Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Amer. Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement on Female Genital Cutting - a concession to Islam?

Policy Statement--Ritual Genital Cutting of Female Minors -- COMMITTEE ON BIOETHICS, 10.1542/peds.2010-0187 -- Pediatrics

FYI The report has clinically explicit diagrams and language.

There's some internet buzz around this report, with conservatives , moms and lefty feminists all seeing another Western concession to Islam.

On first read, the bulk of the paper is against the practice, even citing the physicians duty to "do no harm." It surveys various approaches that have been taken around the world, noting honestly that Scandinavian criminalization of the practice pretty much eradicated it in one Somali Muslim immigrant community.

But those of us who've endured manipulative Episcopal/Anglican "dialogue, education, sensitivity" and other such "process" based politics will find ourselves twitching and cringing as such terms pop up again and again in the report. Likewise, the moral parity effort to say, "It's been done in all religions and cultures, not just Islam" has a familiar and unwelcome ring.

Read it and see what you think.


Alice C. Linsley said...

Father, I've written a good deal on this subject at Just Genesis and Ethics Forum. The rhetoric is loud and makes it difficult to understand the religio-cultural context of female circumcision, which takes different forms, some less radical. It is the binary opposite of male circumcision, but this is not well understood. If one is bad then why not the other? There is still much to learn about the practice, which isn't going away in Africa, inspite of UN money and Feminist efforts to pay tribal chiefs to forbid the practice. If we want to be fair, then both male and female should be eliminated.

TLF+ said...

Good to hear from you again, Alice! Please send along some links here so folks can have a look at some of the research you do. I think it will be helpful to this discussion.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Here is the main article which links to others.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Here is another article on the subject:

The practice of circumcision for both males and females is traced back to Abraham's African ancestors who ruled in the Upper Nile. This is the point of origin of the practice (anthropologically speaking) and it is where the battle is being drawn today.