Special Commentary on the Issue of Reinfibulation

International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Vol. 109, pp. 97-99, 2010

3 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2010

See all articles by Rebecca J. Cook

Rebecca J. Cook

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

Bernard Dickens

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

Date Written: 2010

Abstract

Policy on reinfibulation exposes the interface between individual or micro-ethics and population-wide or macro-ethics. If, following childbirth, an infibulated woman requests reinfibulation, a gynecologist may respectfully advise her of its negative implications, but would not act in breach of ethical or usually legal requirements in undertaking the procedure. However, as a matter of health policy and professional responsibility, physicians should refuse to initiate infibulation, and advise their patients and communities that the procedure is harmful, not required by religious or other ordinance, and frequently if not always unlawful. Reinfibulation is not genital cutting (or “mutilation”) in itself, but when undertaken by a physician may appear to condone infibulation. This is contrary to medical professional ethics, which condemn medicalization of infibulation and generally of reinfibulation, even as a harm-reduction strategy to spare women the risks of injury and infection from unskilled interventions.

Keywords: Ethics, female genital mutilation/cutting, human rights, infibulation, medicalization, reinfibulation

JEL Classification: I18, K10

Suggested Citation

Cook, Rebecca J. and Dickens, Bernard, Special Commentary on the Issue of Reinfibulation (2010). International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Vol. 109, pp. 97-99, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1595019

Rebecca J. Cook

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 Queen's Park Cr.
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
Canada
416-978-4446 (Phone)
416-978-7899 (Fax)

Bernard Dickens (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 and 84 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
Canada
416-978-4849 (Phone)
416-978-7899 (Fax)

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
119
rank
226,461
Abstract Views
1,012
PlumX Metrics