Multiculturalism, Medicine, and the Limits of Autonomy: The Practice of Female Circumcision

Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 3 (3):431 (1994)
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Abstract

Television pictures of starvation and depredation are not the only way that famine and political instability in the horn of Africa have affected the United States. Many people from that region of the world are seeking political or economic refuge here, and they are exposing us to a culture that is in some ways β€” most notably, in the practice of female circumcision – so radically different from the prevailing American cultures that we have been stunned. They are also forcing hospital ethics committees to face issues that cannot be resolved by the facile application of the settled principles that have guided those institutions for the past several years. Autonomy and multiculturalism, long the foundations of most ethics committee decision making, have started to give way to a list of formally articulated rights and wrongs – perhaps to a restatement and adoption of rules said to be based in natural law. Female circumcision, argues one newspaper letter writer, β€œis just a sickening display of male power disguised as legitimate dogma

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Bodily integrity and male and female circumcision.Wim Dekkers, Cor Hoffer & Jean-Pierre Wils - 2005 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 8 (2):179-191.

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