This is controversial any way you look at it. The American Academy of Pediatrics is suggesting that doctors in the United States be allowed to perform a ceremonial “nick” or pinprick on girls whose families are from countries where female circumcision is practiced, in hopes that the families will not then send the girls overseas for the more severe practice.
Current federal law prohibits any nonmedical procedure on the genitals of any girl in the United States. The prohibition apparently has driven some Asian and African families overseas, where female circumcision – also called genital mutilation – is practiced.
From the New York Times:
“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.
But some opponents of female genital mutilation, or F.G.M., denounced the statement.
“I am sure the academy had only good intentions, but what their recommendation has done is only create confusion about whether F.G.M. is acceptable in any form, and it is the wrong step forward on how best to protect young women and girls,” said Representative Joseph Crowley, Democrat of New York, who recently introduced a bill to toughen federal law by making it a crime to take a girl overseas to be circumcised. “F.G.M. serves no medical purpose, and it is rightfully banned in the U.S.”
Georganne Chapin, executive director of an advocacy group called Intact America, said she was “astonished that a group of intelligent people did not see the utter slippery slope that we put physicians on” with the new policy statement. “How much blood will parents be satisfied with?”
She added: “There are countries in the world that allow wife beating, slavery and child abuse, but we don’t allow people to practice those customs in this country. We don’t let people have slavery a little bit because they’re going to do it anyway, or beat their wives a little bit because they’re going to do it anyway.”
The issue is heating up. From a column in the British guardian.uk: