Honey pot, meat flap, pink taco, Penis Fly trap, Soggy box and baby cannon, are just some of the many names the world has given a woman's Vagina. Female circumcision, the partial or total cutting away of the external female genitalia, has been practiced for centuries in parts of Africa, generally, as one element of a rite of passage preparing young girls for womanhood and marriage. Often performed without anesthetic under septic conditions by lay practitioners with little or no knowledge of human anatomy or medicine, female circumcision can cause death or permanent health problems as well as severe pain. Despite these grave risks, its practitioners look on it as an integral part of their cultural and ethnic identity, and some perceive it as a religious obligation. The practice of female "circumcision," or traditional female genital surgery, is simultaneously complex and controversial. .
Although some consider it a human rights infringement, others view it as an integral part of cultures in which it remained unchallenged for centuries. With more than 30,000 Africans entering the United States in the last decade, American clinicians are challenged with meeting African women's health needs, as they are barraged with a debate about the ethics and politics of circumcision. There are significant medical sequelae and public health ramifications of female circumcision; therefore most U.S. physicians probably would agree that programs to abolish it should continue. However, although there is ample media and political attention to this volatile issue, there is a relative dearth of practical, clinical information available to providers who care for circumcised women and their families. As African communities and advocates grapple with how to stop this practice, circumcised women need clinicians familiar with these surgeries, who will move beyond negative feelings they may have about the practice in order to treat women knowledgeably and with dignity.