NOHARMM Logo-Home Link










For Media



Quick links to products available in the Campaign for Genital Integrity . . .

Facing Circumcision  Eight Physicians Tell Their Stories
     Restoration in Focus  
Instructional Video for Foreskin Restoration
     They Cut Babies, Don't They?  
One Man's Struggle Against Circumcision
     Whose Body, Whose Rights?   Award-winning documentary seen on PBS!

Circumcision Exposed
Rethinking a Medical and
Cultural Tradition

The P.U.D.  new low pricing!
and The VacuTrac at special pricing!
plus the Foreballs device


Excerpts from

Female Genital Mutilation and the Responsibility of Reproductive Health Professionals

Nahid Toubia, M.D.
International Journal Gynecology & Obstetrics, 46, pp. 127-135, 1994

NOTE: This article focuses on female genital mutilation. NOHARMM believes the excerpts below are relevant and/or applicable to genital mutilation of either sex..


   "The unnecessary removal of a functioning body organ in the name of tradition, custom or any other non-disease related cause should never be acceptable to the health profession. All childhood circumcisions are violations of human rights and a breach of the fundamental code of medical ethics."

   "It is the moral duty of educated professionals to protect the health and rights of those with little or no social power to protect themselves."

   "Today there are reports of a variety of cosmetic labial operations performed at the request of women for non-medical indications, usually because they or their partners think their labia are ugly." [NOHARMM comment: Some intact men are coerced into circumcision by their partners or other social pressures.]

   "The functional anatomy of the female genitals is identical to that of male genitals."

   "In contrast to the number of studies and case reports on the physical complications of genital mutilations, little scientific evidence is available on the sexual and psychological effects of the practices."

   "(M)any infibulated women report a syndrome of ‘genitally focused anxiety-depression’ …characterized by constant worry over the state of their genitals."

   "(A)bility to achieve orgasm varies, depending on the severity of the operation and the extent to which social messages inhibiting sexual expression are internalized."

   "The assumption that all circumcised women have sexual problems or are unable to achieve orgasm has no scientific evidence to support it." [NOHARMM comment: Conversely, the assumption that all circumcised men are unaffected by their circumcisions has no scientific evidence to support it.]

   "For some girls and women, the psychological impact can be extreme. For the majority of girls and women, the psychological effects are more likely to be subtle, and buried beneath layers of denial, mixed with resignation and acceptance of social norms. Understanding the psycho-social balancing act which allows the child to overcome the trauma of circumcision, and the adult woman to live with its consequences, is important to helping women overcome their resistance to change."

   "Parental consent for a procedure that damages rather than preserves a child’s health is ethically and legally unacceptable."

   "There are civil laws governing the health profession…and ethical guidelines of health professionals’ associations. Beyond passing such regulations, publicizing them through doctors’ and nurses’ associations, as well as through the media to the general public, is an important tool in eradicating the practice. Prescribed penalties for breaking the regulations should be made explicit, and offenders must be shamed in public and have their licenses revoked. Such action would send a strong message of condemnation of the procedures from the highly respected professional health establishment to the general public."

   "The practice is damaging to the physical and psychological health of girls, and is performed without true consent. In many societies, health professionals have successfully opposed tribal ritual and other customary bodily mutilations. Female genital mutilation should not be exempt from such opposition."

   "An active debate should exist within the health profession and with other groups, including legal specialists and grassroots women’s organizations, to determine the appropriate ethical stance and legal actions needed to combat the practice."

   "From now on, the question should never be whether the practice should be abolished or not, but how it can be abolished sensitively and effectively, without hurting those who already suffer from it."

Nahid Toubia, M.D. is a physician and surgeon from Sudan, and currently Associate Professor at Columbia University, School of Public Health, New York. She is director of the women’s reproductive health organization RAINBO.

More Pages Related to Male & Female Circumcision

TopOfPage.gif (184 bytes)

Top of Page
| Home | Updates | FAQ | Research | Education | Advocacy | Litigation | Search | Ideas | For Media | Videos | Bookstore | FactFinder
Your Rights
| Attorneys for the Rights of the Child | Video Excerpt | Dads  | FGC Experts | Position Statement | Harm Form | Class Action

Last updated: 22 February, 2008
1998-2021 NOHARMM. All rights reserved.
  Questions, or problems using this site? Webmaster