The Current

Female genital mutilation should be legalized in some forms, doctor says

Female genital mutilation is a ritual forced upon girls in countries and cultures abroad. Despite efforts to stop the practice, it continues. Two U.S. doctors are arguing for the legitimacy of minor cutting, saying banning FGM is a form of cultural prejudice.
A Pokot girl walks to a place where she will rest after being circumcised in a tribal ritual in the town of Marigat in Baringo County, Oct. 16, 2014. More than a quarter of girls and women in Kenya have undergone genital cutting, according to United Nations data. (Siegfried Modola/Reuters)

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The World Health Organization says female genital mutilation, or FGM, includes procedures that alter or injure female genitalia for non-medical reasons. The practice is recognized internationally as a human rights violation and is illegal in Canada.

It's horrible. It's painful. Mentally, emotionally, and physically. It cannot disappear. The pain will remain forever.-  Activist Ifrah Amed on her experience with FGM in Somalia

Despite strong international condemnation, every year thousands of refugees arrive in countries such as Canada who have suffered from FGM. And the harmful practice continues to persist at abroad and at home. 

A new paper published in the Journal of Medical Ethics proposes a controversial solution asking if less invasive versions of the procedure should be tolerated and even suggests the ban is a form of cultural prejudice.

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This segment was produced by The Current's Ines Colabrese, Catherine Kalbfleisch and Karen Chen.