Connecticut Lawmakers to Hear Impassioned Pleas About Need to Outlaw Female Genital Mutilation
EndFGMToday Leader Elizabeth Yore Provides Statement of Support for SB 74—Urges Connecticut to Protect Women and Girls from FGM
March 9, 2020
Washington, D.C.—The national EndFGMToday campaign is urging Connecticut lawmakers to move ahead with legislation that would outlaw the brutal practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the state. Legislators’ latest chance to take another step toward a measure that would outlaw FGM will be a public hearing today on FGM’s debilitating effects.
Elizabeth Yore, international child protection attorney and head of the national EndFGMToday initiative to pass state and federal laws to criminalize FGM, is providing a statement of support on Connecticut’s SB 74, which establishes performing FGM as a Class D felony. If passed, the measure would go into effect Oct. 1, 2020.
“In February 2018,” Yore said, “an FGM victim testified in the legislature in support of criminalizing female genital mutilation in Connecticut. Her powerful testimony spoke of the lifelong pain, suffering and trauma endured by women who, as innocent children are subjected to this barbaric procedure. Connecticut legislators heard the searing testimony from a 50-year-old woman who has suffered lifelong consequences as a child victim of FGM. Kadi Doumbia, now residing in Chicago, described her daily psychological terror she suffers from as a result of her FGM trauma. Doumbia pleaded with Connecticut legislators to pass legislation to criminalize FGM.”
Yore, who is also the former General Counsel for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the former General Counsel at the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, wrote in her statement that 15 states have not criminalized the barbaric crime of female genital mutilation—and that is 15 too many. Connecticut is one of those 15 states.
“I urge Connecticut legislators to heed the urgent global warning and prohibition of both the United Nations and the World Health Organization which have labeled FGM, as a heinous practice and as a violation of human rights,” Yore added in her statement to the legislature.
Connecticut sits among an ever-increasing minority of states that have not criminalized FGM, even though the Centers for Disease Control has estimated that 513,000 women and girls are at FGM risk in the U.S.
“By failing to protect little girls from this barbaric practice, Connecticut is inviting FGM practitioners and sending a troubling message to perform the brutal procedure with impunity,” Yore stated to lawmakers. “You are on notice that FGM practitioners are fully aware of the 15 states that have not criminalized female genital mutilation!”
The Center for Disease Control’s research arm, the Population Reference Bureau, found that Connecticut has nearly 2,700 women and girls at risk for female genital mutilation. Without a criminal law on the books, Connecticut is giving a green light that FGM is not a crime and may be performed there without consequences.
“Connecticut state legislators must criminalize the exploitation of women by the ancient cruel practice of female genital mutilation,” Yore continued in her statement. “Unless it’s criminalized, FGM will be performed in Connecticut—again and again. Congress has yet to pass a new FGM bill, which underscores the urgent necessity for states to do so.
“It’s long overdue for the Connecticut legislature to pass legislation criminalizing female genital mutilation. This must be a priority in 2020—for Connecticut and for the 14 other states that have failed to protect women and girls from the physical and emotional scars of female genital mutilation.”
This is Connecticut’s latest chance to outlaw FGM and protect its women and girls from the atrocious procedure. In both 2019 and 2018, bills were introduced but never made it out of the committee phase.
Just two New England states—New Hampshire and Rhode Island—are among the 35 that have enacted measures against the horrors of FGM. States without anti-FGM laws include: Alabama, Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming.
Learn more about FGM at www.EndFGMToday.com, including a state-by-state map of those that do have laws, or on social media at #EndFGMToday.