Protecting Young Women

Just when you think it couldn’t happen in your backyard, a startling report from the World Health Organization says differently.  Female genital cutting is affecting young woman in America. Even though the procedure has been banned since 1996, some parents in certain communities want their traditions to continue.  It’s a cultural practice that makes daughters deemed worthy for marriage or for hygiene reasons.

What is it?  According to ABC news: “The practice of cutting encompasses all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons, according to the World Health Organization.  In some countries, many of these girls will have their clitoris completely removed to deny them sexual pleasure.  And at its most severe, some of them will have their vaginas sewn shut to preserve their virginity.”

This fact saddens and disgusts me.  ABC News: “Each day in Africa and Asia, more than 8,000 girls between infancy and age 15 undergo female genital cutting, an estimated total of three million girls annually.”  Because American doctors should not provide this procedure, parents are going overseas for “vacation cutting” during school breaks.

The effects of the procedure have horrible complications.  As a result, women suffer psychological pain, bleeding, severe infections, higher risk of death during childbirth, and death.

American doctors face a dilemma.  If they don’t provide the procedure, they fear parents will go and get it done in a unsafe environment.  Some doctors suggest a “ritual nick” that isn’t so severe as an alternative.  However, the American Academy of Pediatrics opposes any cutting.

Ultimately, protecting young women needs to be top priority.

The links:
http://www.economist.com/node/16329452?story_id=163294

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs241/en/

http://abcnews.go.com/WN/WorldNews/female-genital-cutting-affecting-young-girls-america/story?id=10859231

http://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/unbound/flashbks/fgm/fgm.htm

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