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Doctors Criticized for Suggesting a Compromise on Female Genital Mutilation

Update Date: Feb 24, 2016 09:36 AM EST
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Two doctors are drawing a lot of backlash after they penned an article calling for a compromise on female genital mutilation.

In the article, the two gynecologists proposed a "compromise solution" that will make female genital mutilation safer while still honoring the religion and culture of the people who practice the tradition. The authors argued that years of campaigning to end female genital mutilation have not been effective, leaving millions of girls at risk of dangerous consequences from these procedures.

The authors wrote:

"Educational efforts have minimally changed the prevalence of this procedure in regions where it has been widely practiced. In order to better protect female children from the serious and long-term harms of some types of non-therapeutic FGA, we must adopt a more nuanced position that acknowledges a wide spectrum of procedures that alter female genitalia."

One of the authors of the study, Dr. Allan Jacobs, Director of Gynecologic Oncology at Coney Island Hospital in New York, proposed, "Some of these groups who do this may be willing to modify the procedure to one which is not going to create either sexual or reproductive problems. It would be to jab the female genitalia with a lancet or a needle, just enough to draw blood and that would be the vulva nick."

Dr. Jacobs added that topical anesthesia should be used when performing the "vulva nick" so that girls and women feel little to no pain. Since the publication of the article, there was has been a lot of critics who argue that ending the practice is the only right thing to do.

"It horrific that anyone would suggest that any sort of alteration or cutting or mutilation of any form could be acceptable. You are talking about an abuse, you are talking about an assault," said Paula Ferrari, the managing director of the non-profit group, No FGM Australia. "They are incredibly stressed that people are trying to water down the idea that there are some forms of genital mutilation or cutting which are acceptable. Some people are so distressed they've gone into post-traumatic stress."

Anti-FGM advocate with the charity FORWARD, Adwoa Kwateng-Kluvitse, called the doctors outdated.

"Why would you put a little girl through that? There should be no medicalization of FGM," Kwateng-Kluvitse said reported by FOX News. "They are completely behind the times."

According to the estimates provided by the United Nations, at least 200 million girls and women throughout the world have experienced some level of genital mutilation.

The article was published in the Journal of Medical Ethics.

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