Skip to main content

Community Members

What is Female Genital Cutting (FGC)?

Female genital cutting means cutting, removing, or sewing closed some or all of a girl’s or woman’s private parts. FGC can also be called female circumcision, female genital mutilation, “khatna” or khafd”, or “tahor.” FGC can go by many other names that are not listed here.

FGC Community photo

    • FGC is Against the Law in Michigan

      If a person agrees to have FGC done to a girl under the age of 18 they may:

      • Be arrested, charged with a crime, and go to prison for up to 15 years 
      • Be reported to Child Protective Services and have your child(ren) taken away.
      • Be sued by your daughter (up to the age of 28)

      If a person takes a girl out of the United States or Michigan to get FGC it is still a crime.

    • Who Does FGC and Why

      FGC may be part of the culture in some countries. FGC was practiced before most major religions began. FGC is not required by any religion; however, some religious sects have adapted the procedure. There is no medical reason for a girl or women to get FGC. FGC has no health benefits. FGC causes harm to girls and women

    • Many Countries Oppose FGC

      The World Health Organization (WHO) considers FGC a human rights violation because:

      • It violates the rights to health and bodily integrity
      • It is a form of violence and torture against women
      • It violates the rights of children who undergo the practice without agreeing to it.

    • Health Risks

      Physical harm includes:

      • Severe pain 

      • Difficulty urinating or painful menstrual periods

      • Serious bleeding

      • Problems during or after childbirth

      • Infections and diseases

      • Death as a result from some of these problems


      Emotional harm includes:

      • Anger at the person performing or allowing the procedure                     

      • Depression, fear and feelings of helplessness

      • Trauma, including nightmares and flashbacks                                                       

      • Sexual fears, decreased sexual pleasure


      There may be harms that are not listed above.

      These health risks can be short-term, long-term or both.

    • Beliefs vs. Facts


      Belief: Fact:
      Only girls who get FGC can pass into womanhood and be considered respectable. Cultural norms are changing. Other rites of passage into womanhood, that do not use FGC, are increasingly accepted.
      If the clitoris is not cut, it will continue to grow. The clitoris stops growing after puberty and stays small.
      If the clitoris is not cut, it will harm her husband during intercourse.

      The clitoris does not cause any harm to her or her husband during intercourse.

      If the clitoris is not cut, it will harm the baby during delivery. The clitoris won't harm the fetus, the baby or the mother. FGC can cause serious complications during childbirth.
      If a woman does not have FGC, she will not be able to have children. FGC has nothing to do with a woman's ability to have children. FGC may make it harder for a woman to have a baby because of infections.
      If a woman does not undergo FGC, her genitals will smell. FGC will not make the vagina cleaner.
      FGC is a religious duty. FGC is not supported in any major religious texts and many religious leaders believe that this tradition should stop.
      An uncut woman will sleep around and have an uncontrollable sexual desire. FGC has no effect on a woman's sexual desire. Sexual desire is mostly affected by hormones secreted by glands in the brain. However, FGC can stop her from ever enjoying sex.
      Men do not want to stop FGC. In most countries where data exists, most boys and men think FGC should be stopped.
      If FGC is performed by a health care professional, there is no risk of harm. FGC is a harmful practice and may lead to physical, mental and sexual health problems no matter who does it.




    Many religious and community leaders do not support FGC. They can talk with you, your family or community members. Here are some national organizations that educate and support women:


Female Genital Cutting: A Fact Sheet. Office of Women’s Health; US Dept. of Health & Human Services,; retrieved January 2018.

Khatna, Khafz or Female Genital Cutting; Sahiyo,; retrieved April 2018.

What Is Female Genital Mutilation (FGM?); Forward Youth;; retrieved April 2018.

Female Genital Mutilation Fact Sheet; World Health Organization (WHO);;  retrieved September 2017.

Michigan Compiled Laws;; retrieved October 2017.


Printer Friendly Version Fact Sheet

Printer Friendly Version Fact Sheet - Arabic

Printer Friendly Version Fact Sheet - French

Printer Friendly Version Fact Sheet - Somali