Texas Governor Greg Abbott waded into problematic territory when he called gender-affirming care for transgender minors “mutilation” and “child abuse.” His remarks generated lots of coverage and controversy, as he presumably knew they would. The irresponsible and incorrect use of the term “mutilation” takes attention away from the actual, serious problem of mutilation and cutting in the United States today.
Female genital mutilation/cutting, or FGM/C as it’s known, is the partial or total removal of external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. Worldwide, more than 200 million women and girls have undergone the procedure. An estimated 3-4 million additional people are still at risk and another 2 million cases are projected over the next decade—an effect of the COVID-19 “shadow pandemic” of increased abuse of women and girls.
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