Clinton holds press conference marking International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday marking the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation, recognized on February 6, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton "said ... that there is no cultural justification for female genital cutting, a practice that is sometimes referred to as female circumcision," and that "governments and non-governmental organizations are making progress toward ending female genital mutilation, or FGM, by reaching out to those who still practice it," VOA News reports (Stearns, 2/16). "The press conference was intended to highlight the continuing need for policy changes and new strategies to end FGM and promote support for women who have undergone the procedures," ABC News writes (Conley, 2/16).

"She said many cultural traditions no longer exist because they are no longer acceptable.," VOA's "Breaking News" blog writes, adding, "She says female circumcision has no medical benefits and is simply a human rights violation" (2/16). "The Secretary of State also announced a partnership with the University of Nairobi to fund a pan-African Center of Excellence in Kenya to advance African research to address female genital cutting," ABC writes (2/16). The news service provides a video report on one woman's efforts to end the practice in West Africa (2/16).

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    http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.


    1. Mark Lyndon Mark Lyndon United Kingdom says:

      We can't end female circumcision whilst male circumcision is still allowed.  Even if some westerners see a fundamental difference between the two, the people that cut girls don't.

      Everyone should be able to decide for themselves whether or not they want parts of their genitals cut off.  It's their body, so it should be their decision.

      Female and male circumcision are more comparable than some people think.  Firstly, in countries where female circumcision is done under unhygienic conditions, male circumcision is too (broken glass, no anaesthesia, etc). Many boys die each year in Africa from tribal circumcisions – over 100 young men died last year in just one province of South Africa.  In some countries though female circumcision only involves the removal of the clitoral hood - the anatomical equivalent of the foreskin - and is done to babies in sterile conditions, even with pain relief. Check out how it's done in Egypt, Malaysia or Brunei, for example. Circumcised women choose to have their daughters circumcised, citing how it's cleaner, good sexually, reduces secretions and smegma and is generally hygienic, and also mentioning studies showing circumcised women have lower infection rates. Basically the same reasons that people use to defend male circumcision.  It's just a cultural difference.

    The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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