The Skeptical Teacher

Musings of a science teacher & skeptic in an age of woo.

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back for Women & Science

Posted by mattusmaximus on May 11, 2010

This post is going to be one of those stereotypical “I’ve got some good news and some bad news” kind of stories.  Since I can do nothing to avoid the cliche, I shall sally forth…

Good News! America’s favorite birth control method turns 50 🙂

A world without “the pill” is unimaginable to many young women who now use it to treat acne, skip periods, improve mood and, of course, prevent pregnancy. They might be surprised to learn that U.S. officials announcing approval of the world’s first oral contraceptive were uncomfortable. …

But on the flip side, there is also Bad NewsGroup Backs Ritual ‘Nick’ as Female Circumcision Option 😦

In a controversial change to a longstanding policy concerning the practice of female circumcision in some African and Asian cultures, the American Academy of Pediatrics is suggesting that American doctors be given permission to perform a ceremonial pinprick or “nick” on girls from these cultures if it would keep their families from sending them overseas for the full circumcision.

The academy’s committee on bioethics, in a policy statement last week, said some pediatricians had suggested that current federal law, which “makes criminal any nonmedical procedure performed on the genitals” of a girl in the United States, has had the unintended consequence of driving some families to take their daughters to other countries to undergo mutilation.

So let me get this straight… within a few days of celebrating the 50th anniversary of “The Pill”, probably one of the greatest inventions for sex education of women ever & a great triumph for medical science, the AAP is recommending that its pediatricians consider endorsing superstitious, misogynistic nonsense (female “circumcision” – read “genital mutilation”) as a way of somehow appealing to people who want to mutilate their daughters?  Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

Wow… sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction.

4 Responses to “Two Steps Forward, One Step Back for Women & Science”

  1. RooGrrrl said

    Ok folks. As long as doctors are performing circumcisions on males for mainly religious, social or aesthetic reasons, there is no reason to deny a similar surgical procedure for males.
    Now, I feel the same way about male circumcision as I do about female circumcision (and don’t start that line about AIDS and male circumcision, that study only applies in sub-Saharan Africa and it in NO WAY supports the practice in Western countries where people generally practice safe sex) but calling it “genital mutilation” shuts down any dialogue with those who practice it.
    It’s like calling abortion “baby murder” and expecting people to have a sane discussion with you about it. That’s what makes states or countries outlaw abortion which drives people to get them done under clandestine, unsafe conditions.
    Do we want the same thing for these poor girls who were unlucky enough to be born into families with different cultural backgrounds from yours?
    As much as I abhor the practice, I kind of agree with the AAP on this one.
    Like I said before, as long as they’re doing it for Jewish and Muslim and just average American boys whose daddies had their foreskin cut, I don’t see the problem. It’s being done under safe, clean conditions, rather than in a basement by someone’s grandma with a kitchen knife. That’s a much better situation in my book.

  2. RooGrrrl said

    That should say, “…similar surgical procedure for females.” at the beginning of my above comment.

  3. limey said

    Surely its better to offer the lesser procedure to people if it will stop them going through the effort of going elsewhere for a more invasive procedure.

    I don’t interpret this as validation of the procedure and the beliefs attached. More a case of protection (for lack of a better word) by offering a lesser ‘evil’. It seems like a logical thing to do, especially if these young girls are going to have it forced on them anyway.

  4. Why can’t people just leave the genitals of children alone? My genitals were altered shortly after I was born. I wish I was left whole, just as I was born. We should not be bending to other cultures and we need to clean up our own act by outlaying genital cutting of boys. Parents should take their whole baby home and keem them whole.

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