Anti-circumcision fanatics have long argued that if female circumcision is outlawed, then male circumcision should be, too. Of course, this argument assumes that both types of circumcision are the same -- which they are clearly not.
Female circumcision has never been proven to offer any health advantage to the circumcised girl. It is solely a cultural tradition embraced by many around the world. In contrast, in one medical study after another, male circumcision offers positive benefits to the male and his partners. That should end the discussion, but it never does with the anti-circs.
Sure to complicate the debate is an apparent position change by the American Academy of Pediatrics in support of a "nick" or "minor circumcision" of a girl, as a means by which to discourage a full-scale removal of female genital parts. The New York Times below reports the story, and I invite your comments.
While I find female circumcision abhorrent as a practice because it has no medical benefits, I recognize the cultural myopia that we Americans have on this issue. Maybe the AAP is right. If a nick or little cutting makes parents feel comfortable that they do not need to remove the clitoris, labia, or whatever else is involved in full female circumcision, I suppose it is an option that should be considered carefully -- without American cultural blinders affecting our vision.
One thing is certain. The anti-circumcision fanatics will try to use this debate over female circumcision to denounce the obviously beneficial removal of the foreskin from males. Watch my words. I guarantee it.
NewYorkTimes: Group Backs Ritual ‘Nick’ as Female Circumcision Option
By PAM BELLUCK
Published: May 6, 2010
"In a controversial change to a longstanding policy concerning the practice of female circumcision in some African and Asian cultures, the American Academy of Pediatrics is suggesting that American doctors be given permission to perform a ceremonial pinprick or “nick” on girls from these cultures if it would keep their families from sending them overseas for the full circumcision."
"The academy’s committee on bioethics, in a policy statement last week, said some pediatricians had suggested that current federal law, which “makes criminal any nonmedical procedure performed on the genitals” of a girl in the United States, has had the unintended consequence of driving some families to take their daughters to other countries to undergo mutilation."
“It might be more effective if federal and state laws enabled pediatricians to reach out to families by offering a ritual nick as a possible compromise to avoid greater harm,” the group said.