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Egypt Outlaws Female Circumcision – Except…

From France’s AFP:

Egypt’s parliament outlaws female circumcision

Except in cases of “medical necessity”

CAIRO (AFP) — Egypt’s parliament outlawed female circumcision except in cases of “medical necessity” on Saturday, a condition which could undermine the ban, parliamentary sources said.

The new legislation is part of a bill on children’s rights which has been the subject of fierce parliamentary debate for several weeks.

The parliamentary sources added that female genital mutilation, dates back to Pharaonic times in Egypt, and will now be punishable by a jail term of between three months and two years or a fine of 1,000-5,000 Egyptian pounds (190-940 dollars)…

The health ministry tried in 1997 to ban the tradition, which affects both Muslim and Christian women in Egypt, and introduced curbs which allowed only doctors to carry out the operation and solely in “exceptional circumstances.”

The restrictions were further strengthened in June 2007 when Health Minister Hatem al-Gabali issued a decree — rather than law — banning all doctors and members of the medical profession from performing the procedure.

The new law, which takes immediate effect, toughens penalties for anyone who is convicted of flouting the ban.

Those who supported the practice argued it was appropriate when female genitals protruded too much, adding that it was needed to preserve the woman’s virtue.

“Nothing in Islam forbids circumcision,” said Saad al-Katatni, president of Egypt’s main opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood.

Female circumcision can cause death through hemorrhaging and later complications during childbirth. It also carries risks of infection, urinary tract problems and mental trauma.

Talk about leaving the door wide open:

Egypt’s parliament outlawed female circumcision except in cases of “medical necessity” …

What on earth could they claim as a “medical necessity”? Why persist in including such an obvious loophole?

They might as well have not bothered at all.

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, June 8th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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