The highly controversial practice of female genital mutilation has raised significant debate regarding the ethical considerations of the practice. The position of this paper is based on consequentialist/utilitarian theory. The concerns associated with the practice poses significant dangers and these rules are morally wrong, and there is no goodness of the consequences. Ethically, women are not given the choice of having the procedure and the doctors or nurses are violating their ethical oath. The practice of female genital mutilation is morally and ethical wrong and poses a serious risk to those who are subject to the procedure. The practice is imposed based on religious and cultural beliefs in some societies. “In a society where there is little economic viability for women outside marriage, ensuring that a daughter undergoes genital mutilation as a child or teenager is a loving act to make certain of her marriageability’’(Cook, Dickens, & Fathalla, 2002). Many females are not given a choice in whether they will have the procedure done or not. “When interviewed, 75.6 percent of circumcised women did not know or answer regarding the type of circumcision they had received” (Larson and Okonofua 2002). The procedure typically takes place when the girls are young or in their teens, leaving the decision to their parents, not to them. The practice also ensures that women remain subservient to their male counterparts. The United Nation’s Commission on the Status of Women (2008) stated, “Female genital mutilation violates, and impairs or nullifies the enjoyment of the human rights of women and girls.”
The nurses and doctors who participate in such rituals challenge the ethics of the practice.
“The reason is that ethics is based not on personal or cultural beliefs but on principles that find their basis in what it is to be a human person” (Kluge, 1993). Doctors and nurses take an oath to protect their patients. “Choice of ethical response among physicians brings out the ambivalence of the historical medical ethic, Do No Harm” (Cook, 2008). The practice of female genital mutilation violates medical ethics and poses direct harm to the females who undergo the procedure. It can also complicate childbirth and pose other unnecessary health risks.
The practice of female genital mutilation is unethical. In most cases, the females do not consent to the procedure and are put at risk of many serious and life-threatening health repercussions. The doctors and nurses who conduct these procedures directly violate their code of ethics to do no harm to their patients. The cultural and ritualistic practice of female genital mutilation is highly controversial because it violates any realm of societal ethics. Despite the belief that women will not be wife material, there is no ethical justification for the practice of female genital mutilation to be taking place in today’s society.
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