Education And Debate

Why the problem continues in Britain

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: (Published 17 June 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:1593
  1. Rupert Walder, information officera
  1. a International Planned Parenthood Federation, Regent's College, Regent's Park, London NW1 4NS

    Female genital mutilation has been outlawed in Britain for nearly 10 years, and yet there are an estimated 10000 girls and young women still at risk of the dangerous practice in this country. Why?

    According to its proponents, female genital mutilation is a traditional or cultural practice. Irrespective of the fact that there seems to be little or no justification for it in religious texts, this does leave anyone dealing with the problem in Britain with a dilemma. Am I being racist or culturally insensitive if I choose to outlaw or criticise this practice? Beyond the fear of cultural steamrolling, there is …

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