Sydney, Australia, May 29, 2010 – A New Zealand doctor says it is
unlikely that obstetricians on either side of the Tasman will agree to a
token form of genital mutilation on baby girls.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently raised but quickly
backed down from the idea that doctors in some communities should be
able to substitute demands for female genital cutting with a harmless
clitoral "pricking" or nick, in order to "satisfy cultural
Today the Sydney Morning Herald reported the Royal Australian and New
Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) was
planning to discuss the issue at the meeting of its women's health
committee next month.
With a rise in Somali and Sudanese numbers in Australia, doctors were
seeing more cases of young girls, and women, needing surgery after
illegal operations, the paper said.
RANZCOG secretary Gino Pecoraro said: "If a nick could meet the cultural
needs of a particular woman, then it might save her from going through
what can really be drastic surgery.
"But we need to make sure we do not legitimise the ritualistic maiming
But Digby Ngan Kee, of Palmerston North, who is vice president of
RANZCOG and a member of its women's health committee said Dr Pecoraro's
comments were not the official position of the college.
"We remain opposed to female genital mutilation," he told NZPA.
The committee will discuss the statements put out by the Americans, Dr
Ngan Kee said.
"But I'm on the women's health committee and I think it's highly
unlikely that we would ever support a policy of that kind".
Up to 140 million women and children worldwide have been affected by
female genital cutting, according to the World Health Organisation.
Reasons given by practising populations include religion - despite the
Koran not requiring it - and that it can help maintain cleanliness and
A 1995 amendment to New Zealand's Crimes Act made it illegal to perform
"any medical or surgical procedure or mutilation of the vagina or
clitoris of any person" for reasons of "culture, religion, custom or
All Australian states and territories had passed similar laws by 1997.
Source: Stuff, Friday, May 28, 2010