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Dr. Dix P. Poppas at Cornell University has for years been performing clitoral reductions (i.e. female genital mutilation) on young girls with "oversized" clitorises. While Poppas claims his surgery is "nerve-sparing" and makes the girls "normal" - in reality this is an unsafe procedure that certainly has long-lasting traumatic effects on the young girls.

Tell Cornell University and Medical School to stop sanctioning this procedure, clarify their position on female genital mutilation (FGM), and take actions against the Dr. Poppas and any associates who are peddling mutilation as medicine.

Letter to
President, Cornell University David J. Skorton
Chair, Dept. of Pediatrics, Weill Cornell Medical College Gerald M. Loughlin
Faculty Councils, Weill Cornell Medical College
The media has recently picked up on a story concerning Dr. Dix Poppas, a pediatrician and urologist at Weill Cornell Medical College and New York Presbyterian Hospital, who is performing surgeries on your girls to reduce the size of their clitoris. Dr. Poppas believes he can do this without nerve damage, and tests nerve damage after surgery with such devices as a vibrator on the young girls.

This is female genital mutilation, pure and simple. No child should be subjected to such a painful, potentially harmful, and psychologically scarring procedure; certainly, it is not the place of a leading hospital and pediatrician to create and recommend such a practice, when doctors who know how the body works should explain to anxious parents that their children's "abnormality" is nothing to be ashamed of.

The hospital needs to take serious and decisive action: apologize to the young girls it has harmed, end performing genital mutilation and young girls, take a proactive stance against FGM, and take action against Dr. Poppas for abusing his situation as a doctor to perpetuate this terrible process.

On a personal note, I can think of nothing more painful, humiliating, and psychologically as well as physically damaging than to undergo such a procedure. One that teaches girls from a young age to sacrifice pleasure for "image," that they are only as good as what they look like on the outside, that there is only one "normal" way to exist.


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