What is Clitorectomy?
Clitoridectomy or clitorectomy is the surgical removal of the clitoris. It is used rarely as a therapeutic medical procedure, such as when cancer has developed in or spread to the clitoris. Most removals of the clitoris occur as female genital mutilation (FGM), defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as "all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs whether for cultural, religious or other non-therapeutic reasons". This procedure is also ritual practice in certain tribes in Africa.
An estimated 125 million women have had clitoridectomies in 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East where the practice is concentrated. Most of the surgeries are for cultural or religious reasons. FGM is often seen as a rite of passage that makes girls eligible for marriage, and is associated with cultural ideals of femininity and beauty, seen to rid girls of their "unclean" and "male" body parts. Clitoridectomies are performed on intersex newborns to make their genitalia more "understandable".