Female Genital Mutilation and Its Ethical Issues

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FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION
AND ITS ETHICAL ISSUES

A Research Paper Presented to
Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Colleges
General Santos City

In Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements
For Philo 3

Vinna P. Boholst
Glicen Lou L. Monton
Patrick L. Villas
March 2012

Table of Contents

PAGE

TITLE PAGEi

CHAPTER

IINTRODUCTION1
Statement of the Problem2
Scope and Limitation of the Study3
Definition of Terms3

IIREVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE6
Cultural Justification of Female Genital Mutilation6
Ethical Issues in Female Genital Mutilation6
Female Genital Mutilation – What it is and
Why it Still Continues9
Classification9
How Widely it is Practiced9
Why the Practice Continues10
Female Genital Mutilation is a Violation of Human Rights14
International and Regional Sources of Human Rights15
International treaties15
Regional treaties16
Consensus documents16
Human Rights violated by Female Genital Mutilation16
The Rights of the Child17

IIIFINDINGS AND INTERPRETATION19
What Female Genital Mutilation is19
Why Female Genital Mutilation is Controversial19
Why Female Genital Mutilation is Unethical21

IVCONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION22

BIBLIOGRAPHY23

Chapter I
INTRODUCTION
Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM) is practiced in so many countries in Africa and Asia. FGM is a deeply rooted social and cultural requirement for girls before marriage. Supporters of the practice rely on religion and tradition to defend their belief. Nowadays it is considered as an important problem, from both public health and ethical aspects in the countries where it still exists. It violates the essential principles of medical ethics and human rights. The main ethical drawback of FGM is that; it is a senseless practice which provides no direct benefit to girls on whom it is performed. It also inflicts undue harm on the little girls (who are primarily the victims). It is performed without consent. So the essential principles of medial ethics are violated. Undefined medical indications for FGM and possible risks to females make it ethically unacceptable.

The term Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting (FGM/C) applies to any procedure involving the removal of all or part of the vulva and/or clitoris. It exists and is practiced in so many countries in North and Sub-Saharan Africa including the Sudan. The most frequent type of FGM that occurs throughout Africa involves the removal of the entire clitoris, usually with the labia minora, and in some instances, the labia majora.

The justification for FGM appears to be grounded in the social desire in terminating or reducing feelings of sexual arousal in women so that they will be much less likely to engage in pre-marital sexual relationship or adultery. Nevertheless, it is now considered a major social health problem in the countries where it is practiced. Between 100 and 140million girls and women in the world are estimated to have undergone such procedures, and 3 million girls are estimated to be at risk of undergoing the procedures every year. Female genital mutilation has been reported 2

to occur in all parts of the world but it is most prevalent in: the western, eastern and north-eastern regions of Africa, some countries in Asia and the Middle East and among certain immigrant communities in North America and Europe. It also become of public health concern in North America and west Europe due to emigration from countries where it is still practiced. It is not surprising to notice that FGM seen in some emigrants was not performed in their country. Evidence shows that the practice was introduced to new countries. It has, arguably gained most attention among the governments, religious leaders, health professionals, individuals,...
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