Panel Discussion on Female Circumcision: Ethics and Human Rights

I’ve written previously about the firestorm surrounding the now-retracted American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement suggesting that doctors might make a ritual nick on girls to prevent them from being sent back to their home countries for more drastic forms of genital cutting.  Readers in the Boston area might be interested in attending a panel discussion at Harvard Law School that asks where those working to prevent female genital cutting should go from here.  Below is a description of the event, which takes place tomorrow (March 3) at 4:00 in Room 200, Pound Hall.

The practice of FGM has been at the center of health and human rights debates for decades. Public health, women’s rights and child rights advocates, governments and health professional associations–in Africa, Asia, Europe and the US– have taken positions running the gamut from abolition to harm reduction. In April 2010,  the American Association of Pediatrics issued a Policy Statement on female genital cutting that was quickly retracted in the face of significant opposition.  The controversy surrounding the report presents an excellent point of departure for examining the issues that still complicate our thinking about the issue.

In this panel we hope to explore the ethical, legal, and human rights dimensions of female genital circumcision.  These include dimensions of toleration, prohibition, harm-reduction, and cultural competency.

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2 Responses

  1. Ron Low says:

    There is very little to be said about female genital cutting that does not also apply to male and intersex genital cutting. Oh, except that 94% of the world ALREADY lives where FGM is illegal with no religious exemption.

    NOT ONE national medical association of doctors on earth (not even Israel’s) endorses routine male circumcision. As such it is cosmetic surgery.

    Holland’s very up-to-date policy says of circumcision: “KNMG is calling upon doctors to actively and insistently inform parents who are considering the procedure of the absence of medical benefits and the danger of complications.” They also say there is actually a good case to make it illegal.

  2. Tony says:

    Is there audio/video of this event anywhere for download? I can’t find it, but I’d be interested in hearing the discussion, if possible.