Female Genital Cutting (Mutilation/Circumcision): Ethical and Legal Dimensions

International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Vol. 79, pp. 281-287, 2002

7 Pages Posted: 22 Nov 2006 Last revised: 10 Jun 2017

See all articles by Rebecca J. Cook

Rebecca J. Cook

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

Bernard Dickens

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

Mahmoud Fathalla

Assiut University

Date Written: 2002

Abstract

The practice better described as female genital cutting (FGC) is of long standing in some communities, and has spread to non-traditional countries by immigration. It is of varying degrees of invasiveness, often including clitoridectomy, but all raise health-related concerns, which can be of considerable physical and/or psychological severity, and compromise gynecological and obstetric care. The practice is not based on a requirement of religious observance, although parents usually seek it for their daughters in good faith. It is directed to the social control of women's sexuality, in association with preservation of virginity and family honor. FGC is becoming increasingly prohibited by law, in countries both of its traditional practice and of immigration. Medical practice prohibits FGC. In compromising women's health and negating their sexuality, FGC is a human rights abuse that physicians have a role in eliminating by education of patients and communities.

Note: A Turkish translation is now available as "Kadın Sünneti (Sakatlama/Sünnet: Etik ve Hukuki Boyutlar," trans. Mustafa Erçakıca, Beykent Üniversitesi Hukuk Fakültesi Dergisi, Volume II, No: 4, December 2016, p. 111-121.

Keywords: Female circumcision, Female genital mutilation, Female genital cutting, Circumcision, Sexuality, Infibulation, Child abuse

JEL Classification: I18, K19

Suggested Citation

Cook, Rebecca J. and Dickens, Bernard and Fathalla, Mahmoud, Female Genital Cutting (Mutilation/Circumcision): Ethical and Legal Dimensions (2002). International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Vol. 79, pp. 281-287, 2002. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=945687

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)

Mahmoud Fathalla

Assiut University ( email )

71515 Assiut
Egypt

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