V-Day Calls for Immediate Retraction of American Academy of Pediatrics’s FGM Policy Statement
V-Day, the worldwide movement to end violence against women and girls, joins Equality Now in calling for the immediate retraction of the American Academy of Pediatrics' (AAP) new policy statement entitled "Ritual Genital Cutting of Female Minors." This new policy advocates for "federal and state laws [to] enable pediatricians to reach out to families by offering a 'ritual nick'", which would include making an incision to a girl's clitoris.
By effectively supporting the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), the AAP's policy is in direct conflict with its previous stance on FGM, and the stance of many groups around the world, including The World Health Organization and the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, who have unequivocally opposed the practice as "medically unnecessary" and a human rights violation. Eve Ensler, V-Day's founder, echoes this sentiment, stating in New York this week, "Women and girls' bodies are theirs, and theirs alone. Any threat to their autonomy over their bodies, the most sacred of all domains, is unjust. It is a travesty that part of the American medical community is sanctioning human rights violations."
V-Day is shocked and deeply troubled by this policy, which jeopardizes decades of work by activists around the world to eradicate the deadly practice of FGM. For eleven years, V-Day has worked to assist activists on the ground to end FGM and has seen first hand the physical and psychological effects of the ritual on women and girls. By encouraging any type of incision, cut or "nick" on girls' genitalia, the AAP is compromising the health and future of hundreds of thousands of girls around the world.
AAP's new stance is also ignoring evidence that alternative rituals to FGM are becoming increasingly accepted in even the most remote locations and within the most traditional cultures, as evidenced by the work of V-Day Kenya Director Agnes Parayio. Since 2001, Agnes has successfully provided a safe haven for girls escaping FGM and early marriage at two V-Day Safe Houses in Narok and Sakutiek, Kenya. These houses are a place where young women can safely celebrate an alternative "rite of passage," enabling Masai women to follow their tradition without undergoing the cut. Through this bloodless new custom and continued education for the girls and their families, V-Day has been honored to witness the widening denunciation of FGM within the traditional Masai culture. We remain confident that through education and the creation of alternative, safe rituals, FGM can become a thing of the past, regardless of location, custom or religious belief.
V-Day continues to stand in solidarity with the brave women and girls around the world who have dedicated their lives to ending FGM in all it's forms by calling for the retraction of the AAP's "Ritual Genital Cutting of Female Minors" policy statement, which promotes changes in U.S. federal and state laws to enable physicians to "nick" girls' genitalia. V-Day will continue to work with our friends and activists around the world, until the violence stops.
JOIN V-DAY & EQUALITY NOW! TAKE ACTION!
Write to the American Academy of Pediatrics, asking it to retract portions of the AAP Statement. Urge the Academy to abide by the principles of gender equality in its practice and to recognize that human rights are universal and indivisible.
Errol R. Alden, M.D. FAAP, Executive Director/CEO, American Academy of Pediatrics
141 Northwest Point Blvd, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007-1019
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: (847) 434-7500, Fax: (847) 434-8385
Please send copies of your letters to the American Board of Medical Specialties and the American Board of Pediatrics at the addresses listed below:
Kevin B. Weiss, M.D., MPH, President and CEO, American Board of Medical Specialties, 222 North LaSalle Street, Chicago, IL 60601
E-mail: email@example.com, Phone: (312) 436-2600, Fax: (312) 436-2700
Alan R. Cohen, MD, Chair, The American Board of Pediatrics,111 Silver Cedar Court, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: (919) 929-0461, Fax: (919) 913-2070
Please also ask your own doctor to take action on this issue.