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Joan Cameron, Karen Rawlings-Anderson
British Journal of Midwifery, Vol. 9, Iss. 3, 01 Mar 2001, pp 137 - 142

Many women worldwide undergo some form of female circumcision. The practice of female circumcision is more common in communities with high poverty levels and is usually undertaken by unqualified practitioners. The practice is deemed harmful by many health professionals because of the health problems associated with it. Episiotomy is a surgical procedure which is common in western cultures. It is strongly linked to an increased use of technology. The practice has been promoted by the medical and midwifery professions because it is perceived to be beneficial for the woman and her baby. However, a growing body of evidence suggests that the routine use of episiotomy is unlikely to confer any advantage on the woman and overuse of the procedure leads to short- and long-term morbidity. In this article, the two procedures are critiqued from a rational, scientific standpoint and the reasons for the enduring popularity of both procedures are explored.

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