Female Circumcision

You are not assigned any reading in the textbook, but you are
welcomed to consult those chapters to help you in formulating
your views.  You are encouraged to consult news articles on
the topic, or material in library books, as well as to talk to your
friends and family in an effort to discuss these tough problems.
Your assignment is to write 700-1000 words on ONE of these
topics.  Stay strictly within the length guidelines.  Briefly state
the problem (in one sentence or two), and state your position in
the ongoing debate. This will constitute a strong introduction.
Then, proceed to summarize your position on the problem by
offering your own argument "FOR" or "AGAINST" whatever
topic you are addressing.  Make sure that you are familiar with
the terminology of your particular problem and the arguments
cited by proponents on each side of the issue, such as “RIGHT
TO LIFE”, or “RIGHT TO AUTONOMY”, etc.  You are
welcomed to cite personal experiences in your composition,
and to argue forcefully your position, but do not neglect to
provide legitimate reasons for your stance (do not simply
forcefully assert your 'feelings' on the matter).  Please cite all
relevant sources.
You will need to address what you take to be your opponent's
strongest argument, and explain why you reject it (this
means briefly summarize the opponent's argument, and then
explain why you reject it).  You will need to clearly state the
grounds on which you hold your own opinion (the "Right to
Life Argument", or the "Right to Dignity Argument", or the
"Argument from Deterrence", etc.) You will find these
arguments in the assigned readings for each problem.  You
may find additional arguments in your personal research.  You
may even create your own argument!

There are no right and wrong answers here, there are only
sound and unsound arguments.  How well can you support
your position?  How well can you convince me that your view
is the best way to look at the problem?  Use examples.  Point
out anything that you see as a deficiency in a particular
argument relating to your topic.  Cite sources parenthetically
when you refer to some thinker or argument that was not
addressed in the Essential Points on your topic.
Make sure that your conclusion is a strong and unwavering re-
statement of your thesis that also includes a reference to what
you think is the strongest argument supporting your position.
For instance, "Capital Punishment is wrong and should be
abolished, for it is irrational, illogical, and offers a bad
example to citizens. Executing criminals is state-sanctioned
murder. There is no place for execution in a 'just' and noble
society.  The best government leads by example, and murder is
no example!" (This is a strong conclusion)
If you have a particular topic you would like to write on that is
not covered in the course, you may email me for permission.
Some students in the past have asked to write on topics such as
Chinese Foot Binding, the Establishment of Israel (the Jewish
State) or the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,
The Inclusion of Women in the U.S. Navy, the Catholic
Position on Vaccination, the German Ban on Male
Circumcision, Gun Control, the Legalization of Prostitution/
Legalization of Robot Brothels, and Climate Change, to name a
few.   If you choose one of these topics, you will want to offer
a complete and thorough bibliography that includes all sources
consulted (even if you did not cite them explicitly).
Formatting: Your name, topic, and date must be included on
your file, if you submit a file instead of a direct entry into

Virtual Campus. The American Philosophical Association uses
APA formatting for submissions when there is a call for
papers. However, for the purposes of this course, it will suffice
that you include all relevant citations and use size 14 font
(Times New Roman, Times, Arial, or Tahoma) for documents,
(or size 18 font for text entry directly into Virtual Campus text
entry fields). It is not required that you use or cite any outside
sources, but you are likely to do so in your personal research
on your topic, and you must cite those sources—you may do
this directly in the text of your essay, or as footnotes or
endnotes, but these citations ARE NOT included in your word
count.  Proper text body citations would look like this:

 In Texas, a death penalty case costs an average of $2.3 million, about
three times the cost of imprisoning someone in a single cell at the
highest security level for 40 years. (Dallas Morning News, March 8,
1992).

 34 states plus the US government use lethal injection as their primary method
of execution. Some states utilizing lethal injection have other methods
available as backups. (Death Penalty Information Center@ SupremeCourt.gov;
updated December 7, 2016)

 The Central Council of Jews in Germany called the ruling banning
circumcision of young boys an “unprecedented and dramatic intrusion” upon
the right to religious freedom and an “outrageous and insensitive” act.
(Reuters, JUNE 27, 2012)

 It can be argued that in at least some cases (the ticking bomb) a terrorist is not
a mere bystander, but a continuing aggressor, insofar as his act of violence

has been set in motion but not yet completed, and he has the ability to prevent
it by revealing the location of the bomb. In such a case, an argument of
“SELF DEFENSE” can reasonably be put forth in support of the use of
torture. [Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs; “Torture Can Be
Self-Defense: A Critique of Whitley Kaufman” Ethics & International Affairs,
Volume 22.1 (Spring 2008)]

 Last month, Toronto-based company KinkySdollS announced
that—following a successful launch in Canada’s most populous city—it
would be expanding to the U.S.  Specifically, the location of its first
American sex robot brothel would be Houston, Texas.  (Dan Solomon
in Texas Monthly, October 3, 2018)

Female Circumcision/Genital Cutting
Introduction
Female circumcision usually involves the cutting or removal of the clitoris.
This area of the genitals is very sensitive because it contains the most nerve
endings.
Genital cutting is a painful practice that is often poorly carried out, and
endangers the health and lives of millions of girls, particularly in Africa.
In some communities the controversial practice is a female rite of passage
and remains an important religious and cultural tradition. In regions where a
new religion has become dominant, the tradition of genital cutting does not
necessarily die out.
In the Middle East, female circumcision is practiced in Yemen, Saudi Arabia,
Iraq, Jordan and Syria. Even in the United States, 10,000 girls each year are
believed to be at risk from illegal operations performed within their own
communities. It has also been reported that young women in Australia,
Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK have
also undergone similar operations.

Argument "FOR" : Cultural Tradition
Genital cutting is widespread within some African cultures and ethnic groups.
It is seen as the climax of initiation, something that both boys and girls have
to take part in before they are accepted as adults in the community.
Young people leave home to be trained in the ways of adult life. For girls this
means learning practical skills before returning to their homes as women.
According to supporters, the process of female genital cutting has practical
merits in a physically harsh society. It is proof that the woman is mentally
strong and able to deal with the difficult responsibilities of adult life.
It also has religious and social significance. The shedding of blood is seen
symbolically as a stream connecting the woman to the rest of her close-knit
community. In a small community oneness is very important.
The ritual is also seen as an essential preparation for marriage. After the
initiation rituals women begin looking for a husband and hope to start a
family.
Argument "AGAINST" : Painful Procedure
Those opposed to genital cutting prefer to use the term Female Genital
Mutilation. They argue that it is a barbaric and needless practice inflicted
on innocent young women. It is certainly a painful process. It is sometimes
carried out by a midwife with anaesthetics, but more often than not there is
nothing to ease the pain.
The operation involved varies widely from culture to culture. In its most
extreme form (infibulation) it can involve the removal of all external
genitalia and the stitching up of the labia leaving only a very small opening
for sex, urination, menstruation and giving birth. This often makes a later
operation necessary to create a larger opening.
Many objections to the practice of genital cutting are concerned with the
particular circumstances in which it is done. Amnesty International, a human
rights organisation, reports that the operation is often carried out using
blunt tools (penknives, fragments of glass or tin cans).
A particularly brutal operation can leave a woman with hemorrhaging,
infections, abscesses and usually a lifelong loss of sensation during sex. The
Pan-African Committee on Traditional Practices estimates that two million

girls in Africa each year undergo some kind of genital cutting which
endangers both their health and their lives.
Another objection concerns the inability of some young women to make a
choice. Cutting takes place when a girl is young (aged between three and
ten), vulnerable and unable to make an informed decision. In a small village
community pressure to take part is enormous.

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