Female genital cutting/mutilation policy updated in Canada

This will be an interesting policy to watch unfold….. as genital cutting mutilation makes it into the medical literature.


Canadian doctors issue policy statement on female genital cutting/mutilation

Global Toronto
February 21, 2012
Anne-Marie Tobin, Canadian Press

TORONTO – The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada says information about treating patients who have had female genital cutting or mutilation should be integrated into the curriculum of medical schools.

The recommendation is part of a policy statement on the subject published in the February edition of the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada.

“I think there’s a greater understanding that we need to be culturally competent when we’re offering treatment for women. We see a lot more immigrant women from Africa … and many of them have had this cutting procedure done when they were children,” said Dr. Margaret Burnett, chair of the social and sexual issues committee.

“So what that means for us as physicians in Canada is we’re kind of confronted with this kind of anatomical difference, and we need to know how to treat them,” she said Tuesday in an interview from Winnipeg.

Medical students, for the most part, don’t know what to do when offering care for these women, Burnett indicated.

The policy statement said an estimated 100 million to 140 million girls and women worldwide live with female genital cutting/mutilation.

The society first issued an official policy document against the practice in 1992, and this statement is an update.

It reminds members that female genital cutting/mutilation, or FGC/M, is a criminal offence in Canada, and reporting it to child welfare protection services is mandatory when it’s suspected it has been done to a child, or that a child is thought to be at risk.

Burnett said that she and her colleagues haven’t had a lot of requests to perform such illegal surgeries, but there are times when it’s an issue in treating a woman who had it done as a child.


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.