American Academy of Pediatrics Campaign

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On April 26, 2010, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued their revised “Policy Statement—Ritual Genital Cutting of Female Minors” suggesting changes in U.S. federal and state laws to “enable pediatricians to reach out to families by offering a ritual nick” such as “pricking or incising the clitoral skin to satisfy cultural requirements.”

Equality Now was the first organization to spearhead advocacy on this issue globally. We immediately launched a campaign calling on our members and anti-FGM partners across Africa and Europe to put pressure on the AAP to withdraw the statement. We also wrote to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) asking them to take action against the AAP policy statement, pointing out that it was clearly advocating a practice that is classified by the WHO as type IV Female Genital Mutilation.

On May 20th, 2010, WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) released a joint statement (in English) challenging the AAP’s contentions about FGM and sent Equality Now a letter thanking us for writing to them and letting them know that the AAP had issued a statement on the issue. We also raised media attention on the issue.

On May 27th, after intense criticism from the global community, the AAP revoked its revised policy statement and reaffirmed its commitment to oppose FGM in all its forms in both the U.S. and the rest of the world.