States Push to Criminalize FGM–Female Genital Mutilation

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The federal government considers female genital mutilation (FGM) a crime. The World Health Organization (WHO) says that not only does the practice have no health benefits–it can cause severe medical complications and even lead to death.

FGM uses procedures that alter female genital organs. More than 200 million survivors live in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. The U.S. government says that more than half a million girls and women are survivors or are at risk right here in the United States.

Still, as RedState recently reported, 24 states do not consider the practice to be illegal and that makes it tough for prosecutors to go after those involved in the barbaric acts. WHO says that FGM is usually forced on children under the age of 15 and typically causes excruciating pain, bleeding and long-term physical and mental health complications.

Lawmakers in at least two states that don’t outlaw the practice are currently considering making FGM a crime. In New Hampshire the House passed a bill earlier this year that criminalizes it at the state level. The state senate is now considering it.

In Maine two bills are pending, one sponsored by a Republican and one sponsored by a Democrat.  Last year a similar Republican bill in Maine failed after opponents raised concerns that the legislation was anti-immigrant or Islamaphobic.
 

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