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Female genital mutilation. Female circumcision. Who is at risk in the U.S.?

Publication Date
  • Research Article
  • Medicine


Female genital mutilation/female circumcision (FGM/FC) refers to a group of traditional practices that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for cultural, religious, or other non-therapeutic reasons. These practices are usually performed by a nonmedical practitioner in the home or other nonclinical setting. Complications occurring immediately after the practice as well as those encountered months and years afterward can result in disability or premature death. In 1996 Congress directed the Department of Health and Human Services to develop estimates of the prevalence of women and girls with or at risk for FGM/FC in the United States. This paper reports those estimates, as derived by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which showed that in 1990 there were an estimated 168,000 girls and women living in the United States with or at risk for FGM/FC.

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