Female Genital Cutting

  • Female genital cutting (FGC), a procedure performed on young girls, is a potentially traumatic practice with no known health benefits practiced in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Although the procedure is also referred to as female genital mutilation, this term is controversial. This website will refer to the procedure as female genital cutting to capture procedures ranging from female circumcision to infibulation. The practitioner performing the procedure may be medically trained, or may have no formal medical training and may or may not use anesthesia. The practice can range from nicking or cutting the clitoris, to removal of parts of the genitalia such as the labia minora and/or clitoris, or the surgical narrowing of the vaginal opening. This procedure is steeped in cultural and traditional roots and is usually performed on young girls for multifaceted and complex reasons. Women affected by FGC may experience anything from no long-term effects to a wide range of emotional and physical health complications during the procedure and throughout a woman's life.