Prohibition of medicalization

  • Legislation should prohibit the medicalization of FGM in any form. 
  • Legislation should explicitly state that there is no medical benefit to the practice of FGM and prohibit medical professionals from conducting any form of FGM. 
  • Legislation should provide that if the procedure is performed by a person with a medical license or certificate, the term of imprisonment shall be increased and the practitioner shall be prohibited from practicing his or her profession for a period of time. 
  • Legislation should explicitly prohibit the medical sector from re-infibulation or “re-closing” a woman after child birth to her pre-delivery infibulated state. 
  • Legislation should require that health-care providers be trained on the harmful consequences of FGM and that performing FGM will result in criminal and civil liability. Guidelines and education should be included in health-care provider’s training curriculum. 
  • Ministry of Health and professional regulatory bodies should issue policy statements against the medicalization of any form of FGM, including re-infibulation.
  • Professional organizations should adopt and disseminate clear standards condemning and prohibiting the practice of any type of FGM. Such standards should be accompanied with strict sanctions for violations. 

See: Global strategy to stop health-care providers from performing genital mutilation (WHO, 2010); available in English.


Illustrative Examples:

The European Parliament resolution of 24 March 2009 on combating female genital mutilation in the EU (2008/2071(INI)), Para 25

Urges firm rejection of pricking of the clitoris and medicalisation in any form, which are being proposed as a halfway house between circumcision and respect for traditions serving to define identity and which would merely lead to the practice of FGM being justified and accepted on EU territory; reiterates the absolute and strong condemnation of FGM, as there is no reason—social, economic, ethnic, health-related or other—that could justify it.

In addition, both Burkina Faso and Senegal increase penalties for medical professionals who practice FGM. 

  • Burkina Faso Penal Code, Art. 381:
    The maximum punishment shall be meted out if the guilty party is a member of the medical or paramedical profession. Moreover, he or she may be disbarred from practice by the courts for up to five years.