‘A doctor in Britain faces up to 14 years in prison under that country’s Female Mutilation Act for allegedly performing an operation that is condoned in Canada by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists as part of a “culturally competent” approach to medical care.’
Dr. Margaret Burnett, an ob/gyn in Winnipeg, says that when women who have been the victim of infibulation have babies, their labia often have to be cut open for the baby to come out. After, she says, requests for reinfibulation are relatively common. That’s because it is considered normal for women who come from countries where FGM is widely done, mostly Africa and the Middle East.
“It’s my impression that we do get many requests for this and almost all of them come from the husbands,” Burnett says. “They want their wives closed again.”
In Canada, the ob/gyn society’s new guidelines, issued last November, suggest doctors explain the dangers of reinfibulation to patients, and that requests for the procedure “should be declined.”
That’s a softening from a policy statement issued 20 months earlier, which stipulated that requests for the operation “must be declined.”
Burnett, chair of the society’s social sexual committee that helped draw up the guidelines, says the approach was softened to be more culturally accepting. The change was made after speaking to immigrant women who have been through FGM.
Burnett says she herself has performed reinfibulations…
Dr. Beverley Chalmers, adjunct professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Ottawa, believes that caregivers in Canada should not be permitted to perform any form of genital mutilation that is not clinically necessary.
“To hide behind ‘cultural accommodation’ to permit the practice of FGM, or any other practice that is unquestionably harmful, is a craven distortion of political correctness … (and) is simply moral cowardice,” she says.
Kowser Omer-Hashi, a Somali-Canadian who wrote a book with Chalmers about Somali women’s birthing experiences in Canada, is shocked that Canadian society appears to tacitly allow reinfibulations. She remembers being mutilated — her clitoris cut and infibulated — as a child.
“I will never forget when I first had to pee,” she says. “The pain is indescribable.” ‘
This is outrageous!
We must not permit this horrible torture to be accepted – and performed by doctors – in Canada and other countries which would like to consider themselves ‘civilized’!!!
I am so angry, my hands are shaking…
Please, let your federal and provincial legislators know that you want genital mutilation to become illegal, with hefty jail sentences for both those who perform it and the parents who commission it.
Also, please let the Canadian Society of Gynecologists and Obstetricians – the organization which has now made female genital mutilation legal for doctors to perform in Canada – please, let them know exactly what you think about this change in their policy:
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
780 Echo Drive, Ottawa, ON K1S 5R7
Mon-Fri: 8:30am-4:30pm (EST)
While you are at it, why not let Dr. Burnett, the MD who pushed for this change and has admitted to having performed reinfibulations (that is sewing the vagina shut, to be ripped open during intercourse), why not let the doctor herself know your opinions about the practice in general and her culpability in perpetuating sexual torture in particular:
Burnett Margaret Dr Obstetrician & Gynecologist
Health Sciences Center, 810 Sherbrook St.
R3A 1R8 Winnipeg
– West Alexander
- (204) 787-1961
- Send message
Who is Dr. Burnett?
A simple google search (which is how I got the above information) also reveals this:
Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba
Associate Head, Academic, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of Manitoba
Director of Post Graduate Medical Education, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of Manitoba
Section Head, Gynecology, Women’s Hospital, Winnipeg
So, this sounds like Dr. Burnett is quite influential…and if she promotes accommodating this barbaric practice, we are in big, big trouble!!!
The right to bodily integrity is paramount. Monstrous practices like female genital mutilation must not be perpetuated on our citizens. Tell your lawmakers to outlaw this cruel and horrible and dangerous (remember, it increases not only maternal mortality but also infant mortality) practice.