Some definitely do. They got into medicine because they love children and want to do everything they can to give each child a chance at a full, healthy life. I’ve met these men and women and I know they must be acutely embarrassed to belong to the American Academy of Pediatricians at this time in history. In a reactive backlash, the AAP seems to actually be entertaining the idea of turning back progress 20 years and allowing the genital cutting of girls in America. As it becomes more and more difficult to argue with the fact that boys need the same protection under law that girls have been granted, the genital cutting committee at the AAP has chosen to think like dinosaurs and reduce the protection to girls so that things can be more fair.
It really sounds to me like the babies need a good lawyer.
Today, the “attorneys for the babies” have put the AAP on notice. Attorneys for the Rights of the Child (ARC) issued this statement today:
Below is the text of our letter today 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 at http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/pediatrics;125/5/1088.
We have reviewed the AAP’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 nation’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 “ritual nick” 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 most—promoting the safety of our children, and working to eradicate—not condone or justify—harmful, non-beneficial, unethical practices such as FGC and MGC.
J. Steven Svoboda
Attorneys for the Rights of the Child