Intended for healthcare professionals


Female genital mutilation: whose problem, whose solution?

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: (Published 13 July 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:106

No excuse

I found Conroy's editorial difficult to understand. That genital
mutilation was
widely practised in the west in the nineteenth century is surely no
recommendation for the procedure. Indeed, so was slavery but that does not

undermine modern western criticisms of slavery today.

I agree that we should not adopt a high moral tone on this issue, but
then nor
should we about many practices that undermine health including smoking,
overeating and unsafe sexual behaviour.

It is not our role as health practitioners to ignore dangers to the
health of
children in the third world just because some women in our society choose
unwise cosmetic surgery on their genitalia or anywhere else.

Dealing with one problem does not condone another.

I really do expect a higher standard of debate in BMJ editorials.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

17 July 2006
Leonard Peter
Harrow HA3 %HF