Might Reinfibulation be Medically Plausible in Carefully Screened Cases?

Polychronis Voultsos

Abstract

In light of the relational account of autonomy and the modern (holistic and phenomenological) account of health, this paper examines ethical justifications for ‘consensual’ reinfibulation. Significant and constant discomfort in the body following deinfibulation might make a case for reinfibulation (considered as medical treatment in the traditional sense of the term).   In any other case, the following requirements should be met for reinfibulation to be considered medically plausible: a) strong evidence that reinfibulation could help effectively improve woman’s relational well-being, b)  insignificant complications  are expected, c) congruence between first-order and second-order autonomy or -in the context of political liberalism- strong second-order autonomy, d) an “open door” for the woman to exit an oppressive context, e) rigorous scrutiny of woman’s psychology, and f) woman’s practical wisdom to organize her identity-related values, find a balance between her extreme emotions and realize her own goal of meaningful life in accordance with her own conception of the good.  Conclusively, in carefully screened cases and individually judged requests for reinfibulation, it should not be ruled out that, after having been conducted a multi-disciplinary in-depth investigation at social, psychological and medical level may be met conditions that make a case for reinfibulation. (Afr J Reprod Health 2020; 24[1]: 165-181).

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