The American Academy of Pediatrics has come up with a compromise on female genital mutilation.
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.
Nice bit of accommodationism there. “We’ll just mutilate baby girls a little bit, to make the misogynist patriarchal assholes happy.” Well, we have no obligation to make misogynist patriarchal assholes happy at all, especially not when it involves waving scalpels about in the genitals of children.
Check out Equality Now, if you’re unfamiliar with the organization. It’s got the most depressing mission ever, but one of the most important, too. Also go to their urgent alert page, where they have names, addresses and phone numbers of AAP board members who should be flooded with messages (they also provide a sample letter) telling them what an awful, horrible, evil decision they have made.
By the way, the director of AAP and both board members you should write to…all male. Somehow, I’m not surprised.
By the way, also read the official AAP policy statement. It’s got another bizarre bit of pandering:
In addition, “mutilation” is an inflammatory term that tends to foreclose communication and that fails to respect the experience of the many women who have had their genitals altered and who do not perceive themselves as “mutilated.” It is paradoxical to recommend “culturally sensitive counseling” while using culturally insensitive language. “Female genital cutting” is a neutral, descriptive term.
It also has several diagrams of the results of the procedure, appropriately labeled “Female genital mutilation.”
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.