Female genital mutilation or cutting: an updated medico‐legal analysis

Ben Mathews and Elizabeth Dallaston
Med J Aust 2020; 213 (7): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.50768
Published online: 5 October 2020

A recent landmark High Court decision both directs and reassures medical and other practitioners in clinical and community settings that no parent or individual can compel this unlawful procedure

Many people from countries where female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C) is customary have migrated to Australia and other nations. Legislation in many of these nations prohibits any person, including medical practitioners, from conducting FGM/C.1 Important questions exist about the nature of the prohibition, and lawful and ethical practice in dealing with requested FGM/C. Medical practitioners, community practitioners and religious leaders deserve sound guidance about legal responsibilities and optimal clinical practice.

  • 1 Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD
  • 2 Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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