Friday, May 7, 2010

Tough Choices about Unpleasant Realities, New Guidelines on Female Genital Mutilation

Reading about this issue makes me squirm a bit despite being a man. Still, this is a pretty appalling cultural practice (though hardly the only one) that still plagues the world and gets brought over here, whether or not we'd wish it gets left behind. The American Academy of Pediatrics has now released guidelines allowing a ritual pinprick in an attempt to prevent parents from taking their daughters overseas for the procedure. The usual chorus of of denunciations has occurred as more absolutist groups cry out with slippery slope type arguments. While cultural practices are difficult to make calls on, I can think of virtually no examples where the slippery slope argument exists in practice. I do hope these groups will continue to monitor what the effects of the policy end up being though since this is a necessary component of any policy change.

I'll confess I don't know enough about the specific practice and the cultures involved to make a real clear call on who's right in this particular case. I'm just glad someone else is thinking hard about the subject and endeavoring to make tough calls on messy reality.

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