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Protecting Children from Medically Unnecessary Genital Cutting Without Stigmatizing Women’s Bodies: Implications for Sexual Pleasure and Pain

The Original Article was published on 22 April 2019

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  1. According to the Brussels Collaboration on Bodily Integrity (2019), “an intervention to alter a bodily state is medically necessary when: (1) the bodily state poses a serious, time-sensitive threat to the person’s well-being, typically due to a functional impairment in an associated somatic process, and (2) the intervention, as performed without delay, is the least harmful feasible means of changing the bodily state to one that alleviates the threat. ‘Medically necessary’ is therefore different from ‘medically beneficial’, a weaker standard, which requires only that the expected health-related benefits outweigh the expected health-related harms. The latter ratio is often contested as it depends on the specific weights assigned to the potential outcomes of the intervention, given, among other things, (a) the subjective value to the individual of the body parts that may be affected, (b) the individual’s tolerance for different kinds or degrees of risk to which those body parts may be exposed, and (c) any preferences the individual may have for alternative (e.g. less invasive or risky) means of pursuing the intended health-related benefits (p. 18).”

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Correspondence to Brian D. Earp.

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Earp, B.D. Protecting Children from Medically Unnecessary Genital Cutting Without Stigmatizing Women’s Bodies: Implications for Sexual Pleasure and Pain. Arch Sex Behav 50, 1875–1885 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-020-01633-x

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