Several weeks ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics came out with a revised policy on female genital mutilation in which they suggested doctors be allowed to "nick" girls' clitorises. Today, Ayaan Hirsi Ali responds.
We posted on the AAP's proposal on May 6th. Immediately, we saw a slew of commenters and bloggers who disagreed with the conclusion that a "ritual nick" is a dangerous concession to a practice that has violent and misogynistic roots. Many saw the logic in the AAP's decision, and agreed with their argument that if a "ritual nick" (a small cut to the clitoris) of a small girl can protect them from further harm (i.e. more extensive cutting), then doctors have good reason to engage in the less extreme form of genital mutilation. This lesser-of-two-evils argument justifies a practice that has been condemned by the U.S. government, a practice that is illegal within our borders. We have recently taken steps to ensure that no girls will be brought beyond U.S. borders to undergo the procedure - thanks to senators Joe Crowley and Mary Bono Mack and an excellent piece of journalism from Salon - but still, some were willing to accept the AAP's statement that they were opposed to genital "cutting," as they have decided to term it, except when, you know, they're not. Although the AAP did not suggest we make FGM legal in America, they have proposed doctors be allowed, even encouraged, to participate in the tradition by "pricking" the clitoris with a needle, because, hey, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right?