Genital mutilation is widespread

Friday, June 27th, 2003 - 4:24 am PDT

Many in the West are aware that ritual genital mutilation is practiced by certain African cultures, but a shocking new study by the New England Journal of Medicine reveals that the practice of genital mutilation is just as common right here in the United States. According to the study, up to 64% of healthy US male infants have a section of their penis surgically removed shortly after birth, long before any sense of reasonable informed consent could be hoped for. And because this medically unnecessary procedure is often done with the express consent of the infant’s parents, psychologists fear that such early childhood trauma can lead to a lifelong sense of mistrust and apprehension.