surprising.

I am not sure what happened to the “first do no harm” bit, nor the concept that this is ILLEGAL, but hey, most doctors don’t follow the laws anyway–that’s what tort reform was all about, right?

Based on anecdotal commentary, or the ubiquitous “they,” the AAP, a formerly-esteemed scientific community has now resorted to trying to address something best left to law enforcement, or to other countries to police their own nationals:

“I can’t give you numbers on how many families take their daughters overseas [to be circumcised],” says Davis, “but we heard anecdotally from doctors who had fears that it had happened.”

So, based on fears and anecdotal evidence, American doctors must now condone female genital mutilation, make themselves above the law, on the assumption that they are now policing people in other countries?  It’s faulty logic to be sure, but it’s a reality now in the uber-PC culture.

In a prime example of the doctors flouting law and thinking they can get away with it, read the following quote:

On the same day the AAP published its new recommendation, the Girls Protection Act, which would make it illegal to take a minor outside the U.S. to seek female circumcision, was introduced in Congress. “I am sure the academy had only good intentions, but what their recommendation has done is only create confusion about whether FGM is acceptable in any form, and it is the wrong step forward on how best to protect young women and girls,” said one of the bill’s sponsors, New York Representative Joseph Crowley, speaking to the New York Times. Davis counters that such a law would be extremely difficult to enforce.

So now “DR. Davis” has said that since a law calling FGM illegal would be difficult to enforce, it is less relevant, perhaps placing himself and peers above the law?  I have written many times in the past about doctors who feel that the laws don’t apply to them, and nowhere is this more prevalent than the area of med mal, where doctors feel that theirs is a blameless profession that should be shielded from liability like the U.S.Government, but seriously now with female genital mutilation too?

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