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We agree with the WHO and United Nations agencies that elimination of female genital alteration is a desirable goal in those communities where the practice is tied to discrimination and oppression of women.1 To the extent that any practice subjugates or endangers women, of course, its elimination is desirable. As practising physicians, we are appalled by mutilating procedures that kill and maim young women, that impair their ability to have a healthy sexual relationship, and that make childbirth dangerous. Where we disagree, respectfully, is in tactic. Indeed, in most circumstances, respect, collaboration and compromise are more effective in achieving change than censure and condemnation.2
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.