In her Jan. 19 letter "In Name Only," Diane Guiliano says female genital cutting is not comparable to male circumcision because more tissue is taken from the female, because the child is old enough to understand and because it is done by family members with common instruments and infection and death can result. What if we could change all that?
Imagine if we could go to areas of the world where female genital cutting is practiced and build clean clinics staffed with professionals. Imagine if we could convince the parents to bring their girls in when they are babies instead of doing the procedure on older children. And if we could get them to agree to cut off only a bit of tissue, nothing important to sexual function, maybe just the labia and/or clitoral hood. And if we could get them to abandon infibulation. Problem solved! Baby girls, operated on by professionals in a sterile setting, having only a little bit of their genitals cut away, and very few of them suffering infection or death. This should be perfectly acceptable!
What's that? It isn't? You mean it is wrong to cut off any part of the genitals of a girl, even in a clinical setting, even if she is very young? Oh, I know, we just need to change one more thing in this scenario. Make the baby a boy. Ah, there we go. Now the genital cutting is perfectly acceptable -- because boys don't have human rights.