Upfront

Doctors mum on genital cutting

Female genital cutting is illegal in Egypt, but physicians are not discouraging the practice, according to a recent study. “Based on the women we interviewed, the doctors are not coming out and saying, ‘You really don’t need to do this,’ ” says lead author Sepideh Modrek, PhD, who was a Stanford instructor of medicine when the work was conducted.

One-third of the mothers interviewed said they were uncertain about genital cutting or were worried about the risks to their daughters — which include infection, hemorrhage and death — so they sought out doctors for advice. “They have heard mixed messages,” says Modrek, “and are looking to the doctor for the final decision.” The study was published online in August 2016 in International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health.

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