Anti-circumcision protestors demand genital mutilation protections for boys


  • MT File photo
In April a Detroit doctor was arrested for allegedly performing genital mutilation on several girls between the ages of six and eight. Dr. Jumana Nagarwala is currently awaiting trial for FGM, a practice that's often done for religious or cultural reasons but is illegal in the U.S.

Nagarwala worked at the Henry Ford Hospital on Grand Avenue in Detroit, but allegedly performed the procedures out of a medical's office in Livonia.

She faces a five-year felony for performing the FGM and is also charged with transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, a felony punishable by 10 years to life.

But, some aren't happy with laws that prosecute doctors for performing FGM while nearly 50,000 newborn boys legally undergo circumcision in Michigan every year.

An anti-circumcision group called NOCIRC is planning to protest in front of the Detroit hospital where Nagarwala was employed. On Saturday, May 27 at noon, the group plans to demand that the hospital put an end to male infant circumcision.

"Michigan physicians and even non-physicians are legally allowed to cut the genitals of boys simply at the request of their parents," Norm Cohen, Executive Director of NOCIRC of Michigan, said in a press release." Michigan has one of the highest rates of circumcision in the world. However, the slightest cutting of girls' genitals, regardless of religious belief, is a five-year felony."

Michigan has one of the highest rates of male infant circumcision in the world, according to statistics, despite little research to suggest that the practice is universally beneficial and NOCIRC of Michigan contends that polls indicate most parents decide to circumcise for reasons not related to health care. They also attest that physicians profit by promoting it and by convincing insurance companies to pay for it.

Eighty-three percent of newborn boys in Michigan undergo circumcision, according to Cohen, at a cost of $11 million. "Male circumcision is driven by the same reasons used to justify female genital mutilation: tradition, appearance, medical myths, and sexual moderation," a press release reads.

Cohen adds, "Doctors and hospitals profit by perpetuating the myth that infant circumcision is health care. It is not. It is a harmful custom that removes a normal, functioning part of a child’s genitals at the request of his parents. The genitals of girls, boys, and those born intersex need to be protected from the harm of any genital cutting custom."

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