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The Culture of Female Circumcision

Morris, Rita PhD, RN

Diversity in Health Care

The issue of female circumcision takes on special significance as more women migrate to the United States from countries where the practice has religious and traditional underpinnings.Female circumcision is a problem unfamiliar to most Western health care practitioners. This article describes an ethnographic study of the types of female circumcision, the reasons for and against the practice, the health implications of this practice, and cultural attitudes of circumcised women both in Western Africa and as migrant refugees living in the United States. Ethical dilemmas in dealing with this practice and implications for nurses and health care providers are discussed.

Associate Professor, School of Nursing, San Diego State University, San Diego, California; Faculty Member, School of Nursing, University of Phoenix, Phoenix, Arizona.

Copyright © 1996 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.