Dr. Nagarwala, who practices emergency medicine at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, has been placed on administrative leave, said David Olejarz, a spokesman for the Henry Ford Health System.
“The alleged criminal activity did not occur at any Henry Ford facility,” he said in an email. “We would never support or condone anything related to this practice.”
Female genital cutting involves removing parts of the genitalia. The World Health Organization has documented the practice in 30 countries, most of them in Africa. The procedure, which is illegal in the United States, is typically performed on girls before they reach puberty and can lead to infections, childbirth complications or pain during urination or menstruation.
The World Health Organization estimates that worldwide, more than 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of genital cutting. A study last year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that more than a half million women and girls were affected by, or at risk of, genital cutting in the United States in 2012.
Genital cutting has been illegal in the United States since 1996, but that law was amended in 2013 to outlaw what is sometimes referred to as “vacation cutting,” or transporting a girl overseas to carry out the procedure.
The Michigan case is significant because it can help to raise awareness of an issue that often flies under the radar, said Shelby Quast of Equality Now, an international women’s rights advocacy organization.
She said people who might see evidence of genital cutting, such as teachers and health care providers, are not always aware of obligations to report it. “We need better information about exactly where they are,” Ms. Quast said of practitioners of genital cutting. “We know that this is a child abuse issue, and we know that we need to start training our child protection folks better.”