As Egypt Cracks Down on Offenders, Massachusetts Delays Outlawing Brutal FGM Practice
#EndFGMToday Leader Challenges Bay State to Keep Pace with Egypt on Women’s Rights, Girls’ Health
July 6, 2020
Washington, D.C.—Legislation to ban female genital mutilation (FGM) has stalled again in Massachusetts, even as lawmakers in Egypt finalized amendments to further criminalize the brutal procedure.
FGM is already outlawed in Egypt, where lawmakers acted in June to close loopholes and clear a path for swiftly prosecuting offenders, including medical professionals who perform FGM.
At the same time, Massachusetts lawmakers for a third time extended the reporting deadline on legislation that would criminalize FGM, this time until December 31, 2020, suggesting further delays are likely.
End FGM Today leader Liz Yore, an international attorney and child advocate, says the least Massachusetts lawmakers can do is keep up with Egypt when it comes to women’s rights and the health of young girls.
“By its inaction over anti-FGM legislation, Massachusetts is demonstrating that it is not enlightened or progressive when it comes to child protection,” Yore said. “Massachusetts is tragically isolated as a ‘third-world state’ by failing to protect women and girls at risk of female genital mutilation.”
Egypt’s further criminalization of FGM followed an incident earlier this month where a father facilitated FGM procedures for his three daughters after telling them that they were getting vaccinated for COVID-19.
The deception is one of several incidents that have raised awareness that FGM continues abroad as well as in the United States.
More than 2 million girls worldwide will suffer FGM over the next decade because of pandemic-induced shutdowns and delays, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) estimates.
FGM has impacted over 200 million girls around the world in more than 30 countries primarily in Africa, as well as in the Middle East and Asia. Without federal legislation, each state must pass its own legislation to protect the 513,000 girls and women in The Centers for Disease Control’s estimate of at risk females in the United States.