After Cutting Little Girls’ Clitorises, Ivy League Doctor Tests Handiwork With a Vibrator

AlterNet

June 18, 2010

When most of us think of female genital mutilation, we probably think of faraway places. Well, peel off those blinders. In 1997, our very own Department of Health and Human Services estimated that 168,000 girls and women living in the United States had been or were at risk of being subjected to some form of the abhorrent practice known as female genital mutilation (FGM).

Not only is FGM being practiced relatively widely in the United States, it’s happening in the most hallowed halls of American medical science. In fact, the head of the pediatric urology department at Cornell University’s New York Presbyterian Hospital — which is often ranked among the top 10 hospitals in the country — has been operating on young girls who suffer from what he (and likely the girls’ guardians) have decided is “clitorimegaly,” or oversized clitorises.

In order to relieve these girls from what seems like little more than a cosmestic issue, Dr. Dix P. Poppas cuts out parts of the clitoris’ shaft, saving the glans, or tip, for reattachment. Poppas triumphantly calls the procedure — rebranded a clitoroplasty — a “nerve sparing” one unlike the FGMs practiced in other countries.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.