Two United States gynecologists, writing in the Journal of Medical Ethics have said that mild female genital mutilation should be made legal. They argued that permitting more minimal procedures would allow families to uphold cultural and religious traditions while protecting girls from more dangerous forms of cutting.
According to CBC news, communities which support FGM often consider it a prerequisite for marriage. Many also see it as a religious obligation, although it is not mentioned in the Qur’an or Bible.
Gynecologists Kavita Shah Arora and Allan Jacobs said procedures that slightly changed the look of a girl’s genitalia without damaging them were comparable to male circumcision or cosmetic procedures in Western countries like labiaplasty.
As written in the in the specialist publication by the British Medical Journal, the women said laws against mild modifications were “culturally insensitive and supremacist and discriminatory towards women.” Female genital cutting and female circumcision, is the ritual removal of some or all of the external female genitalia. Typically carried out by a traditionalist using a blade, with or without anaesthesia.
FGM is concentrated in 27 African countries, Indonesia, Yemen and Iraqi Kurdistan, and found elsewhere in Asia, the Middle East and among diaspora communities around the world. It is conducted from days after birth to puberty and beyond. In half the countries for which national figures are available, most girls are cut before the age of five.
The procedures differ according to the ethnic group. They include removal of the clitoral hood and clitoral glans, removal of the inner labia, and in the most severe form (known as infibulation) removal of the inner and outer labia and closure of the vulva. In this last procedure, a small hole is left for the passage of urine and menstrual fluid; the vagina is opened for intercourse and opened further for childbirth.