EndFGMToday Anticipates Approval of Alabama Female Genital Mutilation Bill Moving Through Legislature
State Laws Are Even More Crucial After Federal Ban Was Struck Down
Washington, D.C.—Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey recently signed landmark abortion heartbeat legislation into law, and now another important bill is moving through the state legislature.
HB 421, a bill to criminalize the heinous act of female genital mutilation (FGM), was introduced April 11 in the Alabama House of Representatives and passed the Judiciary Committee earlier this month. A vote on the full House floor could happen any day. The national EndFGMToday campaign is applauding the bill’s House sponsor, Rep. Rod Scott, and urging his fellow lawmakers to make the measure a priority to protect women and girls in the state.
“We call on Alabama lawmakers to take a stand for young girls at risk for FGM, just as they did for pre-born babies,” said internationally renowned attorney and child welfare advocate Elizabeth Yore, who heads EndFGMToday. “Female genital mutilation is a human rights violation, plain and simple, and this heinous act is also child abuse. It’s sickening to know that over half a million girls women and girls are at risk of FGM right here in the United States.”
The proposed legislation would make performing FGM on a female under the age of 19 a Class B felony. Parents or guardians who knowingly allow, authorize or direct another to commit FGM would also be charged with a Class B felony.
According to the Population Reference Bureau, nearly 1,500 women and girls in Alabama are at risk for FGM, Yore added.
“That data translates into real children at perilous risk to the trauma and damage of female genital mutilation—and FGM truly is a form of child abuse,” Yore said. “EndFGMToday urges the Alabama legislature to move forward to help protect little girls from this painful and barbaric procedure whose physical and emotional scars last a lifetime.”
EndFGMToday has asserted many times that state laws criminalizing FGM are all the more crucial now, after a Michigan judge ruled that the federal FGM law was unconstitutional. In the process, serious charges against three alleged FGM perpetrators awaiting trial in Detroit were dismissed.
Yore also noted that female genital mutilation is 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 practice.