Thursday, May 6, 2010

American Academy of Pediatrics and female genital mutilation

I had read of this event first at PZ's blog then again saw it written about by the Skepchick Chelsea. I am disgusted by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). This is not some exaggeration or hyperbole, I am truly disgusted, reviled, angered and quite a few other things. What has this group done to invoke such ire and contempt? They have established a loophole allowing pediatricians to perform female genital mutilation.

Recently, a piece of legislation has been put through the federal government. It is called The Girls’ Protection Act. This act makes it illegal for any person to take a child outside of the United States or any United States territory to have the act of female genital mutilation performed on a child. This was a major piece of legislation that will hopefully put a halt to the previous legal act of sending a child out of the country for a barbaric practice that can be seen as a form of sexual enslavement and torture.

What the AAP has done is essentially an act of defiance against this humanitarian legislation. Under this new loophole of theirs, they claim to allow for what they call a 'little nick'. When it comes to this kind of act, it does not matter how big or small the 'nick' is, it is the very fact that it is done. There is no ethical or medical reason for it to happen. It is entirly about the control and oppression of females. There is no benefit to the victim of this procedure. What the AAP has done is essentially to tell doctors that they do not need to follow the Hippocratic Oath when it comes to some backwards cultural concept. It tells doctors they can do harm as long as that harm makes some parents with everted, damaging and idiotic beliefs happy.

By creating this loophole the AAP has declared themselves hypocrites who would rather appease some barbaric ancient custom designed to keep females 'in line' then actually stand up for human rights. The AAP has violated the Hippocratic Oath, an act that is seen within the medical community as one of the most loathsome and detestable acts possible. It is seen within the medical field as grounds for the revoking of a doctor's medical license. So why does the AAP think that doing this was right? What makes them think that they now do not deserve legal retaliation, the very kind that any independent doctor would receive for such an act?

Do they believe in the idea of cultural relativism? That there is no right or wrong, just different morays put forth by different cultural establishments? If that were true, then the Hippocratic Oath would be meaningless. If all views, as long as they were held be enough people, were equally valid, then there would be no point in requiring doctors to swear to this doctrine and be held accountable if they violate it.

Then it must be that they are they just cow towing to certain cultural and religious beliefs*. The idea that certain concepts, no matter how horrible or vile they may be, should be allowed, for the sake of culture or religion is, to be blunt, idiotic. Any person who does so is not just being 'understanding' of a belief as they say, but actively allowing for an act that they would otherwise fight against.

By creating this loophole, any doctor who might be sympathetic to this 'tradition' can now perform it. It could even cause cases where a doctor who would otherwise not perform or wish to perform it, to be pressured by the parents under the concept of cultural relativism into performing it.

The AAP claims it is just a 'little nick' compared to the full procedure done in areas where female genital mutilation is acceptable. They claim it better to have just a small bit of damage done then the whole thing. This reasoning is moronic. It would be like arguing that if we allow just a little bit of rape, not the full thing, but just a smidgen of it, then it would satisfy the rapists and they wouldn't go through with the whole thing. Not only does it not work, not only is it stupid, but it still causes harm. There is no benefit here and none can be argued, because as I said, cultural relativism is just so much shite.

If the AAP really does want for this barbarism to be relinquished to the annals of history, then they should take a stand against it in its entirely. I can only hope that its members are vociferous enough to make it known that this loophole should be torn out and those who pushed for its creation adequately punished for their overstep.

*Yes, I am aware the act of female genital mutation is more cultural then religious. That as Islam spread over the area where this act took place, it merged with the culture perpetuating it. That no where in Islamic doctrine does it require for female genital mutilation, but that it is a cultural tradition that was enveloped and then spread alongside Islam. But the fact remains that the practice has grown alongside Islam long enough to become intertwined with it. That it is accepted under Islam and where ever it goes, the practice often follows. So while I acknowledge the fact that Islam does not require female genital mutilation and that the act is not even originally an Islamic practice, I do know that there is a link between the two. A link that has allowed the practice to spread with Islam, to become protected under Islam. To the point where many people who would not otherwise practice female genital mutilation do so because of some Islamic influence.
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