Cat logomenu

"Clitoroplasty" : Female Genital Mutilation :: "Po-tay-to" : "Po-tah-to"

This won’t be the last time today you resist the urge to swear loudly:

The head of the pediatric urology department at Cornell University’s New York Presbyterian Hospital… has been operating on young girls who suffer from what he (and likely the girls’ guardians) have decided is “clitorimegaly,” or oversized clitorises.

In order to relieve these girls from what seems like little more than a cosmestic issue, Dr. Dix P. Poppas cuts out parts of the clitoris’ shaft, saving the glans, or tip, for reattachment. Poppas triumphantly calls the procedure—rebranded a clitoroplasty—a “nerve sparing” one unlike the FGMs practiced in other countries.

Alice Dreger and Ellen K. Feder, professors of medical humanities/bioethics and philosophy, respectively, don’t seem quite so excited:

“We still know of no evidence that a large clitoris increases psychological risk (so is the surgery even necessary?), and we do know of substantial anecdotal evidence that it does not increase risk. Importantly, there also seems to be evidence that clitoroplasties performed in infancy do increase risk—of harm to physical and sexual functioning, as well as psychosocial harm.”

If you aren’t outraged yet, wait until you find out how Poppas tests the intactness of his young patients’ nerves.