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A Journal on Obstetrics and Gynecology

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Minerva Ginecologica 2000 November;52(11):485-90

language: Italian

Female genital mutilations and legislation

Bonessio L., Bartucca B., Bertelli S., Morini F., Spina V.


This article deals with the legal aspect concerning female genital mutilations (FGM). Such a practice (a partial excision of the external genitalia) is highly widespread in Central Africa, especially in Ethiopia and Somalia, and currently involves approximately 130.000.000 women worldwide and, in Italy, about 30.000 women amongst the immigrant population. Since 1982 the World Health Organization (WHO), which condemns such a practice as injurious to women's rights and health, proposed that laws and professional codes prohibit it in all countries. Legislation, although insufficient as a sole measure, is considered indispensable for the elimination of FMG.
Since a long time some western countries (Sweden, Great Britain, Belgium and Norway), involved by immigration from countries with FGM tradition, legislated with regard to FGM.
In Italy, a specific law does not exist; however, FGM are not allowed by the article 5 of the Civil Code. Nevertheless, recently, several cases of mutilations took place: this led some members of the Parliament to introduce a bill in order to specifically forbid FGM. The authors believe that legislation could effectively support the job of prevention and education, which physicians may carry out in order to save little girls from the risk of familial tradition of genital mutilations.

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