Egypt finally banned female genital mutilation. This is a pleasant surprise, and should be commended.
Unfortunately, a recent case in Egypt reveals a key flaw in medical thinking that dismisses complications from unnecessary genital cutting, whether on girls or boys.
In the latest fatality, 12-year-old Bedur Ahmed Shaker was taken by her mother to a private clinic in Minya, a town on the Nile south of Cairo, for the operation. She died before she could be transferred to hospital.
Her mother accused the woman doctor of negligence, charging that her daughter’s death was linked to the anaesthetic and not the removal of the clitoris, for which she had paid 50 pounds. Police have arrested both women.
Any time you read of more serious circumcision complications in America, it’s almost always attributed to some other factor. Claims of negative reactions to anesthetic are common, and probably factually true in most, if not all, cases. But when the cutting is not medically necessary, it is ethically wrong to blame only the anesthetic. If we don’t allow the unnecessary genital cutting, there would be no reason to use anesthetic.