Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Raelians plan to open women's hospital

The Raelians, who actually do have a very small, but passionate following in Burkina Faso, plan to open a hospital that will allow women who went through genital cutting to have their clitoris reconstructed.

From Wired:

Surgeries to "reverse" this kind of genital cutting have become fairly common in Europe as African immigrants become more westernized. However, [Paris-based OB-Gyn Pierre] Foldes is currently the only doctor who attempts to go the extra step, not just dividing the sewn-together skin, but also constructing a new clitoris.

"It's not terribly invasive," [Marci] Bowers says. She explains that the surgeon first removes the scar tissue, and then looks for what the cutting procedure left behind. The clitoris, Bowers says, "is almost like a snail. Most of it is curled up behind the pubic bone, but there's one tip pointed out, and that's the clitoris. So you're first exposing the remaining stump of the clitoris, and then bringing it forward with some suturing."

Foldes performs the surgeries for free and in addition to his regular hospital work, Bowers says, and she expects to do the same. She plans to start seeing patients at her Colorado offices, and will fly to Burkina Faso for a month of surgeries as soon as the Raelians get the hospital built. She doesn't mind donating her time to the cause, and has also donated some money to help with the hospital: "This is building karma," she says.

While construction of what the Raelians call "the pleasure hospital" has been delayed, [Spokeswomen of Raelian project Clitoraid, Lara] Terstenjak insists the building will rise within the next year. The group says it has bought a piece of land in a suburb of Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso's second-largest city.

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