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    190582

    Female genital circumcision: medical and cultural considerations.

    Little CM

    Journal of Cultural Diversity. 2003 Spring; 10(1):30-34.

    Female circumcision (FC), also known as female genital mutilation (FGM), is a procedure that involves partial or complete removal of external female genitalia. The definition given by the World's Health Organization (WHO) states that female circumcision "comprise all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs whether for cultural, religious or other non-therapeutic reasons" (WHO, 1998, p.5). The United Nations Children's Fund, the United Nations Population Fund, and the WHO have jointly issued a statement that FC and FGM causes unacceptable harm and issued a call for the elimination of this practice worldwide. The WHO also contends that female circumcision is a "violation of internationally accepted rights" (WHO, p.1). Female circumcision is a widespread cultural practice and affects millions of young women. Issues related to female circumcision that are of special concern are health consequences, civil rights, cultural considerations, and legal and ethical aspects. The purpose of this paper is to address the incidence of FC and FGM, the historical background, the procedure, the medical complications and cultural considerations. Legal and ethical issues of FGM will also be discussed. (author's)
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