The topic title comes from the title of Dan Savage's article here http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2010/06/16/female-genital-mutilation-at-cornell-university in which he quotes this http://www.thehastingscenter.org/Bioethicsforum/Post.aspx?id=4730&blogid=140
Here are the relevant bits:
Dr. Dix Poppas, a pediatric urologist, has been doing "cosmetic" surgery on little girls to reduce the visible size of their clits. Details of what the surgery involves at the links. Which is bad enough for reasons I'll get to in a minute. THEN as part of their follow-up exam he is using vibrators or cotton swabs to masturbate them to arousal in the presence of a parent to "prove" that the surgery was successful in not accidentally severing something important and they still have full sensation. And ideally he wants to be allowed to do this every year from that point on as the girl grows up to chart her sexual development.
Among the serious issues here:
As is pointed out at both links if he DID screw it up what's he going to do? He can't restore the nerves that he accidentally cut out.
He thinks sexually stimulating children on a regular basis in front of their parents will not in some way impact their sexual development.
He apparently does NOT have approval from his IRB to be doing this. He DID get approval for a chart review to write the article about his surgical procedure but not for sexual activity with a child for the purposes of research.
There are indications that the parents are not being given all the information they need for informed consent for the surgery and may not be giving informed consent for the follow-up.
If you're a kid with big ears or a big nose an ethical plastic surgeon will want to wait until you are at or near your full growth to operate because the body changes so much during growth and you can grow into them. How is it that the same isn't being done for girls with larger clits when we know that puberty can cause massive changes to the genitals (Like in the case of a genetic quirk in which boys have no recognizable penis until then and then grow perfectly normal ones)? Because, apparently there is some positive correlation between clit size and your chances of growing up to be a lesbian. /sigh/
The surgery puts the child at risk for post operative infection, incontinence, and loss of some or all sexual feeling. Just like the more primate sorts of genital mutilation.
A big reason given for doing the surgery is to help the child's self-image. Right. 'Cause having a large clit when you don't even realize that it's not "normal" (and who other than the doctors and parents are going to be looking at that point?) is so much more psychologically damaging than going through painful surgery and being put on display for the medical team and having this creep have fun time with his vibrator. And I'd like to add a point I missed when I posted this to FOAF this morning: This guy is a urologist; where does he get off making pronouncements about anybody's mental health? .
Copy/pasted from a comment on the first link:
You can email the Dean of Weill Medical College, Antonio Gotto: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or Dr. Poppas himself: email@example.com
You can also email University President, David Skorton: firstname.lastname@example.org
Macavity Kitsune whose post alerted me to this wants this to be posted to as many forums as possible so here's my part. It's prolly going to be a day or so before I can compose an email of protest that doesn't sound like it's from a raving loony though. What the fuck are you people thinking doesn't tend to be an effective way of communicating outrage to bureaucrats.