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Hi Amy,

I read an article online about a new law prohibiting Female Genital Mutilation. It was very interesting. I would like to know exactly what is Female Genital Mutilation and do people practice this in America?

Thank you for your time.


There have increasingly been laws around the world criminalizing those who practice Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), and there are some restrictions in the United States, as it is a procedure that has happened in this country. FGM is actually several different procedures, but this is the umbrella description. Some procedures aim to deny women sexual pleasure, others aim to actually control penetration. The main goal seems to be to control women so they can be "clean" for their future husbands. Also, one underlying assumption is that women don't really have a right to sexual pleasure, that they are there to serve men. Others argue that it is to keep women clean.Increasingly, once girls/women learn that there are options, they often opt not to have this, but that's another battle (escaping their families control, their husbands, etc.).

It's a layered debate, but is mostly opposed, because it's not medically safe or necessary and also because it's going against the wishes of most women. Groups such as Equality Now are doing lots of work on this issue, including documenting laws around the world. They can probably help you further.

Good luck,

-- Amy