Monday, February 9, 2015

Key Facts of Genital Mutilation

 Reviewing the World Health Organization key facts on female genital mutilation to see how they parallel male circumcision:

Key facts

  • Female genital mutilation (FGM) includes procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
  • The procedure has no health benefits for girls and women.
  • Procedures can cause severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later cysts, infections, infertility as well as complications in childbirth and increased risk of newborn deaths.
  • More than 125 million girls and women alive today have been cut in the 29 countries in Africa and Middle East where FGM is concentrated (1).
  • FGM is mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15.
  • FGM is a violation of the human rights of girls and women.


Fact #1

WHO on FGM: Female genital mutilation (FGM) includes procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.(1)

AAP on MC: Circumcision is a surgical procedure in which the skin covering the end of the penis is removed. Scientific studies show a number of medical benefits of circumcision. Parents may also want their sons circumcised for religious, social, or cultural reasons. Because circumcision is not essential to a child's health, parents should choose what is best for their child by looking at the benefits and risks (2)

PARALLEL:

* Alters genital organs
* Non-medical reasons, such as religious, social or cultural reasons. Even potential benefits don't make it essential.


Fact #2

WHO on FGM: The procedure has no health benefits for girls and women. (1)

AAP on MC: Because circumcision is not essential to a child's health, parents should choose...(2)

PARALLEL AND DIFFERENCES:

* While the AAP says there are 'potential benefits' of MC, the procedure remains 'not essential to a child's health'.

Fact #3

WHO on FGM: Procedures can cause severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later cysts, infections, infertility as well as complications in childbirth and increased risk of newborn deaths. (1)

AAP on MC: Complications are rare and usually minor but may include bleeding, infection, cutting the foreskin too short or too long, and improper healing.  Some people feel the foreskin is needed to protect the tip of the penis. Without it, the tip of the penis may become irritated and cause the opening of the penis to become too small. This can cause urination problems that may need to be surgically corrected. (2)

PARALLEL:

* Bleeding, infection, problems urinating...


Fact #4

WHO on FGM: More than 125 million girls and women alive today have been cut in the 29 countries in Africa and Middle East where FGM is concentrated (1). 

WHO on MC:
The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that globally 30% of males aged 15 and over are circumcised (3) (Estimated number could be 1,050 million)


Fact #5

WHO on FGM: FGM is mostly carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15.

WikiPedia on MC: Circumcision in the US and in Jewish religion is usually done before or on the 8th day of life. In Islam it may be done from soon after birth up to about age 15. In some African cultures it is a rite of passage, also carried out during adolescence. (4)


Fact #6

WHO on FGM: FGM is a violation of the human rights of girls and women.

PACE on MC: Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has said it is “particularly worried” about certain violations of the physical integrity of children – including the circumcision of young boys for religious reasons, early childhood interventions in the case of intersexual children, and the coercion of children into piercings, tattoos or plastic surgery (5)


Graphic Case Studies


Case Study #1
 "Alter or cause injury to the *** genital organs". Mutilation or parental right?




Case Study #2

A healthy normal baby was subjected to a non-medically necessary procedure to remove part of its external genitalia, resulting in life threatening bleeding. After 3 blood soaked diapers, the parents took the baby to the ER. Do you need to know the gender of the baby to decide whether this was mutilation or parental right?




Unfortunately, for the World Health Organization, this was just an Adverse Event (AE).


Case Study #3

I was going to include a case study number 3 from the worst cases of traditional circumcision, as shown on http://ulwaluko.co.za but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. The reality of this tradition is too gruesome, too horrible. I can not understand how the WHO and the UN continue to ignore it.

References

(1) http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs241/en/

(2) http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/prenatal/decisions-to-make/Pages/Circumcision.aspx

(3) http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2007/9789241596169_eng.pdf

(4) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circumcision#Society_and_culture

(5) http://assembly.coe.int/nw/xml/News/News-View-en.asp?newsid=4663&lang=2



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