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Egypt Ends Ban On Female Circumcision

An Egyptian court has overturned a year-old ban on the ritual cutting of female genitals in a decision that has been celebrated by Islamic leaders but has outraged human rights advocates.

The decision on Tuesday struck down a ban on the traditional practice in all state and private clinics. But it maintained a ban on cutting as practiced by people untrained in medicine, including the midwives and barbers who use razors and other crude devices in rural villages.

The ritual was outlawed last July after a campaign by human rights workers, who condemn the practice as dangerous and say it is not necessarily sanctioned by Islam, as its proponents suggest.

Polls have shown that 70 percent to 90 percent of Egyptian women have been subjected to some form of genital cutting, although for younger urban women the percentage is far lower.

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Early exit polls show strong support to lift Ireland ban on abortion

UPDATED: 3:05 p.m.

Ireland’s referendum Friday represented more than a vote on whether to end the country’s strict abortion ban. It was a battle for the very soul of a traditionally conservative Roman Catholic nation that has seen a wave of liberalization in recent years.