The opposition to the medicalization

What are the arguments of the opponents to medicalization ?

  • Medicalisation of FGM violates the first and foremost principle of medical ethics : « do no harm. »
  • Female Genital Mutilations, even medicalised, remain a violation of women’s and girl’s rights (4).
  • The participation of healthcare professionals does not in any way prevent long-term health consequences, as well as sexual and psychological consequences. On the contrary, it may even worsen the impact: deeper cuts as realized with the medical expertise and under anesthesia, under which it is impossible for girls / women to defend themselves … And medicalised mutilations may be followed by a second mutilation done within the community when it has not been « well done ».
  • Medicalisation legitimates the practice of FMG in the public sphere when creating a « tacit approval » (6), healthcare professionals possessing a respected social status within the communities (7)

It has not been proven that medicalisation would in fine led to the disparition of MGF (8) ; for example some healthcare professionals could manifest a financial interest to the continuation of FMG.

The international opposition to medicalization

The following organisations and institutions are opposed to any form of medicalisation of FGM:

  • International institutions (WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA …)
  • Medical associations such as the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
  • Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Girls (IAC)
  • Numerous organisations fighting against FGM : 28toomany, GAMS Belgium, Equality Now …
  • Numerous African Health ministries took a stand against medicalization: Egypt, Guinea, Kenya, Nigeria … as well as European governments : Austria, Belgium, Spain, France, Sweden, Switzerland … (3)
  • The European network End FGM
  • Medias, such as The Guardian led campaign « End FGM Guardian Global Media Campaign »