American Academy of Pediatrics Retracts Endorsement of "Ritual Nick"
Monday, June 7, 2010 12:40 PM

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) retracted their controversial policy statement made last month regarding the practice of female genital mutilation.  Last month the Academy released a policy statement addressing the cultural practice of FGM. Although the policy statement condemned female genital mutilation as a practice, the statement recommended that doctors within specific communities be permitted to perform a clitoral pricking procedure rather than female genital mutilation to satisfy cultural requirements. The AAP compared this "nick" to an ear piecing. This "ritual nicking" is not currently permitted because of a 1996 federal law which prohibits any practice of female genital mutilation.
2000 Census data collected by the African Women’s Health Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital shows that approximately 228,000 women and girls are at risk for being cut - or have been cut – due to their membership in certain ethnic groups. Girls are also at risk of being sent to foreign nations to have female genital mutilation performed on them. The AAP cited this risk as a justification for their original statement.
U.S. advocacy groups and survivors of female genital mutilation quickly responded to this policy statement by issuing press releases and protesting against the idea of a ritual clitoral nicking. This criticism likely caused the AAP to retract their statement. In a statement released on Thursday, the AAP stated that any form of nicking or pricking the clitoris by medical professionals will not be encouraged or condoned. AAP President Judith S. Palfrey explains that the organization rescinded this policy "because it is important that the world health community understands the AAP is totally opposed to all forms of female genital cutting, both here in the U.S. and anywhere else in the world." 
On Thursday, May 27, 2010, The Advocates for Human Rights called on the AAP to support the best interests of its most vulnerable patients by fully and roundly condemning all practices of female genital mutilation. Click here to read The Advocates' published letter to the AAP.