Female Circumcision:Nicking or Cutting: Is Either Ethical?
There is some current controversy about an April 26, 2010 statement of policy by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and published in Pediatrics which suggests to pediatricians that though ritual female circumcision should be continued to be illegal in the United States, the federal government ought to allow physicians to perform simple "nicking" of the female child's genitalia as a nominal acceptance of the family's request for full ritual circumcision and along with education of the family regarding the immediate and long term harms of full circumcision. These actions may reduce the probability that the family will take the child overseas for full circumcision. Read the pdf file from Pediatrics to learn all about female circumcision and the suggestions and recommendations made by the AAP. For a description of the controversy read the article in the New York Times May 6 2010 edition.
Irrespective of the United States current law against any form of a non-medical procedure on a female child's genitalia, is it ethical to disregard the request of the parents for a long established and performed ritual procedure on their daughter, particularly if the ritual circumcision is also performed on the male child? Would simple nicking of the skin be a reasonable substitute for full circumcision if permitted by the parents and be an ethical alternative for the physician to perform?
What are the limits to acceptance of norms from other cultures when requested to be performed in the multi-cultural United States? ..Maurice.