The Generalitat de Catalunya (the provincial government) has said that it will offer free surgical reconstructions to women who have been victims of genital mutilations. The provision is being included in anti-violence against women legislation currently working its way through their Parlament. Apparently they announced the provision the day after the Institut Universitari Dexeus de Barcelona said they would offer the procedure for free in any of their associated clinics. Health minister Marina Geli insisted that:

the “greatest interest” is in trying to prevent the ablation of the clitoris because “it is a mutilation that has no cultural justification”. The minister said that they’re working with immigrants’ associations to make it understood that “it is a crime” and specified that the reconstruction of the clitoris must me done when the woman is an adult.

As anyone paying attention to European immigration debates, or anyone who’s read Ayaan Hirsi Ali‘s enlightening memoirs, knows, Europeans can get quite timid about putting their foot down legally as to what it acceptable in cultural diversity. Far too often, to avoid confronting certain immigrant groups, women’s protections under the law have been compromised. Legal systems have not adapted quickly enough to figure out how to handle mutilations like those mentioned above, or honor killings (far too common in the EU, and often not recorded as such.) It’s nice to see the issue getting positive recognition from official bodies.