The Medicalization of FGM

surgical-instruments-81489_640Holy Hormones Journal:  What is with the lurid fascination with women’s genitalia? This has been going on for thousands of years – and now with great movements lead to advocates around the world to end  female genital mutilation – it has come under the guise of the medical system which has medicalized and tampered with every other part of the female anatomy. Think this is a stretch (no pun intended)? A while back I posted an article about the “Vatican and Vaginas,” announcing a new organization and conference that was held at at a Catholic University in April of this year. One purpose of the “landmark” conference was to reveal the secrets of the G-spot – but other topics covered included the lifting, tightening and bleaching of female genitals. In my book, this is still call FGM not only under the guise of a new order of “aesthetic gynecologists,” but also under the sanctification of the Pope.

If you think this can’t happen in our country – it is. The American College for Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) just came out with new recommendations for labial and breast surgery for adolescent girls.

The sickening trend of medicalised FGM

Carrying out female genital mutilation under the guise of healthcare is a worrying development says charity “28 Too Many,” as many countries move to ban the practice.

The Guardian
Mary Carson and Claire Daily
June 16, 2016

I am living testament to the fact that any kind of FGM is the wrong type of FGM,” says Hoda Ali, a London nurse who underwent female genital mutilation in Somalia as a child. While the pain at the time of the procedure was lessened by anaesthetic, a lifetime of medical problems was just beginning for Hoda. Today, 30 years after being cut in she is going through an early menopause as a direct result.

The abuse of women and girls is being legitimised under the guise of health ‘care’, according to a report by 28 Too Many, a charity working to eradicate FGM. In many countries around the world, FGM is carried out in a hospital or clinic under medical supervision, or by a health worker with access to anaesthetic and sterile instruments.

A 17-year-old girl died in Egypt last month undergoing FGM at a hospital in a country where the practice is banned but according to Unicef 91% of women are cut and 77% of FGM is performed by trained medical personnel. She was the second teenager to die undergoing FGM in a hospital in two years.

Hoda is horrified by any suggestion that medicalised FGM is somehow better than cutting being carried out by traditional circumcisers.

“There is no ‘better’ alternative to FGM. It is child abuse, full stop,” she says.

And even when carried out by medical professionals, FGM can still result in fatalities. Carrying out FGM violates the principles of professional health ethics ‘to do no harm’, and constitutes a violation of girls’ and women’s rights’, the report concludes.

Some doctors have indicated that medicalising the process can in fact be more dangerous because the cuts can go deeper in a part of the anatomy that houses many vital blood vessels and nerves.

Hoda has spoken to the Guardian about the horror of going through type III FGM – her clitoris and labia were removed and the rest of her vagina stitched up leaving a hole the size of a matchstick. It was partially medicalised in that her parents could afford to buy sterile blades, syringes and anaesthetic and insist that the cutter use them on seven-year-old Hoda and her six-year-old sister.

“The only pain at the time was the anaesthetic going in. I felt the tug of my clitoris and labia being removed and I remember the feeling of being stitched up”.

The pain came later, four years later when she could no longer sleep because of the growing agony deep in her stomach. At first doctors thought she had cyst but after she was rushed to hospital for a second scan they discovered the lump was the build up of menstrual blood that had nowhere else to go.

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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.