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female genital mutilation affects over 200 million girls and women across the world

What is FGM?

FGM, or female genital mutilation, is a cultural practice of altering or ‘cutting’ female genitalia.

It is not done for medical purpose. It is not endorsed by any religion, but instead is a local tradition that occurs in multiple countries, including Africa and Eastern and Middle Asia.

Dr. Bloodworth recently attended a World Health Organization (WHO) meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss FGM.

Dr. T. Wayne Bloodworth and Edna Adan

Edna Adan from Somaliland - WHO Meeting - Geneva, Switzerland

Dr. T. Wayne Bloodworth and Dr. Amr Seifeldin

Dr. Amr Seifeldin of Cairo, Egypt - WHO Meeting - Geneva, Switzerland

FGM is performed on girls between birth and adolescence. The cultural belief behind the practice varies by group, but it is based on a fallacy that FGM somehow preserves a woman's virtue or prohibits promiscuity as they mature, making her more appealing as a wife and mother.

The procedure is performed by community elders in non-sterile environments, and surprisingly, even medical personnel routinely perform FGM in some cultures.

The effects of FGM are lifelong. Victims experience major medical issues and the harm to their emotional health is unfathomable. They live in shame and are afraid to speak about how their disfigurement has impacted their sense of wholeness as a woman.

The numbers are staggering - FGM has affected over 200 million girls around the world and the ritual still continues today. And, even though it is expressly illegal in 25 of the U.S. states, it still occurs in the U.S. It is estimated by the Centers for Disease Control (cdc.gov) that approximately 500,000 victims of FGM reside in the United States. Three million more each year undergo mutilation worldwide.

Our doctors, with the support and partnership of other medical professionals, vendors and patient advocates, have come together to give a voice to this group of women.

FGM Facts:

  • FGM alteration has no health benefits for girls and women.
  • FGM is performed on young girls from infancy to adolescence.
  • Over 200 million girls and women alive today have been cut in 30 countries.
  • FGM is a life-scarring human rights violation of girls and women.
  • — World Health Organization (who.int)