The John Marshal Law Review (Chicago), Volume 32: Pages 353-380, Winter 1999.
Both male and female circumcision are medically unnecessary procedures that can cause children to experience physical and psychological harm. State legislatures enacted FGM statutes to protect female minors from circumcision complications, but never extended the same protection to male children. This Comment does not suggest that female circumcision is less important than male circumcision or that it is not a serous, human rights problem. However, here in the United States male minors face circumcision on a wider scale, yet they are not legally protected from this painful, medically unnecessary procedure. Law criminalizing female circumcision are a step in the right direction toward protecting child welfare. However all children are at risk of being circumcised and yet currently only half are protected under these laws.
State laws violate the constitutional guarantee that similarly situated males and females be treated equally before the law. Notwithstanding a state government's good intentions, and its legal prorogative to protect young girls from an injurious procedure, the state court must extend the same legal protections to boys at risk for a similar procedure. Striking down unconstitutional FGM statutes and replacing them with gender neutral, generally applicable laws will protect all children from harm and further the state's legitimate interest in protecting child welfare without discriminating on the basis of gender.
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