Tuesday, June 1, 2010
May 31, 2010
By IBT Health
Australian doctors are considering introducing a controversial form of genital mutilation carried out on baby girls.
The Royal Australian New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) says the practice of "ritual nicks" could meet the cultural needs of some women and potentially save some people from drastic surgery.
Although illegal in Australia, female genital mutilation is common among some African, Asian and Middle Eastern communities but has been known to leave some young girls scarred for life when not carried out in proper clinical facilities.
Former commissioner and current state Liberal MP, Pru Goward, has called for action against initiating the practice of circumcision and said it is a form of child abuse. She said it doesn't matter whether it is cultural or not, it is against the law.
''I think the Federal Government needs to have an education campaign as part of our immigration program, and if you are introducing people from other countries where you know it goes on, you need to let them know it is unlawful and it is not acceptable.''
Elizabeth Broderick, Sex Discrimination Commissioner for the Australian Human Rights Commission said: "I disagree with the suggestion by the RANZCOG that we should, for any reason, entertain a practice of "ritual nicks" in a sterile environment.
"In my opinion female genital mutilation or female circumcision, whatever you want to call it, is violence against women, often against children and young women."
RANZCOG secretary Gino Pecoraro told News Ltd, "We will need to start to think about [its introduction] but we would have to speak to community leaders from Australia."
"But we need to make sure we do not legitimise the ritualistic maiming of children."
RANZCOG said the issue would be discussed at a women's health meeting in June.