Just weeks after the American Academy of Pediatrics thought it was doing the right thing by suggesting it would be OK for parents to submit their daughters to a “ritual nick” to their genitals as part of the cultural practice of female circumcision, the AAP reversed itself this week, largely out of the outrage and letters from many of us.  My letter of May 11 to AAP is in an earlier Lawn Cares blog.

In the U.S., female genital mutilation is against the law even if it is regarded as a  cultural or religious practice with a long tradition.   It is cruel, barbaric and unacceptable.  The AAP panel originally rationalized that it was protecting girls from the full  FGM ordeal because parents would be sufficiently satisfied if they could just draw some blood on the clitoris or labia of their daughters.  The alternative would be that parents would continue to send their daughters back to places like Egypt, Sudan or Somalia for them to get the whole nasty deal — in places where it is still legal.  Female genital mutilation was outlawed by Congress in 1996 and it went into law in March 1997.  It has been estimated as many as  140 million females worldwide have undergone female circumcision.

The New York Times, on Wednesday, said, “The academy had suggested, in a policy statement, that doctors be given permission to perform a ceremonial pinprick or nick on girls if it would keep their families from sending them overseas for the full circumcision.  Although the nick on a girl’s clitoris is illegal in the United States, the academy’s bioethics panel had noted it is practiced in some countries.”

The Times quoted Dr. Judith S. Palfrey, president of the academy, “We’re saying don’t do it. Do everything that you can to support that family in this tough time, but don’t be pulled into the position.”

What is astounding, as well, is that the Academy thought that families that want genital cutting on their daughters are even reasonable  people or that they could be swayed by an American medical group to perform “cutting-light.”  These are people who treat females as property and babymakers, never mind something called “human rights” or medical ethics. Somehow they think that their daughters’  future mates/husbands will reject young women for wives  if the exterior structures of their genitals are not trimmed up and numbed by excising.

The hope and prayer of all of us in the movement to end all circumcisions is that the Academy of Pediatrics has come to its senses and, if and when, it revises its policy regarding male circumcision, it will say the male procedure has no merit, no medical need and no values AND  that it will acknowledge that the forced removal of foreskins on the unconsenting violates individual rights to genital integrity and wholeness.    May their new action against female circumcision be the beginning of a large medical organization at last recognizing what so much of the world long ago determined — the foreskin belongs where God/nature put it on all mammals, for protection, lubrication, the mechanics of sex, erogenous experiences and more purposes.

This is a good start, Academy. Now finish it: Recommend that parents and doctors leave minor males’ foreskin intact because there is no reasonable cause to justify their removal.  Circumcision on males or females is simply morally wrong.  On Thursday, Dutch doctors called for a  legal ban on male circumcisions based on human rights.

We have to break that ridiculous double-standard mindset of so many Americans who retch at the thought of female cutting but then see nothing bizarre about male circumcision. It is a blind spot and hypocrisy.   All humans have a right to wholeness and genital integrity.  Shame on the circumcisers — the doctors and medical community that reap a nice  income from the helpless and defenseless in cahoots with misinformed and uninformed parents.

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