The American Academy of Pediatrics recently made the bone-headed decision to try to reduce unlawful female genital mutilation in the U.S.  by informing immigrant families that the academy would  like to allow for a “nick” of a girl’s genitals.  That way these parents from mostly African countries would stop sendng their daughters back to places like Somalia, Ethiopia and Chad to get the complete job done — having their clitoris and labia removed, for example.  Of course, Congress would have to modify its 1996 legislation that point blank outlawed female circumcision to permit pricking the genitals. What Congress needs to do is outlaw both male and femaile genital mutilation as repugnant, inhumane practices.

The AAP terrible action prompted me to write this letter:

American Academy of Pediatrics

141  Northwest Point Blvd.

Elk Grove Village, IL, 60007

RE: Female Genital Mutilation Policy Change

Dear Task Force:

Are you serious?  You compromise your policy opposed to female genital mutilation by saying that “nicking” the genitals of a female minor is now OK under the notion that now those culturally crazed parents will be satisfied with a few drops of blood being spilled?  What part of the universe are you from?  American medicine cannot hope to suggest, to these kinds of people, a new way of doing ritual.  Families, so consumed with the “rightness” of their harsh, draconian  folkways  — such nonsensical notions that vulvas must be trimmed and sewn — are not going to buy this token procedure you advocate.  Who came up with this?  Was this thought out?

Do you really lower medical and human rights standards to placate people still carrying on perverse practices that go back to the primitive times when adults believed they owned offspring and men could do whatever they want with females?  In the meantime, AAP loses it soul by trying to accommodate troglodytes and backing off what is federal law to protect infants, girls and teens from the barbaric and cruel procedures.  You really need to reverse yourselves before this really becomes better known and it blows up in your faces.  When does a little bit of cruelty advocated by a “respected” medical association become a good thing?

It is unfathomable how some in medicine have so little regard for the welfare of people and their human rights. Here we thought that female genital mutilation, or female circumcision, in America had been soundly outlawed by Congress in 1996-97. The worldwide outrage, especially driven by women’s movements across the planet, reviled by what goes on in Africa and Arab nations, fed the legislation that went into effect as law in March 1997. It became illegal to submit females to the ritual cutting of some of, or all, female genitalia leaving, at worst, only openings — and mutilated structures to last their lifetimes. The World Health Organization reports between 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide are living with the consequences of FGM. In Africa, about 92 million girls age 10 years and above are estimated to have undergone such cuttings.

How utterly insensitive. So the the AAP thinks that some little assault will prevent greater assault. The Federal Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act made it criminal to cut on defenseless girls for cultural reasons. Modern laws have been adopted in countless cases to end harsh cultural folkways, and there cannot be any exceptions made.   AAP cannot have it both ways. Genital cutting of both males and females must be eradicated if we are going to be civilized people.

Circumcision of females and males cannot be justified, not for religious reasons, not for cultural reasons, not for so-called health reasons, not to ensure offspring look like parents or siblings, not to prevent teasing in locker rooms for being different, not because it has been done for thousands of years, not because it’s in the Bible, not because future spouses have penile aesthetic preferences. Foreskins of males and all the structures and folds of females are under the sovereignty of the owners — and only them. The most loving, well-intentioned parent has no legitimate right to order their sons and daughters to be cut and trimmed to satisfy any of their cultural, religious or whimsical choices.

Circumcision is medically unethical. We need to end the duplicity in this country that finds cutting female genitalia deplorable while, for boys, it is “acceptable” to cut a multitude of nerves, blood vessels and the equivalence of 15 square inches (in the adult) from the penis, forever altering the mechanics of sex itself and sometimes leading to dysfunction and even death.

You at AAP and the Centers for Disease Control purportedly are revisitng the 1999 AAP statement that advised against circumcision.  Given how woefully bad AAP has thought out the FGM policy, we are bracing for what you might do this time with males. Cutting on the genitals of helpless minors simply cannot be justified in an enlightened, caring world. Circumcision is morally and ethically wrong on every count. The dirty little practice has to end.


Lawn Griffiths