Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Iowa and Nebraska—Where Are Your Laws to Protect Girls from Female Genital Mutilation?

***News Release***


Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Iowa and Nebraska—Where Are Your Laws to Protect Girls from Female Genital Mutilation?

23 States in America Don’t Protect Women and Girls from Brutal FGM

Washington—It seems a given that every state in America would have laws on their books to protect women and girls from the brutal practice of female genital mutilation (FGM).

But this is not the case.

Just 27 states have enacted anti-FGM laws that criminalize this cruel and unnecessary practice that is often carried out on girls from the ages of 3 to 12. In advance of the crucial midterm elections this fall, the national #EndFGMToday initiative is calling out the 23 states one-by-one that have not yet enacted anti-FGM laws.

Even though FGM has been a federal crime since 1996, international child advocate Elizabeth Yore, who serves as the head of #EndFGMToday and has worked on many cases of child abuse—which FGM is—says local prosecutors need state laws to crack down on this horrific crime.

Of the 23 states without laws, Yore says Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Mississippi and Nebraska must also put these laws on their books to keep girls safe from a lifetime of physical and emotional scars.

“With important midterm elections now less than two months away, legislators in these states should stand up and say they are committed to protecting women and girls from FGM by sponsoring a bill criminalizing this procedure,” Yore said. “This can and should be a bipartisan issue, as evidenced by the 27 states with laws already in place. While some developments have been positive, 23 states do not have laws protecting females from this ghastly practice—and that is unacceptable. We will be advocating in the new legislative sessions to further protect these girls so they are safe from FGM in all 50 states.”

Yore noted that the Centers for Disease Control estimates that more than 500,000 girls and women are at risk of FGM in the United States. Female genital mutilation is also recognized by both the World Health Organization and the United Nations as a human rights violation perpetrated upon little girls and women. Over 200 million women worldwide have been subjected to this cruel and barbaric practice.

View a state-by-state map of those who do have anti-FGM laws at Anti-FGM efforts are underway in several additional states that do not yet have laws on the books.

Learn more about FGM on social media at #EndFGMToday, as well as efforts in the U.S. to stop it.