U.S. to Study Female Genital Mutilation

The Obama administration will lead a major domestic investigation into the practice of female genital mutilation. Cathy Russell, the ambassador for global women's issues, confirmed that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services would carry out the study into the practice of removing the outer female sexual organs, often without anesthetia. The goal of the probe is to determine how many women living within the U.S. have suffered from FGM and how many are at risk. Russell also said the Obama administration had established a preliminary working group to study the practice. “We've been engaged on this issue for a long time, and now we are trying it get a sense of where we stand,” she said. Unicef estimates 130 million have undergone FGM, and research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital estimates 228,000 women and girls in the U.S. are at risk. The consequences of FGM include heavy bleeding, infections, infertility and death during childbirth.