Ban Cosmetic Labiaplasty (a form of FGM) for Girls under 18 in the U.S.
This petition had 14,611 supporters
My name is Jaha Dukureh. When I was a baby in Gambia, I was subjected to a practice known as Female Genital Mutilation, or Female Circumcision. It took away a part of my femininity, my ownership to my body. Some girls, including my half-sister who died from complications from being cut, even lose their lives. Now I'm fighting to make sure that no other little girl ever has to experience the horror of FGM.
Over the last few years I’ve worked to raise awareness and craft policies to end FGM in the US and my home country. There have been many victories, and I was even recently honored as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People. We’ve made many strides to end this practice, but unfortunately a new announcement from a major medical association in the United States has posed a major setback.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has released new guidelines to doctors which will allow for cosmetic labiaplasty -- a cosmetic surgery to alter the outer appearance of the vagina -- to be performed on minors. Excluding a handful of meaningful applications (such as gender confirmation surgery) it is most often entirely medically unnecessary.
The U.S. has strict laws banning FGM, and this procedure clearly violates it.
U.S. law states:
- Except as provided in subsection (b), whoever knowingly circumcises, excises, or infibulates the whole or any part of the labia majora or labia minora or clitoris of another person who has not attained the age of 18 years shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.
- A surgical operation is not a violation of this section if the operation is—(b) necessary to the health of the person on whom it is performed, and is performed by a person licensed in the place of its performance as a medical practitioner; or performed on a person in labor or who has just given birth and is performed for medical purposes connected with that labor or birth by a person licensed in the place it is performed as a medical practitioner, midwife, or person in training to become such a practitioner or midwife.
This procedure is explicitly defined as the excising of part of the labia majora and/or labia minora. It is clearly a violation of the law. Frighteningly, it has become popular among American teens, and these new guidelines will allow for rapid expansion of this terrifying practice.
The ACOG themselves even recognize that this surgery is often performed on girls with completely normal anatomy, who choose to undergo the procedure based on a false understanding or fear that something is wrong with the way they look. It is unacceptable for medical professionals to support this type of body shaming and perform an irreversible operation on child.
As a survivor of FGM, I know that the physical and emotional scars last for life, and as the mother of a daughter I cannot stand by while other young girls in this country are subjected to a procedure with consequences they may not fully understand. I believe its unfair to tell one group that what they practice is FGM while allowing others to choose.
Please join me, Safe Hands for Girls and Equality Now in calling on the ACOG to reverse their new guidelines and take a clear stand against FGM.
Thank you for your support.
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