EndFGMToday Applauds North Carolina Lawmakers and Governor for Taking FGM Legislation Over the Finish Line
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper Signs Bill to Criminalize Female Genital Mutilation; Measure Becomes Effective Oct. 1
Washington, D.C.—North Carolina has become the 35th state to outlaw the barbaric practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) after Gov. Roy Cooper signed the measure into law Thursday. Likewise, the national EndFGMToday campaign is applauding lawmakers who championed the bill and unanimously voted to make FGM a felony in the state.
The law, effective Oct. 1, makes the practice of FGM a Class C felony, punishable by a 44- to 182-month prison sentence.
Sen. Joyce Krawiec (R-Forsyth) introduced Senate Bill 9 in late January. The Senate approved the measure 46-0 in March, and the House by a 116-0 vote July 16, according to the Winston-Salem Journal. The Senate then agreed to a minor change made by the House by a 45-0 vote July 22.
“We applaud North Carolina lawmakers for making anti-FGM legislation a priority, and we appreciate Gov. Cooper signing the bill in a timely manner,” said internationally renowned attorney and child welfare advocate Elizabeth Yore, who heads EndFGMToday. “Now, North Carolina is the 35th state to outlaw this heinous practice, and that is evidence of a renewed commitment by state legislators to protect women and girls who are at risk. Amazingly, the #EndFGMToday state map of locations where FGM is a crime has become even more pink in the passing weeks and months, with nearly the entire East Coast having laws in place. To all legislators in every state who have voted ‘yes’ on laws like this, the women and girls in your state thank you! But to the remaining 15 states that do not have measures in place, #EndFGMToday will continue to relentlessly urge you to take the necessary steps to pass much-needed and strong laws.”
Krawiec also told the newspaper, “I’m relieved to know that North Carolina will be among the states that have taken this step to protect young girls. This law sends the message that we are serious about protecting our young girls from the abhorrent practice of female genital mutilation.”
According to the Population Reference Bureau, North Carolina ranks as 16th in the country for women and girls at risk for FGM, Yore noted. Furthermore, the bureau found that the Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia metropolitan areas in North Carolina rank 23rd in the nation for FGM risk.
The Winston-Salem Journal also reported that a Brigham and Women’s Hospital report found that “4,287 girls and women, including 973 under age 18, in North Carolina come from families who immigrated here from countries that follow the practice. The report says those girls and women could be at risk of having female genital mutilation performed on them.”
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. Additionally, over 200 million women worldwide have been subjected to this cruel practice, and the CDC estimates that 513,000 girls are at risk of female genital mutilation in the United States.