This is an open letter to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in response to its recent position statement on female genital cutting (FGC), which condones minimal forms of FGC. The AAP position statement is available here.
We have reviewed the AAPÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s latest policy statement on female genital cutting (FGC) and we are shocked to see such an ethically and medically incoherent document issue from your venerable organization. What truly is paradoxical is for the nationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s leading organization of doctors treating children to weaken its opposition to a practice proven to cause substantial, irreparable, lifelong harm to children.
Moreover, your proposed, seemingly innocent Ã¢â‚¬Å“ritual nickÃ¢â‚¬Â almost certainly violates the Federal Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act, whose criminal provisions became effective in March 1997.
We trust that lightening your opposition to female genital cutting is not being done to help set up a parallel move toward diluting your 1999 statement on male circumcision (MGC). Flawed as the latter statement was, it did acknowledge the lack of medical benefit to the procedure on males. It is imperative that both statements be maintained or strengthened.
The AAP has no business brokering cultural procedures, even those that may support future revenue streams for some of its members. In this time of reduced resources, more than ever, it is imperative that medical organizations such as the AAP focus on what matters mostÃ¢â‚¬â€promoting the safety of our children, and working to eradicateÃ¢â‚¬â€not condone or justifyÃ¢â‚¬â€harmful, non-beneficial, unethical practices such as FGC and MGC.
J. Steven Svoboda
Attorneys for the Rights of the Child