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Group Backs Ritual 'Nick' as Female Circumcision Option
by Pam Belluck
In a controversial change to a longstanding policy concerning the practice of female circumcision in some African and Asian cultures, the American Academy of Pediatrics is suggesting that American doctors be given permission to perform a ceremonial pinprick or "nick" on girls from these cultures if it would keep their families from sending them overseas for the full circumcision.
The academy's committee on bioethics, in a policy statement last week, said some pediatricians had suggested that current federal law, which "makes criminal any nonmedical procedure performed on the genitals" of a girl in the United States, has had the unintended consequence of driving some families to take their daughters to other countries to undergo mutilation.
"It might be more effective if federal and state laws enabled pediatricians to reach out to families by offering a ritual nick as a possible compromise to avoid greater harm," the group said.
But some opponents of female genital mutilation, or F.G.M., denounced the statement.
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